Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

The final frantic few rounds are upon us and with eight teams trying to squeeze into three finals spots, it may be illuminating to cast a wizened glance in the direction of the Hot Form Chart in an effort to decipher the secrets that lie within. The first such secret is a bit like flying whales in Beijing or Angelina Jolie’s sex life… that is, no secret at all. That the Titans are gone is no revelation, but the Gold Coast may linger for one more round if it can best the imminently bestable Cowboys on the weekend.

The Form Chart’s crystal ball also says the Raiders and Knights are monties for the eight… except for the fact that one must lose this week because they play each other. That will open things up for the winner of the Tigers-Parramatta clash, especially after the Dragons fail tonight against Brisbane. Penrith are the another mob in the finals mix. And while that might be hard to fathom after last week, even more mysterious is the fact that the Panthers will go into their match against the Bulldogs as favourites! Crazy.

New Zealand, though, are really on the march. The Warriors have a tough one in the form of Cronulla on Saturday night but form, and home ground advantage, say they have every chance of nudging that bit little bit closer to the eight. But is it all academic anyway? Last week’s bruising encounter between Manly and the Storm did nothing to dispel the belief that the two will again face off in this year’s grand final, making talk of who makes up the finals numbers just idle chatter.

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Tonight, the Roosters have their chance to put such notions to the sword. But Melbourne is a cold place at this time of year, and Olympic Park is where rugby league dreams come to die. Expect a swift funeral but a nice long wake for the Roosters.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Newcastle 11 8 W-L-W-W-W
2 Melbourne 2 2 W-W-L-W-W
3 Warriors 3 10 W-W-W-L-W
5 Canberra 8 6 W-W-W-L-W
6 Cronulla 6 3 L-W-L-W-W
7 Tigers 10 9 L-W-L-W-W
8 Brisbane 4 5 L-W-W-W-L
9 Manly 1 1 W-W-L-W-L
10 Parramatta 13 12 L-L-W-L-W
11 Roosters 5 4 L-L-W-W-L
12 Rabbitohs 7 14 W-L-L-W-L
13 Penrith 9 11 L-W-W-L-L
13 Cowboys 16 16 L-L-L-L-W
14 Dragons 12 7 L-L-W-L-L
15 Titans 14 13 W-L-L-L-L
16 Bulldogs 15 15 W-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for Round 23 are:

  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Gold Coast
  • Penrith
  • Warriors
  • Manly
  • Canberra
  • Tigers

Last week: 5
Season: 101

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

Last season, if the Hot Form Chart remembers correctly, North Melbourne copped it for coming fourth. Critics said the Roos could not cut the mustard with the elite, a position seemingly justified when they were bounced out by Port Adelaide in humiliating style. This season, the Kangas are staring at fourth spot once again but no one will question their worth this time around. Five wins on the trot show they are by far the best of the rest — even if the rest are a largely tawdry bunch.

In fact, the Roos should take up fourth spot as soon as this week after they fix up the Blues and Sydney succumb to the inevitable and get flogged by Hot Form Chart perennials Geelong. That will leave the Lions with a chance of nibbling the top eight biscuit should they get over the Bulldogs, a team presenting a smaller hurdle by the week.

The question that is St Kilda has an answer, and it is “no”. The Saints only chance against Freo is to let the Dockers lead at three-quarter time and then hope Matthew Pavlich has a few match-icing shots to fluff in the dying minutes — a talent now mastered by the chief Docker.

Tonight, the AFL’s Days of Our Lives Collingwood lines up against Port Adelaide, the AFL’s Up-late Game Show. After spluttering about media coverage of their wayward stars last week, the Hot Form Chart expected the Pies to hand over their Friday night coverage to the Polish Olympic Women’s Volleyball team… more’s the pity really. The Crows policy of always appointing a coach with interchangeable first and last names looked silly at the time, but Neil Craig has his team back on track and his signature back on the dotted line. A win over Essendon will sure up a finals spot.

Richmond will blow a farewell kiss to finals football with a third drubbing in a row – this time at the talons of the Hawks — and Melbourne, the team who rewarded the generosity of their members with such a memorable performance last week, host the West Coast in a match that may well make watching judo appear an attractive alternative.

Form* Team Last week Ladder position Sequence
1 Geelong 1 1 W-W-W-W-W
2 North Melbourne 2 5 W-W-W-W-W
3 Adelaide 9 6 L-L-W-W-W
4 Hawthorn 7 2 W-L-L-W-W
5 Fremantle 5 13 L-W-W-W-L
6 Essendon 3 12 W-L-W-W-L
7 St Kilda 4 8 W-W-L-W-L
8 Richmond 8 11 W-W-W-L-L
9 Carlton 10 10 L-L-W-L-W
10 West Coast 12 15 L-L-W-L-W
11 Sydney 13 4 L-W-L-L-W
12 Collingwood 11 7 W-L-L-L-W
13 Bulldogs 6 3 W-L-L-W-L
14 Brisbane 14 9 L-W-L-L-L
15 Port Adelaide 15 14 L-W-L-L-L
16 Melbourne 16 16 L-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round 20:

  • Collingwood
  • Adelaide
  • West Coast
  • Bulldogs
  • Geelong
  • Hawthorn
  • North Melbourne
  • Fremantle

Last week: 4
Season: 102