Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

All the action that matters in the final round of home and away is happening tonight, especially in the Broncos v Newcastle clash which is really three battles in one. There’s your traditional on-the-scoreboard type battle but two others are wrapped up in the result.

Brisbane can easily push into fourth with a win and, by so doing, open the top eight door for New Zealand who need Newcastle or Canberra to falter. Given the Raiders are taking on wooden-spoon specials the Bulldogs, Brisbane would seem the Warriors best chance.

That scenario also puts the acid on the Roosters to maintain fourth by beating the Dragons, who themselves can finish fourth if it gets the chocolates tonight and Brisbane are handed the boiled lollies by the Knights. Confused?

Don’t be. Because while the Form Chart sees the Knights continuing their charge as a distinct possibility, the Broncos will be very tough to toss in Wayne Bennett’s last regular season home game as coach.

All the other matches become sort of inconsequential after that, so the Hot Form Chart is going to stick its wrinkly centurion-turtle like neck out and have a stab at how next week’s finals will line up:

  • Manly v New Zealand
  • Melbourne v Canberra
  • Cronulla v Roosters
  • Brisbane v Dragons

Of course, dear reader, the Hot Form Chart has had it wrong (spectacularly so on some occasions) before, so breath holding is advised against.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for Round 26 are:

  • Brisbane
  • Dragons
  • Manly
  • Warriors
  • Cronulla
  • Canberra
  • Tigers
  • Melbourne

Last week: 5
Season: 118

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

Two — count ‘em — two charts are comin’ at ya this week.

For you Hot Form Chart junkies out there (and a big huzzah to you Macca and Phil) the conventional end-of-season table is attached at the bottom so you can see if your team ended the year on a high, a low, or a sort of queasy mediocre plateau.

Directly below, though, is a table that ranks the top eight as they have performed against each other. Let’s call it The Top Eight Table.

Team Played Won % Final HFC ranking
1 Geelong 9 8 89 1
2 Bulldogs 11 7 64 12
3 Hawthorn 10 6 60 3
4 Collingwood 11 6 55 6
5 North Melbourne 11 5.5 50 7
6 St Kilda 10 4 40 2
7 Adelaide 9 3 33 4
8 Sydney 11 1.5 17 10

Such a chart is to be used with caution, of course. After all, how much bearing does the Bulldogs’ (HFC rank 12) round three victory over the Saints (HFC rank 2) have at this time of year?

One thing that is immediately clear however is the pre-eminence of Geelong. It will surely take something very special — more special than is in the possession of St Kilda certainly — to knock the Cats off this September.

The one team that has done it — Collingwood — are, as Rusty the Crowe might put it, on the down side of advantage. But there is still something about its sudden-death opponent Adelaide that fails to excite.

The other cut-throat semi sees the Swans enjoying a home ground advantage they hardly deserve, but North are like a superball: the harder they get thrown down, they higher they bounce back.

The Cats’ real threat, of course, will come from the winner of the Hawthorn v Bulldogs clash. Several weeks ago this promised to be the match of the finals series but the Dogs have lost their bite in recent times, and the Hawks have overcome later-season wobbles to emerge as the mob most likely to face off with the Cats come grand final day.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for finals round one:

  • Hawthorn
  • North Melbourne
  • Collingwood
  • Geelong

Last week: 5
Season: 119