Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

Normally, week one of the NRL finals is a pretty tame affair — especially for those teams that finish the home and away season first and second as they dispatch with contemptuous ease the rabbles that fell into seventh and eight .

But this season, things may be different.

Melbourne and Manly will still be heavy favourites but the Warriors come into their match with the premiership favourites on the back of some pretty handy form, and the Dragons’ excellent record at Brookvale is well known.

Below, we’ve ranked the top eight based on their form against each other over the season.

Team Played Won % Final HFC ranking
1 Melbourne 11 8 73 3
2 Cronulla 11 8 73 1
3 Manly 12 6 50 6
4 Dragons 12 6 50 7
5 Roosters 11 5 45 10
6 Warriors 10 4 40 2
7 Canberra 11 4 36 4
8 Brisbane 10 3 30 5

But if Melbourne and the Sea Eagles have more than a moutful on their plates, the other finals present a veritable smorgasboard of possibilities.

The Sharks are in as good form as anyone and will need to carry it through to get over the Raiders, a team that has emerged as flamboyant, dangerous and tough to beat.

The Roosters righted their ship in timely fashion last week after indifferent form in the preceeding month. Their opponents, the Broncos, have the worst record against the other top teams this year, but did triumph in the sides’ only encounter way back in round two.

A forecast shower may help Sydney, who have comfirmed themselves the competition’s best mudders. But there’s something about Benny’s last Brisbane campaign that appeals.

How they finished:

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for finals week one:

  • Manly
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Cronulla

Last week: 7
Season: 125

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

An abbreviated form chart for an abbreviated competition, with only six teams left standing after the Crows and Kangas waved bye-bye last weekend.

The form suggests that St Kilda and the Bulldogs may be doing likewise this weekend, becoming the third and fourth top-four teams to bow out in straight sets since the top eight format was introduced in 2000. And it’s easy to flop to that conclusion. Both were blown away last weekend, leading the commentariat to question the teams’ commitment to the extra intensity of “finals footy”.

But a few points are worth remembering.

The Saints were monstered by Geelong, the mob everyone reckons will go back-to-back this season. Collingwood, though useful, aren’t quite as intimidating and St Kilda would expect a big lift from some of its star performers.

The Bulldogs could not have played worse against Hawthorn and were ill-equipped to deal with the freak that is Lance Franklin. True, the Doggies form has been abysmal of late but they have defeated the Swans twice this season, and in good style too.

So hold on to hope, Bullies and Saints fans. Because if you win this week and come up against Geelong and Hawthorn in the strangely named preliminary finals, you’ll need it.

Of course slick performaces last week — especially in the second halves — will have Sydney and the Pies brimming with salty, delicious confidence. And after the blow-outs of finals round one, the Hot Form Chart is hopeful of seeing a couple of nailbiters this time around.

Crikey Ranking Team Opponent this week Last five games
1 Geelong W-W-W-W-W
2 Hawthorn W-L-W-W-W
3 Collingwood St Kilda (MCG) W-W-W-L-W
4 Sydney Bulldogs (MCG) W-L-L-W-W
5 St Kilda Collingwood (MCG) L-W-W-W-L
6 Bulldogs Sydney (MCG) L-L-W-L-L

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for finals round two:

  • Bulldogs
  • Collingwood