Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

A bit wobbly. That’s how last year’s grand finalists, Manly and the Storm, are looking just at the moment. The Sea Eagles — who, like Lear, are more sinned against than sinning — at least have a home game against the struggling Penrith to right the ship. Melbourne has no such luxury, taking its bellyaching about the referees even further north to confront a Cowboys outfit that have rediscovered their zip.

Still, it could be worse, you could be the Bulldogs. The boys from Bankstown were stripped of two hard-fought competition points for having 14 men on the ground — one too many even with inflation the way it is. A trip to the Gold Coast does not bode well for a quick rebound either.

The form of some other clubs is harder to read than James Joyce. You could flip a coin for the Tigers-Roosters and Parramatta-Canberra clashes, although consulting the Form Chart might be a better option. And Sunday’s matches are just as perplexing; Souths and St George make marginally more attractive cases than Newcastle and a suddenly confused looking Cronulla.

The Hot Form game of the round pits Crikey’s top two against each other when the Warriors host Brisbane on Saturday night. Fans of patterns may like the Broncos by three points after they won round one by one and round two by two, but with Stacey Jones now calling the shots the Warriors are looking every inch the team to beat early in the season.

Form*Team Last weekNRL ladder position^Sequence
1 Warriors22W-W-L-W-W
2 Brisbane 3 3 W-W-L-W-W
3 Newcastle99W-W-L-L-W
4 Cronulla 1 11W-W-L-W-L
5 Melbourne5 8 W-W-L-W-L
6 Manly 4 15W-W-W-L-L
7 Bulldogs 141L-L-L-W-W^^
8 Cowboys15 5L-W-L-L-W
9 Dragons11 7 W-L-L-L-W
10Parramatta12 10W-L-L-L-W
11 Roosters13 12W-L-L-L-W
12 Tigers6 13 L-L-W-W-L
13 Titans 7 6L-L-L-W-L
14 Rabbitohs84L-L-L-W-L
15 Canberra10 16 L-W-L-L-L
16 Penrith 16 14W-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games
^Round 2, 2009 counted as a win for the Bulldogs
^^At time of publication, pending appeal of Bulldogs against stripping of competition points

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round three are:

  • Tigers
  • Titans
  • Warriors
  • Parramatta
  • Cowboys
  • Rabbitohs
  • Dragons
  • Manly

Last week: 5 (Season total: 11)

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

A lot of metaphorical water has passed under footy’s allegorical bridge since Crikey‘s AFL Hot Form Chart — that indispensible piece on online punditry that ranks the teams on their past five premiership performances only — last appeared.

Much of that water, of course, is flavoured with the tincture of Ben Cousins. Like Christ without the hair, Cousins has come back but it remains to be seen if his return will be quite so influential. Tonight, his new club Richmond match it with Carlton, another team boasting a former Eagle champion. Apparently, many West Australians are flying over for the clash … someone ought to tell them the resources bubble has burst.

Naturally, it takes Judd v Cousins to knock a grand final replay from the top of the preview list but Friday night’s game is still the biggest of round one. Both Hawthorn and Geelong are missing some key players but the Cats seem better placed and, judging by their dismantling of Collingwood in the pre-season competition, are focused on avenging their upset loss of last September.

Collingwood itself plays its opening round at home (surprise, surprise) against the Crows. It is the first of 18 matches the Magpies play in Melbourne in the home and away season. Equity, it seems, has multiple meanings.

The demise of Sydney has long been predicted and surely, surely, this is the year the Swans will finally fall into the category of also-rans. They travel to Not-Telstra-Dome to take on a St Kilda team looking a bit light down back, but the Saints should still prevail at home.

A new season and North Melbourne are friendless again. However, their opponents in Melbourne make the Kangaroos seem as popular as the head cheerleader on homecoming night.

Michael Voss coaches for the first time for real on Saturday night. It’s a nice lead-in too: at home and against a West Coast team that will be better than last year, but not by much. Port Adelaide will be back to Dr Jekyll after last season’s Mr Hyde and will account for Essendon, and Fremantle gets the nod too — even if it is like the one you give the barmaid when she asks you if you want your 15th pot for the night.

Form* Team2008 form
Final 2008 positionSequence
2 Geelong 2 2W-W-W-W-L
3 Richmond39L-L-W-W-W
4 St Kilda 44W-W-L-W-L
5 Collingwood56W-W-L-W-L
6 Adelaide 6 7W-W-L-W-L
7 Port Adelaide713L-L-L-W-W
8 Fremantle8 14W-L-L-L-W
9 Sydney 9 5L-L-W-W-L
10Carlton 10 11L-W-L-W-L
11 Bulldogs 11 3W-L-L-W-L
12 North Melbourne128W-W-L-L-L
13 Brisbane 13 10L-L-W-L-L
14 Melbourne 1416L-L-W-L-L
15 West Coast15 15L-W-L-L-L
16 Essendon 16 12W-L-L-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round one are:

  • Carlton
  • Geelong
  • Collingwood
  • Brisbane
  • St Kilda
  • North Melbourne
  • Port Adelaide
  • Fremantle