Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

It’s been a week of farewells in the lead-up to round four of the NRL season: Todd Carney farewelled his dignity (apparently he had some left); Newcastle is farewelling Newcastle; Max Delmege is farewelling Manly; and Manly is farewelling its premiership defence.

The Sea Eagles slumped to 13th on the Hot Form Chart after losing to Penrith at home, so how confident can anyone be about their chances away to the Knights, especially without the injured Jamie Lyon?

It’s a different story for Brisbane. The undefeated Broncos welcome back one-time head honcho Wayne Bennett tonight for the much-anticipated clash with St George. In the other Friday night game, the teetotal Roosters host Parramatta without Nate Myles and Willie Mason, a very large man who enjoys a beer and used to play for Australia. Brad Fittler, once described by a member of the NSW police as “the drunkest man in the world”, may want for a drink himself when his team slips to one and three.

The Storm will end their pineapple trilogy on a winning note on Saturday night when they take on the Gold Coast at home, while Penrith and the Tigers — who are rocketing up the Hot Form chart – clash in what promises to be a ripper in the mountains.

The Sharks and Bulldogs meet in a match not without its implications on Sunday. Plenty of questions will be asked of Ricky Stuart should Cronulla slip to a one-three start to the season, a scenario less likely since the Dogs started punching on with each other.

Across the ditch, the Warriors will be simply too strong for the Bunnies (although key injuries have opened the door) and Canberra — the season’s disappointment outside of Manly — will continue its abject form on Monday night … even if luminaries such as David Lynch and John Huston have shown many times before that it is unwise to put one’s trust in schizophrenic Cowboys.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round four are:

  • Brisbane
  • Parramatta
  • Tigers
  • Melbourne
  • Warriors
  • Bulldogs
  • Newcastle
  • Cowboys

Last week: 5 (Season total: 16)

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

It’s a fragile thing, euphoria. Ask any Richmond supporter. When Ben Cousins first trained at the club in December, the traffic on Punt Rd was crawling from rubberneckers and mobs of pedestrians clad in yellow and black crossing the arterial to watch the star recruit in action.

Three months later and those sky-high expectations have crashed like Concorde. A pasting from Carlton and the loss of Cousins (for four weeks we’re told but watch this space) has hands wringing at Tigerland and the coach — a savvy operator who has not once taken the club into September — in the media’s crosshairs. Against this backdrop, Geelong seems the worst possible assignment but at least Richmond isn’t expected to win. And that’s one expectation the Tigers will live up to.

The Saints are in Adelaide tonight for a fixture that always favours the home team. Ditto Essendon and Freo. North Melbourne hold a heavy piece of teak over the Bulldogs having won their past five encounters, but the Dogs were impressive last week.

Carlton is coming, or so they tell us. They will win again this week but let’s hope things don’t get too sticky before the Blues play a team of substance. The Hawks’ assignment — rolling the Swans in Sydney — is not as daunting as in years gone by. But it’s still no gimme and with an always-competitive North Melbourne coming up next week, the premiers will be super keen to register a notch in the wins column on Saturday night.

Dean Brogan confirmed suspicions as to his idiocy when his laughably Rambo-esque theatrics got him suspended from Sunday’s match against the Eagles, a club that happens to boast the League’s best ruckman. But Port’s class should still prevail.

And the market is being framed for who Collingwood will blame should they be upset by Melbourne on Saturday. Current favourites are the MCC and GFC (global economic crisis, not Geelong football club), but the players themselves are 50-1 longshots.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round two are:

  • Adelaide
  • Geelong
  • Collingwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Carlton
  • Essendon
  • Bulldogs
  • Port Adelaide

Last week: 6 (Season total: 6)