Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

Representative football begins which means the first of seven abbreviated rounds in 2009’s NRL calendar. And how a number of key players pull up following Friday night’s test will be critical to their clubs’ chances.

The biggest ask probably lies with Johnathan Thurston and North Queensland. Backing up 24 hours after an international is hard enough, but the extra travel — not too mention an opponent in the Dragons that are Hot Form flyers — will be a big ask for this most influential Cowboy. The Queenslanders don’t lose too many on home turf but are vulnerable this time around.

Melbourne is also sweating on the fitness of its key Kangaroo trio, most notably the hobbling Billy Slater. Deprived this season of imaginative paths to the opposition’s try line, the Storm can ill afford to go into Monday’s clash without their most potent attacking weapon — even if the opposition is the disappointing (but rep free) Roosters.

The Broncos and Manly will both have players backing up from Friday night but that is where the similarities end — Brisbane to atone for last week’s effort in a canter.

And Newcastle, rocketing up the Hot Form Chart, can pick off the team just above it in the Gold Coast with a win on Sunday. Home ground advantage makes a compelling case for the in-form Knights.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round nine are:

  • Dragons
  • Newcastle
  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne

Last week: 5 (Season total: 40)

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

Take a look at the Hot Form Chart. Go on, have a gander. Notice anything? I think it’s trying to tell us something; I think it’s trying to tell us which teams are fair dinkum in 2009.

Geelong and the Saints sit atop and have done for weeks; even cynical Melbourne footy journalists are now convinced of St Kilda’s credentials. But below them is Hawthorn. Ravaged by injury, battling form and (according to some) weight issues, the Hawks have nonetheless pulled themselves up the Form Chart and into the AFL top eight. Now they have players returning and a run of largely winnable games starting tonight against Essendon.

The Tigers go into Saturday’s match against the unpredictable Lions without Matthew Richardson. A blow, until some footy nerd tells you that the Tigers actually win more games without Richo than with him — about 10 per cent more. The Lions away form is woeful and have a recent hoodoo against Richmond, making this game harder to tip than a futon. The Lions, maybe.

Carlton is trying desperately hard to convince everyone, including itself, that it means business this year. Trouble is, the Blues’ argument keeps faltering at key stages, like last week when it missed a chance to stick a pin in an injury-riddled Hawthorn’s season. A win, and a handsome one, against a suddenly resurgent Fremantle is now required but far from guaranteed.

North Melbourne, as the Form Chart confirms, are fading faster than Gretel Killeen’s hopes of a Friars Club nomination and will find Port Adelaide far too classy. Melbourne play West Coast in Perth … join the dots.

The match of the round sees Adelaide hosting the Dogs, with both clubs equally desperate to get their seasons into positive territory. The Form Chart likes the Crows, just.

And Geelong and St Kilda will lose — perhaps — before they play each other way off in tound 14. But the Hot Form Chart is not willing to bet that it will be this round.

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for round seven are:

  • Hawthorn
  • Brisbane
  • Geelong
  • Carlton
  • Port Adelaide
  • Adelaide
  • West Coast
  • St Kilda

Last week: 4 (Season total: 25)

Peter Fray

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