Crikey’s NRL Hot Form Chart

Like Kings of Leon, the Hot Form Chart is changing its tune. Parramatta looked capable of knocking out Joe Louis until last week, when St George gave it — and the rest of the competition — a brutal reminder of why it is this year’s minor premier. The same teams meet again and the consensus will be that turning around a shellacking of such proportions is nigh on impossible.

Melbourne and Manly also flexed some muscle. The winner of their clash (we daren’t call it a grand final replay) will yet cause headaches in the coming weeks, while the loser will be feet first down a slippery slope with ne’er a rock to cling to. The Sea Eagles finished the season well and appear to have the greater depth.

Along with Manly, the Broncos can claim Hot Form Chart dibs on best premiership credentials. It was six weeks ago that Brisbane was humiliated by the Raiders; a loss that, in retrospect, was the carrot juice that sharpened focus in a very fuzzy outfit. Now the Broncs look capable and there is a decidedly darkish hue to their coats.

The Bulldogs slipped up last week but will smarten up and earn the break by eliminating Newcastle.

And what would the home and away season be without a bit of off-field hi-jinx to enliven proceedings? Jason Taylor can now swap notes with Braith Anasta about just how well David Fa’alogo throws a straight right; and Michael Hagan can ask Fa’alogo just how good it felt.

After a whole season’s worth of punches and pathos, this is how the Hot Form Chart ended up:

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

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for finals, round 1 are:

  • Dragons
  • Manly
  • Brisbane
  • Bulldogs

Last week: 4 (Season total: 124)

Crikey’s AFL Hot Form Chart

By the looks of it, the streamlined, Reader’s Digest-esque finals Form Chart is saying that the Crows and Lions are gimmes to progress to preliminary finals next week.

But looks, they can deceive.

Brisbane and Adelaide had to have won — and Collingwood and the Dogs lost — to be in this situation anyway. That skews the form somewhat and another stat to consider is that, in 16 of the last 18 semi-finals, the team that lost the week before has gone on to win through to the preliminary final. That is a strong affirmation that the top four teams in home and away are still the top four teams in the finals series.

So does this particular finals series give us any reason to think otherwise? In the Bulldogs’ case: no. They will fix up Brisbane, a team that won improbably last week and appear outmanned and outclassed.

Collingwood, though, is a different pot of haddock. It faces Adelaide, a team that has undergone a more strenuous transformation than Henry Jeckyll. And yet the Crows have not beaten a top-four team since round-one’s victory over the Pies – a team they lost to at home only five weeks ago.

If Collingwood can find the contribution from its midfield that has been so lacking in the past fortnight, it can still set up a date with Geelong next week despite its outs.

Form* Team Opponent Sequence
1 Adelaide Collingwood L-W-W-W-W
2 Brisbane Bulldogs D-L-W-W-W
3 Geelong L-W-L-W-W
4 St Kilda W-L-L-W-W
5 Bulldogs Brisbane L-W-W-W-L
6 Collingwood Adelaide W-W-W-L-L

*Form over the past five games

Crikey’s Hot Form Tips for finals, round 2 are:

  • Bulldogs
  • Collingwood

Last week: 3/4

Visit the Crikey Sports blog for the latest from the world of sport