A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size More than 60,000 fans packing into a purple-swathed Optus Stadium in Perth on Sunday afternoon is proof that the A-League does grand finals better than the AFL or NRL ever will. So much for Perth Glory struggling to sell tickets. There were plenty of sceptics who before this week reckoned the Glory would go nowhere near filling Perth’s brand-spanking new stadium. Many of them had at least one thing in common – they were more likely to be watching the West Coast Eagles or Fremantle Dockers on a Sunday afternoon as an A-League game. As football fans we’re so used to followers of other sports belittling the A-League under the guise of offering friendly advice, that we essentially accept it as the norm. Heaven forbid if the shoe’s on the other foot though and you happen to mention that you prefer the A-League to Australia’s provincial codes, because you’ll never hear the … [Read more...] about This will be the biggest A-League grand final of all time
Nrl grand final 2015
Just a month ago I predicted that the 2019 NRL premier would come from the usual suspects, with my tip being the Roosters to be the first side to go back to back since the Broncos in 1992-1993. Now, after just one round has been played, the stats show just who is really likely to be there when the whips are cracking and just who will be getting the spoon. And the stats are surprisingly compelling. Let’s look at who will be this year’s likely wooden spooner first. First up, you get a good guide to who’ll come last each year by looking at how sides placed the previous season. Year Wooden Spooner Previous season finish 2018 Eels fourth 2017 Knights Wooden Spoon 2016 Knights Wooden Spoon 2015 Knights 12th 2014 Sharks Fifth 2013 Eels Wooden Spoon 2012 Eels 14th 2011 Titans fourth 2010 Cowboys* 12th 2009 Roosters fourth 2008 Bulldogs sixth 2007 Panthers 12th 2006 Rabbitohs 13th 2005 Knights 10th 2004 Rabbitohs Wooden Spoon 2003 Rabbitohs … [Read more...] about Do we already know the NRL’s premiers and wooden spooners?
With three weeks until the 2019 NRL season starts, many of us are filled with hope that our team will do really well. Maybe they’ll even challenge for the premiership. Maybe – just maybe – they’ll even win. Here’s the cold reality, people: By Round 6, up to four sides will already have bugger-all chance of making the finals, and by Round 10 we’ll be able to narrow the actual premiership contenders down to just six. And here’s the really hot, steaming pile of reality: those six contenders will most likely be heavily stocked with the usual contenders, and odds are one of those sides will win the premiership. As an effective tool for ensuring the competition is on a level playing field, the NRL’s salary cap is equivalent to mammary glands on the masculine bovine. Everyone knows it. I strongly suspect NRL HQ knows it too. Just look at these stats. Rank Team Premierships Grand final appearances Wooden spoons Finals appearances 1 Storm 5 … [Read more...] about Predicting the 2019 NRL premiers before a ball is kicked
Here’s some of my reasons why the 2018 grand final was the best we’ve seen for some time. 1) The lead up week actually meant something Unless you are invested in the team or a player, there is nothing of interest to a non-affiliated fan. 2018 was very different; Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater saw to that. This year, the team lists weren’t just last week’s team plus injury cover, there was actual serious doubt over whether two of the biggest name players would be named, or who their replacements would be. Team #banbilly and team #technicallynotashoulderchargebecausetheruleiswordedpoorly had a hell of a lot to talk about. Many fans had a very enjoyable time pointing out how wrong the other side was, sometimes even months after the fact, even when their team won a grand final and the judiciary decision ultimately didn’t matter and it actually made the grand final win more impressive. Then you have judiciary night, and boy did it rate. The NRL’s subreddit … [Read more...] about Eight reasons the 2018 grand final was the best in a decade
A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size Gareth Widdop expects St George Illawarra’s heart-breaking NRL finals exit to fuel their 2019 campaign but conceded they had to address their concerning trend of post-Origin fadeouts. After guaranteeing he would remain in Dragons colours for 2019 and not seek an immediate release to return home to England, Widdop has turned his attention to the upcoming NRL season and his battle to recover from a shoulder reconstruction. The Dragons were bundled out in the second week of the finals at the hands of South Sydney this year after being sunk by two Adam Reynolds field goals in final three minutes of regulation. And while Paul McGregor’s side did surge late to almost win through to the grand final qualifier, in the wash up they were undoubtedly cruelled by their lacklustre form in the final third of the regular season. From round 17 onwards, they lost six of nine games, slumping from top spot to … [Read more...] about Finals anguish to fuel Dragons in 2019