Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 15: There is movement on the ladder

I may be a rugby league aficionado but I lay no claim to being a tipster – just 3 out of 8 for the weekend! But I was a bit closer to the mark with my idea on Friday that we’re in a phase of ‘moving time’ on the ladder. Here’s what I think we learned on the weekend.

 

Melbourne Storm now have one hand on the minor premiership after their grinding win over the Roosters and South Sydney’s loss to the Wests Tigers. They sit six points clear at the top of the ladder with a massive positive points differential – it’s hard to see them being pegged back from there. Canberra Raiders threw away both a 16-0 lead and a chance to go second when they collapsed against the Parramatta Eels, in the process allowing Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles to share fourth spot with them. Surely this can’t be the start of yet another season of shattered expectations for the blokes in green.

 

The Cronulla Sharks (7th) will rue their loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs (16th!) which would have put distance between them and their chasers. Now they have to keep winning to secure a top 8 spot. The Wests Tigers just won’t go away but have a very bad for and against to overcome.

 

In the lower half of the ladder, I think we can add the NZ Warriors, North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos to the ‘also rans’ column where they join the Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans. The gap above them just keeps getting greater, their confidence is shot and they just don’t seem to have the ammunition necessary to propel them out of the depths.

 

Unfortunately the main headline from the weekend is a negative one with the eye gouging incident involving George Burgess. It’s not a good look in any sense. Have we seen the last of George for 2019? The main injury problem to arise concerns Kalyn Ponga and his availability for Origin III. We’ll also find out the final mid-season transfers today and try to factor in what, if anything, they might mean for the rest of the season. Origin III teams will be announced as well – will Mitchell Pearce be brought back? Or will Wade Graham pull on the No. 6 for NSW? How loyal can the Queensland selectors be to several players who let them down so badly in Game 2?

 

Meanwhile,in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup, the Redcliffe Dolphins inflicted the first loss of the season on the Sunshine Coast Falcons in a tough, grinding match which I was fortunate to attend. The Falcons always looked the most likely to score but the boys from the peninsula refused to buckle and held on in spite of extreme fatigue towards the end. Go Dolphins!

 

About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

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