The smiles may have returned to NRL administrators this weekend. Those Queenslanders turned out in huge numbers, 42,000 of them on Friday night for what resulted in a very hard fought match. Healthy crowds in most other venues too will have been pleasing to them.
However the really encouraging thing for them probably will be that league table. If you haven’t seen it take a good look at it.
That means FIVE of the eight first round winners got rolled in round 2 and obviously FIVE first start losers will have won after both last start losers, Dogs v Sharks meet on Monday night.
So the smiling is becoming an early beam for the games leaders when after just two rounds 13 of 16 teams have won a match. Only 3 will still be on the lonely duck-egg, barring a draw on Monday night. A false dawn?
Listening to ABC Radio on Sunday afternoon as WESTS Tigers demolished the Titans I heard a comment that if you had just heard the final score 42 to 12, but didn’t hear which team won, you would have thought that it must have been a Titans victory with a score like that.
Oh really? Not me that’s for sure.
Did no-one watch the Titans struggle to perform in a skinny win over the much-depleted Sharks last Monday night? Has no-one watched the way Titans have struggled to maintain high performance levels for recent season on seasons? Was Wests form so much worse than Titans that a lopsided scoreline would logically have to be to Gold Coast? I really don’t think so. I think some people just see scores and fall in love with teams – and quickly fall out of it when it turns out to be another one-off.
Likewise a comment passed in the Dragons victory in New Zealand. Someone suggested that throwing out pre-season form was now officially mandatory after the way Warriors have performed in the two opening rounds.
Oh really. Perhaps a quick read of Rules for Preseason Trials as Predictors would have assisted those over eager experts amongst us who have talked up the Warriors prospects for a big 2014 season. Surely no-one at all would place any credence in the NINES TOURNAMENT or a great deal in a one off whitewash of Broncos in a trial match in NZ. They did also get a 40 point defensive smacking from Wigan in there somewhere!
Some of the long suffering Parra fans also seemed to have over-read the opening weekend’s promising result. That win, notably now over the Warriors, offered no real cause for the crazy talk of playoffs returning for the Eels. The second half smacking at the hands of the defending premiers on Saturday night emphasised is really no cause for throwing themselves under the bus for 2014 either.
Parra competed and performed much better than Warriors in round 1. In round 2 they competed and performed much better than Parra did in many matches in 2013 but nowhere near as well as the Roosters.
Come-on! Who really thought that the Eels were going to take it to the World Champs after one HOME WIN over a very under-done and a non-proven Warriors outfit away from home? Look at the huge loss they suffered in the corresponding match in last season’s opener at Parramatta.
Note to self – speak with Mr X who in his tips for Round 2 said this; PS don’t disguard the Eels either, if you like them have an investment. Readers of this blog will know I have warned them that Mr X has a soft spot for the Blue and Golds and it gets the better of him at times! For people who do enjoy a small wager on footy in 2014 he has a nice little system to interest you over the weekend and is close to nailing some juicy odds winners. Take a look
Finally on the table, by way of example can I offer this to tipsters and punters as well as general footy lovers like myself?
Teams are often at quite different stages of physical and mental preparation at this early stage of season. Some clubs will be short of a run while others will benefit from meeting those who missed the jump start of the new season.
Dragons fans appear to have kept their cool as they often do.
Not for them the over excited “we are back” and “we can win the comp” on the back of two nice wins. A very easy trap would be to miss that the performances of those two opponents (Wests and Warriors) was little short of appalling and therefore very misleading.
I reckon that could well be the case for 3 or more clubs this season. Then there may be another 6 or 8 clubs who are better than that but never really threaten by way of quality or consistency.
This is not good news for NRL officials if it is indeed true. It might be ok to have great uncertainty in results as those teams fluctuate with wins and losses but the poor performance levels we have witnessed so far, leading to lopsided score lines, offers little to true footy fans.
They won’t be fooled.
It means a lesser standard overall. It also means that the old model of every team having a chance of winning every weekend and rotating premierships is over.
I suspect that the very best performances of Roosters, Rabbits and Sea Eagles looks like it might be well out of reach for quite a few others and only achievable as a real competitor for a few others occasionally. Melbourne may also be one of those. The Cowboys could develop into it.
What also fell into this category of “let’s not get excited just yet” was the hysteria of the speed of the game and the removal of gang tackling and the return of the faster ruck as a result of the new rules.
Hardly heard it referred to by coaches or players, just a few “experts” who will run off it all season long no doubt, blissfully unaware of reality. Read this for an analysis of what is really happening on the field in 2014; Fast Its All Relative