I remember someone saying that everyone they knew who ran marathons had either lost their job or lost their relationship. They had something to prove. Motivation is always interesting and it certainly was the theme for round two of the NRL season.
In the last ten years round one losers have beaten round one winners on handicap 61 percent of the time in the competition’s second round.
This year the losers went 4-2 against the winners so that trend is continuing.
A theory with benefit of hindsight might be that teams that lose in round one are far more determined to fulfill all the promise of the off-season. All those hours of training and all the talk of it being “our year” look pretty hollow when you’ve been towelled up in the first 80 minutes of the season.
While the winners have gotten the monkey off their back and are already switching into “it’s a long season mode”.
Whatever theory works for round two, what the hell do you do about round three?
Going into this week, the Rabbitohs, Warriors and Titans must have the 51 most motivated individuals in the competition, if they don’t the wheels might already be looking wobbly.
But the Bunnies face a Parramatta side fresh off a humiliation, while the Warriors face a Dragons side who had just had their colours lowered by the Sharks. So their opponents are unlikel y to have their eye off the ball.
For the Titans, they will be hoping that the hype of a local derby will produce a Cronulla style performance to lift them from their funk.
The problem as I see it for John Cartwright’s men as I see it is that they are still relying on the same play book that they arrived at the competition with.
This is 2011, not 2007. Luke Bailey no longer seems to be able to dominate the ruck like he used to and a Scott Prince short ball to Anthony Laffranchi seems to have lost its magic.
If you are going to use some sort of motivation metric as a form guide, it will certainly be given some academic rigour on the position of Melbourne on the competition table.
If ever a group of players needed to prove something it was the Storm and they have certainly started with promise.
O f course, it is after all only round three, and I refuse to make judgements on the field until round five and rule any team out until round ten. But I will say this.
The Warriors purchases of Feleti Mateo and Krisnan Inu are on track to be some of the worst ever made by the club, the impact of these two players so far have been akin to the impact of the pea-shooter on modern warfare.
And if you are questioning the signing of Mateo and Inu there you can’t help but mention that a recent arrival from Redfern is yet to set the place on fire. However, in fairness that was predicted given the condition that he lumbered into town in.
If the wins don’t start coming soon for certain coaches, then it won’t only be ALP members of the NSW Government who are feeling insecure about their future.
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