Kiss your semis goodbye

Joe Frost Editor

By Joe Frost, Joe Frost is a Roar Editor


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    The Eels won't be playing finals footy. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

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    It’s funny how quickly we are ready to write off an NRL team’s chances of winning the premiership.

    It was some time around Round 4 that people started saying “Parramatta need to win this week or they can kiss their semi-final hopes goodbye.”

    The Eels proceded to lose that game, against the Tigers, so what did we read the following week, when they were set to line up against the Panthers?

    “Parramatta need to win this week or they can kiss their semi-final hopes goodbye.”

    That they lost to Penrith would surely mean the following week we could just start saying that Parra’s season was over, but as the men in blue and gold geared up to face the Raiders the following week, what did we read all over again?

    “Parramatta need to win this week or they can kiss their semi-final hopes goodbye.”

    By the time we got to Round 8, it had been a month of the Eels playing do-or-die footy, except every time they didn’t, for some reason they still weren’t dead.

    So when they finally notched up win number one of the year – a 24-22 victory over the Tigers – there was no talk of it being a consolation prize for their season or their first step in trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

    No, that win was a glimmer of hope for their top-eight chances.

    Tim Mannah

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Look, 25 rounds makes for a long season and there is a need to frame each match in the broader narrative of what it will mean come September, so it’s fair enough that we talk finals footy after the full-time siren has sounded on a match in March.

    But it does get a bit broken record-ish when the same long-term outcome is predicted after each loss, conveniently wiping that exact same prophecy from last week’s assessment.

    Before the start of this weekend’s action, all 16 teams had completed their byes for the year and were left with eight weeks of full rounds until the finals.

    Last year, the fewest amount of points needed to make the eight was 30, however, 27 got the Gold Coast in for 2016, and in the three years prior to that 28 was the cut-off.

    So let’s work off a cut-off of 28 points required to make the semis.

    That means that even if Jarryd Hayne recaptures his 2009 form and the Eels go on a barnstorming run to finish the year, they are still no hope of featuring in the playoffs – their current ten points on the ladder means a perfect finish still leaves them shy of the necessary points.

    Likewise, the Bulldogs and Cowboys are each on ten points before this week’s matches, while the Sea Eagles are on 12, meaning a perfect run to close out proceedings would still leave them all short of where they need to be.

    So now we get mathematical…

    The Knights played a four-point game yesterday against the Gold Coast, with the losing team’s finals hopes extinguished. Newcastle managed a come-from-behind win to ensure Garth Brennan’s boys can book a holiday for the first week of September now.

    So the Knights, moving to 18 points, technically need five from six, which sounds like a possibility – especially with Mitchell Pearce back pulling the strings and Kalyn Ponga returning next week.

    Kalyn Ponga

    (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

    This Novocastrian is holding out hope (you can all shut up).

    But the problem for my desperate, ridiculous hope the Knights are going to play finals footy is that the ninth-placed Tigers and tenth-placed Raiders are on 20 and 18 points, respectively.

    And those are two teams in some seriously scary touch.

    Canberra lost to a better team, the Sharks, on Friday night, but a sketchy situation with a touch judge could have seen Ricky Stuart’s boys get the chocolates.

    And the Tigers? Bloody hell, they smoked the ladder-leading Bunnies last night, reminding us all of how good Ivan Cleary’s side truly are.

    You’d almost say either of the Raiders or Tigers were decent chances of overhauling whoever was in eighth place and play finals footy.

    Except said eighth-placed team are the Broncos, who gave the Panthers a ‘you can’t win the comp’ beating this week.

    Ahh… bummer.

    Sorry every team outside the top eight, but you can kiss your semis goodbye.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 7:39am
      Paul said | July 22nd 2018 @ 7:39am | ! Report

      Maybe every team outside the top 8 can kiss their finals chances goodbye…. but they’re going to give sides inside the eight a heap of anxious moments.

    • Roar Guru

      July 22nd 2018 @ 7:52am
      eagleJack said | July 22nd 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Sorry Joe but this article is a week too late. The start of this round represented 7 more games left for each club. Not 8.

      So at best Manly, for example, could reach 26 points if they remained unbeaten. Which isn’t going to happen and isn’t enough to play finals anyway.

      They are playing with a focus on 2019 from this point onwards (and realistically have been for a few weeks now). I’m just hoping the don’t get the spoon!

      • Editor

        July 22nd 2018 @ 12:00pm
        Joe Frost said | July 22nd 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        Right you are Jack. The piece has been edited to better reflect the current situation.
        I apologise for my shoddy maths (I’m going to blame it on the fact I don’t have all my fingers, which makes it hard for me to count).

        • Roar Guru

          July 22nd 2018 @ 1:06pm
          eagleJack said | July 22nd 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          That’s why I wear thongs!

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:00am
      Luke said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      The whole “teams need 28 points to make the finals cause that was the cut off in previous years” is now redundant. In previous years with two byes, teams got 4 points for free every year. With it being 1 bye now, teams only get 2 points. A better metric would be teams need 12 wins. with 1 bye that would mean they need 26 points.

      • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:19am
        Chris n said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        The bottom team in the 8 is already on 24 points, no way is 26 points going to be enough this year at least

        • Roar Guru

          July 22nd 2018 @ 8:30am
          Emcie said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

          That’s mainly because three teams have been absolutly woefull this year, leaving a lot more easy points on the table and skewing the normal deviation

        • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:35am
          Luke said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          My point wasnt really about this year (it could end up being 30 points are needed to make the finals this year). It was about people saying teams need 28 points to make the finals because that was the cut off in the past. That was when teams had two byes, now they get one. So you cant really use that 28 point as a guide for finals anymore.

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2018 @ 8:25am
        Emcie said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        If you wanna simplify it further – half the comp gets into finals so you only need to win half your games to qualify on points

      • July 23rd 2018 @ 1:20pm
        Griffo said | July 23rd 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        I was thinking this for a while, Luke and ut I wondered if I had missed something, like every team getting 2 points for rep round. Looks like this year will be a higher cutoff for wins though.
        I always dound it interesting that 12 wins from 24 games has been considered the traditional cutoff. For a long time when the AFL was a 16 team competition 12 wins from 22 was generally the benchmark. I could never understand why those two extra games would seemingly not count for much.

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 8:36am
      Forty Twenty said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      Only three?

      • Roar Guru

        July 22nd 2018 @ 8:47am
        Emcie said | July 22nd 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        well put it this way, normally you’d get one team out in front and one team well behind that would counteract each others effect on the competion average. This year we’ve got 3 teams going worse then the 2 teams at the top are going good

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 9:55am
      Birdy said | July 22nd 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      The tigers mathematically could end up on 32 points. Highly unlikely that more than 32 could be a cut off point.
      Taking it 1 game at a time ” go the Tigers!!!!!!!!”

    • July 22nd 2018 @ 10:14am
      Forty Twenty said | July 22nd 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Kiss the Semi and then the Semi’s goodbye!