The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

A serious, but not so serious look at the last 13 NRL seasons

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Roar Rookie
13th October, 2019
16

At the start of the season, I published an article based around my results tracker for the NRL.

For those who don’t particularly want to do that much reading, the basic premise is that teams are allocated points for where they finish on the ladder each season.

Premiers accumulate no points for the season and the team who picks up the wooden spoon picks up the most points.

With all the talk recently about Channel 9 wanting another team in Brisbane for the second Friday night TV slot, and which capital city, major regional centre, minor regional centre, or Antarctic base station to move the Sharks too, I had a hard look at my results and how they would handle a new team.

While it was maybe not quite fair to give the Titans averaged results for their first seven seasons, I think it would be pretty poor to make any new teams have to have 20 years’ worth of averaged results in order to keep the sheet flowing. So, I changed it, because I can.

Welcome to the new and improved NRL Results Tracker. I have decided in my infinite wisdom that every time a new team joins the competition, everything gets reset to zero.

“Why?” you probably didn’t ask.

Because every new team changes the dynamic. Sure, St George won 1000 grand finals in a row back before we had colour tv and the metric system, but there were only ten teams playing then. Would they have been as successful if there were 12, 16 or 20?

Nobody knows, and nobody can predict that either. Therefore, is it really fair for me to include results prior to Souths and the Gold Coast joining?

Advertisement
Advertisement

“Of course not” I hear you cry, or maybe you are just crying, who really knows.

There are some very obvious winners and losers from this new approach. Some teams get to forget about some really terrible seasons, while other more successful teams will turn around to suddenly find their once poorly stacked trophy cabinet is now empty.

So, before I start, my congratulations to the Cowboys, Panthers, Bulldogs, Rabbitohs and Knights for no longer having the dreaded spoon count next to your name, and apologies to the Broncos, Knights, Roosters, Panthers, Bulldogs and Tigers for removing your premierships.

With that in mind, here is the new list which covers the last 13 seasons since the Titans joined the comp, as well as my thoughts on their respective performances this year.

1. Melbourne Storm

Total points: 40
Average finishing position: 3
2019 finish position: 1
Finals: 12 (92 per cent)
Premierships: 2
Wooden spoons: 1

Was there ever any doubt? Number one with a bullet, and planning on staying there for another decade to come, the Purple People Eaters from Mexico are by far the most professional, most ruthless, most winningest team in the NRL.

He of the sweaty armpits and frothing at the mouth tirades is doing wonders with this assembled rabble led by a crafty slap happy garden gnome and backed up by a wombat, a fox, some enormous kiwis and half the QLD team.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Honestly, what can you say about the Melbourne Storm in 2019? Well you can say a lot if you dare but all they had to do is point at the scoreboard and laugh, then jog off after giving you another sound beating and probably stealing your girlfriend on their way to the celebration party.

Without Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater the team was due to fall apart, but somehow, they just keep finding talent. Raw talent, speedy, Papenhalphabet talent. Awesome.

Didn’t get to the big dance (TB that one is for you), so I am sure Craigh Bellamy is planning something special for their already legendary pre-season torture slaughter-fest.

Awesome.

2. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Total points: 74
Average finishing position: 6
2019 finishing position: 6
Finals: 10 (77 per cent)
Premiership: 2
Wooden spoons: 0

Bring back Des.

I admit, I gave Des a bit of a keyboard lashing after his stint at the Bulldogs.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Deserved it too he did, but he obviously he didn’t care what I or anyone else thought. Instead he went home to Brookvale, took a team brimming with aggressive forwards, a proven acrobatic half and a new Turbo and made them into winners. Big winners, toothy grin winners, almost made it to the grand final winners.

It was a bit of a season of what might have been for Manly. Their Turbo is amazing when it works, but it was in the shop more than out of it this year, and brother Jake just couldn’t stop himself reaching out for shiny speedy things at a crucial time and Mr Martin Tapau was out kapowed by someone called Jorge Taufua which sounds like a vegan delicacy but with extra punch.

Given how awful 2018 was for everyone’s least favourite Sydney team (or is that the Roosters now?), Manly have a lot to take out of this season and should be excited for 2020.

Especially if the furniture that Trent Barrett ordered finally arrives.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

3. Sydney Roosters

Total points: 79
Average finishing position: 6
2019 finishing position: Premiers
Finals: 8 (62 per cent)
Premiership: 3
Wooden spoons: 1

The Roosters gave the impression they were coasting a bit this season, or injured, or maybe coasting injured. Whichever it is, they showed flashes of aggressive brilliance and then went back to playing average winning footy.

Advertisement
Advertisement

While I’m sure that isn’t the case, and having Jared Waerea-Hargreaves averagely using his head to cushion his way to the ground rather than his hands is still pretty daunting, the Roosters just looked that way. Except James Tedesco – that bloke looks so wound up I am sure he lives on coffee and red bull smoothies.

Regardless, the Roosters cruised along until they needed to hit the go pedal. Then they stomped on it, then ground it through the floor.

They were no longer cruising, they were thumping along with the night rider. JWH hanging out of the bonnet and screaming like a Banshee while sucking nitrous, and Cooper Cronk behind the wheel with sunnies on listening to smooth jazz and plotting his next chess game because he has already beaten the bloke he is currently playing against, but the poor sap just didn’t know it.

The first team to go back to back since Snow’s classic one-hit wonder “Informer” was blaring out of the speakers in the Colosseum Nightclub in Kings Cross, and still the most successful team in the modern era, the Roosters can do nothing wrong. Well they can’t attract a crowd, but you can’t have everything now can you?

4. Brisbane Broncos

Total points: 84
Average finishing position: 6
2019 finishing position: 8
Finals: 11 (85 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 0

To say Brisbane had a terrible season would be an insult to terrible seasons. The fact that we are saying Brisbane had a terrible season even though they finished eighth shows just how much we have come to expect from them.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Unlike the summation of my last article, it’s no longer XXXX Gold being a Broncos supporter, it’s full of uncertainty and worry. Much more like Emu Export. They are also the first team to empty the cabinet through no fault of their own except not bothering to win a trophy in the last 13 years.

From Anthony “we played brilliantly losing by 40” Seibold to Darius “suddenly deathly allergic to tackling” Boyd, something is rotten at Red Hill. It’s not a prawn head in the curtain rods kind of rotten just yet, but it certainly has potential. Like watching your lactose intolerant friend scull a milkshake and step into an elevator, you just know it is going to be very bad for someone very soon.

While it’s not all doom and gloom for the men in maroon, yellow and white, (they did uncover a human wrecking ball or two in the middle) without someone steering the ship, or at least looking at where it is going, it will eventually hit something. Even with the biggest engine room in the world.

Just ask Edward John Smith, he will tell you all about it.

5. South Sydney Rabbitohs

Total points: 92
Average finishing position: 7
2019 finishing position: 3
Finals: 7 (54 per cent)
Premiership: 1
Wooden spoons: 0

Advertisement
Advertisement

Glory Glory indeed. The first team to take serious advantage of the new start again policy, Souths have rocketed up the ladder courtesy of being able to forget all about how terrible they were in the naughties.

Souths had a similar season to Brisbane, only the opposite and much better. Much, much better. Probably the best thing to happen to the boys from Redfern was not only swapping out Seibold for Bennett but refusing to take Boyd in the deal. Smart move Rusty.

The Rabbits always threatened. Any team with three hulking Burgess brothers, a crafty scheming old bugger running the show and a healthy dose of GI in it will be threatening in more ways than one. They just didn’t seem to pull it all together.

Perhaps it was because the Burgess brothers were too caught up in their newfound passions for ophthalmology and cosmetology. Perhaps it was because Greg Inglis succumbed to his broken body and finally proved he is mortal after all. Perhaps it was because Jimmy the Jet seemed to have a bet going with Latrell Mitchell over who could be the most obnoxious centre in eastern Sydney. Perhaps it was because red and green should never be seen.

Who knows, who cares, more importantly who are you, who, who? Uncle Wayne will have a full offseason with a good roster to sort that issue out and hopefully provide the answer to the problem he couldn’t give to his previous employer.

Namely, how do you win a premiership when your team isn’t made up of 99 per cent of the QLD State of Origin side.

6. Cronulla Sharks

Total points: 106
Average finishing position: 8
2019 finishing position: 7
Finals: 8 (62 per cent)
Premiership: 1
Wooden spoons: 1

Advertisement
Advertisement

The season that might have been. Well, it was the season that was, it just wasn’t the was that we were hoping for. Rather the was, was not really.

Big Gal left the game after clocking up 1,000,000 running miles and a few stitches, but there were no testimonial matches, or even a solitary glowing 5-minute TV special about our big man.

They probably asked him but he turned it down saying it wasn’t his bag, but deep down it really was his bag, and he was hoping they would surprise him, but they took him at his word and didn’t because he’s not that popular anyway, then he felt left out and a little sad, then he lost to Manly in Manly for the thousandth time straight, then he walked off the ground, then he organised to beat the crap out of some ex-AFL player to make himself feel better.

So long Gal, we’re going to miss you big fella.

What about the season? Well if we could have kicked all our conversions, we could have gone to Bali at least a week later. That pretty much sums up our season. Up Up.

Paul Gallen

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

7. Canterbury Bulldogs

Total points: 107
Average finishing position: 8
2019 finishing position: 12
Finals: 7 (54 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 1

Advertisement
Advertisement

The Bulldog came out of the kennel at the start of this year, grabbed that wooden spoon like a faithful plaything and wouldn’t let go. He barked and growled and bit at anyone who dared reach out for it. Some Panthers turned up mid-season and stole it from next to the water bowl while our faithful pup was sleeping, but he tracked them down, beat them up and took it back. Nobody was getting that spoon this season.

But then something happened, our faithful little companion got distracted by a bouncing Steeden and started playing with that instead. He left the spoon unguarded and took great pleasure in keeping the footy away from Sharks, Tigers, Broncos, Panthers, Knights and Rabbitohs who all needed it more than he did, but he wasn’t giving it back.

He was having fun again and the scrappy little pup of a Bulldog fought his way up the ladder, barking and howling and growling and snarling like one of the Dogs of War of old.

Good boy.

8. North Queensland Cowboys

Total points: 109
Average finishing position: 8
2019 finishing position: 14
Finals: 8 (62 per cent)
Premiership: 1
Wooden spoons: 0

The Cowboys never got out of first gear this season, to be fair I don’t think they even had the key in the ignition. Instead they mistakenly gave it to Johnathan Thurston as a retirement present thinking it was the keys to the city and just assumed the juggernaut would keep going Flintstones style, with big JT13 providing the thrust.

Unfortunately, unlike in the cartoons, we don’t power things that way and we don’t all ride dinosaurs around at work which is just a little sad really.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The Cowboys seemed stale, fatigued and out of ideas. Sorry to the faithful, but there is little good I could see from the games I watched this year, and making jokes about it would be as much fun as poking the fat kid after he got his head caught between the railings at school trying to reach a chocolate bar he dropped (you know who you are).

I would say the only way is up, but seeing as the Cowboys finished 14th this season, they can technically still go down. Hopefully, it was an off season, everyone has them. Well except the Storm, have you seen what they consistently produce year in and year out?
Awesome.

9. St George Illawarra Dragons

Total points: 110
Average finishing position: 8
2019 finishing position: 15
Finals: 6 (46 per cent)
Premiership: 1
Wooden spoons: 0

How do you judge and reward a man for exceptional sub-mediocrity? Let him win two or three games at the start of a season and, even though he has a well-earned reputation for fading in the second half of every season he has coached so far, give him a 30-year extension on his contract based on those results alone. Well played Mr McGregor, well played.

Even better though. After yet another terrible finish to another terrible year (what do you mean they scored all their tries from kicks, bloody cheats), with a team stacked with rep players, get said mans good mate to come in and do a full review while publicly stating said man’s job is not up for consideration as a reason for the poor results. Well played Mr McGregor, well played.

If only the Dragons team could have played so well…

Have you seen Melbourne?

Advertisement
Advertisement

(AAP Image/Darren England)

10. Penrith Panthers

Total points: 121
Average finishing position: 9
2019 finishing position: 10
Finals: 5 (38 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 1

I’m sure the Penrith faithful are so glad that the club sacked a performing coach, just to replace him with an underperforming one, so they could keep an underperforming half.

Now that is the kind of radical thinking that wins you the ability to book your September travel plans early and take advantage of the mid-year sales.

Hell, if you do things properly and then allow your star forwards, winger, five-eighth, fullback and so on loose, then you could probably book next year’s while you are at it.

The Panthers bounced off the bottom of the table and went on a winning streak while everyone was distracted by a mid-season BBQ at uncle Mal’s house to watch the State of Origin and laugh at how ridiculously amazing NSW are playing now. Got out just in time didn’t you Mal? He’s not an immortal for nothing you know.

Anyhow, after the festivities were over and normal play resumed, the Panthers just faded away. They played a bit of will we, won’t we with their long-suffering fans about making the eight for a while before finally deciding to put them out of their misery.

Advertisement
Advertisement

I guess Ivan figured it’s better to almost make the 8 and not be disappointed about losing in the finals, than to make the finals and be beaten 58-0. It’s a trick he learnt working at Wests Tigers where it has served that club well for as long as they have been around.

Anthony Seibold could probably learn a thing or two from that strategy.

11. Canberra Raiders

Total points: 125
Average finishing position: 10
2019 finishing position: 4
Finals: 5 (38 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 0

Ricky Stuart is a smart man. Say what you will about his willingness to blame everyone else for his teams’ woes, that man is as cunning as a fox. How cunning? Well, you tell me.

How do you get quality NRL players to live in one of the coldest towns on earth that has about as much charm as Sir Les Patterson? You go to a place that is even colder and bleaker and recruit from there. For John Bateman and co, Canberra is a virtual paradise on earth, at least I think that is what he thinks because I have heard that man speak and even my tv subtitles just come up with a big question mark.

Language barriers aside, the English additions to an already stout team have really bolstered the green machine this year. And how good is the clap now? For an 18th century sailor, the answer is not very, for a Raiders fan it’s pure theatre.

Made the grand final, lost the grand final, drank a lot of green beer ordered in to celebrate winning the grand final, felt a little sick, went home with 6 again (too soon?).

Advertisement
Advertisement

The big problem Canberra have had is backing up good seasons like this, so I am waiting to see if they can do this again next year before finally conceding they have turned a corner.

Or, in the immortal words of John Bateman “al shooalo clkohb gtabkfduios?????”

John Bateman NRL Raiders.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

12. New Zealand Warriors

Total points: 128
Average finishing position: 10
2019 finishing position: 13
Finals: 5 (38 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 0

As a young man, I joined the Navy after having only seen the ocean maybe ten times in my life up to that point. After posting onto my first warship and heading into more tropical waters, I refused to accept that flying fish were real.

People had told me about them, but I just put them in the same class as mermaids. I was so intent on not chasing left handed screwdrivers, golden rivets and broadcasting “Seaman Stains, Laundry” over the loudspeakers that I was sure the boys were pulling my leg.

So, imagine my absolutely jaw dropping surprise and delight when I saw my first fish rise from the deep, skim across the surface for an incredibly long way and disappear beneath the waves again. I was mesmerised.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Such was my reaction when I first got to see the Warriors play. In my last article I called the Warriors a myth, because, as I was a free to air only watcher of the game, I had quite literally never seen them play. Now that I was handing over my hard-earned to Fox, like that magical day in 1992 I got to see the myth become reality. The Warriors, in all their skilful, clumsy, precise, chaotic, forward, backward maddeningly inconsistent glory.

It was amazing, I still get goosebumps thinking about it. So glad I am not a fan though. I thought the Wests Tigers fans were hard done by, but at least they are never given any hope of success.

Speaking of…

Wests Tigers

Total points: 129
Average finishing position: 10
2019 finishing position: 9
Finals: 2 (15 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 0

Ah the Tigers. In a show of support for their captain Paul Gallen, the Sharks faithful applauded at the 13th minute of his last home game. In a similar move, Wests Tigers showed their support and appreciation of a long serving player in Robbie Farah by finishing ninth.

Wests, Tigers, Wests Tigers, whatever you want to call them, have made an artform of finishing just short of the eight, and didn’t let anyone down this year by doing just that in the final game of the season. Well done lads, well done Madge, you will fit right in.

Wests Tigers played a pretty good season, with some pretty good wins, and a lot of that has to do with Benji Marshall. Obviously, the double shot espresso is just not the same calibre in Kogarah or Brisbane as it is in Leichardt because Benji is playing back at his best.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Not his sidestepping in mid air best, but certainly his best footy in many years, and it has only happened since he came back to the Tigers.

The whole team showed a lot of promise, and it was great to see Josh Reynolds get a run in all his crazy-eyed glory, Chris Lawrence overcome his chasing parked cars gag from pre-season, and Robbie Farah got onto the park for his final game in orange, white and black, broken leg and all. I am sure there will be a bronze statue of him sitting on the scoreboard in the future.

I like the Wests Tigers, I look forward to watching them finish ninth again next year.

Josh Reynolds

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

14. Parramatta Eels

Total points: 143
Average finishing position: 11
2019 finishing position: 5
Finals: 4 (31 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 3

Parramatta stadium has done something amazing for the blue and yellow. Looks like a snake, but isn’t a snake, but are still pretty creepy in a poorly made up clown kind of way, the Eels.

In fact, they can do no wrong in their new digs. So much so that instead of jetting off to Bali or Fiji or Las Vegas or Juba, they decided to just camp out at Parramatta Stadium for their end of season trip because that’s the only place they can score.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Nobody expected much of Parra this season, at least not in a successful sense anyway, so everyone was surprised when they entrenched themselves in the eight, and everyone was certainly eating some humble pie when they failed to drop off at the back end of the year. Parra kept winning, and winning, and then losing by a lot, but then winning again and again.

They finished fifth, an outstanding effort, and I would like to have seen the odds on that happening at the start of the year.

The only problem was they had 50 put on them in the regular season, and much like the hope diamond or expecting a Kennedy to live to retirement, that is a curse that is yet to be broken. There was a glimmer of hope in the finals when they then put on 50 against a Broncos team still dazzled by the flashing lights and free spins of an epic Queen of The Nile run, but came crashing back to earth with a thumping by the Storm. Who ironically were the team to put on the 50 curse in the first place.

Awesome.

Gold Coast Titans

Total points: 149
Average finishing position: 11
2019 finishing position: Wooden spoon
Finals: 3
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 2

The Gold Coast cops a lot of flak, and not all of it is warranted. Sure, there was a fun period mid-season where extremely good looking and wise individuals were calling for them to be renamed the Bears, but their woes run far deeper than that.

I have mentioned before their terrible colours and stadium location, but have you considered their mascot? The Titans were Gods in Greek mythology, Gods! Can someone please explain why he looks like a villain from Dr Who headed for Mardi Gras?

Advertisement
Advertisement

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Surprisingly to nobody, the poor Titans had another terrible season. While it does take time to start a team from scratch (unless you are Melbourne Storm awesome), they are certainly getting into the period where we would be expecting some results. Instead we have had a revolving door of coaches, issues with finances, issues with retention of players to one of the nicest places in Australia, and just a basket case of a travesty of a franchise.

I certainly expect that the Titans can pull things together. Despite everything, a strong team on the Gold Coast is great for the game, a strong team on the Gold Coast is great for local derby promotions, and a winning rugby league team is great for the poor long-suffering fans. I know there is certainly a lot of work going on behind the scenes and let’s all hope it starts to pay dividends soon.

May 2020 be the year we finally see some bite from the Gold Coast Bears.

Advertisement
Advertisement

16. Newcastle Knights

Total points: 151
Average finishing position: 12
2019 finishing position: 11
Finals: 3 (23 per cent)
Premiership: 0
Wooden spoons: 3

Things are on the up for Newcastle, I think.

They didn’t finish last this year which is a plus, but they didn’t do any better than last year which is a plus-minus, or a negative plus depending on which way you say “scone”.

There was certainly a lot of buzz around the team this year, and not all of it was centred around whether Nathan Brown would still be there next week or not, or whether Kaylan Ponga was drinking chocolate or strawberry milk when he didn’t care if Nathan Brown would be there next week or not.

The Knights played some great footy, and some poor footy. Ably led my Mitchell “finally got a series win by default and a cool song in my honour by Dutski” Pearce, the Knights are running around and making all the right noises, just not quite all at the right times.

When they finally get it to click there is the bones of a great team there, it just needs something to put everything in place. Brown spent a lot of time playing musical chairs with his line up at the start of the season before finally deciding that playing people in their preferred positions might work. And they let him resign, the fools.

Another interesting note for the Knights. Under my system the best result for a season is zero and the worst is 16. Currently, the Storm are 111 points in front so if the Knights want to catch up, the fastest they could do it is in seven years, and that is assuming they win every year and the Storm finish last.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Mitchell Pearce doing the double teapot.

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Or they can just hope someone else joins the comp and we all start from zero again. Worked for Souths.

Those are my thoughts on the subject, feel free to tear it all apart.

See you all next year so we can do it all again and try our best to figure out who will finish second to the mighty Sharks.

Up Up.