NRL 2016: Post-Origin Report Card Part 1
Before the 2016 season started, we previewed each team to determine where they would end up finishing on the NRL ladder.
This was our predicted finish for each team:
A lot of things haven’t worked out the way we saw them. For instance, we didn’t see the Parramatta Eels getting into salary cap strife. We didn’t expect the Newcastle Knights to not only lose senior players to injury, but some have even left the club. We didn’t expect the Cronulla Sharks to go on a 13 game winning streak (that may yet become 14, then 15 and so on). And we definitely didn’t see the Titans becoming such a pain in the rear for other clubs as they seem to be.
Have you played in our NRL tournaments? TopBetta have new tournaments for each round of the NRL season.
So, let’s start with the bottom eight of the ladder. All positions are as at the beginning of Round 19:
9. Titans 18pts - B
You’ve got to hand it to coach Neil Henry and his players, we expected them to be way down the ladder but instead, they’re knocking on the door of the Top-8. If they make the Finals, they may be in the same ‘cannon fodder’ list as the Dragons though.
Not surprisingly, neither their attack or defence is good enough to trouble the big-hitters of the competition but they can look at 2016 as a real building year for the club. And if young half Ash Taylor can stay fit, who knows where they will end up in 2017.
10. Panthers 18pts - B-
The Panthers are slightly above where we thought they’d end up, but they have the potential to move up the ladder or slide down to where we thought they’d be. They just can’t make up their mind which way they want to go. One day they look like world beater’s and the next, they look like they don’t have much of an idea.
You look at the Panthers and the word that comes to mind is ‘potential’. Unfortunately another word sometimes sneaks into your head when watching them, and that word is ‘waste’. That word crept in when they played the Sharks just last week. Too many missed opportunities like that and their Finals aspirations will wave goodbye well before September.
11. Tigers 16pts - B
The Tigers get a “B” grade because they were supposed to be a basket-case and fall apart. Here’s the funny thing though, they still are a basket-case but they’re finding a way to make it work. Well, to some extent they are anyway. Having three representatives in the latest origin is nothing to cry about, that’s for sure.
But the problems from last season are still there. There’s the ‘Robbie Farah thing’. There’s the ‘moments of brilliance followed by moments of madness thing’. There is ‘the halves look great when they get going thing’. But also ‘the halves still can’t tackle thing’ (both Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses are in the top 5 for missed tackles. They are 1st and 4th respectively). Until these ‘things’ disappear, the Tigers won’t be relevant.
12. Rabbitohs 14pts - D
Oh Souths fans, where have the good times gone? And while we’re at it, where did all the Souths fans go? There was a time when every second person you bumped into was a Rabbitohs supporter, it was only a couple of years ago for memory. That was when they were the darlings of the competition again. How times have changed.
The Bunnies look out-gunned, out-thought and out-enthused most games. Injuries have been an issue, but so have player discipline. The Bunnies have just sacked a second player in as many weeks, so who knows what’s going on behind closed doors down at Redfern. The season is gone and by the look of it, the odd coach might be as well. Terrible year.
13. Sea Eagles 14pts - D
You could put the 2016 version of the Manly Sea Eagles in a book titled “When Best Laid Plans Turn To S#&t” because that is exactly what has happened. Bob Fulton came in to fix the place up and he made all kinds of changes to do just that. It just hasn’t happened the way he and new coach Trent Barrett planned.
Injuries have been a constant and we’re pretty sure ‘Baz’ must’ve thought about pulling the boots on when his troops were thin on the ground. But a few players like DCE have returned and Jamie Lyon looks okay at five eighth at the moment but the horse has bolted. Back to the drawing board for 2017, and they may be a few veterans short come preseason as well. Retirement never looked so good for some of them.
14. Eels 12pts (12 taken by NRL) - F
Where do you begin with the debacle that has been the Eels’ 2016 season? Salary cap breaches, fines, points taken off them, senior officials banned, a possible police fraud investigation, star players walking out, star players being offloaded to other clubs and a star player convicted of drug possession.
That just about cover it? An absolute bludger of a season, very deserving of an “F” grade.
15. Roosters 10pts - F
The Roosters season began terribly with Mitch Pearce celebrating Australia Day way too much and getting himself into all kinds of trouble. Then Boyd Cordner tore his pec at training before even playing a game. They also had to wait for enforcer, Jared Warea-Hargreaves, to come back from serious knee injury sustained late into the Finals the season before. They had also lost fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and five eighth James Maloney.
It was thought that things would get better when the big three returned, and it did for a moment when they played the Knights. But it was a false dawn. And the sun still hasn’t risen yet.
16. Knights 7pts – F
The Knights were always going to find it tough, and to be honest, our original assessment may have been a bit generous. But 2016 has been terrible. One win, in golden point extra time, is all they have to show for their blood, sweat and tears so far. Yes, the young players are learning a tonne but the results, or lack of them, speak for themselves.
Not all is lost though. Coach Nathan Brown has shown that he has a plan and that he is capable of seeing this plan out. Turfing players that don’t fit has been a feature of the season so far but so has the retention of players he thinks has the goods. But in the context of this season, 2016 is a write-off.
This article first appeared on TopBetta HERE