2016 NRL Final Trimester Report Part 2 – Definitely Suffering Final’s Remorse

Finals are here but first a blow by blow on the Final Trimester. Last week I covered the teams finishing 13th to 16th. This week its teams finishing 9th to 12th.

Rabbitohs

John Sutton - Photo by Radar 286 CC-BY 2.0

John Sutton – Photo by Radar 286 – CC-BY 2.0

Ladder Position

Pre-season Prediction – 11th

After First Trimester – 12th

After Second Trimester – 13th

After Final Trimester – 12th

Points after First Trimester – 6

Points after Second Trimester – 12

Points after Final Trimester – 22

For and against after First Trimester – -17

For and against after Second Trimester – -42

For and against after Final Trimester – -76

The Journey so far

They looked like a rabble in the midst of their 9 game losing streak, the lowlight of which was a 54-4 shellacking by the Raiders but played with some pride to win the final 4 games of the season including wins against the Sharks and the Bulldogs. Sam Burgess, Greg Inglis and Cody Walker played well during the back half of the season.

Final Trimester Grade

D+

MVP

Sam Burgess – Looked a bit flat in the middle half of the season, and he wasn’t on his own in that regard, but certainly picked up his game during the back end of the season and finished with some wind in his sails.

How close was my pre-season prediction?

The Bunnies didn’t pass the pre-season smell test to me and I ranked them accordingly. The bookies had them at 7th so I’m calling that a win for me.

Prognosis

Luke Keary became expendable with the emergence of Cody Walker, so his move to the Roosters isn’t a great surprise. Robbie Rochow is a good buy, however, apart from the further development of their younger players, I can’t see where the improvement will come from to make this team a contender. That seems sacrilegious to say about a team containing Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis but I can’t see how next season will be any different. They just seem to be a team on the decline.

Dragons

Ladder Position

Pre-season Prediction – 9th

After First Trimester – 11th

After Second Trimester – 9th

After Final Trimester – 11th

Points after First Trimester – 8

Points after Second Trimester – 18

Points after Final Trimester – 24

For and against after First Trimester – -97

For and against after Second Trimester – -95

For and against after Final Trimester – -197

The Journey so far

In the end the Dragons were only 3 points out of the 8 but it felt like they were non-contenders during the whole season. Their offense never really got going and they followed up their effort in 2015 (18.125 points per game – 15th in the NRL) with a very similar, but worse, performance in attack (14.208 points per game – 15th in the NRL). I’m not saying the Dragons were abysmal, just average and for Dragon’s fans that is an all too familiar feeling post-Wayne Bennett.

Final Trimester Grade

D+

MVP

Tyson Frizell – Best forward for the Dragons this season and should be selected for Australia for the end of season tour.

How close was my pre-season prediction?

The bookmakers had them at 13th which seemed overly harsh given they made the finals in 2015. I had them just missing the 8. The Dragons ended up splitting the difference.

Prognosis

I just don’t see this ending well for the Dragons. Mike Cooper, Mitch Rein, Ben Creagh and Benji Marshall won’t be with the Dragons in 2017 with Nene Macdonald the only significant signing so far, so there is much ground to make up. As the Titans have shown, slow recruitment over the off season isn’t fatal but the Dragons will need to make a splash in recruitment to really have any chance next year.

Warriors

Solomone Kata Photo by Naparazzi - CC-BY-SA 2.0

Solomone Kata – Photo by NaparazziCC-BY-SA 2.0

Ladder Position

Pre-season Prediction – 3rd

After First Trimester – 10th

After Second Trimester – 11th

After Final Trimester – 10th

Points after First Trimester – 8

Points after Second Trimester – 16

Points after Final Trimester – 24

For and against after First Trimester – -42

For and against after Second Trimester – -25

For and against after Final Trimester – -88

The Journey so far

The Warriors finally started to muster some form during the Origin period but promptly fell in a heap when the games got serious, losing four games to finish the season, which is becoming a habit in and of itself. Just a very disappointing season for the Warriors after a fair bit of optimism leading into the year, mainly from me.

Final Trimester Grade

D-

MVP

Shaun Johnson – Solomone Kata and Simon Mannering also had a solid end to their seasons but it is Johnson and his X-Factor that changes matches for the Warriors. Still maturing in his overall game awareness but when he is playing off the top of his head, there aren’t many better.

How close was my pre-season prediction?

Those who read my pre-season preview know that I was very high on the Warriors (much to the chagrin of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and especially the recruitment of Roger Tuivasa-Scheck and Isaac Luke to go with Shaun Johnson, but that ended up being a painful mirage. The bookies weren’t as high on them but still had them finishing 5th.

Prognosis

With the exception of two or three notable occasions, the Warriors have under-performed more than any other team in the competition. They flatter to deceive most every season. You only have to read Chris Rattue from the New Zealand Herald for a few months to realise constant coverage of the Warriors is bad for the psyche. He gave up on them some time ago. Their fans don’t suffer in the way a Cleveland Brown’s fan might suffer. That is the suffering without hope. Warriors fans are built up only to be let down again each year. It is a different kind of suffering. The appointment of Stephen Kearney, while not surprising, creates as many questions as it does answers. The Warriors will hope Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returns from injury soon, but those kinds of injuries take at least two years before the dynamism returns. They will be hoping that Isaac Luke returns in 2017. I don’t know who was running around in his jersey this year but I don’t think it was Isaac Luke. Kieran Foran was one of the best players in the competition but has been beset by problem after problem. He will take up a one year contract, if not blocked by the NRL. They have the potential to be great but number me with Chris Rattue until otherwise advised. Of course I will have the whole off season to change my mind.

Tigers

Ladder Position

Pre-season Prediction – 14th

After First Trimester – 14th

After Second Trimester – 12th

After Final Trimester – 9th

Points after First Trimester – 6

Points after Second Trimester – 14

Points after Final Trimester – 26

For and against after First Trimester – -55

For and against after Second Trimester – -85

For and against after Final Trimester – -108

The Journey so far

After a three game win streak culminating in a rousing victory against the Cows, the Tigers looked like momentum was building in their favour, but that ended with the swinging arm from Ryan James, which broke James Tedesco’s jaw. Even then, a last round win against the Raiders would have found them in the 8. The Tigers definitely finished the year much better than they started.

Final Trimester Grade

C+

MVP

Mitchell Moses – Definitely emerged from the shadow of Luke Brooks this year to demonstrate his own prodigious talents. The Tigers will be looking to lock him into a multi-year contract ASAP.

How close was my pre-season prediction?

The betting agencies and I both had them slated for 14th on the basis of continued player losses and uncertainties regarding Robbie Farah, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses but the Tigers performed much better than expected to narrowly miss out on the 8.

Prognosis

The Tigers finally bit the bullet and released Robbie Farah which should free up some cap space to retain most of their young stars on longer deals. James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses and Josh Aloiai is a very solid nucleus around which to build and some astute purchases to supplement that talent would be in order. Not convinced Jason Taylor is the best choice for this team but the Tigers seem to be dogmatically attached to continuity. Should be better next year. 

What is sweeter than Jelly Bread?

  • Cowboys vs Broncos – Another classic. I don’t know how they keep finding the energy.
  • College Football – The impact of games on the National Rankings makes College Football compulsive viewing. Many games have national implications and some games are just flat out amazing especially the TCU vs Arkansas game. That was a thriller.
  • NFL – Welcome back NFL. It has been a long off season without you.

What isn’t?

  • Watching the Melbourne Storm suck the life out of the game of Rugby League. You have to admire how well they control the game. Their dominance around the ruck and composure in protecting a lead is impressive, but it is a painful experience. Not looking forward to the GF this year.

Stay Tuned

Next exciting episode will be on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 titled ‘2016 NRL Final Trimester Report Part 3 – Just happy to be there’.

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2 thoughts on “2016 NRL Final Trimester Report Part 2 – Definitely Suffering Final’s Remorse

  1. Pingback: 2016 NRL Final Trimester Report Part 3 – Just happy to be there | The Game of Sport

  2. Pingback: 2016 NRL Final Trimester Report Part 4 – There can be only one! | The Game of Sport

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