The Grubber gives us all his thoughts on NRL Round 17. He is a happy man this Round as his team bounced back into the winners circle. Here’s all the info direct from the NRL’s most informative and sometimes most ruthless man – The Grubber:
1. Melbourne: Demonstrated their status as number one side in the competition with a come from behind win against the enthusiastic Rabbitohs. Absolutely the benchmark in this competition and will rightly deserve their minor premiership. Power score: 9/10, Odds that Melbourne will unearth another 6’4″ outside back: 2-1.
2. Canterbury: Like Melbourne managed to win despite clocking off in the first half. Coming home with a wet sail and provided they can keep players on the paddock they should be aiming for a top 4 finish. Power score 8.5/10, Odds that Ben Ross will be mysteriously unavailable for selection next time Cronulla play Canterbury: 4-1.
3. Brisbane: Came home strongly against the Gold Coast despite the absence of several stars and are looking more and more like the defending premiers. Will be eager to build on recent consistency with a victory in the traditional Queensland derby this Friday night. Power score: 8.5/10, Odds of any commentator (other than Ray Warren) ever risking saying Karmichael Hunt’s full name again: 100-1.
4. Wests Tigers: Were made to look ordinary in the first half however by the second 40 minutes they managed to discover their attacking flair and played the ball from sideline to sideline. Chris Lawrence is really starting to look like something special. Will be good chances this Friday against Manly. Power score: 8/10, Odds that Chris Lawrence visits the same barber as Dawn Fraser: 2-1.
5. Manly: Orford and Lyon combined well enough for both players to post their best performances this season. Face a tough ask against the Tigers but certainly have the defence and fitness to match them. Power score: 7.5/10, Percentage decline in police numbers at Brookvale Oval last Saturday night as compared to Bulldogs game: 1000%.
6. Souths: Brought their resolute defence to the Central Coast and almost came away with a win. Slight lapses against decent opposition have cost them so far this season and unfortunately Saturday night was no better. Will back themselves against the Eels on Sunday. Power score: 7.5/10, Odds of Ben Rogers ever being able to pull off that pass again (even in training): 300-1.
7. North Queensland: Probably lucky to get away with a win against the Warriors and will be again thankful for another home victory decided by a dodgy obstruction call (see vs. Manly in Round 7). Top 4 hopes looking good although Thurston will need to be 100% fit. Power score: 7/10, Odds that North Qld would permit Graham Murray to coach Origin again (if they even wanted him): 10-1.
8. New Zealand: Seem to have the stinging defence, forward pack and offensive production of a top 4 side, but so rarely manage to put it together at once. Power score: 7/10, Number of reasons that New Zealand and Cronulla now have to hate each other (just this season): 3 (Cleary bitching about Stuart coaching diving, dodgy Covell goal, and Steve Price thuggery against Kimmorley).
9. Newcastle: Really managed to get it together in scrappy affair with Parramatta. Will consider themselves a realistic top 8 chance but it would be surprising if they managed to do much beyond that given week to week inconsistency. Power score: 6.5/10, Likelihood that Brian Smith didn’t mention “the ‘P’ word” as claimed: Extremely unlikely.
10. Parramatta: Top 4 aspirations still very much alive but credibility has taken a nose dive with inept display against Newcastle. Evidently still suffering the curse of Brian. Power score: 6/10, Odds that Denis Fitzgerald will call Brian Smith and beg for forgiveness: 100-1.
11. Gold Coast: Will hope that draining golden point game doesn’t affect their performance this weekend. Their best performance of the season may now be behind them after Friday night and face an uphill battle to the eight given their injury woes. Power score: 6/10, Odds of Titans fielding Queensland Cup side by the end of the year: 20-1.
12. St George-Illawarra: Were devastating against the woeful Raiders and Soward-Chase seem to forming a useful scrum-base combination. Have the potential to upset some of the competition high flyers before the end of the year. Power score: 6/10, Odds that Nathan Brown will resign in Chris Anderson fashion: 1000-1.
13. Cronulla: Severely lacking attacking potency at the moment and loss of Kimmorley and Ross could be fatal to their top 8 campaign. Need to turn things around urgently if they are to avoid a slump in the manner of 2006. Power score: 5.5/10, Anticipated crowd this Saturday night at SFS against Roosters: under 5,000.
14. Penrith: First half was a false dawn for the Panthers and once the Tigers offence kicked into gear the mountain men had no answers. Season is now a write off and Matt Elliott has effectively acknowledged this with efforts to blood young talent. Power score: 5/10, Number of players in first grade whose contracts aren’t in jeopardy right now: Probably like 4 or something.
15. Canberra: Luck finally ran out against the Dragons and were outplayed in every statistic worth recording. Get the opportunity to put things back on track this weekend at home to injury decimated Titans. Power score: 4/10, Odds of snow falling during a Canberra home game this year: 2-1.
16. Roosters: Could do nothing right against Manly and will be hoping that the coaching hand-over has the same impact that Jason Taylor’s appointment did last year at Parramatta. Power score: 3/10, Odds of Roosters storming into the top 8 in the same fashion as Parramatta in 2006: 100-1.
Yours in League,