At the halfway mark of the NRL 2010 season, we thought we’d invite the ‘Grubber’ back for his straight-shooting and comic Power Rankings – with some insight from John Chelsea, Peter Roy and one Scrappy Coco –
1. St George Illawarra – The Dragons have been pacesetters even prior to the Storm being bundled out of contention. Boasting good depth, they have done well thus far during the Origin period and are humming nicely.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Bennett being elected Mayor of Kogarah should Dragons win NRL – 5/1
2. Penrith Panthers – The flashy new mountain men have been the surprise packets of 2010. They’ve improved out of sight defensively and can hurt you with the ball from anywhere. If key men such as Pritchard, Jennings and Coote remain fit – look out.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Dane Laurie getting a run anytime soon? Slim to none.
3. Titans: They’ve managed to win several games despite misfiring. This is a good sign for the finals, it’s winning the ugly games that prove the most. While recent form isn’t ideal – this mob will feature at the business end. Don’t count them out.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Scott Prince getting any extensions to his home anytime soon? Slim to none.
4. Manly Sea Eagles: Have overachieved thus far, but have a feeling there are some cracks in this side. Halves are playing out of their skin, but the likes of Kite and the Eagles bench lack punch. Need some luck with injuries and bounce of ball in next few weeks.
Grubbers Comment: Odds Steve Matai will get a third-party sponsorship deal with medical company ‘Band-Aid’ very soon? 3/1
5. Roosters – Sneak in at 5th spot, they’ve had ups and downs in 2010 – but with Mitchell Pearce fit, they are a different side. Expect to see Carney explode back into form, this side remain a darkhorse without doubt.
Grubbers Comment: Chances Jason Ryles will be eligible for a forwards pension at the end of 2010? Strong to certain.
6. Rabbitohs – On recent performances over the Panthers and Tigers, they Bunnies have finally aimed up and shown what they can do. Forget the hype, their forwards are the best in the NRL when they all fire. If Lang can work out what makes them tick, they’ll be unstoppable.
Grubbers Comment: Odds Jason Taylor will throw a re-union party for Souths players at the pub prior to this years finals? 50/1
7. Wests Tigers – Their performance against the Warriors was the most impressive attacking display of any side this year. Guilty of too much touch football, but if they get a strong run at the back end of the season – will be tough to stop. The team no one likes to play.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Tim Sheens developing a split-personality to deal with his teams ups and downs? 15/1
8. Eels – Last years Grand Finalists are lucky to scrape into the Top 8 in the NRL News Power Rankings. Have sorely missed players from last season in Kingston, Lowrie and Galuvao. Restructure of halves and hooker helped briefly, but need to find their spark once more. Jury still out.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of the Eels running a ‘We Miss Denis Fitzgerald’ campaign anytime soon? 150/1
9. NZ Warriors – With Price having a horror run with injury and a host of kids in this side, few predicted their position thus far. In fact, many had bets on Ivan Cleary’s head being on the chopping block. Have overachieved and are starting to believe – boast a graveyard of sorts in Auckland, if they sneak into the Top 8 could topple some big names.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of Stacey Jones coming out of retirement if NZ make the finals? 75/1
10. Broncos – Flashed back into contention after a horror start to the season. Locky is in rare form and fighting fit, and is obviously the key to their chances. The Israel saga could derail them a little, but honest forwards and quality young backs will ensure they’re in the hunt.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of Darren Lockyer scoring an Advanced Hair deal and becoming the face of ‘Yeah, Yeah!’ ? 35/1
11. Bulldogs – Are well below par at the moment, but there is life left in this side. Any team with Ryan, Kimmorley, Ennis, Idrs and Morris can hurt you. Need a few things to go their way and they’ll get back on track. Should still make the finals.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Ben Hannant getting a farewell party when he leaves for Brisbane? 80/1
12. Knights – Have their fair share of problems, too much pressure falling on Gidley and speedster Vuna opting out to play Union. With a rookie coach and a rebuilding phase underway, they haven’t shown enough weekly improvement to warrant a pass mark. Put the glasses down for 2010.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of McDougall and Simpson playing into their 40’s? 40/1
13. Raiders – I’ll cop stick from Canberra fans over their position, but they just aren’t aiming up. Need more from Monaghan this year, however Adam Mogg could spark the Green Machine. Have the talent to do so much damage, just need to make it happen.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of the Raiders ever making the finals again? 35/1
14. Cowboys – Have been struggling for a long time now, Thurston is frustrated in this side and his impact when playing for Queensland is much more evident. Badly in need of a clean-out, even JT could do with a change of scenery. Tough gig for Neil Henry.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of Neil Henry organising a ‘swear jar’ for JT and his players? 5/1
15. Sharks – Ahhh, the mob from the Shire. Such a tight knit community – if only they bothered to turn up and support their local side. However, not much to support given the quality of this outfit. Even when they manage a win, their style is extremely painful and tough to watch.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of Ricky Stuart and club boss Damian Irvine arranging a charity boxing match to sort their differences? 20/1
16. Melbourne Storm – Came out firing after the bad news, but look to have lost a little bit of interest. Bellamy is rightly resting key players when they aren’t right – must mentally switch off for the rest of the year and come back even stronger in 2011.
Grubbers Comment: Odds the Storm packing up and moving the whole side into the AFL comp next year? 18/1