The NRL season is approaching two notable times in the season. The State of Origin period, where a select few teams will be depleted of their most irreplaceable players, and the halfway point of the year. But is there anything we can learn from statistics alone when it comes to determining who will make the finals this year?
Probably not. But it won't stop me from giving it a red hot go!
I have done a few comparisons between the last 10 seasons and the differences between table placings after Round 9 and at the end of the season.
This alone can give us a bit of an idea who may reach the finals already.
Some key points:
- Teams placed 15th and 16th after 9 Rounds have not made the finals in this time. So that would mean that Newcastle and Cronulla can start planning their Mad Monday celebrations.
- The team placed third after 9 Rounds is the only side to have played in all 10 of the last 10 finals series. So pen in the Titans for finals footy.
- Teams placed 1st and 2nd after 9 rounds have played in 9/10 finals series. Canterbury and Manly can be pencilled in.
- Teams placed 4th and 5th after 9 rounds have played in 8/10 finals series. That means the Roosters and the Rabbitohs can be pencilled in as well.
At this stage, you're thinking, this is all quite predictable. But this is where things get silly.
- Teams placed 6th and 13th after 9 rounds have played in 6/10 finals series. So Penrith and Dragons fans, hold onto your hats!
- To round out the top 8, the team placed 11th after 9 rounds has appeared in half the finals series of the last decade. So broncos fans, don't give up just yet!
It's been widely accepted that 12 wins will guarantee a side a shot at the finals, but twice in the last decade, teams have made the finals with 11 wins. With the ladder a bit topsy-turvey at the moment, there is potential for the mid-table to become quite congested come the pointy end of the season.
So based on percentages of the past decade anyway, we can say that the finalists for 2014 will be Canterbury, Manly, Gold Coast, Sydney Roosters, Souths, Penrith, Brisbane and St.George-Illawarra.
The favourites for the wooden spoon is a bit more tricky, given that there have been 16 teams for 7 of the last 10 years.
The team sitting last after 9 rounds has gone on to win 5 wooden spoons. Or if you are a Cronulla fan, the team sitting 15th after 9 rounds has won more spoons than any other side, with 4.
Can we determine who will win the premiership? Of course not, but let's have a crack anyway!
- Teams ranked 1st, 2nd and 4th after 9 rounds have won 2 premierships each.
- Teams ranked 3rd, 5th, 6th and 13th after 9 rounds have won 1 premiership each.
So of our statistically most probable top 8, Brisbane will not win the premiership
- The team ranked 1st after 9 rounds has played in 5 grand finals.
- The teams ranked 2nd, 4th and 5th after 9 rounds have played in 3 grand finals.
- 5th placed though has lost 2 deciders, 2nd and 4th have lost only one each.
So, it seems the Grand Final will be between Canterbury and one of either Manly or the Roosters.Like