Mid season Report Card - From Fox Sports

joe_s_magpies

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Foxsports.com.au gives the 16 NRL clubs their mid-season report card
By Christopher Boyd, Christopher Sutton and Sean Miller
June 09, 2010 After 13 fast, enthralling - and often dramatic - rounds of the NRL premiership, the time has come for foxsports.com.au to issue your club with their Mid-season report card.

St George Illawarra
Currently: First (10-3)
What's gone right: Founded on an impregnable defence, the Dragons have been the NRL's benchmark team, dropping just three games through a gruelling 13-game stretch.
What's gone wrong: Questions still remain over whether the Dragons have the flair to go deep into the finals. They do, in fact, rank mid-table in line breaks – but you'd be a hard marker to criticise them at this stage.
Star performer: Captain and halfback Ben Hornby has been exemplary in kicking to space, chasing hard and rarely making a wrong decision. His rep retirement may have even been premature.
Needs a lift: While he is having a solid year, Dragons fans are still waiting for Jamie Soward to hit top gear. When he does, look out opposition defenders - the Dragons will be near untouchable.
The future: After bombing out of last year's finals, the Dragons this time know what is required. Withthe luxury of being only a few wins away from guaranteeing their ticket to September, they can start to experiment a bit.
Predicted finish: First

Penrith
Currently: Second (8-4)
What's gone right: The Penrith juniors farm is in full effect; this season has given Lachlan Coote and big man Tim Grant the chance to establish themselves as vital cogs in the Panthers machine.
What's gone wrong: It may seem strange for a team leading the league in points scored, but the Panthers have struggled to create attacking opportunities when putting the ball through the hands. Penrith rank last in line breaks, second-last in tackle busts and 12th in offloads.
Star performer: With 24 try assists to his name, there is no question - the key to the Panthers attack goes through Luke Walsh. With a kicking game second only to Jamie Soward in terms of metres, Walsh gives the Panthers a cool-headed decision maker.
Needs a lift: Through no fault of his, Petero Civoniceva is the only link missing in this complete Penrith outfit. Once the Panthers captain returns from injury he will provide the mental and physical leadership needed for finals football.
The future: Not unlike their run to the 2003 title, the Panthers are poised for a come-from-the-clouds challenge to the minor premiership and, with St George Illawarra's well-documented September wobbles, will consider themselves a chance to go all the way.
Predicted finish: Second

South Sydney
Currently: Third (7-5)
What's gone right: Picking up from where they left off in 2009, the Rabbitohs are still the league's most potent attacking force. They average five tries a match and more metres per game than any other NRL team.
What's gone wrong: While their forward pack is now living up to the pre-season hype, one disappointment has been the failure of recent signings Ben Ross and Michael Crocker to recover from their respective injuries.
Star performer: While players like Sam Burgess and Isaac Luke have lived up to their early-season raps, it is centre Beau Champion that has stolen the spotlight in 2010\. The league's equal-top try scorer after 13 rounds, Champion has added his first representative guernsey to a break-out season.
Needs a lift: Michael Crocker has only played 52 minutes off the bench so far in 2010, but with another return from injury imminent, the former Queensland and Australia hard man will need to lift if he is to find a spot in a firing Bunnies forward pack.
The future: South Sydney have set themselves up for a top-four finish and a genuine premiership tilt. But first they must face a tricky triumvirate of Brisbane Broncos, Manly and Melbourne Storm to kick off their second half of the season.
Predicted finish: Third

Manly
Currently: Fourth (7-5)
What's gone right: The gamble of starting with two young halves, Trent Hodkinson and Kieran Foran, has paid dividends, allowing Manly to make a seamless transition from the Matt Orford era.
What's gone wrong: Manly haven't lost a first half this season, but have been guilty of several second-half fade-outs. A mounting injury list is also a huge concern.
Star performer: Young halfback Trent Hodkinson has provided the Sea Eagles with the guile they were desperately hoping for, fearlessly steering his older teammates around the park in his rookie season.
Needs a lift: Brent Kite. The 2008 Clive Churchill medallist has been relegated to the bench by Des Hasler, a sign that the former Kangaroos prop isn't quite offering what his reputation suggests he should.
The future: If Manly can improve on playing for the full 80 minutes as they wait for their stars to return, they'll be serious contenders come finals time.
Predicted finish: Seventh

**Wests Tigers:
Currently: Fifth (7-5)
What's gone right: Wests Tigers have overcome a crippling injury list to sit in fifth position. This will give Tim Sheens's men enormous confidence, in knowing some of their key players are yet to return.
What's gone wrong: The loss of Tim Moltzen has had dramatic repercussions for the Tigers' backline. Wests won four of their first five matches before losing Moltzen for the season during round five, from which they lost their next four.
Star performer: Chris Heighington has been relentless in the back row. No Tigers forward has made more metres, tackle busts or tackles. He is the blood and guts of this Tigers side.
Needs a lift: Robbie Farah's stats are noticeably down, both in running the ball and try assists. The hooker went down in his NSW Origin fight with Michael Ennis without a whimper.
The future: A lot has been made of the Tigers' four-year finals drought. But whether they have the depth to end it remains to be seen.
Predicted finish: Ninth**
Gold Coast Titans
Currently: Sixth (7-5)
What's gone right: Gold Coast got off to a tremendous start - they sat second to St George Illawarra on points differential after round nine. Moving into the second half of the year they'll be buoyed by a decent away record this season (3-3).
What's gone wrong: Despite sitting in fifth position with seven wins, the Titans have only won two first halves of football this season. Cavalier, catch-up football won't take them deep into the finals.
Star performer: Preston Campbell has been outstanding in moving between fullback and the halves. The Titans livewire has consistently put his body on the line while proving an attacking spark in partnership with Scot Prince.
Needs a lift: Mat Rogers is an experienced head that the Titans would be wise to hang onto for another season. But first, the duel international must find some fitness and get on the scoreboard, otherwise his next omission from the team may be terminal.
The future: The Titans have the attack to repeat their top-four finish of last season but they must first fix their line defence, particularly early in matches. As defences tighten up, their comeback victories will become less frequent.
Predicted finish: Sixth

Brisbane Broncos
Currently: Seventh (6-6)
What's gone right: Brisbane have unveiled an exciting batch of rookies this season - when they really needed them most. This has given the club a stack of confidence just as critics had begun to write them off - always a bad idea.
What's gone wrong: Despite a strong last month of football, a 2-6 start to the season has placed Brisbane's finals aims in jeopardy. They would have wanted a slightly better start to the year, knowing their historical record come the Origin slog.
Star performer: Ben Teo has been a revelation moving between centre and the back row, running to the line with power and buckling opposition defenders backwards. He can count himself unlucky to have missed the Maroons side.
Needs a lift: Antonio Winterstein hasn't quite picked up where he left off. After a scintillating rookie season in which he scored 16 tries, the Broncos winger has crossed the line only once in nine starts.
The future: Four-straight wins have the Broncos running on strong. They can ill-afford key injuries in the Origin period, but if they can get through that, they look almost certain to be around in September once again.
Predicted finish: Fifth

Parramatta
Currently: Eighth (6-6)
What's gone right: The Eels certainly aren't struggling to create opportunities. With their average of 17 offloads per game - Feleti Mateo and Nathan Hindmarsh sharing 58 between them - Parramatta are the league leaders in second-phase play.
What's gone wrong: When things have gone bad for the Eels, they have done so in catastrophic fashion. Aside from being prone to inconsistency, two of Parramatta's six losses thus far have been to Cronulla.
Star performer: It may appear to be a quiet season compared to his 2009 opus, however Jarryd Hayne has been at the forefront of the Parramatta attack, leading the team in average metres, try assists, line break assists, tackle busts and kicking metres.
Needs a lift: Given all the money and hype surrounding the off-season purchase of Justin Poore, the big man hasn't scaled the heights as yet. Falling from Origin reckoning this year may be the wake-up call Poore needs if he is to lift his work-rate on both sides of the ball.
The future: Even if the start wasn't what they hoped for, things still look good for a Parramatta assault on the finals. The Eels are sitting prettier than they were this time last season, and their round-13 win over Melbourne Storm had 'turning point' written all over it.
Predicted finish: Fourth

Sydney Roosters
Currently: Ninth (6-6)
What's gone right: The risk of recruiting Todd Carney appears to have paid off with head coach Brian Smith also making great strides in his first season at the club.
What's gone wrong: Off-field dramas and the loss of boom halfback Mitchell Pearce, for a month to a shoulder injury, haven’t helped a club struggling for consistency.
Star performer: Carney has provided the necessary x-factor that wins football games, a trait non-existent at the Roosters since the playing retirement of Brad Fittler.
Needs a lift: Shaun Kenny-Dowall. A Kiwi international with huge potential, Kenny-Dowall is a constant liability in the Roosters’ defensive line. His poor reads have resulted in several tries for opposition teams, and that is something that must be addressed.
The future: If the Roosters can remain healthy and work on their consistency, they’ll be strong contenders for a finals spot in the bottom half of the eight.
Predicted finish: 10th

Canberra
Currently: 10th (5-6)
What's gone right: Young guns Jarrod Croker, Josh Dugan and Joel Thompson continue to go from strength to strength. Time is on the Raiders’ side and these rookies are only going to get better.
What's gone wrong: Two from five at Canberra Stadium is not good enough for a team with such a daunting home ground advantage. Consistency is also an issue, with the Raiders struggling to keep it together for 80 minutes.
Star performer: Fullback Dugan is an NRL superstar in waiting, providing the Raiders with that much-needed x-factor and already being thrown in Origin calculations.
Needs a lift: Terry Campese has been good, but he needs to be great. The one-time New South Wales five-eighth must find that extra motivation if the Raiders are to make the finals.
The future: Canberra have the size and skill to be a top-six team. Belief between the players is the key at this stage.
Predicted finish: Eighth

Warriors
Currently: 11th (5-7)
What's gone right: The Warriors have already announced the signing of Parramatta duo Feleti Mateo and Krisnan Inu for 2011, while injury has seen the forced blooding of youngsters ahead of their time. This must give the club confidence going forward.
What's gone wrong: The Warriors have been left to lament an ever-present casualty list in 2010\. With Manu Vatuvei, Simon Mannering, Brett Seymour, Sam Rapira and Steve Price all spending extended time on the sideline, the Warriors have now lost Brent Tate with a broken jaw.
Star performer: In just 11 games, newcomer James Maloney has entrenched himself as the playmaker the Warriors have been craving since Stacey Jones version 1.0\. With attacking insight and a strong kicking game, the Warriors may have finally found a new offensive general.
Needs a lift: An international backrower, Ben Matulino is failing to crack it for a starting spot in a Warriors forward pack ravaged with injury. Despite his youth, the 21-year old is now in his third season of NRL and needs to step up his workload and leadership.
The future: The Warriors will need to be almost perfect over the final 13 rounds if they are to play through September.
Predicted finish: 12th

Newcastle Knights
Currently: 12th (4-8)
What has gone right: Newcastle have an exciting backline and, up until a few weeks ago, were frequently putting points 30 points on opposition teams. However, Rick Stone must swiftly make up his mind on where to play Kurt Gidley.
What's gone wrong: The Knights rank last in run metres, meaning they are frequently trying to overcome poor field position. After 13 rounds they seem no closer to settling on a No.7 to play outside Jarrod Mullen.
Star performer: Akuila Uate continues to be a revelation on the Knights’ wing, notching 13 tries in 12 starts. His blinding pace and athletic ability have even seen him mentioned in Origin circles. A player to watch.
Needs a lift: In his sixth season in first grade, Newcastle need more from Jarrod Mullen. With his long kicking game and strong ball running, he must improve his decisions with his side in possession.
The future: Newcastle coach Rick Stone seems a bit unsure about some of his key positions, and that is exactly how the Knights are playing. A top-eight finish seems unlikely.
Predicted finish: 14th

Cronulla
Currently: 13th (4-8)
What's gone right: Cronulla have pulled out some impressive defensive displays. Restricting Melbourne Storm, Parramatta and Newcastle Knights to 14, zero and six points respectively, were an indication of how stoic the Sharks’ defence can be.
What's gone wrong: Their round-13 shellacking of Sydney Roosters aside, the Sharks have been the league's most dismal attacking unit in 2010.
Star performer: No longer the captain, Paul Gallen has served as a fearless leader through another frustrating campaign. With pride in his jersey week in, week out, Gallen has run for more metres than any other player in the NRL.
Needs a lift: For a guy who has played a lot of minutes in 2010, Anthony Tupou doesn't have a lot to show for it. While his offloading numbers remain strong, it his running game that has gone missing as he continues to disappear from the representative radar.
The future: If the Sharks' points barrage against the Roosters was a sign of things to come and after rounding out the opening half of the season with rare back-to-back wins, the Sharks may yet have turned a corner heading into the home stretch.
Predicted finish: 13th

Canterbury-Bankstown
Currently: 14th (3-9)
What's gone right: Jamal Idris has been a sensation in his second NRL season. Idris's lethal mix of speed and power is causing plenty of havoc out wide.
What's gone wrong: Defence has always been Canterbury-Bankstown’s strength but, alarmingly, the Bulldogs have conceded 118 points in their last five matches.
Star performer: Ben Barba has finally been given a chance and he’s taken it with both hands. Barba is the x-factor the Bulldogs lacked, and he will only get better with the experience that comes with playing more minutes.
Needs a lift: Now that Ben Hannant’s playing future has been determined, it’s time for the Brisbane Broncos-bound representative star to prove to his teammates that he’s committed to the Bulldogs until the end of the season.
The future: Six points out of the eight, and on current form, it's hard to see the Bulldogs playing any part in the finals. But their roster is too good to not muster some sort of charge.
Predicted finish: 11th

North Queensland Cowboys:
Currently: 15th (3-9)
What's gone right: The Cowboys started the season promisingly, winning two of four, and had an encouraging Monday night away win against Sydney Roosters, despite missing Johnathan Thurston and Aaron Payne.
What's gone wrong: The Cowboys haven’t been able to keep their dynamite 1-7-9 combination of Thurston, Matthew Bowen and Payne on the park together, and their attack has suffered – ranking 14th in tries scored.
Star performer: Willie Tonga has been untouchable on the Cowboys' edges, almost picking himself for the Queensland team with 15 line breaks and eight tries in 12 games.
Needs a lift: Carl Webb has averaged just 37 minutes per game in an injury-plagued season,. As the Cowboys’ meanest enforcer, Webb needs to lift his minutes and his work-rate to shows his younger forwards how it’s done in the NRL.
The future: Unless the Cowboys can turns things around dramatically over the next month, they will more than likely be playing for pride again this season. Former Australian Schoolboys half Michael Morgan can be pivotal to a reverse of fortunes.
Predicted finish: 15th

Melbourne Storm
Currently: 16th (8-4)
What's gone right: With their competition points stripped, the Storm have played with a carefree, more flamboyant style that opposing teams have found hard to go with. It's also been a pleasure to watch.
What's gone wrong: Where do we start? The Storm are guaranteed the wooden spoon after one of the biggest scandals in rugby league history. Time will only tell whether there is any motivation left once the Origin period has ended.
Star performer: Labeled overweight at the start of the season, Greg Inglis has been more dominant than ever, both at club and representative level.
Needs a lift: The cracks began to appear in Cameron Smith during the Storm's round 13 loss to Parramatta. As captain, he must remain resolute and keep off-field dramas out of his emotions when on the pitch - particularly with referees.
The future: An early holiday

Source: foxsports.com.au

So they predicted the tigers to come 9th. Geez I hope not. I could not stand another 9th finish. Cmon Tigers Fire up.
 

innsaneink

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I can hear the cursing, teeth gnashing and temples throbbing of other forum members right this minute. :laughing:

Let it rip boys…..
 

Eye_Of_Wests_Tigers

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9th… 9th?? Tell me Laurie Daley had imput in it somehow, cause he really hates us.. they hate us !!! They really do!!

Chris Heighington has been relentless in the back row. No Tigers forward has made more metres, tackle busts or tackles. He is the blood and guts of this Tigers side. --> i would have said Ellis was the star performer but Heighno has been a revalation this season after a somewhat poor 2009\. Finding his 08 form :wink:

Canberra have the size and skill to be a top-six team. Belief between the players is the key at this stage--> YYou have got to be kidding? And we dont have a top six team feel? What do we need to do inorder to finally get some much deserved credability around the joint?

This has got joke joke joke written all over it... i hope farah and the boys read it and stick it on the walls at training as motivation to get into the finals this season!!!
 

tiger05

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Fair assessment considering we have had 4 seasons out of the finals. Farah has been poor no matter what posters on here think.

I get the feeling though that we can turn it around. Farah has been looking better. Benji needs to improve but I think he is going to get his early season form back. Add to that a pack of forwards that look better than they ever have and some big outside backs and maybe we can cause an upset.
 

underdog

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That should motivate the team more than losing to souths 50-10.

One big loss is one big loss.

But being told you aren't gonna make it to the pointy end of the season this far out when you are currently in good form, on top of being snubbed for origin duties? Those slaps in the face should be motivation enough to absolutely murder our opponents for the next 13 weeks.
 

alexaki

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What a load of hogwash!…predicted 9th finish...we are 5th with all our stars coming back...I'm sure my friend L.Daley who works for foxsports has had input into this article.
 

Mona_Lolesi

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I can't see the Panthers maintaining 2nd given they score 60% of their tries off kicks.
Souths have a very difficult next month coming.
And Parra have been way too inconsistent (30-0 against the dragons anyone?)

Regardless, I think the team to watch is Brisbane

I think we will definitely finish in the 8, hard to see is getting much higher than 4th though
 

Bismark

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Parra 4th?
Souths 3rd?
Canberra > Tigers?

Do we care what this clown thinks? I mean, last year, the "mid-season" report card would have written off both the Tigers and Eels, yet they were the 2 most exciting teams, with the Eels being grand finalist's. These don't mean much.

I don't understand, though, how when we won 2005, people assumed we'd just get crap again and not do anything, but the Eels do the same thing, have PROVEN that they are crap again, and still get tipped to do wonders. Doesn't anyone notice that if they don't offload, they don't look like a 1st grade side?
 

scarcev

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Kidding themselves.

We are in 5th, we get players coming back, good signing of Mackinnon who surely cant weaken us even if he doesnt strengthen our backline, Farah and Marshall both going ok but not great, a forward pack that is finally going forward, two of the best backrowers in the game and most importantly …... 6 home games at fields that are really home grounds. If we dont finish top 4 Ill be surprised but we will definately finish top 8.
 

innsaneink

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@Bismark said:
Parra 4th?
Souths 3rd?
Canberra Tigers?

**Do we care what this clown thinks?** I mean, last year, the "mid-season" report card would have written off both the Tigers and Eels, yet they were the 2 most exciting teams, with the Eels being grand finalist's. These don't mean much.

I don't understand, though, how when we won 2005, people assumed we'd just get crap again and not do anything, but the Eels do the same thing, have PROVEN that they are crap again, and still get tipped to do wonders. Doesn't anyone notice that if they don't offload, they don't look like a 1st grade side?

Lots do it seems.
I dunno why people get so worked up over one persons opinion.
Happens all the time tho, whenever theres a negative view
 

fergiefurr

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Howcan anyone be upset over this? We have been 7-5 the last 2 years and missed the semis. Yes we are looking good but we always look good at some stage during the year. Hopefully this year we can continue on…
 

Snake

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Panthers are the smokys for mine well balanced team top 4,Dragons are beatable…. it's wide open with Storm gone ,I reserve my judgement until we play some top sides that have some form but I think it's going to be tough to even make the 8 yes we have got guys coming back etc but I have no confidence in the side at the moment they just can't put teams away!.
 

TigersFan4Life

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@fergiefurr said:
Howcan anyone be upset over this? We have been 7-5 the last 2 years and missed the semis. Yes we are looking good but we always look good at some stage during the year. Hopefully this year we can continue on…

We were actually 4-8 at the midpoint of '09 and finished 8-4.

In '07 and '08 we were 7-5 and FINISHED 4-8.

So for the last three seasons we've put together three half-seasons that would have been good enough to see us in the finals IF we had duplicated them during the other half of the season.

We've done it again this year and it remains to be seen if we can finally see it through.

http://www.rleague.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; has all the scores.
 

NZTiger

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I'd be happy to see us 15-9\. what would that be? 34 points. A top 4 spot, maybe? Thanks to our 4-1 start, and recent run of form, the team has laid a foundation. Hopefully we can put an 09 finish together and prove the critics wrong. We fall away, and it's bye bye Sheens. The team has alot to play for!
 

supercoach

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We have the hardest draw in of any team, beat the raiders on sunday week and beat them well my confident levels will rise but really I see us finishing maybe 7th or 8th. Although anything is possible if farah amd marshall fire. A lot will depend on Sheens picking the very best available 17 each week
 

Geo

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@southerntiger said:
Fair assessment. We havent proven anything yet. Lets wait until we see how we fare against the Dragons.

Since they seem the benchmark…...then yes...

But there is a lot more footy to be played after that......

As for the assessment it's pretty spot on...

Confident this Wests Tigers squad will over achieve and finish top 4 in 2010...
 

ron_burgandy

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well weve only beaten 2 teams that currently sit in the top 8

teams weve beat have a combined record of 33-50 and the only team with a winning % is manly, IMO we are in a better position then we deserve to be
 
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