NRL 2 years ago

NRL Report Card: Grade, What's Working & What's Not

  • NRL Report Card: Grade, What's Working & What's Not

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 06: Michael Ennis, Wade Graham, Jack Bird, Andrew Fifita and Chad Townsend of the Sharks celebrate victory during the round 13 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium on June 6, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)



Ladder: 1st (22 points)

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What's working: Off momentum from their big forwards they've dominated possession in all but three matches and their scintillating backs do the rest.

What's not: Despite top spot, Cronulla have made the third-most errors.

Key: James Maloney has taken teams to four finals series and three minor premierships but won just one title. That needs to change for the Sharks to break their 50-year title duck.


Ladder: 2nd (22pts)

What's working: Defence. Craig Bellamy's men have conceded the fewest points and are yet to let in 20-plus in a game.

What's not: Not much. Big wins over the Warriors and Titans highlight what Melbourne's attack can do when it clicks. They just need to find that balance consistently.

Key: With Billy Slater gone for 2016, keeping Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk fit.


Ladder: 3rd (18pts)

What's working: The premiers are turning Townsville into a graveyard for visitors, winning all seven at home.

What's not: Very little. Four losses on the road is some concern but the margins were just 4, 1, 1 and 4.

Key: Keeping momentum despite Origin commitments for key men Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and James Tamou.


Ladder: 4th (16pts)

What's working: Followed their golden-point grand final loss with a solid start as Anthony Milford, Darius Boyd and Josh McGuire shone in a well-balanced team.

What's not: A mid-season slump around Origin and star recruit James Roberts has yet to really fire.

Key: Surviving Origin still in the top-four mix will leave coach Wayne Bennett confident they can erase 2015's heartbreak.


Ladder: 5th* (16pts)

What's working: Corey Norman is in career-best form, while teams still can't figure out how to stop Semi Radradra.

What's not: The salary cap scandal led to mid-season exits of Nathan Peats and Junior Paulo, while Kieran Foran (shoulder) is gone for the season.

Key: To keep fighting in a season that's all but over for them.

* Facing breach notice that includes losing 12 competition points.


Ladder: 6th (15pts)

What's working: The Raiders have the second-best attacking record. Josh Hodgson and Jordan Rapana have been immense.

What's not: The best teams close out matches, but Canberra missed chances to put away Newcastle before collapsing against the Titans and Dragons.

Key: Have one of the best runs home and, if Junior Paulo reaches his destructive best, they could be top-four bolters.


Ladder: 7th (14pts)

What's working: Their monster forward pack creates momentum and makes metres without errors.

What's not: Despite dominance in the middle and danger out wide, Des Hasler's men have made the second-least tackle breaks this season.

Key: Consistency. The Dogs have only twice posted back-to-back wins.


Ladder: 8th (14pts)

What's working: Young playmaker Ashley Taylor has been a revelation easing concerns in the halves.

What's not: They have the worst defensive record in the eight.

Key: How quickly Konrad Hurrell and Nathan Peats settle in.


Ladder: 9th (14pts)

What's working: One of only three teams undefeated at home, thanks largely to defence.

What's not: Scoring at a league-low 12 points a game, leaves questions on whether their spine can engineer a working attack.

Key: Finding ways to score more points.


Ladder: 10th (12pts)

What's working: One of the elite attacking teams, with only Brisbane holding a better strike rate inside opposition red zones.

What's not: Haven't dominated the middle and run over teams like before, while they've often turned over ball.

Key: Finding the best way to utilise a re-shuffled spine with Greg Inglis at No.6, Cody Walker at fullback and Luke Keary on the bench.


Ladder: 11th (12pts)

What's working: Penrith were renowned for staying in the fight, but a poor past fortnight has cast doubt.

What's not: Have missed the second most tackles, while the decline of James Segeyaro is a concern.

Key: Finding a healthy halves combination that can fire when it matters.


Ladder: 12th (12pts)

What's working: When they get it right, they're unstoppable. Shaun Johnson is showing signs of his best form again.

What's not: Big-name recruits Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (injured) and Issac Luke (form) haven't delivered and doubts remain over coach Andrew McFadden's control.

Key: As always, consistency.


Ladder: 13th (10pts)

What's working: The emergence of Tom Trbojevic (six try assists, eight line breaks) and brother Jake (36 tackles per game) gives hope for the future.

What's not: Injuries and the failed Dylan Walker playmaker experiment has club on track for their worst attacking record since 1992.

Key: It's a long road to recovery, but it starts with how Apisai Koroisau performs as fill-in halfback.


Ladder: 14th (10pts)

What's working: Star fullback James Tedesco is almost single-handedly keeping them in games.

What's not: Coach Jason Taylor's decision to "rest" ex-skipper Robbie Farah only fuels the long-running saga dragging on the club.

Key: Young halves Mitch Moses and Luke Brooks finally fulfilling their potential now they've secured their futures for 2017.


Ladder: 15th (8pts)

What's working: Jake Friend's performances have been gallant in a team that missed Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea Hargreaves and Boyd Cordner over the first third of season.

What's not: Even the best will struggle when the departure of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney and Michael Jennings is coupled with key injuries and suspensions.

Key: There's still some slight hope but they'll need to stay injury-free.


Ladder: 16th (3pts)

What's working: With an extremely inexperienced squad, not much was expected this season.

What's not: The presence of former Origin player in the reserves isn't a ringing endorsement for Akuila Uate.

Key: More displays like their draw with Canberra and the narrow loss to Melbourne, less like the hidings by Brisbane and Cronulla.

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