Every so often you’ll hear a commentator or expert in the game talk about how teams lift to play the premiers. How it’s tough being the team with the trophy because everyone wants to come out and prove themselves against the best.
With this in mind I thought I’d do some analysis to see which sides in the NRL are potentially causing more physical damage on teams.
Forget about the result of the big clash against Manly, or the Dragons, or the Storm – what effect did the bruising encounter have on the revved up team’s next match?
And what about your team? How do teams fare the week after playing your club?
Do your boys leave their mark? Or is playing your side less taxing than others?
With byes scattered throughout the season each club’s totals are different – but leaving the midpoint of 2012 behind us, the team that continues to leave a few bumps and bruises is this season’s surprise packets, Cronulla.
The week after playing Cronulla, only three of nine teams have managed to win. (With a guy like Paul Gallen leading the way, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise.) After years of being also-rans, maybe clubs haven’t given the Sharks the respect they’ve deserved and while some have managed a result, some have also paid for it the following week.
The Roosters, who are languishing this year after seemingly finding all the bad luck in the competition, might be able to take solace from the fact opposition teams backing up after their games have just a 4-8 record. But it might just also lay more claims to the theory they are getting a raw deal on some decisions and are playing harder than their record suggests.
The Eels (4-7) and Titans (4-6) are also surprise teams at the top of this list. Why is it they struggle to play well themselves, when the week after they’ve been in a contest their opposition falters?
Of course, perhaps another cynical view would be to say teams haven’t needed to extend themselves fully against the Eels and Titans thus far and are therefore off the pace the following week.
Last year’s premiers from Manly have lived up to the theory floated at the top of the article. A week after playing the premiers teams have been just 40 per cent likely to win again. After lifting to play the Sea Eagles, the argument could be made that teams come away somewhat ‘gassed’ making it hard to repeat the process.
The Warriors, Wests Tigers, Raiders and Bulldogs? Less than half of the sides backing up after meeting them go on to register wins.
The biggest surprise in this experiment would be the results of teams the week after they play the table-topping Storm.
One would assume playing Melbourne would bring out your best – and perhaps it does – but there are no signs of let-downs for the teams who have faced them thus far. Despite only two teams beating the Storm all year the boys from Melbourne haven’t left scars… quite the contrary. Perhaps teams are keeping the pace of the encounter going for another week, because they’ve combined for a 9-3 record.
Teams have manufactured the same record the week after playing the Dragons. Despite their average season, are teams still lifting to play the Red V, or are the Dragons just not bruising a grape and leaving teams fresh?
Knights’ fans might claim as much about their team, as not only are they not winning, but they’re not stopping the opposition getting on a roll after their encounters. Eight out of 12 times the Knights’ opponents have won the following week.
The Cowboys and Broncos have also failed to make a real dent.
To see just how much effect your team has had on others, see the list below.
The Week After Playing Your Club
Sea Eagles: 4-6
Wests Tigers: 5-6