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The players love them… mostly the fans dislike them: I’m talking about the ‘bye’ weeks that dot the NRL calendar.

But although the players enjoy a bit of respite mid-season, does coming off a rest help or hinder your team? How does your club fare after a break? Are they refreshed and ready to rumble? Or are they lax, off the pace… and ripe for the picking?

In the demanding NRL environment each clubs’ two byes are pretty much treated as ‘godsends’. They give the players a small break to recharge the batteries and allow those clubs with representative stars a bit of relief, so they don’t get short-changed too much – although it’s unavoidable that some, more than others, still do.

Some players get time off and go home to visit family, or take their families away somewhere. Others are forced to play reserve grade or under-20s and get no break at all.

Coaches have to decide how to best treat the situation – in most cases the form of their team dictates what the players get in the way of a break.

However, looking at the past 10 seasons (including this one) it is clear some clubs have most certainly coped better during the bye rounds than others.

This week I’ve broken down the performances of each club, from best to worse, since 2003. Generally teams have had to play 17 or 18 games after byes over this period. Some clubs haven’t had a bye yet this year (until this week); others haven’t played after a bye like the Roosters and Panthers, who had the bye last week. (Check below to see if they are specials this week!)

Note: a week off in the finals is not included in these stats. This analysis comprises byes alone.


14-4 record for 78 per cent win ratio

It’s probably not a surprise to see the Storm at the top of this list considering how they’ve dominated the league for such a long time. Regardless of their past salary cap issues the Storm players have been great after the bye, losing just four times off the break in 10 seasons. And they have only lost twice off the bye since 2005. In five of the past 10 seasons they have won after all byes – and they have a chance to make it six should they win off their second bye in Round 17.


12-5 record for 71 per cent win ratio

Manly ‘bank’ their first bye this week; their fans should be pretty confident they’ll play well next round given they’ve lost just five games off the bye since 2003. It’s actually even better than it sounds because they have lost just once off the bye since 2006 and are 10-1 over their past 11 games in this scenario. So those Sea Eagles fans ‘bummed’ they’re not playing this week should take solace in the fact they’ll be pumped for Round 15… shame they’re playing Melbourne! The kings of the byes against each other!


12-5 record for 71 per cent win ratio

Perhaps it’s time to put your money on the Panthers for this weekend’s match against the Warriors: Penrith sit in equal second spot on the after-bye win ratio. (Not that it affects them this week but you’ll have to scroll down a ways to get to the boys from New Zealand.) The Panthers have won five of their past six games off the bye and seem to have a knack of playing well when rested.


12-6 record for 67 per cent win ratio

The Broncos have a solid record over the past 10 years; however, the majority of the good stuff came early in the last decade. They have faltered in recent years, winning just four of their past nine off the bye, including a loss earlier this season. However, they have achieved five perfect seasons in the past 10 – and even if three of those were the first three years, it’s still impressive.


11-7 record for 61 per cent win ratio

Tim Sheens’ men have won off the bye already this year to add to an impressive mark. It was timely because prior to it they had lost three of the past four off the break. Five seasons in the past 10 the Tigers have split their matches win/loss after byes, so perhaps after their next break don’t put too much cash on them.


10-7 record for 59 per cent win ratio

Not far off the Tigers’ mark – and the Dragons can join them if they manage a win in Round 15. The Red V have been the hottest team in the NRL off byes in recent times, having won their past seven straight after a bye. With this in mind Bulldogs fans should show some concern for Round 15.


9-8 record for 53 per cent win ratio

The Roosters could drop to just 50 per cent if they fall to the Broncos this week and if you look at recent history off the bye, this could be likely. The tricolours have just two wins off the bye in their past eight.


9-8 record for 53 per cent win ratio

A win off the bye earlier this year gave the Rabbitohs a positive ratio, adding to their recent good run. It pushed them to four of the past five in the win column – a far cry from the four in a row they lost between 2006 and 2008.


9-9 record for 50 per cent win ratio

The Eels are the opposite of the Rabbitohs. They were a good side off the bye not so long ago but have now lost four in a row coming off the break, including this season. They have just three wins from 10 attempts since 2007 when rested.


5-5 record for 50 per cent win ratio

The fledgling club has managed to be just as good as bad since joining the league. Early on they were great off the bye, winning four of their first five. But it’s fallen away of late. Winning this season off the break snapped a four-match losing streak off the bye.


7-10 record for 41 per cent win ratio

We’ve already mentioned Bulldogs fans should be concerned about Round 15 as the Dragons have won seven in a row off the bye… well how about you add this fact: the Bulldogs have lost eight of the past nine after having time off, including the past four in a row. They have this week off. (That said, perhaps there’s hope for them given their new coach Des Hasler had more than a bit to do with the Sea Eagles’ impressive record after byes…)


6-11 record for 35 per cent win ratio

It hasn’t been a barrel of fun for the Cowboys off the break. They have won the past two in a row off the bye but it still represents just three of the past eight. Perhaps next week will be a chance to see if they have indeed found a way to get the job done after time off – which is a real possibility given they play Brisbane, and the Broncos tend to rest Origin players after interstate duties.


6-11 record for 35 per cent win ratio

Another team that struggle off the bye – although they have won three of the past five after a break. If they lose after their second bye this year they will have had five seasons in the past 10 without winning a single game off the bye.


6-12 record for 33 per cent win ratio

Sorry Knights fans! I know you’re hurting already this season but this is not a good stat for you. The Knights have not won both games off their byes over the past 10 years – and won’t this year either after losing to the Titans in Round 12 off their first bye in Round 11. Whatever they are doing during their time off, they need to change it.


6-12 record for 33 per cent win ratio

The Raiders have won just two of their past nine games off the bye – just not good enough. They did win after their lone bye in 2007 but have not won twice in a year off the bye at all in the past 10 seasons.


5-13 record for 28 per cent win ratio

And the worst record over the past 10 seasons off the bye goes to the Sharks, with just five wins from 18 attempts. They did win twice off the bye in 2011, but lost off the break this year to snap their revival. If they lose off the second bye this season it will be ‘duck eggs’ in six of the past 10 seasons.

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