Now what was the point of all that.
Remember at the end of Round 2 the NRL had to suspend the comp and ultimately re-do the draw to make it 20 rounds.
So the people who sat down to make the draw would have sid something along the lines:"Well each team has to play each other once. That is 15 rounds taken care of. That is the easy part".
"We now have to decide which teams play which teams twice. Each team needs to play 5 sides twice".
At this point you would think any fair minded person would say something like:"OK let's use last year's standings as a mathematical reference point and make sure it is fair to all teams"
But that is not what happened.Melbourne
, out of their 5, were given 4 teams that finished in the top 8 last year. And not just that.
They won the minor premiership in 2019 and their 5 they had to play twice finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 11th.
Two things are astonishing. The fact they are coming 2nd, and the fact that Bellyache hasn't screamed Blue Murder.Souths
were given 3 teams who finished in the top 8 last year including 1st, 2nd and 8th - also 9th and 12th. Easts
were given 4 teams in the top 8 from last year to play twice - 1st, 3rd, 4th and 8th as well as 15th placed Dragons.
Melbourne got a score of 8.05 and Souths and Easts both go 8.25Newcastle
were fairly drawn and got 8.4
At the other end of the spectrum......
When they decided the 5 teams Canberra
would play twice, they incredibly decided on the teams that finished 1st, 2nd - and 13th, 15th and 16th.Parramatta
were given two teams who finished in the 8 last year, those who ran 6th and 8th!! The other 3 teams finished 9th, 10th and 12th.Penrith
were gifted only two teams who finished in the 8 last year - 5th and 7th!! The other teams they played twice finished 9th, 13th and 14th.
So what does this mean?
i) It is no surprise that Parramatta are starting to look shaky.
ii) There is a good argument that Souths should be in the four at the expense of Canberra (pressing for 4th) and Parramatta. If they had been given a fairer draw I reckon that they would have been.
iii) It is amazing that Easts are in the top 4, and even more amazing that Melbourne are 2nd.
iv) Penrith have had a soft draw and maybe, just maybe, their run of wins is exaggerated by the easy games they have received.
As we get to the pointy end of the season I'll be interested to see if those sides that have prevailed on the back of an unfair draw - Melbourne, Easts and Souths, aren't the real
form teams in the comp.
Oh and St George
They had the second toughest draw behind Melbourne. Saints supporters can probably feel ripped off that they are not contesting the finals. After all that it wasn't Mary's fault after all.