Round 14 of the 2020 NRL season unearthed a new favourite for the premiership as questions start to get asked about the back-to-back defending champions.
Here’s how Round 14 looked for punters:
Super Storm Beat Roosters
We can go around in circles over which team has more injuries and how hard done by some clubs are compared with others, but any time you can beat the Sydney Roosters without your two best players, you deserve credit.
Craig Bellamy put on a clinic as he prepared his Melbourne Storm side perfectly to do battle with the Roosters. Yes, the Roosters carried a few injuries themselves. They lost Luke Keary for the game, too. However, the Storm looked a cut above regardless of who sat on the sidelines.
Craig Bellamy is a genius.
No Cameron Smith or Cameron Munster and the Storm still looked like a premiership contending team in that first 40 minutes.
I don’t think any other coach could get this much out of Jahrome Hughes.#NRLRoostersStorm
— Jason Oliver (@JasonNRL) August 13, 2020
The Storm haven’t received a lot of attention throughout the 2020 NRL season. Perhaps it’s because we all expect them to be there at the pointy end? Whatever the reason, they’re now $3.75 favourites to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy.
Don’t Count The Roosters Out
In fitting social media fashion, the 24-6 loss was enough for some to call an end to any hope of the Roosters winning three in a row.
That call is far too premature…
Daniel Tupou and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are two of the most under-appreciated players in the NRL. The Roosters have missed their yardage through the middle in hard sets. Trent Robinson is also missing his two first-choice back rowers. While the likes of Keary, Tupou and James Tedesco earn the plaudits for Sydney’s attack when it’s firing, the impact of Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton is becoming clearer in every game they miss.
I wouldn’t been tipping an end to the Roosters just yet.
Radley is a key player they won’t get back this season, but Cordner & Crichton are two key pieces to the shape of their attack which dominated not long ago.
They’ll look a different side on their return if Keary is there.
— Jason Oliver (@JasonNRL) August 13, 2020
The Roosters still have the best list in the NRL when healthy. They’re about to welcome Sonny Bill Williams into the side shortly too. This is far from the end of the Roosters. In fact, it’s an opportunity. It’s not often we see a team of this quality way out at $4.25 to win the premiership.
Wooden Spoon Race
It looks to be a two-team race for the 2020 Wooden Spoon.
Currently 16th on the NRL ladder, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are slight favourites at $2.50. The Brisbane Broncos are on the second line of betting at $2.70. However, while the Bulldogs only have two wins, they look a better side than the three-win Broncos. You can see the fight in the Bulldogs and how close they are to competition points. The Broncos, on the other hand, are one of the worst teams in NRL history right now.
Can the Dogs find the win or two they need to avoid the spoon?
Bulldogs: Warriors, Raiders, Titans, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Panthers
Broncos: Dragons, Roosters, Panthers, Titans, Eels, Cowboys
Game Saver Moment of the Round
Des Hasler went oh so close to pulling off one of those Hasler games.
A Lachlan Croker try and Reuben Garrick conversion put the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24-20 in front of the Newcastle Knights with 24 minutes to play on Sunday. They’d cruised out to an early lead, blown it, and recovered to get themselves back ahead. However, the injuries eventually caught up with Manly. They couldn’t close the deal as Enari Tuala stretched out to score the match-winner with eight minutes left on the clock.
NRL Against The Spread Ladder
The New Zealand Warriors have covered four games in a row to draw even for the season and 7-5 since the start of Round 3. We can start to trust this group given what we’ve seen from them over the last month. The Broncos, on the other hand, continue to be a team to avoid. “They’re due” and “they’ll surely turn it around soon” aren’t reasons to invest in this rabble.
After Round 14
|Top 8||Bottom 8|
|Storm (10-4)||Bulldogs (7-7)|
|Sharks (10-4)||Rabbitohs (6-7-1)|
|Knights (8-5-1)||Roosters (6-8)|
|Panthers (8-6)||Titans (6-8)|
|Raiders (7-6-1)||Sea Eagles (6-8)|
|Eels (7-7)||Cowboys (6-8)|
|Dragons (7-7)||Tigers (5-8-1)|
|Warriors (7-7)||Broncos (4-10)|