10 rounds in the books and many are wondering: can your club still make the finals? Have they all but locked up a spot or is it time to start playing the kids and looking ahead to next year? Scoop has delved into the numbers from the last decade to predict the final ladder position of each club for season 2019 and who has the best shot at bringing home the premiership.
Wins to qualify for the finals 2009 – 2018
Firstly, we need to take a look at how many wins have been required to make the finals over the past 10 years.
|Year||Lowest number of wins to qualify for Finals||Wins to finish Top 4|
12 wins is the typical cut off for Finals and 15 wins will get you in the mix for the top 4. Finishing Top 4 has a tremendous correlation with Premiership aspirations, as we delve into later in the article.
Expected ladder (based on the first 10 rounds)
Extrapolating out each teams win / loss to a full season shows the following Final Ladder.
The Eels and Sharks would be fighting it out for the last Finals spot in this model, with the Eels winning out with this method. The Bunnies, Storm and Tri-Colours finish the year well clear of the chasing pack.
However there are still 15 Rounds to play with different opponents and home / away matchups than in the first 10 Rounds. Thus, a measurement (SoS) needs to be created to predict a more accurate Final Ladder, starting with the Home Ground Advantage
The Home Ground advantage
Season 2019 has seen the home team pick up the win in 66.66% percent of games (48 wins 32 losses). Taking out Magic Round where was there was no home ground advantage for any of the “Home” teams the rate is 67.44%, a clear advantage for the home side. With playing at home such a heavy factors in a teams chance of victory, it may also have been a factor in slow starts for some teams such as the Dragons, Bulldogs & Eels, who have played two more games on the road than at home. This is heavily weighted in the projection model (SoS) below.
Interesting Fact: the Broncos were the away team against Manly in Magic Round. While the Titans, Wests, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs, Warriors, Storm Roosters and Bunnies essentially gave away a home game, the Broncos have scored an incredibly unfair advantage by having this game as an away game, a game Brisbane won no less. Someone from the NRL is going to have to call me to explain that one!
Strength of Schedule (SoS)
Based on the 10 rounds so far we can rank the strength of schedule (SoS) each club faces for the remainder of the season by home & away games and opponent strength score. The lower the score, the easier the draw.
Projected Final Ladder (based on SoS)
Based on the Strength of Schedule of the remaining 15 rounds, in addition to current Wins & Losses and Home matches vs Away matches, the following table projects where each club will finish the regular season and who will make the Finals. Extrapolated for/against is used to separate sides with equal points.
|Club||Wins||Losses||Points||Rank Change from Expected Ladder|
|2.||Roosters||20||4||42||Up one spot|
|3.||Storm||19||5||42||Down one spot|
|4.||Sea Eagles||15||9||32||Up one spot|
|5.||Raiders||13||11||28||Down one spot|
|6.||Parramatta||13||11||28||Up two spots|
|7.||Knights||12||12||26||Down one spot|
|8.||Sharks||12||12||26||Up one spot|
|9.||Wests Tigers||10||14||22||Down two spots|
|10.||Broncos||9||15||20||Up one spot|
|11.||Warriors||9||15||20||Down one Spot|
|13.||Bulldogs||8||16||18||Up one spot|
|14.||Cowboys||8||16||18||Down one spot|
Using the SoS projections the Bunnies remain on top, with the big movers being the Eels (up 2 spots to 6th) and the Tigers (down two spots and crashing out of the Finals race). Many smaller changes in the standings, which we will again review later in the year. With our ladder now finalised we can predict the Grand Finalists and Premiers for 2019.
Projected Grand Finalists
Since 2009 the Premiers have not finished the season lower than 4th at the end of the Home and Away season. The Premiers have come from 1st 3 times, 2nd 3 times, 3rd 3 times and 4th once.
|Year||Premiers||Final Ladder Position|
|2015||North Queensland Cowboys||3rd|
|2014||South Sydney Rabbitohs||3rd|
|2011||Manly Sea Eagles||2nd|
|2010||St. George Illawarra Dragons||1st|
|2009||Melbourne Storm (Stripped)||4th|
The Average Premiership winning Ladder position is 2nd and the Average Runner up comes from 5th. Using the SoS predicted ladder the 2019 Grand Final will be:
Roosters vs Raiders
With your 2019 Premiers being: The Sydney Roosters.
Share your thoughts in the comments and we will check back on these predictions at the 2/3 mark of the season and again at the end with a Grand Review. Thanks as always for reading.
Trust in the Data!