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Mid-season NRL report card

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/06/2017 Scott Bailey

YOUR NRL CLUB'S MID-SEASON REPORT CARD:

MELBOURNE (1st - 22pts): A+

Lead the competition at the halfway mark for first time since they last won the title in 2012.

GOOD: Defence - conceding the second-least points and least linebreaks.

BAD: Their discipline as they average the most penalties per game.

PREDICTION: Billy Slater is only getting better at the back. They'll be there again.

CRONULLA (2nd - 20pts): A-

Not playing as well as 2016 premiership season, but have winning habit.

GOOD: Have won four games by four points or less, and their last five when trailing at half-time.

BAD: Completing sets at just 70 per cent - the lowest in the league. Must improve before finals.

PREDICTION: As well placed to defend their crown as any team in 25 years.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA (3rd - 18pts): A

Surprised everyone to be entrenched in the top four since the opening round.

GOOD: Best forward pack in NRL, helping them lead in metres, tackle busts, offloads, linebreaks and tries.

BAD: Lack of finals experience and haven't won a playoff match since 2010 title season.

PREDICTION: Have a good run home and should push to keep top-four spot.

SYDNEY ROOSTERS (4th - 18pts): A-

Living up to the pre-season hype to climb into the top four.

GOOD: The halves combination of Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary has been the best in the league.

BAD: They trail by an aggregate 160-110 in second halves.

PREDICTION: Hard to see them finishing outside the four.

BRISBANE (5th - 16pts): B+

One of the most consistent teams after a tough start to the season.

GOOD: Discipline has been great at their own end, keeping the pressure off their defence.

BAD: Struggled to put away bottom eight teams in close wins against Penrith, South Sydney and Canberra.

PREDICTION: Haven't got the easiest run home, but should still play finals.

MANLY (6th - 16pts): B+

Shocked their critics to sit comfortably in the top eight.

GOOD: Have second-best average attack in league off the back of Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans.

BAD: When they are poor they are really weak, their losses to South Sydney and St George Illawarra have been by 20 points or more.

PREDICTION: Soft run home should see them in the eight.

NORTH QUEENSLAND (7th - 16pts): C

Well below their best after losing key players to injuries.

GOOD: Development of young forward Coen Hess - not just in attack but the frequent errors he has forced in defence.

BAD: Their last-play kicking options without Johnathan Thurston.

PREDICTION: Should play finals for a seventh straight year once Thurston returns.

PARRAMATTA (8th - 14pts): C+

In their best mid-season position since 2010.

GOOD: Clinton Gutherson's influence in a number of positions has their attack firing.

BAD: Give away the fourth-most penalties, putting their defence under pressure.

PREDICTION: Have a good run through the Origin period, and should be on fringe of finals.

CANBERRA (9th - 12pts): C

Haven't lived up to the hype from last season.

GOOD: Unveiled a future star in 18-year-old Nick Cotric, who has scored six tries and made 10 linebreaks.

BAD: Third worst completion rate of 73 per cent hasn't helped their consistency.

PREDICTION: Need to start winning close games to scrape into the eight.

PENRITH (10th - 12ps) C-

Finally finding their feet but a long way to go before they fulfil pre-season favouritism.

GOOD: Hard to stop when they get a roll on, having scored at least 30 in all their wins.

BAD: Bryce Cartwright's season has faded into drama, injury and on-field disappointment.

PREDICTION: Look a different side with Matt Moylan moved to five-eighth. Could make a run.

GOLD COAST (11th - 10pts) C-

Battled injuries to be a long way back on last year's improvement.

GOOD: Halfback Ash Taylor's 19 try assists - five more than anyone else.

BAD: Haven't got the best out of Jarryd Hayne, the man who can change their season.

PREDICTION: Reaching a second straight finals series might be beyond them.

WARRIORS (12th - 10pts): D

Their best-ever spine roster but poor results aren't changing.

GOOD: Look their best chance of scoring points when Kieran Foran takes the ball to the line.

BAD: Their forwards are offering little at the line, with the second-least tackle busts and offloads.

PREDICTION: Look set to miss a sixth straight finals series.

SOUTH SYDNEY (13th - 10pts) D-

Barely fired a shot after Greg Inglis was injured in round one.

GOOD: Cody Walker's development in the halves before he was shifted to fullback.

BAD: Sam Burgess is desperately missing support in the forwards - as Souths have run the third-least metres.

PREDICTION: Look nothing like the 2014 premiership-winning side and will again miss the finals.

CANTERBURY (14th - 10pts): D

Des Hasler in worst spot on the ladder at halfway mark in his 14-year coaching career.

GOOD: The development of Adam Elliott and improvement of Will Hopoate bodes well for a new-look roster in 2018.

BAD: Attack - have failed to crack double figures in four separate games.

PREDICTION: Might be time to start thinking about next season and the arrival of Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran.

WESTS TIGERS (15th - 8pts) D-.

Off-field dramas have taken its toll.

GOOD: The appointment of Ivan Cleary as coach can only help them in the long run.

BAD: Their attack looks to have suffered the effects of off-field changes, and is the worst in the league at 13.7 points per game.

PREDICTION: Planning can safely begin for next year.

NEWCASTLE (16th - 6pts) D+

Won just two games but are streets ahead of where they were last year.

GOOD: Their defence has improved by six points per game on last season.

BAD: Keep losing the territory battle - have run the least metres and conceded the most.

PREDICTION: Need to turn improvements into a run of results to avoid third-straight wooden spoon.

*Stats courtesy Fox Sports

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