Free Preview – NRL Grand Final 2013

Free Preview – NRL Grand Final 2013

NRL 2013 – Preview – Grand Final

2013 Individual H2H Game Tips –  132 / 199   66.34%

Roosters

RTP Handicap

Roosters -5.5 v Eagles (market Roosters -2.5)

Key Team Stats

Head to Head: Roosters have won last 3 straight (prior had lost 4 straight)

At Ground:

Roosters have won 4 of their last 4, including 2 games this season

Eagles have won 7 of their last 8, including 1 game at ground this season

Key Finals Stats (with thanks to Mark Hull @footyassist follow Mark on twitter)

–           Roosters defence has delivered 20 try less halves season to date, 3 of these have been against the Eagles

–          Over the last 10 years the margin outcomes are split 50/50

–          The 5 x 1-12 margin outcomes have had a total match points average of 27

–          The 5 x 13+ margin outcomes have had a total match points average of 40

–          The Eagles have not been beaten 13+ this season

–          The team to score the last try of the match have been Premiers in 9 of the last 10 Grand Finals

–          The team with a half time lead has won 8 of the last 10 Grand Finals

–          The team to score the first try of the match has won the last 6 Grand Finals, while 75% of teams have won throughout the 2013 season when crossing first.

–          In 6 of the 8 matches during this year’s Final Series the first try has not been scored until after the 8th minute (75%) as opposed to 46% during the regular season

–          A penalty goal has been the first scoring play in 3 of the 8 Finals matches (37.5%) as opposed to 6% during the regular season, interestingly the odds on this play have gone from $13 in Rd 26 to $11 in Week 1 and now down to $7.50 for the GF

–          The side trailing at half time has been restricted to 6 points or less in the second half in the last 10 Grand Finals

Game Preview
Roosters v Eagles

And so the big dance has arrived!!

Three weeks ago I suggested that this match up in the opening week of the finals series looked a potential Grand Final preview, and so it was providing for mine the highlight game to date of this finals series with the Roosters coming away with a 4-0 result. Both sides have significant ins here since that last meeting with Waerea-Hargreaves and Cordner for the Roosters and Brett Stewart in for the Eagles.

For mine we have the two best sides of the season meeting in the final title game, arguably the two best defensive and attacking sides – Roosters for 27 pts against 13.5 pts per game, the Eagles 25 pts for and 15.2 pts against per game. Interestingly, it’s often quoted that defence wins September – well in this instance that again rings true as we have the two best defensive teams of season 2013 facing off for the final prize.

And what of their form through this finals series? The Eagles may well hold a slight advantage through a stronger side of the draw (and form line), they are battle hardened off consecutive games and come through Rabbits, Sharks, Roosters (with the Storm and Cowboys in behind this form). The Roosters have had the benefit of a tough first up game through the Eagles, a week off and then a clear points result over the Knights last week.

The Eagles have stood up and been counted when it’s mattered through recent weeks. They bunkered down for the fight through the last 20 minutes against the Sharks when fatigue looked to have them beat and then rose to the occasion against the Rabbits with an amazing second half turn around win.

There is no doubting the quality of their halves, their ability to strike on either side of the field, the quality and speed of their edge shifts and the attack combinations of the Stewart brothers, Cherry-Evans x Lyon x Williams (right) and Foran x Matai x Taufua (left). I do now hold concerns about them being 4th week up and the possible mounting injury and or physical toll, they’ve now lost Fa’asao (thins their bench depth) while Watmough certainly looked a passenger for the most part last week (struggling with a crook ankle injury). Wear and tear impacts on every side through a finals campaign but if Watmough can not play anywhere near his best and or they have a depleted or thinning quality offering off their bench I have no doubt it will weaken them across the distance against a very big and physical opponent.

The Roosters look cherry ripe for their final outing. They have a choice of forward riches and depth up front with at least 13 players to choose from for their final list (more on this in a moment). Like the Eagles they have quality in form halves, classy edge combinations and a back 7 who have strike and points in them. They have on occasions been found out defensively on either edge (Pearce and Kenny-Dowall on their right and Maloney on their left), generally it’s been well managed but if isolated and targeted they do have some issues. Their attack was sharp last week, they played direct and split the Knights 11 times, a confidence building effort in the lead up to the final game.

Both sides play slightly different approaches to their attack. The Roosters like to roll forward with a big physical middle and then play on the back of any momentum or room with more direct shots from the 9, 7 or 6 or edge back rowers. While the Eagles play their yardage game well enough but have a far greater preference toward quick shifts to either edge and provide their wider combinations with greater opportunity to run the ball.

Defensively both sides are obviously very good – as we saw a few weeks ago with their 4-0 contest although the Eagles have since let through 3 tries in each of the following games. The Roosters efforts year to date are somewhat remarkable holding 20 halves of football try less, with three of them being across their last two games.

I have the Roosters marked with two points of advantage –

1/ Their forward size and depth – they have size and muscle to dominate through the middle with a big 4 man middle rotation (JWH, Moa, Nuuausala and either Nappa, O’Donnell or Kennedy) and then a quality list of edge backrowers in SBW, Guerra, Cordner and Aubusson. With Cordner’s likely return they have two key ins in addition to the forward list they played the Eagles with three weeks ago and for mine a heap of depth that will maintain sustained forward pressure deep into the second half.

2/ What should be an advantage of one week’s less wear and tear, and the fact that on the back of this they look on the up and peaking into the final decider.

I have no significant knock on the Eagles, they certainly can win and were only one line break away from the Roosters three weeks ago. But their best is with Watmough at his best (which he hasn’t looked) and I’m concerned at how easily they were able to turn last week’s second half against the Rabbits into a comfortable victory (but, to be fair there can be questions over both contestants second half opponents last week).

Looks a cracking game and match up and we should see a very physical opening 15 minutes. I expect the Roosters power through the middle to prevail, them to have their nose in front into half time and kick clear across the final 15 minutes.

Roosters by 10

Betting Options: There are various options through the Roosters, either at the Line -2.5, Tri Bet over 6.5 or a Margin 1-12. Try scoring options – Jennings as any time try scorer, Tuivasa-Sheck first try scorer. Man Of The Match – my preference (in order) Pearce, Friend, SBW.

Enjoy the big dance!!

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