By Stephen Gallagher
9. Canberra Raiders – Played 13, Won 6, Lost 7. +16
Now I have plenty to say about the Raiders. They’re a side that are going to continue to surprise this year. Their away form has been well good, and it’s surprising to see they’ve lost quite a few at GIO Stadium. Coach Stuart has put together a solid squad and is getting great results out of him. They’ve stuck it to plenty of big teams, and are rallying together to be a side to watch out for.
Blake Austin has been the signing of 2015, and his form for Canberra is outstanding. Running at the line, breaking tackles and scores tries – he’s been in the thick of it all year.
GRADE: B-. The Raiders need to do better at home, but overall they’ve been a good side. If they work on showing up week in week out they will definitely be playing in September.
10. Penrith Panthers – Played 12, Won 5, Lost 7. -30
‘Injuries’ is probably the best way to describe the Panthers season thus far. Plenty of their big paid players have gone down with bad injuries, which is setting the side back – especially when their fringe players aren’t cutting it with their form.
This is the side which could win the competition, but have been let down with plenty in 2015.
Once again, James Segeyaro has been the outstanding performer.
GRADE: C-. It’s been hard to gauge how good they are when they’ve been a mixed bag throughout the year.
11. Gold Coast Titans – Played 12, Won 5, Lost 7. -39
The Titans started off as easy beats, and after finding a gun half in Kane Elgey – they’ve slowly started to get a groove on. It’s been a few dominant performances from their big boys that have got them back in to the contest.
I’ve been impressed with Kane Elgey. Since his debut he’s been cool and calm, and paired with Aidan Sezer it’s been good for him.
GRADE: C-. Not a fantastic or memorable first 13 rounds, but I don’t think they can produce anything to make a run for the finals either
12. Cronulla Sharks – Played 12, Won 5, Lost 7. -41
It’s just not been a season that’s worked for Cronulla. They’ve been a real let down with the personel they’ve got on board. They’ve delivered infrequently, taken a few scalps – but nothing to write home about. They need to go back to the drawing board, and see what they’ve got left in the tank for the remainder of the year.
Jack Bird coming through has been their shining light big time. A big career ahead of him.
GRADE: D+. They’re not causing enough problems, and not getting enough done to ruffle some feathers.
13. Wests Tigers – Played 12, Won 4, Lost 8. -31
Everyone talks about how young the Tigers are, and how they need time to gel, play together, and then cause some havoc. This may be the case, and they may be a team to beat in three or so years – but right now they’re just not getting results. They’ve blown some leads this year and coach Jason Taylor will not be happy with where they are at. Their halves have been weak all year.
James Tedesco is such a good player, and he’s been a shining light on both attack and defence.
GRADE: D-. They are a weak side, who pose not much threat to anyone this season.
14. Newcastle Knights – Played 13, Won 5, Lost 8. -60
Oh how they’ve fallen. Three from three in their first three, and losing 8 of their 10 since then. A side that started out with plenty of promise have flopped. They’re an aging side, where aging stars are keeping out young and exciting talented youngsters who are probably more deserving of selection. I think this is their major problem, and won’t be cured in any hurry.
In the games he’s played, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Tyler Randell.
GRADE: D-. This side won’t be climbing the ladder any time fast unless there’s a miracle turnaround in their squad.
15. Parramatta Eels – Played 13, Won 4, Lost 9. -58
Their Round 13 loss to the Cowboys, where they gave up a 24 point lead basically sums up Parramatta’s form this year, and the last two seasons too.
There’s no doubting they’re talented – but the fact they can’t manage to get 17 guys to play with direction and enthusiasm week in, week out is the biggest downer and biggest let down for the Parramatta side. They have some explosively damaging moments, but generally are let down in execution and poor defence.
Danny Wicks’ redemption is in full swing. He’s been the one constant in a weak side.
GRADE: D-. Sorry Parra fans, the next 13 weeks won’t get any better.
16, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – Played 12, Won 3, Lost 9. -92
“Too old” “Too soft” “Too weak” are probably the three best statements to sum up the Sea Eagles. Sure, they’ve had injuries that have set them back – but they have absolutely no decent depth coming through the ranks – so their fringe players are abysmal. They’ve let themselves down majorly this year, and it’s hard to think that this is a Manly side who have been so tough for so long. I do think they can muscle up and win a few more – but they won’t make the top eight. No way.
GRADE: F. Failure. Big time.
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