NRL ratings set for another big year

Scott Woodward has returned profitable ratings in ten of the last 11 NRL seasons

In a year when the vast majority of published NRL tipsters returned negative figures, we again finished on top with 77% of our last 30 bets winning (> 100 units) and returning the exceptional Profit on Turnover of 34%.

We were huge winners with our exotic bets with our Ht/Ft bets also winning at 77% and returning a POT of 33%. Our line bets at the plus margin won at 65% of the time and returned a POT of 26%.

All up and including our “slow” start to the season we registered a total 13% POT. It was the tenth year out of eleven that we have been profitable.

As you can see by our posted results, we started with two poor weeks but after making an adjustment to our stats algorithm we cashed in big time. We had underestimated the new rule changes and how the coaches re-acted to them. The advantage that we have is to be able to complement stats with human experience and to make changes when required.

2015 promises to be the best ever and already we see exceptional value in the Premiership market.

Members will get Scott’s personal ratings of each match during each week (generally Tues) and a copy of suggested investments when it is considered the bet is value, although members can always compare the ratings with the market.

Get your FREE copy of Scott’s NRL 2015 eBook; it is compelling reading whether you are a “Super coach” or just a punter looking for an edge.

Brisbane Bronco’s Video Preview

Likely Team:
1. Jordan Kahu
2. Lachlan Maranta
3. Dale Copley
4. Justin Hodges
5. Daniel Vidot
6. Anthony Milford
7. Ben Hunt
8. Adam Blair
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Josh McGuire
11. Sam Thaiday
12. Alex Glenn
13. Corey Parker
Bench: 14. Matt Gillett,15. James Gavet16. Kodi Nikorima17. Mitch Dodds

2015 Coach Wayne Bennett – The living legend returns home after winning 6 P’ships here. He has ravaged the playing list and appears to have made some very astute calls despite some of the big names that he sacked before losing Darius Boyd (6 months) to injury which may turn out to be a blessing. He still has some work to do and 2016 is more likely to be their big year.

TEAM RATING = 10th, 121.5/170:

2015 Coach: Wayne Bennett; RATING: 9/10

TO WIN PREMIERSHIP: Only won 5 from 12 away games in 2014 and lost their last 5 on the road. The first thing new coach Benny needs to do is to get his team winning away from home. Boyd getting a long term injury creates many options including Jordan Kahu and “Billy Slater clone” Greg Eden may get a start now in the early rounds. Anthony Milford is one of the true genuine super star talents in the NRL and he has never had a coach like Bennett so the mind boggles what we may see, but first I expect a focus on defence and playing out 80 minutes. Milford is the club’s best fullback but they have plenty of other contenders and not many able to play 6 although I love it when Hodges moves in to play a pivot role, he is so dangerous.

Ben Hunt completed 2014 as the halfback with the most tries, line breaks; tackle busts, run meters, kicking meters and kicks. Impressive stats but he has a long way to go with tackle five options and running the team as the general. Having two running half’s in Milford and Hunt will be great for scoring points but they are both poor defenders and obvious targets for teams. Hunt and Copley both made 19 line breaks in 2014, amazing stats.

I am going to be fascinated to see how some of the big names are managed with some of these dynamo forwards. I have a huge opinion of Corey Oates, James Gavet, Mitch Garbutt and especially Joe Ofahengaue. If Justin Hodges stays sound then Jack Reed has a problem as Dale Copely is vastly superior. Also Alex Glenn was a favourite of the previous coach and it remains to be seen if he is in Bennett’s top 13 plans long term. Matt Parcell looms as a 2015 find with the reputation as one of the fittest and fastest players in the NRL. The Broncos have to back up from a pre-season match in the UK, never a good thing to do and have a very tough draw.

Dale Copley, Matt Gillett, Corey Oates and Jack Reed all had off-season shoulder surgery.

Canterbury Bulldogs video preview

Likely Team:
1. Brett Morris
2. Sam Perrett
3. Tim Lafai
4. Josh Morris
5. Curtis Rona
6. Josh Reynolds
7. Trent Hodkinson
8. Sam Kasiano
9. Michael Lichaa
10. James Graham
11. Tony Williams
12. Josh Jackson
13. Greg Eastwood
Bench: 14. Moses Mbye 15. David Klemmer,16. Frank Pritchard, 17. Aiden Tolman

2015 Coach Des Hasler – His teams have made 5 of the last 8 Grand Finals in a stunning achievement. He had no right to make the GF in 2014 by finishing only 13th with tries scored, and despite a “soft” draw they kept on winning based on a brutal first 40 minutes and clever tactics.

TEAM RATING = 6th, 123.5/170:

2015 Coach: Des Hasler; RATING: 8/10

TO WIN PREMIERSHIP: Incredibly only won 6 from 12 at home, but achieved an excellent 7 wins from 12 away. Much will depend on if Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson play Origin again as they both failed to “fire” after in 2014. I rate Michael Lichaa a better hooker than Ennis so that is a plus and obviously Brett Morris is world class and he will finally offer some much needed dash from the back but he has had shoulder surgery and only commenced his pre-season in this month so will swap with Perret at times. Expect the pack to be more mobile in 2015 and we may see the promising Lloyd Perrett get some more game time.

Trent Hodkinson is the incumbent half back for NSW and he actually scored the winning try to clinch the series for the Blues but for mine he still remains a weak link in attack. I agree with Brian Smith when he said that “Hodkinson cannot make a decision on the run”. I did not sight him in Origin 3, and he also went missing in the Grand Final, not what you want from your “General”.

The dogs had a dream draw in 2014 and incredibly met many teams when they had major injuries. They will be a force again but they can run against me at the odds on offer. They finished #1 for All Run Meters and their great defence will take you a long way, but to make the GF and average scoring under 20 points is highly unusual.

Canberra Raiders video preview

Likely Team:
1 – Jack Wighton
2 – Sisa Waqa
3 –Jarrod Croker
4 – Edrick Lee
5 – Jeremy Hawkins
6 –Blake Austin
7 –Mitch Cornish
8 –David Shillington
9 – Josh Hodgson
10 – Dane Tilse
11 – Josh Papalii
12 – Iosia Soliola
13 – Shaun Fensom
Bench: 14 – Paul Vaughan, 15 – Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 16 – Josh McCrone, 17 –Joel Edwards

2015 Coach Ricky Stuart – Clearly the most over rated coach in the game’s history; expect to yet again be a “Wooden Spoon” contender but not because of a lack of talent on his playing list.

TEAM RATING = 13th, 119.5/170

2015 Coach: Ricky Stuart, RATING: 4.5/10

TO WIN PREMIERSHIP: Conceded a poor -74 points diff for home games winning only 4 from 12. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Blake Austin and Josh Hodgson are excellent recruits but they still are lacking that organizing general although we saw signs of improvement in young Cornish in the trials. Campo is gone and Stuart is putting his “eggs” into the basket of Mitch Cornish and clearly the season will come down to if he is up to NRL standard as an organizing halfback. Two and three years ago I would have said yes as he was in front of Anthony Milford but he never continued to grow and improve and from what we saw last year he will struggle at NRL level. I hope I am wrong, and if Stuart has a strength it should be with a 7 although that has not been evident at his previous two clubs.

Josh Papalii should move to prop (but I doubt he will) and while he is not there just yet he will be and they have no one any better. There is nothing in this list that would suggest a marked improvement from a poor 2014 despite the strong list of juniors which really is very special with an abundance of talent waiting.

Blake Austin is a real talent but he is a runner and will need Cornish to run the team. Is Jack Wighton a fullback? I have no doubt he is a talent but I am not sure what his best position is which is a problem in itself as he is replacing Milford and he is no Milford. The errant pom Hodgson is an outstanding recruit although they have 4 hookers. Ricky has got it right when he says that this team needs time as they are very inexperienced in key areas, but you get the feeling he will still be saying that in 12 months. Jarrod Croker and Sisa Waqa both scored 18 tries in 2014 but they both struggle in defence for different reasons.

The Raiders have an excellent bench but they are very weak in the backs which will leak points, but I loved what Jeremy Hawkins did in the trial against the Storm. He could be something.

Cronulla Sharks video preview

Likely Team:
1 Michael Gordon
2 Sosaia Feki
3 Ricky Leutele
4 Gerard Beale
5 Valentine Holmes
6 Ben Barba
7 Jeff Robson
8 Sam Tagatese
9 Michael Ennis
10 Andrew Fifita
11 Luke Lewis
12 Wade Graham
13 Paul Gallen
Bench: 14 Chris Heighington, 15 Jason Bukura, 16 Bryce Gibbs, 17 Anthony Tupou

2015 Coach – Shane Flanagan. While ever he puts his support behind the very average Jeff Robson in the crucial 7 spot he will never rise far in my ratings. He has improved this team over Stuart but has a lot of “brownie points” to make up after overseeing his players taking drugs.

TEAM RATING = 14th, 118.5/170

2015 Coach: Shane Flanagan; RATING: 6.5/10

TO WIN PREMIERSHIP: They only averaged scoring 14 pts per game in 2014 and need to get it into the 20s if they are to be a contender.

The Sharks are not lacking for stars and their big prop Andrew Fifita has the talent to be the game’s best big man player if he can control his off loads. Despite the big names and the massive capacity, they still lack a class on field general to ensure their 5th tackle options are correct. Robson lacks the quality and Barba is going to have to step up but I liked how he improved at 6 when a Bronco last year

I have never understood the Sharks recruitment strategy as they have let some wonderful kids go and replaced them with “has beens” although Jack Bird is a coup and let’s hope his ailment does not cut his career short. There does not seem to be any long term plan and a total focus on winning round 1.

This team comes with a heap of baggage, but they have a class forward pack and are capable of defeating any team when they are at full strength. Barba was just starting to look comfortable at 6 when at the Broncos and his form will decide how the Sharkies go in 2015. I would like to see him pair up in the halfs with Fa’amanu Brown (when fit next year) which would really give the Sharks scoring power, something that has been sadly lacking. Valentine Holmes and Fa’amanu Brown (injured in Nines) are two very promising kids and it will be interesting where the coach plays them, but Holmes must be a strong contender for fullback and wing.

Tomorrow Scott will look at the Titans, Manly, the Storm and the Warriors.

Get Scott’s Round 1 personal ratings