Early season tipping us all over the edge
TO all those who regard themselves as having a reasonable knowledge of the NRL but are - like me - currently experiencing a shocker in the tipping department, rest easy. You have an alibi.
On his NRL 360 show on Fox this week Ben Ikin revealed that the first five rounds of the 2016 Telstra premiership have been the closest in the decade since the 16-team competition was introduced.
Some mean-spirited people will suggest that anyone leading a tipping comp at the moment has no idea about the game and tips by team colours or a favourite player.
Others might be unkind enough to suggest that the cunning method of tipping home teams each week works a treat.
And then there's the tipster who gets the away team if their tips are lodged late.
But none of those theories explain the vagaries of tipping in 2016.
Of the 40 matches played to date, 23 have been won by the home team, 16 by the away team with one drawn.
In fact, 23 is a popular number in 2013.
Of the 40 results decided, 23 have been won by eight points or less.
And the margin in 15 of those 23 has been as miserly as four points or less.
The next closest NRL competition after five rounds was back in 2009 when 21 games were won by eight points or less and 13 by four points or less.
Conversely, 2011 was the year of the early-season blowouts. In the first five rounds eight points or less separated teams in just 13 games, while only six were won by four or less points.
But back to the tipping - if anyone is standing better than 28 points after five rounds they are in front of the so-called experts.
Media personalities Gorden Tallis and Erin Molan, both with 28, are the most successful media tipsters I can find while Sunshine Coast Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson, who sits on an impressive 27 in the Sunshine Coast Daily tipping comp, typifies just how tempestuous this art can be. In one week he scored eight, the next week three and last week seven.
And as for my miserable 22 - I don't feel too bad. It stands equal with one of the game's greats, Darren Lockyer.
Yes, yes, yes: Those who didn't see the amazing qualities of Broncos boss Paul White on Australian Story this week should do themselves a favour and find a copy - somewhere, anywhere. It is one of those must-see programs.
No, no, no: Phil Gould rates the same Paul White the No.1 sports administrator in the country and wants to take him to Penrith. Surely the Broncos will never let him go.