NRL Ladder predictions after round 12: Half way mark of the 2021 premiership. 4 points separate 6th to 14th on the actual NRL ladder hence why its difficult to move this group of teams around too much. Predictions also take into account upcoming games.

Stat of the week: 4 teams in equal 8th at the half way mark of the comp. 11 teams have an even or worse win/loss record and 10 of those teams have a negative points differential, giving weight to the argument that an 8 team semi-final series is too many.

(NRL ladder position in brackets)

1. Melbourne Storm. (2nd) Holding. Not missing their big name players one little bit. Just an awesome footy team and the club culture at Melbourne has been strong forever.

2. Penrith Panthers. (1st) Holding. A little flat early but an opposition error gave them a comfortable enough half time lead. Started to click in the 2nd half and their line was only broken with a couple of minutes left.

3. Parramatta Eels. (3rd) Holding. Defensive right edge exposed again as Souths ran riot down that side. Back to back losses for the first time this season. Is it time to panic? I think not, next 3 games very winnable before facing Penrith.

4. Sydney Roosters. (5th) Holding. Manu a revelation a five-eighth. Roosters continue to find coverage for missing players and quickly regrouped after the shock loss last week and a 10-0 early deficit. So difficult to move anybody in the top 5 as they all look awesome at full strength.

5. South Sydney Rabbitohs. (4th) Holding. The season reset came pretty fast as a near full strength Rabbits look really good, particularly their backline having a field day. Have a bye coming up then 3 easy games.

6. Manly Sea Eagles. (6th) Holding. Ill discipline burst their bubble. Failed to score decent points aside from an early try, and a loose pickup from Saab. Let’s see how they cope without Turbo during the origin period, although their draw appears favourable.

7. Gold Coast Titans. (10th) Holding. Again their defence was horrible, only looked sound when down to 12 men. Unfortunately for them, their attack didn’t click much this time around, and strangely, their best period with the ball was when they were a man short.

8. St.George Illawarra Dragons. (8th) Holding. Pretty clear this club is suffering badly from injuries and suspensions as at stages it looked like these guys had never played together before. Have dropped at least 5 must win games so far this season and have lost 6 from their last 7.

9. North Qld Cowboys. (7th) Up 1 spot. Holmes and the Hammer pulled it out of the fire after establishing a great half time lead before a Warriors comeback. Into the 8 for the first time this season even though it may be temporary.

10. New Zealand Warriors. (9th) Down 1 spot. A sin-bin for a late hit was very costly in hindsight and this 1 point loss may prove costly. Defence and inconsistency still a major issue.

11. Newcastle Knights. (11th) Holding. Stop Turbo and you’ll beat Manly. That seems to be the key, although the Knights errors and their inability to score points against 12 men is a concern. Still, a great 2nd half defensive effort got them a crucial win.

12. Wests Tigers. (13th) Up 1 spot. Another sound performance in attack although a better opposition will tear their defence apart. Managed the game well, in particular, their trainer. Unsure how a player gets to remain on the field once the trainer stops the game.

13. Cronulla Sharks. (12th) Up 2 spots. Have had a great season turnaround in the last 2 weeks. The bye next, while guaranteeing 2 points, probably comes at a bad time for them, seeing they seem to have hit some great form.

14. Canberra Raiders. (14th) Down 2 spots. Again blew a great start and wound up conceding a stack of points. In hindsight, flogged again and next week’s bye will be a welcome relief. Their total points conceded this season is getting way out of hand.

15. Brisbane Broncos. (15th) Down 2 spots. Couldn’t back up their great win last week but in fairness they were playing the defending premiers and, in my opinion, this year’s favourites.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs. (16th) Holding. Looked determined and put the competition leaders under a fair bit of pressure but errors crept into their game which sealed the very predictable result.

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