We are favourites, shooting for three wins on the trot against a tigers outfit, whom would be looking to make amends for last week’s loss, as well as the 51-6 round 6 Bankwest demolition. That was their second worst loss to us, in their 20 year history, since the 66-12 annihilation in R11, 2001. Also, the Tigers tend to bounce back from losses and we tend to bounce back from wins with losses.
A few points suggest this could be a danger game, if we're not switched on:
1. The three in a row challenge
It was 2 seasons ago, since we last won three in a row. Back in R26 of the 2017, beating Souths 22-16. We've been consistently inconsistent.
2. Eleven years: Since R23, 2008
It's been almost 11 years since we won three or more in a row against the Tigers. Before Arthur’s tenure.
Back in R23, 2008, 40-12 a home game at Parramatta Stadium, where Nathan Hindmarsh, Feleti Mateo, Fuifui Moimoi, Jarryd Hayne all scored tries. That was the end of an 8 match winning streak against the Tigers. Oddly enough, Robbie Farrah,Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence played in that match and are playing this Sunday, almost 11 years on.
3. The Sutton factor: 28%, 5 years, 11 years
We have won only 28% under him since 2009 – over a decade.
LLLLLLLLW. That's our recent history under Sutton - eight consecutive losses - before our R6 demolition of the Tigers at Bankwest. Even he couldn't stop us, then.
But it’s been 5 long years since we last won two games in a row under Sutton. - like we’re trying to do this week. Back in August 2014.
A win in R17 would be only the third time in 11 years – ever- we have won two in a row under Sutton.
From all 15 referees in our game we have the second worst record against Sutton. From all the refs that have refereed us, in our 72 year history, for over 10 games, Sutton is the third worst ever. Only Pearce Col (1947-68, 13.6%) and Kelvin Jeffers (1992-2000, 25%) are worse from an over 10 game sample size. Perenara looks like a walk in the park, with 44%. Jack Gibson used to complain about Greg Hartley. We had 63.6% under him.
Sutton looks like the devil in comparison. Or at the very least there are striking similarities to him being our Lord Voldemort, are uncanny. Not just the striking similarities initheir body language and want to assume centre stage.
Also, the Tigers have a much better record of 48.3% in 29 games under Lord Voldemort. And it’s their home game in theory.
Will Sutton continue in the same vein as he has over the many years and spoil our party ?
Meanwhile, it will be Adam Cassidy's first outing against us. Please be fair. And don't learn all your tricks off any older dogs that I shall not mention again.
4. LL WW L WW L WW
Under Arthur’s reign that's been the form guide v the Tigers since 2014. It suggests a loss is next, if this bizarre pattern continues. Nonetheless Arthur has a good 60% winning ratio against the Tigers overall.
5. And now for some good news.
The Tigers have only won 1 game at Bankwest. And we're going marginally better than 2017. For now.
At the end of R16 we’re on the same 18 points, 8 wins as we were in 2017, but now travelling a little better. We’re currently 7th, with the 4th best attack (333), and 3rd worst defence (322) and a +11 differential. At the same time R16 2017 we were in 8th, with he 9th best attack (282), 4th worst defence (318) and a -36 points differential. But 2017 we had a better away record. It suggests we’re a better attacking unit. I would also subjectively argue we have a better team than we did in 2017 with the additions of Fergo, Lane, Paulo, Sivo, and Dylan Brown. However, in 2017, we went on to win 8 of the next 9 games to get us to 4th; and that’s quite a feat. It’s doubtful we will do that again, based on the evidence of 2019, hitherto.
Looking at every year in the last 16 years, since 2004 (golden point started), 11-13 wins has been enough of an entry pass to the top 8. Except for last year. Incredibly, only 1 win separated no.1 from no.8, where every top 8 team had either 15 or 16 wins and points differiential separated the teams.
So I would say we need another 5 wins to be safe as there is a 9 team log jam of 6-8 wins between 6th to 14th position. That's why this week is important. We need to continue the momentum.
Will we man up this week? Time will tell.