Stats, facts, Wahs and Pahs: the bluffer’s guide to NRL preliminary final weekend

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

And then there were four. And a rare foursome it is.

After the Knights’ and Roosters’ seasons came to an end, for just the second time in the NRL era teams from four separate states, territories or countries are represented in the preliminary finals.

Of that crop, the Warriors are the only side yet to clinch a premiership.

Brisbane and Penrith are the favourites heading into the weekend, and they’re on a collision course to meet in next week’s grand final, but there are a couple of key stats and facts to know about which could cause an upset.

The Wahs’ impressive record against the Broncos

They won’t be walking into anything like the home crowd they had last week in Auckland but the Warriors will be liking their chances in Queensland.

With 42 games played between the Warriors and the Broncos since the NRL’s inception in 1998, the New Zealand side go toe-to-toe with Brisbane when it comes to their winning record.

Saturday night’s clash will be just the second time these clubs have faced off in an NRL finals match; the first came in 2011 when the Broncos downed the Warriors 40-10 in week one of the play-offs.

But in that year, the Warriors went on to win their next two finals and met the Sea Eagles in the decider – their second and last grand final appearance to date – which they lost 24-10.

The one thing that will be playing on the New Zealand team’s mind is their shocking record at Suncorp Stadium. The Warriors have won just 29 per cent of their games at the venue, compared to the Broncos who boast a 59-per-cent win rate.

The Warriors’ faithful have been right behind their team throughout a thrilling NRL campaign.Credit: Getty

But when it comes to preliminary finals records, the Warriors just pip the Broncos.

The Warriors have appeared in four previous prelims (2002, 2003, 2008, 2011) and have a 50-per-cent success rate, while the Broncos have been in nine preliminary finals (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017) and won four.

Panthers’ threepeat could be under threat

Penrith have been an NRL powerhouse for the past four seasons, but the Storm were the last club to tame the beast in a decider when they beat them in the 2020 grand final. The following year, South Sydney beat the Panthers 16-10 in week one before Penrith turned the tables in the one that counts three weeks later.

There’s no doubt the Panthers have the upper hand on Friday night, and they’ve beaten the Storm twice already this year. But the Storm have the best preliminary finals record of any club in the NRL era.

Melbourne have appeared in a whopping 14 preliminary finals (too many to list) and have won 10 of them. Coach Craig Bellamy has steered the ship for all but one of them (1999).

Thanks to the past three years, the Panthers also have a successful record at this stage of the competition, having won four of their six preliminary final appearances (2003, 2004, 2014, 2020, 2021, 2022).

But heading down the M4 to Accor Stadium, the Panthers record is a little grim compared to that of Melbourne (maybe that’s why they didn’t want to play there).

Penrith still have a reasonable 49-per-cent success rate at the Olympic Park venue, but it’s a far happier hunting ground for visitors Melbourne, who have won two thirds of their games at the stadium.

Watch the NRL Grand Final Exclusive Live and Free on Channel 9 and 9Now.

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article