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2022 NRL Mid-Season Team Report Card

With 11 rounds gone, now is a good time to assess each team’s placings at the (roughly) halfway mark of 2022. Who’s destined to go deep into September? Who might just miss out? And who can start preparing for 2023?

PENRITH PANTHERS (10-1)

The defending premiers have barely put a foot wrong in 2022, with a two-game lead in first place. Their one loss to Parramatta (which ended a 21-game winning streak at Penrith Park) was quickly cancelled out by huge wins over Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters, and they even won without Nathan Cleary for the first few games.

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MELBOURNE STORM (8-3)

While the majority of Victorians don’t seem to notice them, Melbourne are as consistent as ever, despite some recent slips. Melbourne won eight of their first nine games (posting 44 points against Canterbury-Bankstown, 70 against the Warriors, 50 against Newcastle, and 42 against St George Illawarra), but an injury to Ryan Papenhuyzen hurt them, with heavy losses to Penrith and North Queensland since then.

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NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (8-3)

The surprise of 2022, North Queensland have won six in a row. The most impressive part is they’ve scored 30 points in five of those games, including 36 in their last three, and started the streak with a come-from-behind win in Canberra (their second win over the Raiders this season). While they knocked off Melbourne, their Round 12 clash at Penrith will be a huge test.

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CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (7-4)

Another surprise team, the Sharks have started well, led by Nicholas Hynes. Two of their most notable wins were against Manly Warringah and the NZ Warriors. Siosifa Talakai put on a clinic as the Sharks led Manly 32-0 at half-time, before surviving a second half fightback to win 34-22. They beat the Warriors 29-10 despite playing with 12 men for 64 minutes – and briefly with 11. They also had a comfortable win over arch-rivals St George Illawarra. These were offset with a loss to Brisbane and two losses to Canberra.

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BRISBANE BRONCOS (7-4)

After being the joke of the NRL in 2020, Brisbane are back as genuine final contenders. Adam Reynolds has shown he’s worth every cent, dragging Brisbane to the next level. As well as winning their last five (including a 38-0 Magic Round hammering of Manly), they were competitive in losses to Penrith and the Sydney Roosters.

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PARRAMATTA EELS (7-4)

Another strong – if inconsistent – start for Parramatta. They’ve beaten Penrith and Melbourne, smashed St George-Illawarra and Newcastle, but lost to North Queensland, the Roosters, and the Wests Tigers.

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SYDNEY ROOSTERS (6-5)

Another team struggling with consistency. After losing two of their first three games, the Eastern Suburbs side beat North Queensland, Brisbane, and the Warriors. That was followed by losses to the Dragons and – amazingly – Canterbury-Bankstown. Wins against the Titans and Parramatta got them back on track.

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SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (5-6)

Last year’s grand finalists are a shadow of their former selves. With no Reynolds, and missing Latrell Mitchell and Cameron Murray through injury, Souths have struggled for consistency, losing three out of their first four games. Surprisingly big recent losses to Brisbane and Canberra are a cause for concern.

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CANBERRA RAIDERS (5-6)

Canberra officially hit rock bottom after Round 8. They were 2-6 after another predictable second half fadeout against the Warriors, were sitting second last, and fans were angry. The early losses of off-season signings Jamal Fogarty and veteran Josh Hodgson hit Canberra hard. In typical Raiders fashion, they rebounded when everyone had written them off: they scratched past the Bulldogs and had convincing wins over the Sharks and Souths to climb six places.

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MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (5-6)

The breakout team of 2021, Manly have struggled to replicate that form in 2022. Four straight wins (the Bulldogs, Canberra, Newcastle, and the Gold Coast) were quickly offset by losing four from their next five. The even worse news? Turbo is out for the season after the Parramatta loss.

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ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (5-6)

While many expected the Dragons to stay in the bottom four after last year’s dramas, they’ve surprised those critics to be in the finals race. While they were 1-4 early, they’ve recovered with wins over Newcastle, the Roosters, and Tigers.

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NZ WARRIORS (4-7)

Another poor start for the Warriors. After nearly three long seasons in Australia, they’re arguably counting down the days until their Round 16 Mt Smart clash against the Tigers. These two results sum up the Warriors’ season: a 70-10 Anzac Day thumping against Melbourne was followed by a magnificent comeback win over Canberra.

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GOLD COAST TITANS (3-8)

After making the finals last year, the Titans have fallen away dramatically. The rot started in Canberra in Round 3, when they blew a 22-0 lead just before half-time to somehow lose 24-22. Most of the criticism has been towards David Fifita, who seems to go missing when needed despite his hefty price tag.

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WESTS TIGERS (3-8)

Another rough year for the poor old Tigers. They lost their first five before consecutive one-point wins over Parramatta and South Sydney (with Jackson Hastings and Luke Brooks standing up) gave their frustrated fans – and Madge – a temporary reprieve from another 1,000 Fox League clickbait articles about them.

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NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (3-8)

After consecutive finals appearances, Newcastle is back in the dreaded wooden spoon territory of a few seasons ago. Big early wins over the Roosters and Tigers became a memory after seven straight losses, along with the disruptive rumours over Kalyn Ponga’s future, which seems to be resolved with Ponga re-signing with the Knights.

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CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS (2-9)

Despite the big signings of Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton, the Dogs look like “winning” their second straight wooden spoon. Trent Barrett was the first coach sacked/quit in 2022 after the Magic Round loss to Newcastle, with Mick Potter taking over. Dogs fans will want to fast forward to 2023 already.

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