NRL Stats: Who Has The Best Round 1 Record?

This week Sydney Roosters captain James Tedesco said his side tends to “start the year slowly” and knows they “needed a couple of wins at the start of the year to get us in the top four”.

So, how does your team start off their campaign? Does it have any bearing on making the top 8, or even winning the title?

We look at the history of opening round results in the NRL era.

THE BEST: MELBOURNE ARE UNDEFEATED IN ROUND FROM 2003

The Melbourne Storm have been one of the NRL’s most consistent performers since their introduction into the NRL in 1998, and never more obvious is that shown than in the NRL Round 1 result. They have won every single game since our analysis started in 2003.

THE NOT SO GOOD: QUEENSLANDERS STRUGGLE FIRST UP, DOGS AND SHARKS POOR AWAY

Queensland sides don’t seem to go well for the first round lately, with the Titans losing their last four First Round Games. North Queensland has lost their last three.

Cronulla and Bulldogs have lost eight of their last games in Round 1 when playing away.

THE WORST: MANLY HAVE LOST NINE STRAIGHT TO START THE SEASON

Looks like the Sea Eagles have found something that cramps their style more than a rainbow stripe – Round 1. Manly have lost nine in a row to begin a new season. But they have never gone into a season before after winning an NRL Pre Season Challenge $100K bonanza.

DO HOME SIDES WIN MORE THAN AWAY SIDES IN ROUND 1?

THERE’S A DISTINCT ADVANTAGE

It may be obvious, but the home team win more Round 1 games than the away team. But it is slightly less likely that a home team wins the first match than overall (by 0.30%). 

And that the home win percentage for Round 1 has increased in the last ten seasons.

NEWCASTLE, WESTS TIGERS, NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS AND CANBERRA ARE MUCH BETTER AT HOME FOR ROUND 1.

The Knights have a very good record for the first round, 90% being the best winning percentage for any team not from Melbourne.

Brisbane is the notable team who have better luck away than at home for the first round. Joining the Broncos in the better away club are the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Manly.

DO ROUND 1 WINNERS MAKE THE FINALS SERIES?

YES. WELL BETTER THAN HALF ANYWAY

59% of NRL Round 1 results since 2010 have seen the winner go on to make the finals. For Manly, every time they have won the first game, they have made the finals.

DO ROUND 1 WINNERS BECOME NRL PREMIERS?

ONLY HALF THE TIME

Only five teams in the last ten years have won their opening game and gone on to win the premiership. The Roosters in 2013, 2018 and 2019 lost their opening round game which the same occurred with North Queensland in 2015 and Cronulla Sharks in 2016. The last three seasons have seen the eventual premiers win round 1 (Melbourne 2020 and Penrith 2021/2022).

WHICH NRL TEAMS HAVE BOGEY SIDES IN ROUND 1?

In our analysis since 2003, Manly have won 100% of their opening round fixtures against Queensland sides but are yet to beat a New South Wales Side.

Newcastle has a great record against Canberra, New South Wales, and New Zealand, yet a 0% record for games versus Queensland and Melbourne.

DO NRL FRANCHISES WIN IN THEIR DEBUT GAME?

GENERALLY, IT’S A TOUGH TASK

Of the sixteen teams to enter the NSWRL, ARL and NRL competitions since 1982, only three have won their first game: Brisbane Broncos (44-10 vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Western Reds (28-16 vs St George), Melbourne Storm (14-12 vs Illawarra Steelers), and the Northern Eagles (24-14 vs Newcastle Knights). The Wests Tigers drew with the Broncos 24-all in their debut as a joint venture club.

HOW DO THE ROUND 1 STATS COMPARE TO THE 2023 ROUND 1 FIXTURES?

Some of the teams have played each other before this season in Round One. So here is a quick record of those head-to-head.

WARRIORS Vs NEWCASTLE

Overall: Newcastle 3 Warriors 1
At Warriors Home: Warriors 1 Newcastle 1

PENRITH Vs BRISBANE

Overall: Brisbane 2 Penrith 0
At Penrith’s Home: Brisbane 1 Penrith 0

MANLY Vs BULLDOGS

Overall: Bulldogs 2 Manly 0
At Manly’s Home: Bulldogs 1 Manly 0

NORTH QUEENSLAND Vs CANBERRA

Overall: North Queensland 2 Canberra 1
At North Queensland’s home: North Queensland 2 Canberra 1

CRONULLA Vs SOUTH SYDNEY

Overall: Souths 1 Cronulla 0

WESTS TIGERS Vs GOLD COAST

Overall: Wests Tigers 1 Gold Coast 0

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar
    Bruno pereka

    Thanks

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