“Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships”. An exciting offense may indeed sell tickets (as the 2016 Raiders did, attracting their highest crowd average since 1995), but does defense really win championships? Some hacks put it forward as assumed fact without question (as we ourselves did in our 2016 Finals Preview). Others claim it’s a self-perpetuating myth. So, which is it? Do elite defensive teams really outperform elite offensive teams? And if so, why? Let’s take a look at the Melbourne Storm to find out.
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2016 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 71%
Margin Betting: 54%
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Sharks v Broncos
2016 Offense: Sharks 8.80% (7th), Broncos 41.80% (1st)
2016 Defense: Sharks -38.96% (3rd), Broncos -28.37% (4th)
The season hasn’t even begun and already these two sides have drawn their critics, largely due to their lackluster performances in the World Club Series.
The Broncos were completely obliterated in the opening 20 minutes by what should have been an outgunned opponent, which has (reasonably) led to criticism of their forward pack, and the question of how they’ll replace Corey Parker. In fairness to Brisbane though, although their forwards were dominated, they were missing their first choice props (Korbin Sims and Adam Blair), both of whom will be available here.
The Sharks, in contrast, lack the same reason for optimism. They sent what was essentially a full strength team over to Wigan, and got belted by a side few regarded as serious competition for the defending premiers. We expect Cronulla to acquit themselves better in the season opener, however their offense was patchy at times last year and without Ben Barba and Valentine Holmes it’s hard to feel confident that they have many points in them.
Our tip: Brisbane [Read more…]
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