Tuesday, 28 April 2009
: An indifferent start to the season and a long-term injury to star fullback Brett Stewart has seen Manly firm dramatically from $200 outsiders to $12.50 sixth favourites to go from premiers last year to 'wooden spooners' in 2009.
While the Sea Eagles have stuttered over the first two months of the premiership, three of the NRL's most talented sides have slid rapidly from premiership hopeful's to cellar dwellers. Cronulla, Parramatta and the Roosters have been written off as premiership candidates by traders on the Betfair exchange who now believe all three will miss the finals and instead prop up the bottom of the ladder.
With five losses from the first seven rounds, two of those thumping defeats at the hands of Brisbane and the Bulldogs in the last fortnight, Parramatta are now the premiership outsiders at $90, narrowly longer odds than the $85 on offer for the Sharks.
The Roosters, whose poor form has gone largely unscrutinised because of the plight of Parramatta and Cronulla, have blown to $75 to win the premiership.
The Sharks were third favourites to win the competition for the bulk of the off-season before starting the year as fifth picks at $12.50.
That price is now a distant memory, with as much as $100 bet about the Shire boys fighting back to break their premiership drought. Now though the Sharks are favourites to finish last in 2009 at $3.55 after being backed at a staggering high price of $80, while Parramatta is now at $4.20 after trading at a top price of $40.
Surprisingly, Betfair layers have kept Penrith safe in the wooden spoon market where they remain third favourites at $6.20 despite recent victories over Manly and the Gold Coast.
Brad Fittler's Roosters are now $8 to claim the dreaded wooden spoon after trading at a high price of $36.
Betfair's Mathew Thompson said Manly to finish last this season is quite stunning, but indicative of the influence that Brett Stewart has on the side.
“If someone had suggested Manly would be sixth favourites for the spoon after seven rounds of the competition before the season, you would have had them institutionalized. They looked just as formidable this season as they did when they won the premiership last year. But Stewart's long-term injury, coupled with the loss to North Queensland has seen them shorten into $12.50, and there's been steady money to say that the Sea Eagles might finish closer to last than first.”
“To think teams like Cronulla, Parramatta and the Roosters, who are all full of rep players, could be dismissed in this vein suggests layers are certain that things are going to get a lot worse. The Sharks especially were regarded as near finals' certainties before a ball was kicked this season, so their lack of form has certainly come out of the blue.”
“The poor form of Parramatta and the Roosters isn't entirely unexpected. The Roosters drifted dramatically in Betfair's premiership market from $18 to $40 at the beginning of the season and were out further to $65 after a first-round hammering at the hands of Souths. Parramatta was backed primarily at around the $32 mark in pre-season premiership trading so were never rated more than an outside chance.”
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