If we want to win this Saturday we will have to try and limit the amount of 2nd phase play that the Warriors can generate. When it comes to offloads they really set the standard in the NRL. We’ll have to hope that the home ground advantage really kicks in this weekend and that the team put in their all after Sunday’s disgraceful performance. The Warriors have one of the best completion rates and are effective metres makers, averaging 1421 metres a game (prior to round 24). Their only weaknesses are their inability to win tight games (at the moment they have lost 14 games; 11 of those losses have been by 12 points or less whilst only 3 have been 13 points or more), and their goalkicking, which stands at 69%. Statistics strongly suggest that we are a strong chance at losing this one. In terms of both attack and defence the Warriors possess a much more favourable record. We’ve won 11 games and lost 11 but our p/d is a shocking –94, suggesting that we win by small margins and lose by huge margins. In attack we have only scored 498 points and in defence we have conceded a miserly 592 points (although this is much better than the 750+ that we have conceded in recent seasons). The Warriors on the other hand are a total mystery. They have won 9 games and lost 14 yet their p/d is only a minor –15, suggesting that they win significantly but lose by small margins. In offence they have scored 493 points and in defence they have only conceded 508 points. We got home nicely against the Warriors in Auckland during round 1 this season but both sides were very rusty, making plenty of errors after only just having returned from the pre-season. The Warriors have really developed a good passing game and their offloading ability is just about the best in the league, why they continue to lose is anyone’s guess. That’s not all though. Since our return to the NRL in 2003 I don’t think we have beaten any side twice during a season. I haven’t checked the 2003 season but I know that we only won 7 games. I definitely know however that we have not beaten a same side twice in the last two seasons. Last season we achieved 9 wins over North Queensland, St George Illawarra, New Zealand, Penrith, Wests, Canberra, Newcastle, South Sydney and Melbourne. Other than North Queensland and Melbourne whom we only played once we had lost to the other 7 teams mentioned during the 2004 season. This season we have beaten New Zealand, Cronulla, Melbourne, Canberra, South Sydney, Wests, the Bulldogs, Penrith, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane. We had excellent wins over these 11 teams but we’ve also had atrocious losses to each of these sides (excluding Melbourne and Sydney who we only played once and the Warriors and the Raiders who we are yet to play on a second occasion). In fact the last time an Eagles outfit last won two games against a side in the one season was when the Northern Eagles managed to only snag a double victory over the Dragons in 2002. We’ve already played the Warriors and the Raiders this season, does this mean that we are likely to lose the next two games. The home ground advantage may not prove to be enough. In round 10 an awesome defensive display saw us take a 18-10 victory over the Bulldogs at Homebush (The Bulldogs had 52% possession and made 26 offloads in what was a fast paced game). Come round 16 though Fortress Brookie was shattered when the Bulldogs managed a 31-12 victory. Our only positive is that many teams (including ours) have bounced back strongly after the most menacing losses. Last year Penrith thrashed us. After this game though we followed it up with strong performances against the Knights (48-10), Souths (50-22), the Dragons (34-36) and the Storm (30-28). We managed to win 3 of these 4 games and even our loss was close. This year the Storm thrashed the Broncos 50-4 (10 tries to 1) in what was a most pleasurable experience for most league fans. The Broncos responded with 10 straight victories, apparently it was a loss they had to have. In round 5 we were dominated by the Dragons 32-6. In round 6 we backed this up with an awesome 36-14 (7 tries to 2) victory over the Raiders who at this point in time were undefeated and had their strongest line-up available. Either way I’ll be at the game to scream that’s my team. Hopefully we’ll all be able to leave Brookie in high spirits, securing a finals berth for the first time in what has been a hellish 7 seasons for this proud and successful club.