June 2021

Streaking home

Winning streak are not just the domain of the dominant teams. Sometimes the ones struggling strike gold and charge into the finals.

Winning streaks always attract plenty of attention. They become the focus of record book diving, obscure stats and whispers of superstition.

Is a team winning because they keep playing at night? What about their coach not shaving his beard? Maybe it’s down to all the players following their same routine each game?

Winning streaks often come about due to an entire team hitting form all at once along with some intangibles.

Players often talk about the feeling at a club. That they feel invincible and can’t lose.

When Liverpool F.C. enjoyed an unbeaten streak of 44 games, manager Jurgen Klopp labelled his side “mentality monsters”.

The Penrith Panthers are currently in the middle of a 23 game regular season winning streak, split of course by the 2020 grand final loss.

But while the winning streaks of top of the table clubs are fun to follow and generate plenty of discussion about when they might lose or how long they can sustain their streak, it’s the winning streaks of the battlers that really bring out the storylines.

It’s the winning streaks that catapult a side from also-rans to challengers that captures the hearts and minds of supporters.

Parramatta Eels 2009 – 7 Matches

Let’s kick this off with perhaps the most well-known winning streak in the NRL era. Not only did the Eels resurrect their season across seven weeks, they rode that wave all the way to the grand final.

Led by Jarryd Hayne and Fuifui Moimoi Parramatta began their run in 14th position by beating Melbourne at Parramatta Stadium. They then proceeded to dispatch the Sharks, Bulldogs, Knights and Warriors before putting on one of the matches of the season against the Tigers. They rounded out the streak with a thrashing of the Panthers before going down to the minor premiers St George 37-0 in the final match of the season.

Winning the following week in round one of the finals, Parramatta would string together three consecutive wins to meet Melbourne in the grand final.

Parramatta Eels 2006 – 9 Matches

Many seem to forget that only three years prior to 2009 Parramatta strung together nine consecutive wins to charge from 14th into the top eight. The catalyst for this was the resignation of long-term coach Brian Smith and Jason Taylor being appointed as caretaker.

It was a surprise season for the Eels in that they had won the minor premiership in 2005 but were staring down the wooden spoon by the middle of 2006. Their winning streak led them into the top four momentarily before two consecutive losses at the end of the season saw them finish seventh.

There would be no finals resurrection this year, with the blue and golds bowing out against Melbourne at the old Melbourne Olympic Park.

North Queensland Cowboys 2015 – 11 Matches

Consistency and the Cowboys is not something you generally see together. Even in the Johnathan Thurston era North Queensland could be guilty of clocking off, losing games they should win then, equally, winning games they should lose.

In true Cowboys fashion, they began the 2015 season by losing three straight matches and ran deadlast. But from round four to round 14 they jumped from 16th to second as they racked up the wins.

And this impressive winning streak leads to a fairytale finish with the Cowboys of course winning the 2015 premiership.

Wests Tigers 2005 – 8 Matches

By round 16 of the season the Tigers languished in 12th place, having fallen from the top eight positions they held in the early rounds of the competition.

They then piled on eight consecutive wins to leap into fourth position and settle there with three rounds still to go in the regular season. The final win of their run came in a 54-2 thrashing of the defending premiers Bulldogs.

Finishing fourth in the McIntyre system meant the Tigers would have to play and win three consecutive matches to make the grand final. They managed that, claiming the club’s maiden premiership in the 2005 grand final against the Cowboys.

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