League Larrikin is off-the-charts excited pondering the recently revealed premiership odds for the 2010 NRL season. It's always beneficial to weigh up each club's chances and betting value 12 months in advance before once again realising that it would be total punting suicide to actually make a wager this far in advance.
It's the National Rugby League, not the English Premier League. If you broke the legs of any team's three best players in Round One (not that you would do that deliberately, of course) then it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that that side might be in with a very good shot at the wooden spoon. Grand Finalists included.
Simply adding a Jarryd Hayne clone to the roster would see most club's premiership odds slashed in half. Such is the fickle nature of an NRL season.
In 2009 the Roosters and Sharks both began somewhere near the top line of betting based on the previous year's solid performances. You don't need me to tell you how that turned out. But I'll tell you anyway, becuase it amuses me: they came last and second last.
So according to the wise men of TAB Sportsbet, Centrebet, Betfair etc, the Parramatta Eels are the team to beat next year. That's right, the team that just got beaten are the new team to beat. And what of the team that beat them? Well they are the team tipped to get beaten.
Confused? Not half as confused as the Melbourne Storm, I'm guessing. Craig Belllamy and his boys must wonder what they have to do before people will admit that they're better than everybody else.
Here's a tip: no matter what happens at various points of the 26 round competition in 2010, the Melbourne Storm will be in the grand final. That's right, ignore their early form. Ignore their mid-season form. Ignore any losses. Ignore anything remotely resembling a stumbling block in their inevitable march to the big Sunday in October. They will be there.
If I were a bookmaker I'd install the Storm as $4 favourites right now, leave it exactly as it is, sit back and enjoy the season, and reassess next September. As a punter, if the Victorian team get out to anywhere near double figures at any stage, jump all over it.
My other tips are 1. Do not, under any circumstsances, ever consider even for a split second placing a bet on the St.George-Illawarra Dragons, and 2. Do not, under any circumstances, ever consider even for a split second placing a bet on the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
These sides will not win the premiership. Did you take that in? They will not win the premiership. Why not? Because that's just the way it is. And because the Storm will.