Most teams are finishing in the position I predicted before the start of the season. The top eight is settling itself for a battle at seven and eight, while the top six is not a real surprise.

The Sharks have surprised some but I thought them the dark horse and they have lived up to that expectation.

However, there are four teams that went against my predictions.

I thought the Bulldogs under Des Hasler would take time to adapt to the coach's style of play. Blow me down, this team has set new standards of play, particularly for front rowers; their skill set is the benchmark for those who aspire to better.


Their game plan stumbled early in the season but is now humming along nicely; they will still be around in the last two weeks of the finals series.

The Eels were a team I thought would improve on their 2011 campaign but unfortunately issues were deeper than expected and time was needed for a resolution.

My prediction for a mid-table finish was way off but a willingness to fight was always evident and should have resulted in more wins.

Poor decision-making and form slumps at crucial times were costly, especially in the games where last-minute losses were heart-breaking and morale-sapping.

The other two teams for whom I predicted better fortunes are today playing at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Panthers in 2011 needed some guidance and stability; I thought this year they'd be on the cusp of revival especially under new coach Ivan Cleary and general manager Phil Gould. It appears it is going to take a little longer with the player issues at the club.

That took some time for management to assess but the Panthers will be better for acting immediately rather than trying to manage it, or should I say, battle with it. Some players will move on while others fall into line with the regime - but their form has suffered, hence their place at the foot of the table.

I don't know what to say about the Warriors that has not already been said, other than it's been more than disappointing. It is a team that consistently provides inconsistency.

I do not want to repeat other media criticism but they have not lived up to expectation. Coach Brian McClennan has accepted responsibility on a couple of occasions but what about the players?

Bluey accepts he may lose his job over the results; will the players accept the same, or hide and blame others? Will players offer their resignation for their performances? I think not.

They claim to be 'brothers' and stand together through the battles. But when it really matters, they will not offer the sacrifice their coach is prepared to make.