Penalty bliss at home for Storm, Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penalty bliss at home for Storm, Broncos

Steve Jancetic 24/08/2011 04:58:56 PM Comments (0)

Forget 'Fortress Brookvale', it's Melbourne and Brisbane who have benefited most when it comes to home crowds influencing NRL referees this season.

The Storm and Broncos have enjoyed a stunning advantage in relation to penalty counts at home - a factor which could prove particularly telling heading into the finals.

Both sides are guaranteed home games in the opening week of the finals - and could play at their favoured venues right up until the preliminary finals.

Likely minor premiers Melbourne have lost just two of 12 penalty counts at AAMI Park in 2011 - a figure even more staggering when compared to the fact they have fallen foul of the whistleblower in all ten games they have played outside the Victorian capital.

At Suncorp Stadium, the NRL's highest average attendance has helped the Broncos to a 9-1 advantage in penalty counts at home, a tally that grows to double figures if the Manly home game which was played in Brisbane is included.

Sea Eagles officials have engaged in much protestation over the fact they won't get to play at Brookvale Oval during the finals series but, despite their unbeaten record on the northern beaches so far this year, it hasn't come with the aid of a leg-up from the referees.

Of all the sides who have secured, or are in contention, for a top-four finish - the Sea Eagles have encountered the worst time of it at home.

They have won just four of nine penalty counts at home, which matches their tally away from Brookvale.

Of the four sides battling it out for the last of the home finals in week one of the playoffs, all have enjoyed a healthy lift from the referees on home soil.

The Warriors have lost the penalty count at home just twice this year compared to away from home where they have won it just once, North Queensland's numbers similar with just one lost penalty count at home compared to nine losses away.

Wests Tigers, despite their plethora of home grounds, have been on the right sideof the referee in nine of 11 games at home.

While St George Illawarra scratch around for someone or something to blame for their slide down the ladder, the men in the middle aren't one of them.

They have won seven of ten penalty counts at home so far, including five of six over the back half of the season during which their premiership hopes have nosedived.

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