What defines a `good’ season?

Has this year's Super League campaign been a great one? And what have you made of the NRL season?

I guess your answer depends on the parameters you use to measure success. If success is measured by achieving a given set of objectives, then we would have to know exactly what each club set out to achieve, and that sort of info isn't generally found on club websites.

The only objective way to form an opinion is to look at the hard, cold facts. In the Super League only four clubs actually won more games than they lost. The other eight teams were well off the pace. In the NRL there was not one team `rewarded' with a play-off spot if it had lost more games than it had won.

First to the Super League: For St Helens and Hull FC it has been a raging success. One has clearly been well ahead of the rest and Hull's resurgence after a poor start and change of coach, has been phenomenal.

Do you know that last year we had three teams chalk up in excess of three thousand points after the regular rounds. This season, even St Helens have fallen short.

I bet Leeds would have banked on finishing in the top two and to have lost far less games than they have. Bradford, the reining champs, ran in 1038 points last year compared to just 802 in 2006. Given the talent they lost ahead of – and during – this season, they are probably not too far short of what they might have expected.

Salford and Warrington have made the play-offs. That has to be deemed a successful season, right? If you lose more games than you win there probably shouldn't be a whole lot to celebrate. In the case of the Reds and the Wolves, who both lost two more games than they won, are the play-offs this season rewarding mediocrity as much as success?

Just missing the cut are Harlequins, a team with the worst attacking record in the Super League. That's right…a team is `almost' given the right to challenge for the Grand Final having scored fewer points than every other team.

As for Wigan, great finish. But the mighty Warriors, how on earth could that club possibly fail to make the finals?

A Cup Final appearance for the Giants but only average in the League. They finished with one less win than the previous year and one place lower on the table.

Wakey and Cas were just involved in the ultimate relegation `cat-fight' so `successful' is not perhaps an appropriate description of either team's season. Still, I bet even a few days after that last day win at Belle Vue all and sundry involved with the Wakefield club are still topping up their glasses.

Given their playing roster, a bottom of the table finish for Catalans, must be rated as highly disappointing. Expect major improvements in 2007.

I guess the Super League playing field is certainly levelling out. The bottom eight teams were separated by just ten points. But we are only looking at the bottom because a couple of teams at the top have been just too good.

In terms of `for and against' from top to bottom, St Helens are 802 points better than Catalans Dragons.

In the NRL once again we have seen a highly competitive season, where last years two Grand Finalists did not even make the play-offs. And they let eight teams through not six. Can you imagine seeing Leeds and Bradford both failing to make the play-offs in Super League?

The spoils have certainly been spread around in the NRL this season, like last year, and the year before that. 13 of the fifteen teams this year averaged scoring between and 21 and 25 points per game. That's pretty even.

In terms of `for and against' from top to bottom, Melbourne Storm are 544 points better than South Sydney.

Although six teams remain in Super League, I think St Helens are far too good for the rest. In the NRL, where the race is now down to four teams, any one of which is more than capable of being crowned champions.

Melbourne were outright leaders although after scraping past Parramatta and having then having a week off, are now the least favoured to win.

Just over one month ago the Dragons looked breathless. Yet after conceding just one try in two impressive wins over Brisbane and Manly to extend their winning streak to five games, St George Illawarra is now the punters' tip to win the flag after finishing the season in sixth position well adrift of their top three rivals.

Canterbury Bulldogs still look awesome and the clash in the pack this weekend against the Broncos will hurt, even from the sofa!

What Brisbane did to Newcastle was scary and Wayne Bennett has every single ingredient required to win a Grand Final.

IN fact the Broncos won the 1998 Grand Final against Canterbury Bulldogs, the team they must beat on Friday to get through to the final stage.

Melbourne won the 1999 Grand Final against St George Illawarra Dragons, the team they must beat on Saturday to get through to the final stage.

What a weekend. You can see it all live on Sky Sports.

PS: In my last column I suggested it would be difficult to see Parramatta's coach Jason Taylor working as an assistant to wooden spoon coach Shaun McRae in 2007. I had no idea or inside information that Taylor would replace Mc Rae. As it has turned out, with Shaun now agreeing to take on the Rabbitohs' Director's role, I'm pleased for both.

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