After seeing an article making some predictions for next year some of which were good, others ludicrous, I thought I would come up with a few of my own:
- Panthers to beat Roosters in Grand Final
- Newcastle top 4
- Cowboys & Raiders lower half of the 8
- Broncos, Warriors & Sharks to miss the finals
- Sharks to become insolvent, NRL to relocate them to Brisbane from 2020
- Manly wooden spoon
- Widdop to walk out on Dragons mid season
- NRL to announce 2 magic rounds from 2020, in Brisbane & Sydney, with each club to forfeit a home game over the 2 rounds
- NRL to announce expansion into Perth & Wellington NZ from 2023
- Greenberg to retire for “health reasons”
- Rothfield to enter rehab
- Panthers to lure Wade Graham to return from 2020
- Maloney to head to England after his Clive Churchill medal performance in the Grand Final
- Hayne to pick up a 1 year deal with Young Cherrypickers, then walk out mid season to pursue his dream of figure skating at the Winter Olympics
- Wigan 13+ over Roosters in World Club Challenge
- Cronk to win Dally M
Excellent set of predictions. I think some of them will be frighteningly accurate.
Jarryd Hayne getting a contract with the Young Cherrypickers is completely (in)appropriate, given the two cases he’s fighting here & in the U.S.
Having run my eye over the draw, taking into account when & where teams are playing, I have come up with the following ladder:
- Panthers - will be consistent through the season, although will leave supporters scratching their heads after losses to cellar dwellers the Eels during the SOO period, and Bulldogs just after. A round 24 loss to the Roosters will leave them sweating on final round results before taking the minor premiership.
- Roosters - will be top 2 all year, and a shot at the minor premiership until the end
- Storm - will start slow, but build into the top 4 as the season progresses
- Knights - will be in the 8 most of the season, but give their supporters a few heart attacks, will squeeze into the 4 despite a final round loss to the Panthers
- Dragons - will break from tradition & start slow, building their season, unlucky to miss top 4 after their final round loss to the Titans
- Souths - will sit just outside the 8 until after the SOO period, before charging home
- Broncos - will spend most of the season sitting in the bottom half of the 8, with the odd foray into the top 4
- Sharks - will spend the season sitting just in or just out of the 8, with inconsistency being the story of the season, claiming big scalps of Panthers, Roosters & Storm will be offset by losses to Eels, Bulldogs & Titans
- Cowboys - will look like a top 4 side at times, but a flat spell after SOO will ultimately cost them a spot in the 8
- Raiders - will be hard to beat at home, but dodgy on the road, will make forays into the 8 throughout the season, but not be able to stay there
- Warriors - will sit tantalisingly close to the 8 all season, and possibly sit in the 8 early, but will know their race is run about a month out from the finals
- Titans - will put up a good showing, but never play consistently enough to be a realistic chance for the finals
- Tigers - will come out firing, with wins over Sea Eagles, Warriors & Bulldogs, but back to back losses against Panthers & Broncos will knock the wind out of their sails, and they will slowly slide down the ladder
- Eels - another tough year, the only highlights being a win over the ladder leading Panthers during SOO & a final round win over the Sea Eagles to avoid the spoon
- Bulldogs - will push teams throughout the season & claim a couple of big scalps, but will be battling to avoid the spoon for most of the season
- Sea Eagles - a long season ahead with few highlights, will “win” the Spoon courtesy of a final round loss to the Eels.
I don’t see the Sharks making the 8 this year to be honest. The damage has been done early to them this year, and I think they will struggle for most parts of the season, especially if their depth is tested.
The Titans on the other hand will have a better season and will finish in the top 8. Brennan has had a season to flesh things out and their side looks solid. I think they could be a real bolter this season.
Last place this year is a toss up for me Eels, Sharks, Bulldogs, and Sea Eagles all have plenty of reasons to pick up the wooden spoon in 2019.
Before I went through the draw, I was expecting Sharks out of the 8 & Cowboys in. Was surprised it turned out the way it did. I think Sharks have too much talent for the spoon, but their off field issues could still haunt them.
The top 6 & bottom 3 ended up pretty much as I expected, the middle 7 is where all the question marks are.
Regardless of how you try to apply your logic mutely, you should, at all times, have the Eels last.
They should be penalised at the start of a game for turning up and when the C questions the ref he gets 10 in the bin for dissent
That is all that matters, the rest is mere details!
Positions 10 - 13
Battle for the spoon