Round 1 of the NRL kicks off tomorrow, and there’s no better time for some predictions for the season ahead.
- Penrith Panthers win the premiership. Many are tipping a quick rise to form for the team from the foot of the mountains, and we’ve got a hunch they might go all the way.
- Newcastle Knights win the wooden spoon. We were going to put them higher up the ladder (15th) until Jarrod Mullen was banned. If it helps, Newcastle fans, most people are hoping your team has better luck this year.
- Robbie Farah and Jason Taylor both have average seasons. They were the biggest player vs coach feud of 2016, but we don’t necessarily think their separation will lead to success.
- Paul McGregor, Des Hasler and Trent Barrett get sacked. It’s never nice to see someone lose their job, but we’re predicting a tough season for these three.
- Josh Addo-Carr is top try scorer. Suliasi Vunivalu emerged from the blue last year, but we’re going with the other Melbourne winger. On the end of a devastating back line he should score a few meat pies.
- Nathan Cleary wins the Dally M medal. Continuing with the Penrith theme, we think the nineteen-year old will obliterate the second year curse, and will be named the league’s best player.
- James Tedesco, Jarryd Hayne and Matt Moylan all play State of Origin. At fullback, wing, and five-eighth respectively.
- Ben Hunt is one of the Broncos’ standouts. He’ll be in red and white in 2018, but we think Hunt will leave the Broncos on a high.
- The Bunker is phased out. We liked the original idea, but it has been a very expensive flop. Instead, on field referees will be encouraged to make a call (and will be criticised when they get it wrong).
- Queensland wins State of Origin. New South Wales will have to wait until Thurston (and Smith and Cronk?) retires.
- Luke Keary is best recruit of 2017. And he’ll love rubbing it in against his old club.
- The Warriors don’t make finals. So close, yet so far.
- Expansion becomes a reality. Love it or hate it, it looks like it will happen in the next few years.
- Jai Field is rookie of the year. He showed us a glimpse at the Auckland Nines, and that was enough to convince us. As long as McGregor gives him a chance in the starting side!
- The Eels make finals. It’s been a tough few years for Parramatta fans, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. They’ll finish eighth.
- The grand final goes to extra time. Not golden point. Extra time.
- Australia wins the World Cup. A nice way to end the year.
Predicted top eight:
Bring on the footy!