2019 NRL Season Overview + Predictions

Brisbane Broncos

The Broncos start the season playing three of last year’s top four finalists, with a huge match to start playing Melbourne Storm to kick off the season. However, with the addition of Anthony Seibold as coach, they’re likely to be the literal dark horse of the season. Keep an eye out for Anthony Milford with much-needed speed and on-field agility as a key player this season.

Last year finished: 6th

Predicted finish: 5th

 

Canberra Raiders

These guys have a pretty soft start to the season, with the first games against teams who didn’t make the finals last year but look out for a big game against Melbourne in round three. New forwards in John Bateman and Ryan Sutton could be just the thing for the Raiders, but it’s likely to be a tough season for the Green Machine.

Last year finished: 10th

Predicted finish: 8th

 

Canterbury Bulldogs

A club that’s rebuilding itself after tough 2017 and 2018 seasons, with the loss of a Coach and salary cap scandal respectively, they have the potential to make some strides this season and leave the Dylan Napa issues behind them. Fans will be looking for consistency from the Bulldogs this year on field, with a strong impact expected from juniors Rhyse Martin and Lachlan Lewis.

Last year finished: 12th

Predicted finish: 11th

 

Cronulla Sharks

The loss of Valentine Holmes will definitely impact the Sharks this season, but they’re determined to not let off-field issues and line-up struggles affect them after last year’s strong season. Andrew Fifita will bring a much needed X-factor to the Sharks, as well as the combination of Johnson and Moylan. The back end of the season looks the toughest for the Sharks, who’ll need to pull together for a strong result.

Last year finished: 4th

Predicted finish: 3rd

 

Gold Coast Titans

This time last year, the Titans faced Canberra and came through with the goods so fans will be hoping of a repeat of the same grit. After a good off-season, the team has the likes of Origin star Tyrone Peachey and new arrivals Brian Kelly and Jesse Arthars, who could make the difference, but it’d take a lot with a tough fixture from round 17 onwards.

Last year finished: 14th

Predicted finish: 15th

 

Manly Sea Eagles

While it wasn’t an amazing season for the Eagles last year, it’s not looking that much better at the start of the 2019 season. The fixture is pretty tough games 2 – 6, playing the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Warriors in pretty quick succession. Des Hasler is back in the coaches chair but he has his work cut out for him, least of all with a disgruntled fan base.

Last year finished: 15th

Predicted finish: 14th

 

Melbourne Storm

Who could forget the underwhelming final of 2018 in which the Storm were totally outclassed by the Roosters? Definitely not them, and the Storm is looking to start the season strong, hoping to win against the Broncos at home, but it’ll be a tough game. Billy Slater is no longer a part of the line up that impressed in finals season, but they’re determined to make it into the finals again, potentially the big one, which would make them three from three in premiership appearances.

Last year finished: 2nd

Predicted finish: 2nd

 

Newcastle Knights

With some of the most passionate fans getting around, the Knights look to coach Nathan Brown to lead them into a new era, post-Wayne Bennett. The strong the combination of Ponga, Watson and Pearce will bring a much-needed boost, but this season won’t be without challenges for the Knights. They’ll need to fortify their presence at home to stand a chance this year.

Last year finished: 11th

Predicted finish: 12th

 

New Zealand Warriors

Long considered the most inconsistent team in the NRL, the Warriors are looking to take advantage of untapped potential this season. It’s predicted that coach Stephen Kearney will have a challenging season to bring out the best in this team, with all eyes on Blake Green. Fans will look to Green to lead, but the travel and away games are always challenging for this team.

Last year finished: 8th

Predicted finish: 9th

 

North Queensland Cowboys

This year’s the Cowboy’s chance to make their mark on the game without fan’s beloved Jonathon Thurston. They’ll be looking to move past the Ben Barba scandal of the offseason and strive forward, with all eyes on Michael Morgan to lead the side to a stronger season.  A favourable draw sees them play in Queensland for 15 games this season – and it’s well known that the Cowboys play well with their strong fan base in tow.

Last year finished: 13th

Predicted finish: 10th

 

Parramatta Eels

It’s was a tough 2018 season for the Eels, who start the 2019 season with four games in Western Sydney which should play to their advantage. Coach Brad Arthur will need to get the absolute best out of his forward line, while Blake Ferguson joins their backline. Injuries plagued the Eel’s forward line last year, and they’ll have their fingers crossed for a better season this time around, but it’ll take a lot to get them off the bottom of the ladder.

Last year finished: 16th

Predicted finish: 16th

 

Penrith Panthers

The Panthers could make it further than their second finals round of 2018, this year, with three out of the first four games played on home turf. There are high hopes for new coach Ivan Cleary, as he takes this exciting side and looks to convert to finals. They’ll need to keep their heads following Origin, where they’ve fallen away previously. There’s plenty of potential in this side, with a young team ready to prove their worth.

Last year finished: 5th

Predicted finish: 7th

 

St George-Illawarra Dragons

It’s a tough draw for the Dragon’s start to the season, with just one match at home against the favourable Rabbitohs in round two. From round seven, they’ve got four straight games away from their regular home venues, kicking off against premiers Sydney Roosters. They’ll need to stay strong across the second half of the season, where they’ve failed in previous seasons. However, there’s plenty of potential in this team, and if everything comes together, we could see them at finals time.

Last year finished: 7th

Predicted finish: 6th

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs

One of the most talked about changes in the off-season is the addition of coach Wayne Bennett to the already strong South Sydney side. Enviable adaptability last season means they’re definitely one to watch this year, with Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess both expected to fire for the Bunnies for another exciting season. They start the season with some big games, facing the Roosters and the Dragons. It’ll be key for them to avoid injuries to perform consistently throughout the season.

Last year finished: 3rd

Predicted finish: 4th

 

Sydney Roosters

No team has gone back to back in NRL finals in about two decades, but there’s plenty of talk that the Roosters will be the ones to do it this year. They’ll be looking to improve their consistency across the first half of the season and move past the redevelopment of their home ground, with a temporary new home at the SCG. With arguably the best 17 in the competition, it’s hard to see this side finishing anywhere other than the top.

Last year finished: 1st

Predicted finish: 1st

 

Wests Tigers

They’ve got a new coach, an improving roster, competition for spots, and a positive outlook but it might not be enough for the Tigers to make the eight. Fans will be looking for Robbie Farah to fire this season in what’s an unenviable fixture, seeing them play away five rounds out of seven through part of the early season and the Warriors, Bulldogs and Eagles in the first three games, which will definitely determine the season that follows.

Last year finished: 9

Predicted finish: 13

2019-03-14T15:42:33+10:00
%d bloggers like this: