NRL 2018: 6 tips
The footy is back and that means every Tom, Dick and Harry is trying their hand at fortune-telling, gazing into their collective crystal balls and claiming to know the outcome of every match before a boot has even been laced.
And why not? There’s something wonderfully Australian about the unjustifiable confidence of a footy fan telling you their team will reign supreme because ‘mate, trust me’.
So with all that said, here are six tips that may or may not prove to be accurate come September.
Tigers to have a shocker
As far as it is possible for one man to carry a team, James Tedesco did a commendable job. A fine player, he added spark to their offensive play that was seldom matched by any of his team mates. His departure to the Roosters is a blow for the Tigers. Throw in the mid-season loss of Mitchell Moses (parramatta) and its fair to say that coach Ivan Cleary has a massive task on his hands. Josh Reynolds lacks the finesse of a great half and Luke Brooks has been virtually MIA for the last two seasons. Will do well to avoid the wooden spoon.
Newcastle to miss the top eight
They bought well and the hype around the Newcastle Knights is certainly not unwarranted. Plenty, including club legend Andrew Johns, are tipping the Knights to be big improvers in 2018. Whilst I agree that the Knights are heading in the right direction, I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are genuine competition contenders. Newcastle have bolstered their roster by adding new faces Kalyn Ponga, Tautau Moga, Connor Watson, Slade Griffin, Jacob Lillyman, Aidan Guerra, Chris Heighington and Mitchell Pearce to their ranks. With change comes new talent but also instability. It will take time for key players to gel and form dynamic on-field partnerships. I can’t see them slotting into the top eight just yet.
Fittler to be ineffectual
Ah origin, the time of year when the words ‘mongrel’ and ‘culture’ are thrown around so loosely they might as well be synonyms for just about anything. Can Fittler coach? Sure. Will he be enough to make a difference if Queensland field a side of the same calibre to that of the last ten years? Unlikely.
Farah to England
South Sydney’s new coach, Anthony Seibold, has boldly chosen to omit veteran Robbie Farah from his team’s opening clash against the Warriors in Perth. Seibold has opted instead to put all of his faith in Damien Cook. Although Seibold has stated that Farah remains in the club’s plans for the 2018 season, the ex-Tiger is not known for playing second fiddle. He’s now 34 years of age and if the Super League scouts come a-knocking don’t be surprised to see Robbie take one final pay day.
Dally M: Cameron Smith
Dally M, along with the overall premiership winner, is one of those hypotheticals that there’s really no point in even taking a stab at just yet. If you’re going to have a guess, why not make it a reasonable one? The Melbourne skipper could very well add another accolade to his ridiculous resume. He gets better with age.
Broncos to win the penalty count
As certain as Hasler mentioning referees in a press conference or Hindmarsh being reminded he never won a premiership.