Revisiting my fearless 2012 NRL predictions
Warriors' Manu Vatuvei celebrates. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Wayne Drought
Anytime you attempt pre-season predictions, you run the risk of ending up with egg on your face when the season is over.
And let’s be honest, Roarers are only too happy to firmly apply the egg facial moisturiser or let you know you’ve made a mistake.
So as the NRL season came to a close, and I found myself holidaying in Europe, I contemplated not coming back, as I knew it meant it was time to review my performance as a rugby league Nostradamus.
Whilst the timing of my trip wasn’t ideal, the internet, along with an abundance of Australian bars overseas, ensured I was kept up-to-date with the football finals back in Australia. And now that I’m home, with the NRL season over, it’s time to face the music and revisit my 2012 predictions:
1: The New Zealand Warriors won’t make the finals
Our readers from across the Tasman – and Bondi Beach – were up in arms about this selection. After all, the Warriors were coming off a grand final appearance, and retained roughly the same squad, despite losing coach Ivan Clearly to the Penrith Panthers.
But as I outlined in the original piece, there was some method to my apparent madness.
The NRL has a trend that I simply tapped into. Namely, the underdog grand finalist each year struggles to back-up the following season.
The Parramatta Eels in 2009. The Sydney Roosters in 2010. And now, the New Zealand Warriors in 2011. All teams went on magical runs and against the odds qualified for the grand final. However, each team subsequently lost the final, and then struggled the following year.
Combine the trend with the fact the Warriors had a new coach, and always tend to be inconsistent year-to-year, not just game-to-game, and I always felt comfortable with this prediction.
2: Todd Carney will have a trouble-free season
This was probably my bravest prediction, considering his past. However, I honestly believe that Todd Carney is not the devil some make him out to be.
He certainly has numerous blemishes on his record, but the vast majority, if not all, can be put down to immaturity and an inability to handle his alcohol.
On the first point, you can sense that Carney has grown up a little bit. On the second point, it was a shock that he didn’t put himself on an alcohol ban for the year, but even withstanding that, he kept his nose clean in 2012.
Here’s hoping 2013 will be the same.
3: The North Queensland Cowboys will make the grand final
If the referees didn’t murder them in the semi-final versus Manly, the Cowboys may just have qualified for the grand final.
However, considering they would have still have to defeat a red hot Melbourne Storm outfit, it’s difficult to give myself a tick here, even if I can make up my own rules.
I’ll take solace in the fact most pundits didn’t even have the Cowboys in the top eight, whilst maintaining my firm belief that they could have easily qualified for this year’s grand final.
4: Kurt Gidley will win the Dally M Medal
I thought Newcastle’s strong recruiting, including mastercoach Wayne Bennett, would ease the pressure on the Knights skipper, and he would respond with the best season of his career, culminating in the Dally M Medal.
Instead, Gidley battled injury early in the year and was eventually ruled out for the season.
I contemplated cheekily giving myself an ‘incomplete’ mark rather than simply being incorrect. But truth be told, in hindsight, no one was beating Ben Barba this year.
Let’s just jog along shall we?
5: The Penrith Panthers will win the wooden spoon
There are 16 teams in the NRL competition, and to therefore choose one of them to win the wooden spoon is a fairly tricky exercise. And if it wasn’t for the horrific season the Parramatta Eels put together, my selection of the Panthers would have been correct, as they finished just ahead of the Eels in 15th place.
Surely that deserves half a point?
Overall: Two out of five
Considering the Cowboys were robbed by the referees, Gidley got injured, and the Panthers nearly won the spoon, it could have been an extremely impressive round of predictions. But as it stands, I at least avoided having too much egg on my face by securing a solid two out of five correct predictions.
I’m looking forward to next season already.
Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network and NBA Down Under, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.
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