All your NRL club needs for Christmas is…
The Melbourne Storm's Billy Slater (left) scores a try against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs during the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Just lobbed at home after a few hours Christmas shopping. What a hassle. Glad that’s over, but what have I forgotten?
The rugby league clubs. Damn. It’s the off season, they must have escaped my mind, even though they should have been near the top of my list.
My dreadful oversight got me thinking – what’s their greatest want? What do they need to succeed in 2013?
Can Santa Roars help them? I don’t know, but let’s give it a good old try. ‘Tis the (off) season to be jolly…
Listed below are some suggestions that might help your team fire up in 2013. If I have neglected anything major, feel free to make a contribution.
In reasonable shape, but perhaps prayers are needed to keep the club’s big three (Slater, Cronk and Smith) in one piece. Long-term injuries to any of these champions could see the Storm reduced to a harmless cloudburst.
Have signed Tony ‘T-Rex’ Williams from Manly to give their engine room extra grunt and go-forward. If he gives it – great. If he doesn’t, and that’s a definite possibility, they will not do better than their runners-up finish in 2012. He was signed to provide their X-factor. Will be an X or just an XOS making up the numbers?
Need new halfback Scotty Prince to turn back the clock and produce (or reproduce) his career best form. Otherwise, the kids in Bronco-land will be leaderless yet again.
New Zealand Warriors:
These guys need to strike an immediate rapport with incoming coach, Matty Elliot. If they don’t find the right chemistry, watch for explosions on a weekly basis. The Warriors have a talented roster but defence seems to be alien to them all. Just look at the last six games of 2012.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles:
Looking at their draw – seven Monday night games – good fortune on Mondays would be a treasured gift to the Sea Eagles. They could also use a big infusion of funds to revive tired old Brookvale Oval which really should be housed in a museum.
North Queensland Cowboys:
These guys need wads of cotton wool. Would be nothing without their big three – Thurston, Bowen and Scott. Should be set for a big year but take one or more away and…
Well, they’ve got Ricky Stuart at the helm now. Smooth waters would be a good Christmas present, but he needs his main men such as Hayne and Sandow to fire up on a weekly basis to kick clear of the wooden spoon.
St George-Illawarra Dragons:
Well, can anyone arrange a miracle? I cannot see a good 2013 for the Dragons. They have bought no-one significant (again) and have lost some very experienced campaigners. I really think they will battle to avoid the spoon, especially without a quality half-back.
These guys really need Benji Marshall to live up to his reputation. He didn’t last year and look what happened. Life without Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington will be very tough indeed. If Robbie Farah and Benji really are mates, Tigers fans would consider it a gift if they showed it on the field.
Can they get over the loss of players such as Like Lewis and Michael Gordon? Big overhaul here – they have signed 12 first graders (and some pretty good ones) – but the club will need instant cohesion. Preferably gift-wrapped.
Finally the Sharkies have the finance wolves well away from their door. Their ideal Christmas pressie would be a guaranteed finals berth and maybe even a premiership? C’mon Santa, they’ve been nice and not naughty for so long now.
Will probably need to receive The Fountain of Youth as a gift. Plenty of old stagers going around for coach Wayne Bennett and a forward pack that looks to be lacking in pace and line-breaking ability. Arise Sir Knight – even if you need a walking stick!
South Sydney Rabbitohs:
I think they urgently need to come up with a back-up for star half-back Adam Reynolds. If Roarers can suggest a ready-made substitute for him, I reckon Mick Maguire might even kiss you under the mistletoe. When Reynolds went off in the major semi, Souths went way off.
This club badly needs some early wins on the board – home and away – and needs to believe in its head coach, David Furner. They left their run way too late last season but have loads of ability across the board.
Forget about Sonny Bill Williams. If Mitchell Pearce doesn’t fire up in the absence of Braith Anasta, the Roosters could be stuffed chooks even by the half way mark of season 2013. Pearce holds all of their keys.
Gold Coast Titans:
Dave Taylor is the big signing here but on many occasions he is way too much brawn and too little brain. I like watching him at his best but I look away when he is otherwise. A titanic Christmas gift would be for this incredibly talented unit to show the league world what he can do. On a weekly basis, nothing less.
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