Yesterday we brought you the first installment of why your team won’t win the NRL competition in 2013.
Here is the second part, as well as my prediction as to who will lift the NRL trophy at seasons’ end.
Will Nathan Tinkler’s bank roll last the 26 rounds? Although the Knights deny any rift between the board and the players, it is clear that all is not well in the Hunter. Off-field distractions will effect on-field performances, which is a shame, because I’m tipping a big year for Jarrod Mullen.
Last year’s wooden spooners may well again be the NRL cellar dwellers come 2013. With the retirement of Nathan Hindmarsh, the club loses not only a champion player but a much respected icon of the game.
The greatest loss however may be the unheralded Luke Burt, who also hung up the boots. The veteran winger was dynamic in both attack and defence, scoring as many tries as he saved to instil some respect in Parramatta’s season.
A far from impressive recruitment drive sees a very second-rate backline. Once again the onus will be on Jarryd Hayne to create the bulk of attacking opportunities, however recent premiers have proven that one star player alone cannot single handedly win premierships.
Phil Gould – El Supremo, if you will – has done nothing but disrupt the playing group since his return to the foot of the mountains. First Gordon and Lewis, and now talks of Michael Jennings’ exit, has removed the clubs’ three most potent weapons in attack.
Their leadership has also taken a hit with the exit of 200-game veteran Lewis. Sorry Panthers fans, 2013 will not be your year.
If Cronulla are ever going to win a premiership, it must be prior to 2015 when Paul Gallen hangs up the boots.
Gallen is the heart and soul of the shire, and has been on his lonesome for too long. However with the arrival of Lewis and Heighington, Cronulla are now blessed with an international back row which other teams could only ever dream of.
Todd Carney looks set to remain with the club and his combination with Gordon at the back could prove lethal for the opposition.
The only thing weighing Cronulla down from glory is the old monkey on the back – a heavy, 46-year-old monkey which supporters can only hope will soon be laid to rest.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Like the Cowboys, I fear the Rabbitohs will waver off the back of their exit from the 2012 competition. Otherwise strong across the park, the Rabbitohs may once more be singing “glory glory to South Sydney” come finals football. They may also suffer from dragging around a similarly sized monkey as the Sharks.
St George Illawarra Dragons
Despite the recruitment of Gerard Beale and Tyson Frizell, the Dragons are yet to purchase quality, premiership winning players for 2013. Bellamy’s suggested move to Wollongong may inevitably effect Steve Price’s time at the helm.
The Dragons will suffer from an obvious lack of fire power across the park (excluding Brett Morris).
The Bondi based club have significantly bolstered their roster prior to the 2013 season.
Key acquisitions of James Maloney and Sonny Bill Williams will have fans dreaming of success, however the Roosters still lack one crucial ingredient: experience.
Too often in 2012, ill-discipline cost the Tri-Colours at vital moments, with silly penalties and drop balls.
Anthony Minichiello looks likely to skipper the side, but not even Mini’s veteran status can help the young Roosters push for contention in 2013.
Maybe in a few seasons these young talents will flourish with exposure to first grade – I predict brighter things ahead for those in the east.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors, much alike the Sydney Roosters, boast an inexperienced backline which was too often found out by good players in 2012.
The loss of Maloney to the Roosters will see Carlos Tuimavave step into the number 6 role, however he too will have a tough job to replace not only Maloney’s ball playing skills and line-breaking ability.
Once again, ill-discipline and a lack of respect for possession will cost the Warriors if they allow it to.
The culture at the Tigers is certainly one which does not support a premiership winning team. Looking to start new with a fresh leader, Mick Potter is untested in the NRL and the scrutiny he will face is greater than in the Super League.
The losses of Heighington and Ryan will deplete both the forwards and backs respectively, once again Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah will look to lead a squad missing the talent needed to mirror their 2005 successes.
So, who will win?
The side who can avoid disruption and somehow prove wrong the assessment of weaknesses will go on to bask in success come October.
I think the Dogs will go one better in 2013.
And no, I am not a Bulldogs supporter.