Previewing last year’s top four teams’ chances in 2014

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    Roosters lifting the crown - history repeating in 2014? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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    Part two of three in my season previews for the 2014 NRL season will look at how last year’s front runners will fare this year. So, lets take a look at how the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Storm and Sea Eagles will go in the upcoming season.

    Note: These predictions are for the end of the regular season.

    The Sydney Roosters, the reigning NRL premiers had a stellar 2013, which saw them keep their opposition scoreless on a whopping six occasions.

    In 2014, they will once again be the front runners, and will be a massive chance of going back to back.

    With the recruitment of French prop Remi Casty and the re-signing of superstar Sonny Bill Williams for one more year, their forward pack looks to be up to the challenge again. In 2014, the Roosters will once again be a force to be reckoned with.

    Prediction: first.

    The South Sydney Rabbitohs had a very strong 2013 season, but once again fell one game short of a grand final berth.

    The foundation club have been quiet on the recruitment front, only picking up ageing winger Lote Tuqiri as a notable signing.

    Their forward pack is arguably the best in the comp, but their outside backs look very short, and if injuries hit out wide they could be in trouble.

    Look for young gun Alex Johnstone to make his NRL debut this season if this does occur. Overall though, Souths should be in for another good year, and here’s hoping the “Pride of the League” can go one better in 2014.

    Prediction: second.

    The Melbourne Storm last year were the same as they have been for years, and that meant they had another great year.

    This year though, they have lost star five-eighth Gareth Widdop and a few other first grade players.

    But once again, I believe that Melbourne will be there when September hits, and will once again be one of the teams setting the pace, barring injuries to any of their stars.

    Another season under Craig Bellamy will mean another season that the Storm will be one of the harder teams to beat in the competition, and will be a contender come finals time.

    Prediction: fifth.

    Finally, everyone’s favourite, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

    Perhaps the most consistent side in recent memory, Manly once again made the grand final in 2013.

    Over the off season they have lost a few players of note, including Brent Kite and cult hero George Rose.

    They have added depth to their squad with young recruits Josh Starling and Cheyse Blair, without picking up any superstars.

    They will be strong once again in 2014, and with the best halves combination, and probably the best backline in the competition, the Sea Eagles will contend for the premiership once again.

    Prediction: third.