2017 ladder predictions (Part 1)

Josh Allerton Roar Guru

By , Josh Allerton is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    The 2017 NRL season is just around the corner. Here is what I think the ladder will look like at season’s end.

    16) Newcastle Knights
    Unfortunately for the Knights, this season looms as a transitional one for the young squad. They still boast some of the most exciting young guns in the game – including Brock Lamb, the Saifiti brothers and Dylan Phythian. Coach Nathan Brown will be hoping to improve from their solitary victory in 2016.

    The Knights simply won’t have enough x-factor to avoid their third consecutive wooden spoon.

    15) St George Illawarra Dragons
    The Dragons’ 2017 season will be strained by their developing spine, high-profile contract dramas and attacking impairment. Since losing halfback Drew Hutchinson in a freak training accident, they will be resorting to Josh McCrone, at least for the first few rounds, although young guns such as, Matt Dufty and Jai Field will eventually feature in the side.

    Their inability to score tries will result in the Dragons once again sliding down the ladder.

    14) Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
    Des Hasler has a proven success rate of getting his teams to the finals. That will not be the case for the Dogs in 2017. The Bulldogs’ major problems in 2016 stemmed from their attack.

    Specifically, the halves came under plenty of scrutiny, especially for their kicking game. The rest of their spine also came under criticism, as Michael Lichaa didn’t improve on an impressive 2015, and Will Hopoate sat out of Sunday matches for religious reasons.

    In fairness, when Hopoate did play, he was very impressive, although he sat out of their one and only finals appearance of 2016. Zac Woolford will be breathing down Lichaa’s neck.

    13) Manly Warringah Sea-Eagles
    Perhaps the most talented side of the bottom four I’ve named thus far, Manly’s side this year boasts some fantastic new recruits including, Blake Green, Curtis Sironen and Brian Kelly. For now, I see Manly has a bottom four side due to their lack of depth, strike power out wide, and their inexperience, especially with the recent losses of Brett Stewart and Steve Matai.

    12) Parramatta Eels
    This year, the Eels will boast a completely different team to the one that was predicted success in 2016. New recruits Frank Pritchard, Nathan Brown and Josh Hoffman will prove great buys for the club.

    The downfall for Parramatta is their spine. Bevan French will be a wonderful fullback. Although questions must be raised about their halves and hooker situation. Clint Gutherson is a fantastic player, but his creativity in the halves will be in question.

    His combination with Corey Norman is vital to the success of the team. Issac De Gois and Cameron King will most likely share the hooking roles throughout the season. If the Eels are to have success their spine must shine.

    11) Wests Tigers
    The young Tigers team have a lot to prove this year, none more so than their coach, Jason Taylor. Although, I believe due to their lack of depth, this year they’ll narrowly miss out again on the finals.

    The loss of Tim Simona has created more problems for their backline depth, which may be exposed during the year if an injury strikes. It will all come down to the “big four” – Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses, James Tedesco and Aaron Woods.

    kyle-lovett-nrl-wests-tigers-2016

    10) Cronulla Sharks
    Yes, I have last year’s premiers missing out on the finals. The losses of Michael Ennis and Ben Barba is set to have a huge impact on their team.

    They can cover Barba with Valentine Holmes, although the loss of Ennis will be significant to their performance this year, as first exposed in the World Club Challenge. Pressure will be on the senior players to prove their worth.

    9) Gold Coast Titans
    The Titans are tough to leave out of my top 8. In so many areas they boast some serious talent, especially their spine. But I have them just missing out in a close race. The recent injury to Nathan Peats will impact the side, and a lot will depend on how he returns.

    If the Titans are to make a dent in the competition, their attack will need to gel through their young halves and the form of superstar Jarryd Hayne.

    Who do you think should be higher? Or perhaps lower?

    Twitter: @Joshayyyy21

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