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Six predictions for the 2013 NRL season

10 Have your say

    Ex-Dragons coach Steve Price in happier times. (Source: AAP Image/Action Photographics,Colin Whelan)

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    St George Illawarra will come last. Sorry Dragons fans, but the Dragons’ 2013 campaign will be one to forget, with the retiriment of leaders Ben Hornby and Dean Young not helping their cause.

    The Dragons will lack veteran leadership and stand out players with Soward, Creagh, Cooper, Scott and Nightingale playing mediocre footy. None of these guys are likely to play at representative level this season.

    Josh Drinkwater, the Stanley brothers, Jack de Belin and Daniel Vidot won’t have the young legs to get St George anywhere but last place this season.

    2. Parramatta will make the top eight

    The acquisition of star coach Ricky Stuart and Jarryd Hayne returning from injury will be a big boost to the Eels’ chances of making the top eight this season.

    However, Chris Sandow, Reni Maitua, Jarryd Hayne, Fui Fui Moi Moi, Tim Mannah and Ken Sio must all play to their allstar/representative level to be able to compete with the top-tier sides in the NRL.

    The Eels have recently lost long time key sponser Pirtek, but there are rumours going around that the Eels may acquire young five-eighth Corey Norman from the Brisbane Broncos, which would be welcome good news in Parramatta.

    3. 2013: Year of the rookies

    Its always exciting to see what talent comes through from the National Youth Competition, and NRL fans should look no further then Wests Tigers’ winger, Marika Koroibete.

    Koroibete is a strong, fast guy who can be devastating in attack and equally as scary in defence. In a handful of games he’s played that he’s a try scoring machine.

    Other rookies to watch out for are: Kane Evans, Josh Drinkwater, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Klemmer, Tyson Fritzel, John Polavi and Mitch Cornish.

    4. The pressure’s on for Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney

    With NSW losing streak tallying up to seven series in a row, the standout mismatch in productivity as well as consistency is between the halves.

    Now not only is the pressure on for NSW to finally win a series, but Pearce and Carney’s positions are in jeprody with the likes of Adam Reynolds, Josh Reynolds, Sam Williams and James Maloney all maturing into genuine stars.

    Not only is Adam Reynolds the current Rookie of the Year, but he’s a sharshooter, (88 percent from 73 attempts).

    Josh Reynolds has a lot of guts in attack as well as defence and was one of the few bright sparks in what was a dull grandfinal campaign for the Bulldogs last year.

    Sam Williams has only played a handful of games and his game has already been compared to Thurston’s. He has shown great vision, good kicking, and always looks dangerous with the ball, putting the defence in two minds.

    James Maloney (now Mitchell Pearce’s partner in crime) was one of the Warriors’ best players for the last two years and with better talent around him at the Roosters he will improve.

    This is why I feel NSW should not fear because they have, or will have, many more strong options to select to play those two very improtant roles.

    After the Cronk/Thurston era there aren’t two indivituals who can fill the gaps and make the same impact other than Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans.

    5. Sam Perrett will be the Bulldogs’ fullback

    With star player Ben Barba now out indefinitely, the question yet to be answered by the people at The Bulldogs HQ is who will fill Ben Barbas almost unfillable shoes?

    There is a big chance that answer will be Sam Perrett.

    Perrett came to The Bulldogs last season after leaving the Roosters and showed fans everywhere why he is one of the most reliable, safe and consistent players in the league with his ability to catch high balls, his decision making and performing to his Kiwi international standards.

    6. The Raiders or the Cowboys make the grand final

    Both teams made a deep finals run last year and will be just as dominant this season.

    The Green Machine and the Cowboys both have incredible forward packs.

    The Raiders have Josh Pappali, Dane Tilse, David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.

    The Cowboys have James Tamou, Matt Scott, Dallas Johnson, Jason Taumololo, Gavin Cooper and Tariq Sims.

    Both also have some dangerous backs, the Raiders with Josh Dugan, Sam Williams, Jarrod Croker, Sandor Earl, Edrick Lee and the Cowboys with Johnathan Thurston, Matt Bowen, Antonio Winterstein, Ashley Graham, Kane Linnett and Brent Tate, a good mix of youth and veterens to balance both squads out.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • March 7th 2013 @ 6:28am
      Big Time said | March 7th 2013 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      Ha ha ha, another Dragons doomsdayer!! Shark supporter are you?? With the latest turn of events, maybe Sharks are hot favourites for the spoon.

    • March 7th 2013 @ 6:45am
      Big Time said | March 7th 2013 @ 6:45am | ! Report

      In addition, Dragons will not have to worry about Scotts “mediocre” form, as he signed with the Knights. Kyle Stanley’s “young legs” defiantely won’t be any good for the Dragons this year, he was ruled out for the season ages ago.

      Sam Williams the next Thurston? No doubt he is a good player, but Thurston?? He will struggle to hold a first grade spot when Campese is back in a few weeks.

      As for James Maloney. Played well in 2012? Was excellent in 2011, I agree, but last year was truly woeful, by his own admission. Warriors were bad, and he was one of their worst.

      Watch much footy??

      • March 7th 2013 @ 10:24am
        Luke said | March 7th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        Haha. My thoughts exactly as I was reading through.

      • March 7th 2013 @ 10:47am
        Julian said | March 7th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        Well said Big Time. So Joe, you tip the Dragons to come last, then cite Drinkwater and Frizell as 2 rookies to watch. Perhaps you should also note that Nightingale is a Kiwi, and I’ll bet pounds to peanuts he’ll play rep footy.
        I make this point to the Dragons doomsayers. St. George Illawarra had the 4th best defence last year. Teams with that reocrd don’t come last.

        • March 7th 2013 @ 2:24pm
          Ken said | March 7th 2013 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          Morris, Merrin and Creagh are all likely to be there for NSW too (Morris is also a walk-up starter for Australia, Merrin might be a chance there as well).

          With their strong defence and backline class, the Dragons will not be coming last – they look like a fringe top 8 team again this year, just like last year. If they can pull off some of the close games they’ll be in the finals, although actually contending for the title would require the squad to take a major leap from last years performances.

    • March 7th 2013 @ 8:03am
      Lou said | March 7th 2013 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      Stay off the glue , you may just get a visit from ASADA after this article ,,,

    • March 7th 2013 @ 11:47am
      Dr Chop said | March 7th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      Such a poorly researched article. What else is there to say? Do your research next time.

      • March 7th 2013 @ 5:41pm
        Epiquin said | March 7th 2013 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

        Well since Steve Turner had already been announced as Bulldogs’ new fullback before this article was even published, I’m inclined to agree with you.

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2013 @ 1:25pm
      mastermind5991 said | March 7th 2013 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

      Being a Dragons fan, it’s way too early to write them off for the year. But the prospect of a wooden spoon would be terrifying given the team were premiers just three years ago.

      But anything can happen. Look at Canberra in the last three even years for example. They came from nowhere to make the finals. Perhaps the Dragons can do the same thing as well this year.

    • March 17th 2013 @ 4:11pm
      Steve said | March 17th 2013 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

      Yeah the raiders will definitely make the 8… the bottom 8

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