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

Lj O'Loughlin Roar Rookie

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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.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • Roar Guru

      March 4th 2014 @ 6:25am
      Walter Penninger said | March 4th 2014 @ 6:25am | ! Report

      I agree with your assessment

    • March 4th 2014 @ 11:25am
      Marldon said | March 4th 2014 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      Swap Manly & Storm predictions and I think you won’t be far off. Bunnies might slip a little but not much.

      • March 4th 2014 @ 12:00pm
        Lj O'Loughlin said | March 4th 2014 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        It could go either way there, but I think the Storm with a highly inexperienced five-eighth will hurt them a bit, whereas Manly have the best halves in the comp.

        • March 4th 2014 @ 3:32pm
          Pot Stirrer said | March 4th 2014 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

          yep, how do they mange to keep both of them under the salary cap.

    • March 4th 2014 @ 4:44pm
      sham said | March 4th 2014 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

      Good article. Given that history does not just repeat itself there likely to be some surprises. I think that Melbourne may drop a bit. Their top players are getting older and they have lost a few key players. The loss of Widdop may hurt them a tad they may finish lower than fifth. The Storm never give you anything though – you have to beat them by attacking their outside backs and taking a few risks. The Storm unlike other sides will not give you points through mistakes.

    • March 4th 2014 @ 9:35pm
      Scrubbit said | March 4th 2014 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

      Tbh I wouldn’t be surprised if the storm had a better year than last. They’ll start the season as per usual (complete dominance) and fade a little through origin, but if Bellamy gives his stars proper rest (which he won’t) they would end the season just as dominant.

      The key to me is their form a month after origin. Last year they were still a bit stale and worn down, but slater and cronk both had niggles with widdop out. Once the final quarter of the season begins you’ll see whether or not they will storm (pun intended) into a top 4 position.

    • March 5th 2014 @ 10:17pm
      Tracy Brown said | March 5th 2014 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

      Technically Newcastle best Melbourne to make the semis, doesn’t that mean they finished 4th last year? Possibly your top 4 is in reference to the regular season not post season finishes but worth noting that Melbourne technically finished, what, 5th?

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