Who is going to be the top performers in Australian Super Rugby this year, and who can make the finals?
My team look set for a decent season. New coach Daryl Gibson won’t be a step backwards from Michael Cheika, and Nathan Grey has done an outstanding job.
While they look as strong as last year, I am concerned they have not freshened the group up enough. Still, they should go well in 2016 – 2017, I am not so sure.
Have not addressed their problems from last year – primarily, keeping a coach who does not deserve the position. The loss of Adam Thompson, about their best performer last year in a losing team, was not appreciated. They have picked up Kane Douglas, although how much of the season he will play is up in the air.
The backs were their biggest problem in 2015, along with a lack of motivation. They will not improve in the coming season.
The Melbourne side are my fearless pick for best team in 2016, as they have the playing and coaching group to make the finals.
I am a big fan of both halves, Nic Stirzaker and Jack Debreczeni. These guys should make the Wallabies this year, with Debreczeni primed for an outstanding season.
Sean McMahon is in a tricky position given Australia’s backrow stocks, but he will be hard to stop.
This team has both the greatest number of stars – with upwards of seven Wallabies – and the largest number of unknowns. Stephen Larkham will have the backline up with the best, but the forwards do not look strong enough to go all the way.
Still, they will be there or thereabouts.
The WA side are a team of over-performers. They have kept the majority of their squad for 2016, and I am pleased to see captain Matt Hodgson going around again. I really like Steve Mafi and some of their forwards are up to the mark.
Their backs are willing, with some players capable of outstanding play, but they lack an excellent five-eighth, and I’m not sure if Peter Grant will drive them around well enough.
They will struggle to make the finals, but will take a few big scalps.