The Roar
The Roar


A mug's game: Predicting the final NRL ladder after Round 2

Newcastle could benefit from an NRL draft system. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)
Roar Guru
11th March, 2017

Everyone knows Round 2 is at least 15 rounds too early to be declaring teams chances for the season but I’m going to have a crack anyway.

Below is a brief overview of how I see each team’s status after two games and the range I see them gunning for on the final table. This is subject to massive change but I stand by it all, for the next seven days at least.

Broncos – have played the last two season’s premiers for an impressive win and a close loss. Controlling the pace of games very well and look to have a well balanced side. They’ll finish 3-6 on the ladder because of the Origin period.

Raiders – lost a tough, golden point game against the Cowboys but didn’t show up versus the Sharks. Life’s easier when expectations are low as opposed to being a premiership favourite. I still think they’ll end up 1-4.

Bulldogs – two close losses against two of the gun teams of the comp. Still massive question marks about their attack and the contribution of their halves. 6-12.

Sharks – off the pace against the Broncos but destroyed the Raiders. How they would replace Mick Ennis and Ben Barba were the big off season questions. Jayden Brailey has stepped up so far, Jack Bird killed it against the Raiders and Valentine Holmes is still to come back into the team. 3-6.

Titans – fought back in the second half against the Roosters after getting pumped in the first but then lost to the Knights in Round 2. Jarryd Hayne is out injured and the club is not living up to the off season hype so far. 8-14.

Sea Eagles – outclassed by Parramatta but defended strongly. Started brilliantly against the Rabbitohs but folded just as quickly. I see them struggling against the top teams. 12-16.


Storm – business as usual with tough wins in awful conditions away against the Dogs and Warriors. All things being even they’ll definitely be in the mix. Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris and hopefully Billy Slater to come back. 1-4.

Knights – couldn’t close out the game against the Warriors despite being on top for large parts of the game. They got the job done against the Titans. They will trouble teams but still a year or two too young. 15-16.

Warriors – more of the same? Big names, big expectations, ordinary performance. Class of SJ and RTS got them out of jail against the Knights but couldn’t really trouble the Storm. 8-14

Cowboys – two tough games, two tough wins. Matt Scott injury will test the already questionable depth in the engine room. Jason Taumalolo likely to miss next week too. 3-6.

Eels – Round 2 game yet to be played. Good against Manly but that form yet to be franked with the way the Eagles folded against Souths. 5-12.

Panthers – off-season golden boys but struggled against the Dragons. Got it together against the Tigers who were awful. Bryce Cartwright is struggling off the field and injured on it. These guys are the biggest wild cards in the comp for mine. 4-10.

Rabbitohs – hard to find a line with the Bunnies. Flogged by the Tigers. Beat Manly well but conceded three early tries. Better teams will not let them back in. The impact of Greg Inglis’ injury yet to be seen as is the impact of the Burgess twins ongoing poor form. Lot of salary cap to have in the stands. 9-15.


Dragons – Round 2 game not played yet. Big score against the Panthers but jury still out about their attack for mine. Not many of their tries were from structured play – which was their 2016 weakness. Effort and intensity outstanding. 7-13.

Roosters – I had them flagged for a top-two finish before the season started. Have looked devastating at times in both games – just not for 80 minutes. Their bench offers more variety than any other. 1-4

Tigers – Looked the goods against Souths but were a rabble against the Panthers today. If things go their way they’ll put teams to the sword. When they’re in an arm wrestle they’ll get dusted. 10-16.