NRL: Your team’s main man in 2018



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    Sixteen teams will battle it out for rugby league supremacy in 2018. Here’s the 16 men that will be the most important for their club’s quest.

    * Brisbane
    Kodi Nikorima. With Ben Hunt gone, most of the playmaking duties are going to fall on Anthony Milford. But he needs a foil and Nikorima must step up.

    * Canberra
    Craig Garvey and/or Siliva Havili. The Raiders have a hooking crisis on their hands. Josh Hodgson (knee) will miss most of the season and Adam Clydsdale has retired. That means that either Garvey or Havili will wear the No.9.

    * Canterbury
    Kieran Foran. The Bulldogs had the worst attack in the competition this year – scoring 360 points in 24 games. Five-eighth Foran has been brought in to organise their offence.

    * Cronulla
    Matt Moylan. Brought in by Shane Flanagan in a swap deal for grand final-winning half James Maloney, there’s a huge burden on the shoulders of the former Panthers skipper.

    * Gold Coast
    Whoever ends up playing fullback. Jarryd Hayne has gone and he’s left a hole in their roster. Michael Gordon is in negotiations to join the club and would slot right in at No.1. Phillip Sami, Tyronne Roberts-Davis and Brendan Elliot are other options.

    * Manly
    Daly Cherry-Evans. Lachlan Croker, Jackson Hastings or Cameron Cullen shape as Trent Barrett’s options for the five-eighth role, meaning even more playmaking responsibilities will fall on Cherry-Evans.

    * Melbourne
    Brodie Croft. How do you replace a player like Cooper Cronk? You bring in a Cooper Cronk clone. In his five NRL appearances, he’s looked the goods. But how will he go running a side week in, week out?

    * Newcastle
    Mitchell Pearce. He’s playing alongside a young spine in Kalyn Ponga, Danny Levi and Connor Watson. The only way is up for the Knights. But how high can Mitchell Pearce take them next year?

    * North Queensland
    Jordan McLean. Paul Green already had arguably the best pack in the competition and now they’ve added McLean. Their middle forward rotation of McLean, Matt Scott, Jason Taumalolo and Scott Bolton is formidable.

    * Parramatta
    Mitchell Moses. The Eels playmaker came along in leaps and bounds during the World Cup, guiding Lebanon to the quarter-finals. He’s been spoken about as a possible NSW Origin debutant.

    * Penrith
    James Maloney is a winner. He won a premiership with the Sydney Roosters. He won a premiership with Cronulla. He’s been brought in to do the same at the Panthers.

    * South Sydney
    Greg Inglis. Will we see the best of GI ever again? It’s the burning question after he spent almost all of 2017 on the sideline because of a knee injury.

    * St George Illawarra
    Matt Dufty. Ask anyone at the club and they’ll tell you he looks like a superstar. Josh Dugan is gone and he looks set to step into the No.1 jumper and will be tasked with sparking their attack.

    * Sydney Roosters
    Cooper Cronk. There’s no other way of putting it – the Roosters will be expected to win a premiership during Cronk’s tenure. Known as the ultimate professional, his off-field influence could be the most telling.

    * Warriors
    Blake Green. The Warriors have been underachieving for most of their existence – is Green the answer this season? Shaun Johnson can be erratic and it’ll be up to Green to do all the little things right.

    * Wests Tigers
    Josh Reynolds. Just three short years ago Reynolds was a State of Origin series winner. He hasn’t reached his best since. He’ll be teaming with Luke Brooks. Can he help the joint venture out of the doldrums?

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • Roar Guru

      December 12th 2017 @ 8:52am
      Nat said | December 12th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Not surprising all but 1 are spine players and even then, McLean is a great addition to the Cowboys he is hardly the ‘Main Man’ in a pack boasting 4/5 starting rep forwards. Interested to see how DCE goes with a young half to partner him. He stood out with Green and Foran outside him so we’ll see. Same but opposite with the GC. They have success with a mature 5/8(Roberts) with Taylor but he had to swap between 3 of them last season.

    • December 13th 2017 @ 2:50pm
      Aem said | December 13th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

      Warriors will be more like Albert Vete or someone of that ilk, if they are to miraculously make the 8. They desperately need a big middle forward to go supernova alongside James Gavet if they are a chance to hang with decent teams – because we know Blair isn’t that guy.

      Green is fine, he’ll be ok, a decent complementary player and not much more – he’s not going to magically ‘unlock’ something in Johnson, just like he didn’t in DCE. Manly middles created more space in 2017 than 2016 (thanks in large part to Taupau moving back to the middle full-time, Trbojevic’s continued advancement and Fonua-Blake showing signs of being the next big thing at the position) which played the bigger part in the DCE renaissance (as well as the simpler explanation of… form! sometimes guys just go through slumps), I would argue.

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