Predictions for the 2018 NRL season

Adam Hayward Roar Pro

By Adam Hayward, Adam Hayward is a Roar Pro

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    It’s that time of year where rugby league commentators, journalists, ex-players and fans start giving their predictions for the 2018 NRL season.

    There have been a few crazy top eight predictions already, so here are my own crystal-ball musings, which are sure to cause debate.

    We will see the return of superstar players like Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis in 2018, while some big names may suffer season-ending injuries.

    Young players will become stars and star players will flop. We could see teams written off due to a poor start to the season, but deliver a late-season surge to scrape into the finals. Teams could start the year off with a bang, then fall by the wayside at the backend of the season.

    Major upsets will undoubtedly be part of the package, while refereeing controversies will just as likely decide results.

    It’s all standard in a season of NRL, which makes predictions damn near impossible. But here are my predictions for the 2018 NRL season anyway, which will hopefully lead to a healthy debate.  

    Wooden Spooners: New Zealand Warriors
    Probably the one thing most league fans (apart from Warriors fans) can agree on, is the likelihood of the Warriors capturing the wooden spoon this year. The subject of ‘culture’ was spoken about at great lengths last year and there is definitely something going horribly wrong in regards to team culture and attitude across the ditch.

    On paper, the Warriors have a very talented side, yet coach Stephen Kearney looked completely out of his depth when it came to getting the best out of his players. The Warriors will continue to go backwards and I predict Kearney will be the first coach sacked in 2018.

    15th place: South Sydney Rabbitohs
    Souths have been lacklustre since their 2014 premiership. And a new coach, the welcome inclusion of Wally Lewis medallist Dane Gagai and the return of superstar Inglis won’t be enough to turn around the fortunes of the Rabbitohs in 2018.

    Inglis has played one match in the past 16 months, so it’s a given that it will take time for him to regain confidence and return to his best football. Sam Burgess will again be among the premier forwards in the game, but he desperately needs the rest of the forward pack to step up, which they haven’t done in the past couple of seasons, apart from Angus Crichton.

    The Rabbitohs will also be hoping Adam Reynolds can return to his best form. Anthony Seibold will need 12 months to make his mark before things start clicking again for the once mighty Rabbitohs. 

    Angus Crichton

    (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

    14th place: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
    Although I have the Dogs finishing third last, they won’t be ‘easy beats’ during the 2018 season. Despite the signing of a new coach in Dean Pay and star players Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran, the Dogs will struggle to score points.

    The ‘Dogs of War’ will pack a punch up front and in defence, but it’s been several years now since we’ve seen the best of Foran and with the impending positional changes, including Moses Mbye to fullback, Foran will be without an experienced five-eighth beside him. It will take another season or two before the Dogs become premiership contenders again. 

    13th place: Wests Tigers
    The Tigers are the most difficult team to predict for the upcoming season. They have a great tactical coach and some decent signings, but based on the last 12 years, it’s hard to see them being successful.

    The club’s decision to bring Benji Marshall home will add depth in the halves, but it will be his experience and leadership which will be most invaluable, especially for struggling halfback Luke Brooks. The addition of Josh Reynolds will also add spark to their attack, and hopefully his competitive nature will rub off on his new teammates. 

    12th place: Gold Coast Titans
    The Titans have a well balanced side of youth and experience. With the Jarryd Hayne drama behind them, the appointment of a highly rated rookie coach and new owners, 2018 is a fresh start for a club that’s been under siege for the past few seasons.

    The entire club now has a positive outlook and with a future superstar halfback in Ash Taylor, the Titans will definitely score a few wins this upcoming season. New coach Garth Brennan has had a lot of success in the lower grades, so now is his chance to achieve the same successes in the top grade. For now, however, the Titans are another club that is perhaps a season or two away from returning to finals football.

    11th place: Canberra Raiders
    Josh Hodgson is a massive loss for the Raiders and the unfortunate release of Kurt Baptiste leaves a giant hole at dummy half. Missing the finals last season, Raiders halves Blake Austin and Aiden Sezer desperately need to rediscover the form that took the green machine to a preliminary final in 2016.

    They still have plenty of fire power and plenty of points in them, but consistency and an inability to close out tight games will cost Canberra a top eight spot again in 2018. That will see coach Ricky Stuart under pressure to keep his job. 

    Daniel Saifiti Newcastle Knights NRL Rugby League 2017

    (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

    10th place: Newcastle Knights
    The obvious big improvers for 2018. A number of key signings will ensure a competitive Newcastle outfit this upcoming season. Having endured a few horror campaigns resulting in three consecutive wooden spoons, the Knights will perhaps be the most analysed team in 2018 and it will be interesting to see how they handle the weight of expectation.

    We will see the likes of Kayln Ponga and Herman Ese’ese become stars and the Knights will only miss the eight by a couple of wins. But the season will be considered a successful rebuild, ensuring sustained success for the next few years.  

    9th place: Manly Sea Eagles
    Manly will go into the 2018 season with dark clouds hanging over the club in regards to the salary cap situation. Daly Cherry-Evans will also have the extra workload on his shoulders without an experienced five-eighth after the club decided to release Blake Green. The Sea Eagles will also be without one of their best players from last season, Dylan Walker, who is expected to miss the first month with a leg injury.

    However, Manly still possess a strong forward pack and potent backline, therefore they will be there fighting for a top eight spot at the backend of the season, but will fall just short of the finish line.

    8th place: St George Illawarra Dragons
    The Dragons fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the finals in 2017 after going down to the Bulldogs in the final round. But with the inclusion of former Broncos halfback and Australia and Queensland representative Ben Hunt, along with Dally M medal favourite Gareth Widdop, the Dragons should be able to do enough to play finals football this upcoming season.

    Young fullback Matt Dufty will make significant strides in 2018, providing a real attacking ‘x-factor’ that the Dragons have lacked in recent years.

    7th place: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
    After their maiden premiership in 2016, it was visibly obvious the Sharks suffered from a premiership hangover last season. Their 2017 campaign was riddled by inconsistency and ill-discipline. It will be interesting to see how key signing Matt Moylan goes with his new club, but he’s not a better player than James Maloney.

    Cronulla still have a few big decisions to make regarding key positions, such as where to play Valentine Holmes and new recruit Josh Dugan. On their day, the Sharks have the team to beat anyone, but their ill-discipline and attitude will be their achilles’ heel in 2018. 

    Jordan Kahu Brisbane Broncos NRL Rugby League 2017

    (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

    6th place: Brisbane Broncos
    Brisbane welcome new recruit Jack Bird to the club but it’s still unknown which position he will play. With the loss of Ben Hunt, the Broncos will be relying heavily on Anthony Milford to take his game to the next level and for Kodi Nikorima to live up to his potential and establish himself as Brisbane’s next long-term halfback.

    Their forward pack will also be under the spotlight. Boosted by the return of Andrew McCullouch at hooker, there are several new faces who will be looking to establish themselves and make the proud and prestigious Broncos jersey their own.

    Despite reaching a preliminary final in 2017, Brisbane’s finals campaign consisted of uninspiring performances coming off the back of some big losses at the backend of last season. As usual, they will be certainties for the finals, but they won’t reach the level of the top teams in 2018.

    5th place: Penrith Panthers
    Many have tipped the Panthers to finish top four but with all the expectations placed on this team for the past few years, they’ve failed to deliver. Nathan Cleary will take his game to the next level in 2018 and with the experience of James Maloney joining him in the halves, the Panthers will be a genuine premiership contender.

    My concern with Penrith is their coach and his perceived lack of man management skills. I have my doubts as to whether Anthony Griffin is capable of guiding this club to it’s full potential.

    4th place: Parramatta Eels
    The difference between Parramatta and Penrith is coach Brad Arthur’s ability to get best out of his players both individually and as a group. The likes of Mitchell Moses and Nathan Brown have improved dramatically under Arthur’s guidance and Parramatta’s key strength is a very skilful backline playing off the back of a very aggressive forward pack.

    2017 was a mixed year for the Eels. Their two massive wins over the Broncos were memorable, but their loss to wooden spooners Newcastle and being outclassed by the Cowboys in last year’s semi-final showed they occasionally went into games with a poor attitude.

    Brad Arthur is a smart coach and that’s an area which we will see a major improvement. The biggest question mark is obviously the Jarryd Hayne factor. Arthur isn’t the kind of man that will be influenced in any way by Hayne and he could potentially get the best out of him as well.

    Cameron Smith NRL Rugby League Melbourne Storm Grand Final 2017

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    3rd place: Melbourne Storm
    The reigning premiers will be a force again in 2018. But we’ll see the Storm ever so slightly move backwards after the likes of Tohu Harris, Jorden McLean and, most importantly, Cooper Cronk moved on to different clubs.

    The only reason Storm aren’t in the top two is that they will likely drop a few games during the State of Origin period, when they lose Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Will Chambers and Cameron Munster. Their depth doesn’t look as promising as it has in previous years.

    2nd place: Sydney Roosters
    The Roosters have lost a few valuable players but have gained superstars in Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco. When you look at the this team on paper, they’re as complete and as dangerous as any team in the comp. They will be a benchmark team in 2018 and with the addition of Cronk, players like Luke Keary and even Tedesco himself will take their games to another level because Cronk’s guidance and leadership will be invaluable.

    My concerns for the Roosters is their forward pack, which lacked consistency at times last year, including the mauling they received in last year’s preliminary final. Also, with the players they’ve lost, they may struggle with depth in key positions should they suffer a few injuries.

    Many pundits have the Roosters finishing first, but like the Storm, they will drop a few games during the Origin period, which will prevent them from claiming the minor premiership.

    Minor premiers: North Queensland Cowboys
    The Cowboys’ ‘culture’ is the envy of every other team in the NRL. And not just the NRL, but teams from other sporting codes as well. The way this club picked themselves up off the canvas after losing both co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston – along with the countless other injuries to key players throughout the 2017 season – is nothing short of miraculous.

    Most of the credit has to go to coach Paul Green. They entered last year’s finals series mentally and physically busted, but they dusted themselves off and made the grand final. In 2018, they will possess arguably the best forward pack in the competition, led by the returning Matt Scott, Australian representative and premiership winner Jordan McLean and the game’s most destructive player, Dally M medallist Jason Taumololo.

    Along with the return of halfback Thurston and Michael Morgan, who is in career best form, the Cowboys will be another benchmark team in 2018 and will take out their maiden minor premiership. The Cowboys will finish ahead of the Roosters and Storm because Origin won’t affect them as much as in previous years.

    Thurston is only committed to the Cowboys, they have a ready-made replacement in the halves in Te Maire Martin, and the depth in their forward pack will see them through the representative period. The Cowboys will have several NRL quality players able to fit into their top 17 each week.

    Johnathan Thurston NRL Rugby League North Queensland Cowboys 2017

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Grand final: North Queensland versus Parramatta
    If last year’s heartbreaking defeat in the grand final isn’t enough incentive, the Cowboys will have extra incentive this year and that’s to send Thurston into retirement with another premiership. Thurston himself will be motivated like never before.

    The Cowboys will qualify for their third grand final in four years because they possess one of the best rosters in the NRL, one of the best coaches in the NRL, they are battle-hardened and have plenty of big match experience.

    The Parramatta Eels have improved every year since Brad Arthur took over as coach, even despite the salary cap drama that ruined their 2016 season. And in 2018 they’ll improve on their shortcomings.

    There is something about this team that most other teams don’t have, which will enable them to beat the likes of Melbourne and the Roosters and qualify for this year’s grand final. That is ruthless aggression. They will have the ability and enthusiasm to bully top teams out of the contest and have more than enough strike power to finish the job.

    The Eels will be motivated to improve on their lacklustre exit in last year’s finals series and have the self belief that they can beat anyone on any day. However, the Cowboys will have too much class and overcome the Eels in a very physical and very intense grand final.

    2018 NRL Premiers: North Queensland

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    The Crowd Says (69)

    • January 4th 2018 @ 5:37am
      madmax said | January 4th 2018 @ 5:37am | ! Report

      Parramatta Eels top 4 & grand finalists lolol………..I certainly needed a good laugh today!! You’re obviously an Eels supporter.

      • Roar Pro

        January 4th 2018 @ 5:43pm
        Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

        Thank you for your pointless feedback and false assumption. Personally I can’t stand the Eels, I’m just offering my unbiased opinion.

        I don’t mind if you disagree, but tell me why you disagree instead of a troll post. I’m always up for discussion

    • January 4th 2018 @ 8:07am
      Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      “Inglis has played one match in the past 16 months, so it’s a given that it will take time for him to regain confidence and return to his best football.”

      Ok, I understand what your saying but then again, he could do a Billy Slater and come back with a bang. Think Souths will be better than you have suggested.

      My top 4 are

      1. Roosters
      2. Storm
      3. Cowboys
      4. Broncos

      I think the Eels will be in the eight but Hayne will be a big distraction.

      • January 4th 2018 @ 8:10am
        Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        Should have added

        Grand Final – Roosters v Storm

        Premiers – Melbourne

      • January 4th 2018 @ 8:58am
        Dave_S said | January 4th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        4. Broncos!

        I hope you’re right (as a supporter) because I’m not confident that top 8 is in the bag. They are one key injury away from Struggle Street.

        • January 4th 2018 @ 9:11am
          Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

          Depth may be a problem but they have some useful players in that squad. If Bennett can get them firing they could pick up some useful wins particularly early in the season. That said, I do think that Bennett is losing his aura so who knows.

          • January 4th 2018 @ 9:31am
            sean said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            I would of said the same. However after watching England play in the final of the world cup Bennett must of done something right because they had a good hot crack.

            Broncos dont have a halfback. They have two running 5/8s so until that is rectified they won win the comp.

            • January 4th 2018 @ 3:33pm
              Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

              I think England have always had capable individuals but somehow lacked something. Maybe it was cohesion, maybe it was the focus on defence but something always let them down. Bennett seemed to identify that and fixed. I think he would be better leaving the broncos and sign up full time with England for the next WC. I think an England WC win would be brilliant for the international game and it would be the crowning glory to end Wayne’s career.

            • Roar Pro

              January 4th 2018 @ 5:58pm
              Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

              The other halves option for the Broncos is Jack Bird, but he’d have a similar game as Nikorima and Milford, running halves who just play what’s in front of them. The next level for Milford is to become that organizing half. Whether he can do it and do it well is the question

              • March 1st 2018 @ 6:28am
                Bart said | March 1st 2018 @ 6:28am | ! Report

                Personally, I cannot stand the Broncos, but Jack Bird in the #1 and Boyd up into the halves to partner Milford would seem to make them a much more balanced, and therefore formidable, side.

      • Roar Pro

        January 4th 2018 @ 5:52pm
        Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

        I understand what you’re saying. Slater is and always has been a freak, no doubt, but it took him a few games to find his groove. My thoughts on the Rabbitohs extends to the form of Reynolds for the past year or so, and George and Tom Burgess have been ordinary since 2014. I’m also unconvinced that Cody Walker is the right man for the #6 jumper

        • Roar Guru

          January 5th 2018 @ 8:51am
          The Barry said | January 5th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

          Big men take longer to get their mojo back as well…

    • January 4th 2018 @ 9:26am
      sean said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Titans and Parramatta are too high, Parramattas loss of semi is bigger than alot of people realise. I dont rate Kane evans that much so there forward momentum wont be in the same league as the cowboys. The Titans dont have any depth and there backline is made up of soso players.

      parramatta 7th
      Titans 15th.

      • Roar Pro

        January 4th 2018 @ 6:06pm
        Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

        Fair call, you make some good points. As far as Parra goes, they have a pretty handy replacement in Bevan French, although he doesn’t have the power and aura of big Semi. I assume Gutho will return to fullback. I’ve become a fan of Nathan Brown and what he brings to the team.

        The Titans weakness will be their defence no doubt and they’ll struggle against the top teams. But Ash Taylor led the league in try assists last year and with the experience and goal kicking of Michael Gordon, they will have plenty of points in them, as shown when they put on 38 points to beat a full strength Storm last season. That’s my reason why I have them winning a few games next season

      • Roar Rookie

        January 4th 2018 @ 6:28pm
        Joe said | January 4th 2018 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

        Agree that the loss of Semi is being underestimated. He was a game winner for the Eels and not many wingers can say that. I still think they are capable of top four as they have pretty much the same team and the halves have a preseason together. Also French and Gutherson were missing for the finals series and they’re now back and so is Hayne who love or hate him is a pretty decent player. They also have the best depth of any team, that the likes of Matagi and Takairangi might be fighting for a bench spot means they’ve got a lot of depth.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 4th 2018 @ 9:37am
      up in the north said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Glad to see some love for Paul Green as coach, what the side endured and how they dealt with that adversity was all down to his leadership.

      Can’t fault the reasoning behind this list – but crikey September is a long way away. Good luck to all teams.

      • Roar Pro

        January 4th 2018 @ 6:09pm
        Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

        Paul Green will become the games number 1 coach the the Cows will have to pull out the chequebook if they want to keep him. I think the Broncos are eying him off as a potential replacement for Bennett and no doubt most clubs will go after him

        • January 4th 2018 @ 9:20pm
          Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

          Woa there, got a heck of a long way to go to become no1 coach. Bellamy is streets ahead of him at the mo and Bennett is up there too. He is good no doubt but has a lot of proving to do yet for that title to even be considered.

          • Roar Pro

            January 4th 2018 @ 11:07pm
            Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:07pm | ! Report

            I’m not saying he is now but he will be in the future. 2 grand finals in 3 years including 1 premiership and 1 grand final without his superstar co-captains. 4 straight finals series. A premiership as assistant coach with the Roosters in 2013 and back-to-back qld cup premierships so his coaching record already puts him above most.

    • Roar Guru

      January 4th 2018 @ 11:17am
      Scott Pryde said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      North Queensland should be favourites by the length of the straight. I can see exactly the same match-up in the grand final with a reversed result.

      • January 4th 2018 @ 11:44am
        sean said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

        I agree actually. Storm vs Cowboys most likely. Cowboys to win.

      • January 4th 2018 @ 3:52pm
        Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

        I don’t see it.

        If the Cowboys had gone out in the first week of the finals like everyone expected then no one would be giving them a chance now. Remember they only got into the eight courtesy of a Dragons botch up. Sure they had a fairy tale run and they worked hard for that but where is the uptick ?

        Sure, Thurston will be back and a couple more recoveries from injury that should see them comfortably into the eight (on their own merit this time) but winning the GF ? The Storm owned them in last year’s GF so what has changed that makes the Cowboys such runaway favourites ? I like the Cowboys and they will have a good run but I do not think there is sufficient there for them to make the big dance.

        For me, it is a Storm v Roosters GF and a Storm win (sorry Coops but it was your decision).

        • Roar Pro

          January 4th 2018 @ 4:47pm
          Cam Stokes said | January 4th 2018 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

          The uptick? A grand final team, that then adds Thurston, Scott and McLean, with Morgan playing in a different league to what he was for most of last season? I see plenty of improvement right there…

          • Roar Rookie

            January 4th 2018 @ 5:32pm
            up in the north said | January 4th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            I was going to say something similar Cam.

            I’m still scratching my head wondering when it was exactly they had a dream run.

            Peter Phelps if you’re refering to going through the finals as a dream run I’ve got to remind you that you can only beat the team in front of you, if that team chooses not to turn up it’s hardly the Cowbies problem.

            Really looking forward to the addition of Mc Lean, the continued development of Coen Hess and just where exactly Te Maire Martin will fit into the puzzle. Coupled with the returns from injury of both captains and the future looks bright indeed.

            • January 4th 2018 @ 9:34pm
              Peter Phelps said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

              True about beating the team in front of you but if my memory serves, it was nail biting stuff. The fairy tale run began when they were dead and buried in ninth position with a Dragons team favourite to win and gain 8th place. They bottled it and the Cows were lucky to be playing finals footy at all. They were then written off every finals round but somehow managed to cling on to reach the big one. That is the fairy tale run.

              Now as much as I like the Cowboys, one must accept that they were very lucky to be at the big dance. You can look at their injury list and have sympathy and say that will improve them this year but that is a very big stretch to say that they are ” favourites by the length of the straight”. They will get into the eight by their own merit but the likes of the Roosters, Storm, Eels, Broncos and sharks will ask some very big questions.

              You can only beat the team in front of you is true but what we are trying to predict is next year and you would be foolish to assume that everyone against you will play dead. One thing is for sure, after 2017 finals run, quite a few clubs will be looking for the cowboys scalp.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 5th 2018 @ 8:54am
                up in the north said | January 5th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Okay Peter we’re on the same page now regarding the finals dream run, but how about their horror run which they endured for most of the season. You can’t deny that regularly having a team decimated by injury and often down to zero men left on the bench while busted players refuse to let their mates down by leaving the field, would constitute a horror run.

                I just wonder how any of those sides the Cowbies ousted would have fared against the marauding stormers in the GF. Because it was obvious to everyone way back in July that Melbourne were far superior to the rest, even I didn’t give them much chance to be honest. But they didn’t get flogged by any means, in fact they forced the Storm to earn their win.

                As far as prediction go, I don’t do them, I merely comment on more articulate people’s articles, as I wrote previously September is a long way away.

              • January 5th 2018 @ 8:49pm
                Peter Phelps said | January 5th 2018 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

                Don’t get me wrong, I greatly admire the tenacity that got the Cowbies through to the GF against all the odds. It was the stuff of fairy tales and I enjoyed it tremendously but how much of that can be relied on in 2018 ? The return of key players will help and they have picked up some useful buys but I don’t see that as just cause for the “runaway premiers” title just yet. I can see them getting into the top 4 indeed I think the Cows, Storm & Roosters are slam dunk top 4 material but no more than that.

                As for making the storm earn their win, did we watch the same game ?

                34-6 with the ref giving multiple sets to the cows on the storm try line for their only score (see my posts on worrying nrl instructions to refs) is hardly earning their win more like a walk in the park.

                Think there is a big case of selective memories going on here.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 7th 2018 @ 7:07pm
                up in the north said | January 7th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

                True and a fair call. But what would the Storm have put on the chooks.
                Guess we’ll never know.

              • January 7th 2018 @ 10:51pm
                Peter Phelps said | January 7th 2018 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

                Think they would have struggled against the chooks. Of all the games last year the Roosters looked to have the measure of them. I still think Melbourne would have won but I wouldn’t have put money on that one.

      • January 4th 2018 @ 11:28pm
        Roy said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:28pm | ! Report

        Guru???? Hahaha what a laugh.

    • January 4th 2018 @ 11:49am
      souvalis said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      I look at that Cowboys three quarter line (jerseys 1 – 5) and wonder how they made the 8….well,if the Dragons don’t choke they wouldn’t have)…and then went on to out guts the 2 guns in their way Sharks and Roosters..

      But really,Linnett,Oneill,Winterstein, Feldt,Coote…no speed,no swerves,no moves..wouldn’t bo on any short list for rep.duties this year,any year here on…how do they do it ?

      • Roar Rookie

        January 4th 2018 @ 5:08pm
        up in the north said | January 4th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

        You’re right in a way Souvalis, the backline isn’t the flashest in the comp, but what they do is stick to a succesful gameplan and defend like their lives depend on it.

        Give me an honest toiler any day of the week.

        That’s how they do it.

      • Roar Pro

        January 4th 2018 @ 6:21pm
        Adam Hayward said | January 4th 2018 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

        I see your point. The way I look at the Cowboys and how they utilize their outside backs is different to most clubs. I think they were first for tries scored from inside the opposition 20 and last for tries scored from their own half. They play a field position game by winning the battle in the middle 3rd. Kane Linnett lacks skill. But what he brings to the cowboys is solid defence and strong ball carries, which takes a lot of pressure off their forwards. O’Neill and Feldt have speed to burn, but rarely do they get an opportunity in open field to burn it but again, are used to take one-out ball carries. They play a low-risk brand of football under Paul Green. Gone are the days when Thurston and Bowen would shred teams to pieces from anywhere on the field.

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