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Opinion

Revisiting my five fearless predictions for the 2020 NRL season

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Expert
26th October, 2020
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After a couple of seasons of blistering-hot form with my annual fearless predictions, I think I’ll come falling back to earth with an almighty thud this year.

Oh well, that’s life. As any Penrith Panther fan can attest to, what goes up, must come down.

Over the last two seasons, I’ve scored 7.5 out of nine for my ten fearless predictions, but even a Melbourne Storm accountant is going to find it hard to cook the numbers into something positive this time around.

Fear not though, because that won’t stop me from trying! Here goes . . .

1. The Roosters will win the minor premiership – but not the grand final
I started with a cheeky two-for-one prediction, which had served me well in previous years, and once again sees me get off to a relatively solid start.

The Roosters did not win the minor premiership, finishing in fourth place and nine points off the table-topping Panthers, so no luck for me there. However, they most definitely did not win the grand final either, so I – ahem – pick up a point on that front.

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You can go ahead and argue the merits of whether picking one team out of sixteen to not be the premiers is in any way, shape or form “fearless”, but facts are facts: I was (half) right. So go me.

2. Latrell Mitchell won’t finish the season at fullback
Well, well, well. What have we here? Yet another correct prediction. Perhaps I didn’t go as badly as I thought?!

A look at the Bunnies playing list for their last game of the season – the preliminary final against Penrith – reveals that Corey Allen lined up in the number 1 jersey.

In fact, even though Allen started the game at fullback, Alex Johnston ended the game at the back for Souths. So Latrell Mitchell was two players removed from finishing the season at fullback.

Honestly, that’s almost worth two points, but I’ll be fair, objective and balanced and just give myself the one point for this brilliant call.

What’s that? My point was that Mitchell wasn’t suited to fullback and would end up back in the centres? Well, technically, that happened after just two games!

Nothing to see here, let’s move along.

Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs looks on

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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3. Kalyn Ponga will win the Dally M
The Newcastle Knights fullback finished ninth on the eventual ladder. I’ll have to check my notes on how the award is calculated, but I’m pretty sure that means he didn’t win the Dally M.

As such, I’ll have to admit defeat on this one.

Next year, I’ll just ask Buzz who is going to win.

4. A 20-40 kick will decide a game
Um, I don’t think one was even kicked?

Anthony Milford attempted one, but much like everything the Brisbane Broncos did this year, it didn’t end very well.

Considering a 20/40 kick potentially wasn’t even completed, Donald Trump would struggle to spin this into a good news story, so it’s a zero score here.

5. Paul Kent will be positive about rugby league all season
I don’t care what you say, this is still an hilarious joke.

Poor old Kenty. He really is an energy tampon. Knowing how much Cameron Smith and the Melbourne Storm winning the premiership would irk him really makes me happy. But I digress – back to the serious predictions.

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Cameron Smith and Brandon Smith

Cameron Smith and Brandon Smith. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

5. Canberra will win the premiership
As soon as I made this prediction, I apologised to Canberra fans.

OK fine, I didn’t. In fact, I gloated that I would get this one right. In my defence though, it’s Canberra who let themselves down by losing to the Storm in the preliminary final, not me.

The Raiders just never really got into a groove this year. Injuries certainly hampered them, but they always seemed just a touch off their best, and failed to make their second consecutive grand final, let alone win it.

Sadly, we’ll have to pour that green celebratory milk down the drain, guys.

Overall
A very respectable two out of five. Hey, that’s actually pretty good! If this is now what a “down year” looks like, I’ll take it.

Oh, you want more? An encore? Alright then.

Reviewing my bonus prediction – the ladder at the end of the season

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Every team’s predicted ladder finish, followed by their actual ladder finish.

1. Sydney Roosters (4th)
2. Melbourne Storm (2nd)
3. Canberra Raiders (5th)
4. Parramatta Eels (3rd)
5. Manly Sea Eagles (13th)
6. Penrith Panthers (1st)
7. South Sydney Rabbitohs (6th)
8. North Queensland Cowboys (14th)
9. Newcastle Knights (7th)
10. Brisbane Broncos (16th)
11. Wests Tigers (11th)
12. Cronulla Sharks (8th)
13. Canterbury Bulldogs (15th)
14. St George Illawarra Dragons (12th)
15. New Zealand Warriors (10th)
16. Gold Coast Titans (9th)

To be honest, apart from a couple of shockers in Manly and North Queensland, that’s not bad going!

Enjoy the off-season, guys!