Who will straddle the middle of the table in the upcoming NRL season?
10. New Zealand Warriors (last year 10th)
The New Zealand Warriors are coming off yet again another poor season as they missed a spot if the finals for the ninth year in a row.
Last season the Warriors were very inconsistent. They would have some great games out of the blew, however most other games fail to achieve success.
The Kiwis will lose Blake Green as he was signed to the Knights nearing the end of the 2020 season. The Warriors young back-up five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tevita will fill Green’s role as the starting five-eighth.
Tevita in my opinion will be a great pairing in the halves with the Warriors other young half, the former Bronco Kodi Nikorima.
Some additions for New Zealand are Euan Aitken, Kane Evans, and Addin Fonua-Blake. Despite losing members of their forward pack, they have recruited a great prop in Addin Fonua-Blake to go along with Ben Murdoch who will be an imposing member of the pack.
To be honest with you, I strongly believe that the 21-year-old Eliesa Katoa should have starting role in the forwards as he was a star in the back end of the 2020 season.
He produced six tries in 13 games and an average of just under 100 running metres per game.
I was high on this guy before he debuted after finding out he was transitioning from playing rugby union in Tonga into playing in the NRL, I watched some of his highlights from union and realised this kid can play.
Katoa was also a steal in Supercoach as he was at a price of $170,000 so I bought him for my reserves and after the first few weeks I started him off the bench and he ended up averaging 52.5 supercoach points and his price ended up rising to somewhere around $400,000.
Karl Lawton will be side-lined long term for the Warriors due to Achilles surgery. Some good news though is the signing of Euan Aitken who will slide straight into the centre position.
Overall, I do not have the Warriors progressing this year as I do not see them being better then other possible bottom eight teams like the Sharks, Knights and Titans.
9. Cronulla Sharks (last year eighth)
The Cronulla Sharks do not look like taking any steps up the standing this season as they have had a below average off-season.
Their only relevant signing in the off-season was Aiden Tolman from the Bulldogs who was signed to a one-year deal.
Tolman was the only Cronulla addition that was placed into the Sharks predicted Round 1 line-up. The same factor is in play for Cronulla’s losses this off-season as they were not really any notable losses in their squad.
The big talking point from the Sharks off-season is Shaun Johnson who will be on the side lined in the first two months of the season as he ruptured his Achilles at training.
Johnson will be likely to return somewhere around the time of rounds 8-10 in the season.
Matt Moylan should be available for Round 1 as he will almost certainly take the half back role while Johnson is unavailable.
However, Conner Tracey and Braydon Trindall can are also possible starters in the half back position. In my opinion Matt Moylan will be the starting halfback because of Johnsons absence.
I believe Connor Tracey can be utility man off the bench. Some more bad news for the blue army is Siosifa Talakai who likely to miss a minimum of one game as he has a shoulder injury.
The chef in my opinion was a great second rower for the Sharks in 2020 as he brought a great running game up the middle of the field.
Overall, I think the Cronulla Sharks will have a down year due to the absence of Shaun Johnson to start the season.
Also, they finished up in eighth position last season and they had an off-season with no big player buys and no real large losses either.
So, I think they will stay somewhere around the middle of the table.