The second part of our NRL preview, which looks at, amongst others, four teams who could do anything this year, in the shape of the Bunnies, the Roosters, the Dragons and the Tigers.
2012 – Wayne Bennett was supposed to bring the Knights to the top but they actually went backwards. At times looked good but were mostly passengers.
Prediction – Have bought well and Bennett did say it would take a while. 6th.
North Queensland Cowboys
2012 – A good year but they looked excellent at times and poor at times.
Prediction – Have kept most of the side and being a young side will be expecting improvement. Could be a big hope come finals time but will probably be inconsisten throughout the year. 7th.
2012 – Abysmal.
Prediction – It all comes down to whether Ricky Stuart is capable of turning the worst side in the comp into contenders. It will be very tough. 14th.
New Faces – Lewis Brown (Warriors), Ethan Cook (Knights), Jeremy Latimore (Dragons), Sika Manu (Storm), Wes Naiqama (Knights), James Roberts (Rabbitohs), James Segeyaro (Cowboys), Dean Whare (Sea Eagles)
Prediction – Who knows. They have bought half of the best young talent in the NRL but at the cost of some experienced heads. 11th.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
2012 – What a dream year the Bunnies had in 2012. On the back of a breakout year from young Adam Reynolds and Greg Inglis destroying defences all season long from fullback the Bunnies were red hot and look set to stretch that into 2013.
Prediction – Lost David Taylor but gained Ben Te’o and Tom Burgess and with a relatively young side may improve. But I just can’t help feeling that Reynolds and co will suffer second years syndrome. 6th.
St George/Illawarra Dragons
2012 – Wayne Bennett moved on and so did their form. Jamie Soward had a poor season and on the back of that the Dragons struggled. Somehow ended up 9th despite being never thereabouts so must have come home late without anybody noticing.
Prediction – Doesn’t look like being a great year for the Dragons to be honest. Unless young Evander Cummins puts his hand up early outside of Brett Morris they look devoid of real bonafide game breakers. 15th.
2012 – Not a great year but brought through some interesting talent and got a new coach.
Prediction – Have bought outstandingly but have done that in the past and got nothing for it. Sometimes players just don’t bleed for their jersey, but SBW will be challenged by the media and fans to prove something this year and will be on a huge tear. Jennings and Maloney are both superstar players. Unbelievably good roster. Possible bolters but I’ll tentatively say 7th but could be huge chances with that side.
2012 – Hugely disappointing year for fans. Went from pre-season premiership fancies to missing out altogether. Have lost Ellis, Ryan and Heighington which might upset some inside the club.
Prediction – NYC premiers and State Cup grand finalists mean that the Tigers have some lower grade talent that really good stand up. The problem is there are some incumbents that performed woefully in 2012 that will still be inclined to get first crack. The likes of Moltzen, Tuqiri, Ayshford, Lawrence and Galloway really need to stand up and be counted on as the first graders they should be or else fall by the wayside and the let the likes of James Tedesco, David Nofoaluma, Tim Simona, Rory Brien, Ava Seumanufagai, Mosese Fotuiaka and the giant Taqele Naiyaravaro press their first grade claims. Tigers fans will be hoping that Mick Potter doesn’t mind wielding the axe because Tim Sheens sure didn’t.
And that concludes the guest post from www.onlinebetting.com.au, if you’d like to have a punt on the NRL, check out their website.