What are your teams chances in 2007?
Newcastle Knights – 1st
The biggest advantage Newcastle will have over other teams is the added prepration of Brian Smith.
Smith is one of the most well prepared coaches in the NRL; his attention to detail and creation of a game plan for every opponent is well known. This will suit Newcastle, who in the past have had a licence to thrill – which has at times both helped and hurt them.
Manly Sea Eagles – 2nd
This is a bolter of a selection here; however the Eagles have been on the improve for a few seasons now. Losing Ben Kennedy will hurt them sure, but the addition of Jamie Lyon will add solid attacking and defending skills and each of the squad are more acustomed to the Matt Orford style of play. Big things expected here.
Melbourne Storm – 3rd
You can always count on Melbourne to be in the mix. Since their birth in 1998, they have always been competitive. Well managed, well coached and a great mixed squad of youth and experience. They have lost a few players; most notably David Kidwell and Scott Hill – but the likes of Inglis and Slater make this Storm side capable of beating any other NRL side.
Brisbane Broncos – 4th
The boys from Red Hill will find it a little tougher in 2007. While taking the honours in 2006, the loss of Webcke, the pressure of backing up a premiership will be too much. While Wayne Bennett will go down as one of the great coaches; realistically he has had plenty of talent to pick from in Brisbane and really he himself and the team need a fresh change.
Wests Tigers – 5th
Another bolter selection here; the Tigers will either be untouchable or downright shocking. They have flair around the park, Benji is heavier and stronger and the addition of John Morris will be a great asset for this team. I feel they are ready to repeat the feats of 2005; injuries will be a key factor for this team.
Bulldogs – 6th
While boasting the likes of Sonny Bill, Big Willy and Co. The Bulldogs always seem to be in the mix every year. 2007 will be no different, while making the final 8 – they might however struggle come finals time. The lack of a ‘pure’ homeground, constant injuries to key players and a lack of dicipline will hurt the mob from Belmore.
Gold Coast Titans – 7th
No, not just because I have $500 big ones on these guys to make the final 8 – I really feel they have the squad, the management and the potential fanbase to make the big time. Sure, there is a lot of ‘if’s and but’s’ – but they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I feel these boys will play in a style similar to the winning Wests Tigers team of 2005.
South Sydney Rabbitohs – 8th
And finally, the Bunnies will round of the final 8 for 2007. The injection of funds from Russell Crowe and Peter Homles Acourt will project the boys from Redfern into the finals mix. A strong squad, with the new players sure to add the ‘winning’ attitude – if this side wins a few on the trot, look out.
Parra – My team will find it difficult, many losses, few gains. Few Forwards and Soft Halves.
St Geo Illa – Big losses here, no direction under Brown – worrying times.
Nth Qld – Lost Billy Johnstone, morale is a concern. Hit and miss.
Warriors – Well coached, but poor squad and poor crowds. Need a halfback.
Penrith – Matt Elliott will help, but never recovered from lost players after 2003.
Canberra – No name coach and squad, no crowd support. Real worry here.
Cronulla – Sad times in Shire, limited outside backs, young squad and unforgiving coach.
Sydney Roosters – No cohesion in squad, several lost players and coach that creates tension.