As NRL fans, punters and critics begin to make their predictions for the 2010 season – we always believe the best way to determine the Top 8 sides is to cut-away the sides that don’t look like making the grade this year.
Ok, so which teams will NOT to make the Top 8 in 2010?
Sea Eagles – The 2008 Premiers have been continually eroded by the salary cap. Losing the likes of Steve Menzies, Matt Orford, Glenn Hall and Heath L’Estrange will end up costing you games. They don’t have a proven no.7 and Jamie Lyon is a stop-gap five-eighth. Tough year ahead.
NZ Warriors – While having the services of Brent Tate for 2010 is a big boost, the unknown around Brett Seymour in their critical halves position is a big gamble. Have solid forwards, but don’t travel well either. Don’t give much confidence in the halves.
Roosters – New coach, bad boy Carney on the roster and Willie Mason booted out. There will be improvement at the Roosters, but they too lack enough depth to be consistent over a full season. Need another 12 months of rebuilding before they can realistically think of the finals.
Sharks – Not much has changed in the Shire, while a few low key signings have come on board it’s probably not enough for the life long under-achieving club. They lack regular home support and don’t boast enough in the forwards or enough points in attack to warrant a finals birth. Long year.
Canberra – Its been a tough few years for the Raiders, the Carney saga, losing several coaches and rarely looking settled. Sadly lost 4 quality players at the end of last year, the likes of Adrian Purtell, Phil Graham, Nigel Plum and Glen Turner all moving on. Only gained Danny Galea from the Wests Tigers in their place. Lack the roster and struggle on the road.
Panthers – These guys are always hard to pick. On their day, the Panthers can beat any NRL team – but consistency is the issue. Have cleaned out their dead wood in the past 18 months but Matt Elliott isn’t the man to get them to the big one. They probably jumped the gun in resigning the coach too early. Should miss the cut narrowly in 2010.
Broncos – The Brisbane side will be a big scalp to miss the Top 8 in 2010. Having not missed the finals in recent memory, they were extremely fortunate to make the finals in 2009 and with injuries striking Hodges, Lockyer, Yow Yeh and some hiccups with Folau – they are already wobbly. Locky is nearing the end of his career and the window has closed for these guys. No Benny to save them either.
Knights – With rookie coach Rick Stone at the helm there is a lot of unknowns around the Newcastle outfit. They have some quality in their roster, but don’t have a large scope for injuries depth-wise. Problems with Kurt Gidley early are already a worry, Gids is quickly moving into that ‘always injured’ category – much the same way Johns, Gasnier and Ryles began to do mid-way and late in their careers. Toss of the coin for these guys, but might just miss out.