Yesterday we spoke about the teams that should miss the Top 8 in 2010, and we got plenty of feedback from passionate fans. Don’t forget to join us on Twitter for NRL discussion, at www.twitter.com/NRLNEWS
Today we look at the teams that will make the grade, the Top 8 and Top 4.
1. Melbourne Storm – The best team of the past decade remains impressively strong. The likes of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis cannot be overlooked. Well coached and now with Brett Finch settling in as a genuine half – they have the whole package.
2. Bulldogs – The Belmore boys had a great year in 2009 and there is no reason why they shouldn’t improve. The strong squad has been improved with Dene Halatau, Steve Turner, Blake Green and Mickey Paea all joining. Expect big things.
3. Eels – Parramatta have an enviable squad, last years Grand Finalists have added Timana Tahu and Justin Poore who will bring more to the table. As with the Bulldogs, the incoming coach has had time to adjust and it should be another big year barring injuries.
4. Titans – The strong local support for the Gold Coast outfit has been phenomenal. They’ve developed so quickly and continue to boast a glittering roster. With Greg Bird joining to sure up their halves and excitement machine Joseph Tomane coming from the Storm – these guys will really challenge hard. If Toopi earns a contract, they have a genuine giant killing team.
5. Wests Tigers – Have been promising so much for the past few years. However, their recruitment drive has been smart over the past 18 months. First luring Gareth Ellis from the UK and now Jason Cayless and Lote Tiquiri join the ranks. Now boast genuine size in the forwards, their mobility and attacking prowess could be amplified. Watch this space.
6. South Sydney – Surely the Bunnies can be confident of a finals showing in 2010. They virtually have a representative team on paper. Wesser, Asotasi, Crocker, Sutton, Dave Taylor, Sam Burgess, Ben Ross and the list goes on. Lang knows how to motivate well and Souths fans can put the mortgage on the line – as they will certainly be around at the business end.
7. Dragons – While they should make the finals, St George Illawarra needed to really capitalise in 2009. It was their year. But now, they have lost a few faces, in Wendell, Poore, Stanley and Paea and more importantly their confidence has been smashed around even further after finishing so poorly yet again at the back end of the season.
8. Cowboys -Â Due for a big year. Willie Mason could make or break this mob. If he remains healthy and motivated, the big man could add extra thrust to this promising group of players. Any team with JT stands a chance, if they travel well they will be there at the business end.