RLATG 2018 Season Predictions

With the 2018 season upon us, we here at Rugby League: Around the Grounds got together and had a discussion amongst ourselves and came up with some predictions.

Fewy:
Minor Premiers: North Queensland Cowboys
If the Cowboys can manage to stay healthy all season and with Johnathan Thurston playing in his last season before retirement they will push for the minor premiership and will be hard to be beaten.

Premiers: North Queensland Cowboys
Same as above. With Johnathan Thurston committing himself to just the Cowboys this season look for the Cowboys to have more impact as they did last year. New recruit in Jordan McLean has had an outstanding off season, leading the forefront of Australia in the World Cup as a stand out player. Look for the Cowboys to go one step further this season.

State Of Origin Winner: New South Whales 2-1
With a new look coach and bound to be changes to the side. I am hopeful that Freddy can get the winning spirit back into the blues, and with a Queensland side without Cooper Cronk or Johnathan Thurston there will be pressure especially in the halves as they look to create new combinations.

Dally M: Jason Taumalolo
Taumalolo could have gone back to back last year if it wasn't for an early suspension disqualifying him from the tally. It can be expected that Taumalolo will come out firing Round 1 looking to make an impact.

Wooden Spoon: Gold Coast Titans
With all this drama that has surrounded the Club this past 12 months, I believe that things will be bleak for the foreseeable future. New coach and with some players leaving at the end of last season, I don't believe that the Titans will be very impressive this season.

Biggest Surprise: St George-Illawara Dragons
If the Dragons can learn to play a whole season worth of football they are dangerous. They have some good signings coming in this season with Ben Hunt leaving Brisbane on a huge contract and with former Bulldogs Captain James Graham coming across look for the Dragons to have a stronger go forward.

Biggest Disappointment: New Zealand Warriors
In losing Foran the NZ Kiwi spine has been broken up, however I feel as if the Warriors are the most inconsistent team in the NRL. On their day the Warriors can match it with the best of them however it has been a very long time since the Warriors have had a consistent year. I hope i'm wrong.

Boom
Minor premiers: Cowboys if they stay injury free

Premiers: Eels, every time a  teams caught cheating they win it 2 years later.

State Of Origin Winner: New South Whales 
If Freddy bloods the right players NSW 3 nil

Dally M: Mitchell PearceMitchell Pearce to win his first, like Hayne it 2014, may not be the best, but by far the best in a weaker side.

Wooden Spoon: New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors will crash to an all time low, already making excuses before the season has started, Kearney to be fired by round 10 with the side coming dead last and lucky to have a win on the board.

Biggest surprise: St George-Illawara Dragons
The Dragons, if they finally realise the comp doesn't end in May. Have one if the best forward packs, two established halves and a good mixture of youth and experience in the back 5.

Biggest dissapointment: 
I would say the Warriors, but seeing I think they will come last I'm going with the Bulldogs. Everyone's  going on about the signings of Woods and Foran. Woods plays a good game once a month and Foran hasn't put good back to back performances since leaving Manly.

Pom
Minor premiers: Roosters after their massive recruitment drive

Premiers: Broncos because they are due one and have the ability to get their

State Of Origin Winner: New South Whales 
NSW 2-1

Dally M: 
Tedesco

Spoon: 
The Bulldogs, they have no direction and are just stupid buying, Woods will flop and Foran will go to Fiji on a soul searching mission after 6 rounds.

Biggest Surprise: 
Knights, quality recruitment drive and to me look a dead cert for a spot in the 8.

Biggest Disappointment
Raiders, poor off season and injuries too, they will be a shadow of the team two years ago, Rapana and Leilua will be off the pace too.

Chumpie
Minor Premiers - Sydney Roosters if their 1/6/7/9 gel

Premiers - Eels. Mark my words

SOO - NSW 2-1. 

Dally M - Daly Cherry-Evans

Spoon - Bulldogs. New signings won't fire and they are already in disarray. 

Biggest Surprise - Warriors. Very underrated signings, with a spine that doesn't have the expectation from last year. Expect a deep finals run

Biggest Disappointment - Raiders. Agreeing with Matty here. So much potential but will be relying on the outside backs to create too much.

Nath
Minor premiers: 
North Queensland Cowboys

Premiers: 
Parramatta Eels

SOO winner Queensland: 2-1

Dally M: 
Gareth Widdop - Dragons

Wooden spoon: 
Wests Tigers

Biggest surprise by a team: 
South Sydney Rabbitohs clinch 8th spot 

Biggest disappointment: 
Sydney Roosters not dominating like expected

Stonecold
Minor Premiers: North Queensland Cowboys.
With yet another season of almost the same identical squad, the team chemistry will be at an all time high while other top competing teams have had some big name changes.

Premiers: North Queensland Cowboys.
Like I stated above. Most the competing teams have had some serious losses and gains, while the Cowboys yet again stick by the same all round team with only a few minor tweaks. No Origin for JT, mixed with yet another years experience under the young guns belts, I see the Cowboys being the team to beat in 2018.

State Of Origin: New South Wales.
No Thurston, an ageing squad and NSW on the verge of another series win in 2017, I can’t go past the Blues getting up this year. The heartbreak was real last season, for us fans and the players, and there’s no way the Blues aren’t going home without that shield in 2018!

Dally M Winner: Johnathan Thurston.
Surely this comes at no surprise. Retired from rep footy and nothing but the Cowboys to put his sole focus on! Thurston and his Cowboys are in for their biggest year to date in my opinion, and it’ll all start with the master himself. JT is coming for another Dally M y’all!

Wooden Spoon: Newcastle Knights.
Sure they recruited alright in the backline, but they still have the poorest forward line in the NRL. The addition of Pearce is a big one, but comes at the expense of Hodkinson. And let’s be honest, in a better team, we all know Hodkinson is the better half (Origin.... cough cough). A young and unproven fullback, the loss of one of the best backline players in the game.... I just don’t see the hype. The Knights will be going home with another spoon at the season’s end.

Biggest Surprise: Wests Tigers.
Already firm favourites for the spoon, and all because of their horrid start to the season. Count them out all you want, but that start to the year is only going test the Tigers in ways you cannot imagine, and if they can somehow come away with 1 or 2 wins in the opening 8 rounds, then they’ll cruise through the rest of the year fired up and truly tested! A much improved roster with some big names and experience joining the side, all led by Ivan himself! Man, I’m calling it now, the Tigers will be a top 8 threat in 2018!

Biggest Disappointment. Parramatta Eels.
Throw it at me all you want, but the Eels aren’t going anywhere near that top 4 in 2018! They ain’t no Cowboys, Broncos, Storm or Roosters, and we all know the Raiders, Sharks and Panthers will only improve on last year. I’m calling it now, we won’t see the Eels in the top 6 for 2018, dare I say, the top 8. Yeh they have some talent, but they don’t have any big names to really make them a threat for that top 4, and last season showed that. We will be seeing the Eels fighting to just stay in the 8 in 2018. Everyone around them improved, the Eels only got worse. My prediction for the Eels in 2018? 8th place at best!

-Fewy

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