By Stephen Gallagher
The NRL season is just around the corner, and with an off season that has had its normal up and downs, lately more downs than ups – so lets just check out who will finish in the bottom eight.
GOLD COAST TITANS
With a horrific cocaine scandal rocking the club – I do not expect much from the players who remain. The club is in disarray so I will be thoroughly surprised if they put together anything decent on the field.
Nate Myles is the only recognisable leader this team has, and no notable players joining the team this year, it will be hard going for the Gold Coast Titans.
There is a lot of potential in this Broncos side, but I do think this team will fire indirectly this year. At times, this Broncos side will destroy the big teams, and then they will struggle to beat a weak team.
In 2016, I think the Broncos will make a big statement, but this year I just can’t see them getting up enough when it counts and will be a season of frustrations.
This young Tigers team will be a joy to watch, but will not have the experience to bring home the close matches. It was a testing year for Wests in 2014, and with a bit more to show this year, they will still wilt away.
Don’t write the Tigers off completely, they will still pose a threat – but I think they will fall short, and only end up being a 60 minute team.
The Sharks are just not going to compete with the big boys this season. Sure, they might be flat-track bullies at times – but they will fail away from home. Do I trust Ben Barba? I do – but will this make the Sharkies a one man team?
Barba will deliver his best football in three years, but it will not be enough to steer the boys from the shire to slory.
The Knights are in a bit of a rebuilding phase – they have plenty of great young talent in their traps, and they will be a side that will win a premiership in the next ten years. However this year is not the year.
If you’re a Knights fan, don’t be too disappointed, they will linger around the 8 for the majority of the season, but when the contenders come out to play – the Knights won’t have their day.
Parramatta fans will be happy with their new recruits – but a mid-season lull will fish the Eels out of contention.
The Eels will put up some big scores, but it won’t be enough to get them through to the Top Eight.
Yep, 10th spot will go the the Storm. This will be their worst year since they missed the eight for rorting the cap. A few injuries and ware and tear will slow the Melbourne Storm down. I see them starting off slowly, and not being able to catch up.
They will be dangerous towards the end of the season, but they will leave their run too late – which will be a let down for their fans.
SAINT GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
2015 will be a good year for the Saints, they will show plenty of improvement from seasons past. A full pre-season under Mary will do the side wonders, and they will only miss out on the eight by one game.
The Dragons backs will fire aplenty, and they will score some brilliant tries – but they will lack some spirit in the middle.
Follow Stephen Gallagher on Twitter