Over the next few days, we'll be bringing you some predictions for the 2013 season. Many thanks to NZWarriorsFans.com for letting us re-post these.
TOP STORY: Doyle shuts down rumours of Cleary return
To get us started, here are the teams that we have predicted will finish in the bottom four. We'd love to hear your thoughts on both what you read below and what your bold predictions are!
Also see the 2013 Player Movements for an up-to-date list of comings and goings for your club!
UPDATED: Injuries and Suspensions
Here we go!
Gold Coast Titans
Arguably the competition’s best supporting cast combined with the worst spine. Letting Scott Prince go was a curious (retarded) decision, and now means the Titans have a distinct lack of depth in their halves. Aidan Seizer is a certainty at 6, leaving Jordan Rankin, Beau Henry and Albert Kelly vying for Prince’s vacant jersey. Early word is that Albert Kelly has the inside running, but don’t be surprised to see multiple players get a shot – or for Cartwright to throw Greg Bird an SOS call and play him at 6 once things turn to shit. They do boast a great forward pack and decent outside backs but the lack of experience and overall quality in their spine will be crippling. Prediction: Wooden Spoon
St George Illawarra Dragons
Post Wayne Bennett hangover, or just a crap squad? Constant speculation about Bellamy’s arrival in Wollongong from 2014 must have taken its toll on Steve Price. Big losses in Beau Scott (Knights), Ben Hornby (Retired) as well as Kyle Stanley (injury) pre-season – things already look to be heading south for the Dragons and I’d be surprised if they mount a proper challenge on the top 8. They do have decent outside backs in Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale and newly signed Gerard Beale – but the lack of depth in the halves combined with the up-and-down form of Jamie Soward will go a long way to deciding their fate. With a couple more key players hanging up their boots at the end of the season, and constant speculation over the future of coach Steve Price, this is well and truly a ‘transition period’ for the Drags and I wouldn’t be surprised if this season quickly becomes one to forget. Prediction: 15th
Gus Gould and Ivan Cleary head into their 2nd year in charge of the Panthers’ heavily publicised revolution. The question is how long their supporters will be happy to accept mediocrity during this period? They’ve brought in some not-so-terrible players for 2013 in the likes of Dean Whare, James Segeyaro, Sika Manu and Lewis Brown. Outweighing the gains however have been the personnel they’ve lost. Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon have left for the green pastures of the Shire amongst the recent Hobbit hype, whilst Michael Jennings has finally put to bed the long-standing saga surrounding his future. Luke Walsh is adequate without being dominant, and I’m not totally sold on the idea of Lachlan Coote in the halves. They’re a side that may punch above their weight for a period but ultimately the lack of quality in key areas will be telling. Another year of building in this transition period and I still can’t see them consistently worrying too many sides. Prediction: 14th
He may be a clown but Ricky Stuart has been around a long time now and knows a couple of things about rugby league. Despite the losses while coaching NSW I thought his teams were probably the most competitive of any side NSW has produced over the last half decade. He brings a no-nonsense approach to a club which was shambolic throughout 2012. Missing out on Israel Folau will have hurt them, but it’s not all doom and gloom. I thought Cheyse Blair was impressive last year, while forgotten man Jacob Loko should break into the side if he can stay fit. Sadly their forward pack really isn’t much to write home about, and if Fuifui Moimoi isn’t firing they may struggle against some of the stronger packs. Though the club appears to be headed in the right direction, they’re heavily reliant on Jarryd Hayne and Chris Sandow who tend to be very up-and-down with their form (and attitude). A couple of class players surrounded by a decidedly average squad, like the Panthers, I can’t see them consistently troubling too many sides. Prediction: 13th
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