After a busy offseason full of player movements, coach movements and constant drama, there are many storylines to keep track of for rugby league fans as we gear up for season 2019.

Here are five intriguing storylines to watch as the 2019 NRL season unfolds.

Seibold vs Bennett

Brisbane and South Sydney do not face off until Round 8 this season but all eyes will be on coaches Anthony Seibold and Wayne Bennett all season to see which one fairs better at their new clubs.

The high profile swap of both coaches was this offseasons storyline and left many wondering when the dragged out saga would end.

Only time will tell on who comes out on top in this matchup with both teams expecting top 4 finishes after strong years in 2018. Brisbane and South Sydney will also meet each other at Suncorp Stadium for a round 23 clash.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 03: Head Coach Anthony Siebold during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at Purtell Park on December 3, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Can the Cowboys step up and cover the loss of Jonathan Thurston?

Jonathan Thurston’s departure from the game has left a huge hole in a Cowboy’s line up that was always competitive until a 13th place finish last season.

The main positive in this situation is that Michael Morgan will be back healthy this season and looking to replicate his form from 2017 when he led the club to the Grand Final without Thurston.

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The Cowboys will also get a boost in the toughness department with the signing of Josh McGuire from the Broncos and of course, Jason Taumololo is still there to eat up meters week in week out.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 31: Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys is tackled during the round 13 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys at Lottoland on May 31, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The time is now for the Knights

Knights fans again have reason to be excited heading into season 2019. The main reason, Kalyn Ponga, who is moving into the halves to partner with former Roosters premiership winner Mitchell Pearce.

Ponga, who turns 21 this season is widely expected to again challenge for the Dally M medal, and this type of form is needed if the Knights are looking to make a finals push.

Newcastle spent big money to secure the services of former Bulldog David Klemmer and also a lot of under the radar signings including former Storm and Queensland Maroon Tim Glasby and Dragons utility Kurt Mann.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 07: 7 Mitchell Pearce of the Knights during the round five NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Des’ return to Manly

Des Halser is back on the beaches of Manly to again take control of the Sea Eagles, the team he led to premierships in 2008 and 2011 before leaving for the Bulldogs.

Hasler’s exit was said to have been a little ugly but bridges must have been repaired if those in charge of the Sea Eagles are allowing Hasler to return to where he made his name as one of the best coaches in the NRL.

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Hasler along with stars Daly Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers will look to steer the Sea Eagles back into finals conversation after a season in which the wooden spoon was only narrowly avoided.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 02: Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler congratulates Daly Cherry-Evans after the 2011 NRL Grand Final match between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the Warriors at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

State of Origin

Queensland vs New South Wales will again dominate headlines in the weeks leading up to Game 1 on June 5.

The rivalry between both states is as healthy and as fierce as ever with QLD’s dynasty all but over as NSW are looking to go back to back for the first time since completing a three-peat from 2003-05.

NSW will most likely field a similar side to 2018’s winning team, and QLD will have to rely on the development of whichever young halves they choose to lead the team this year.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 24: James Tedesco, Angus Crichton, Boyd Cordner Damien Cook and Tyrone Peachey of the Blues celebrate with the crowd after victory in game two of the State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on June 24, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Knights still have a long way to come. Stranger things have happened, but the comp is full of great teams and great players. Think this is more the hype train.

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