SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Josh Mansour of the Panthers celebrates victory during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Every year we see people throw their hat into the ring and try to predict one of the nation’s most unpredictable games.

So here are 50 fearless predictions for season 2018 to have you mulling over one the NRL’s most closely contested seasons.

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50. England Enigma – Wayne Bennett will reprise his role as England head coach and showcase the nation’s talent with a dominant 3-0 victory over New Zealand in their three-game series.

49. Matty’s Meteoric Victory – Too long has the NRL Footy Show reigned at the Logies despite being a mediocre second to Matty John’s show on Foxtel. No more, as the face of Fox Sports finally takes home the accolade.

48. Hanging Up The Boots – Superstars the likes of Billy Slater, Jonathan Thurston and Paul Gallen will hang up the boots at the conclusion of 2018, bring the curtains on some fantastic careers.

47. Canberra Faders – Ricky Stuart’s Green Machine will be out of order next year, the loss of Josh Hodgson to see them finish in the bottom four, a far call from their 2nd placed finish in 2016.

46. The Bus Stalls – Ivan Cleary will prove that quantity doesn’t equal quality as his inconsistent recruits stutter to a 15th placed finish.

45. GI Go – Greg Inglis is back in 2018, and he’ll make sure everyone knows it. The superstar will be physically and mentally refreshed after a full pre-season, and return to rep sides in all his glory.

44. Darkest Knight To Lead The Dawn – Newcastle have dwelled at the bottom for long enough, and will emerge from the depths this year on the back of a stellar recruitment drive. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait to 2019 for a finals berth.

43. Dogzilla To Create Storm Warning – Craig Bellamy failed to make a star of overweight prop George Rose years ago, but not Sam Kasiano. The 130kg halfback will be the form interchange forward of the year as he revamps his career.

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42. Oh Captain My Captain – Jonathan Thurston will spend his final year passing on his knowledge to his young squad of stars as he’s named the captain of the year, alongside Matt Scott.

41. 300 Club – Billy Slater and John Sutton will join the illustrious group, their vastly contrasting careers meeting high points this year as they both run out for their triple-century.

40. Grudge Match – It won’t exactly be a grudge, but the Roosters-Melbourne match in Adelaide mid-season looms as a belter, as Cooper Cronk looks to impress against his former teammates, while Brodie Croft will want to show that the apprentice can defeat the master.

39. Best Headline – ‘Freddy Ready To Redeem Blue’s Dream’

38. Bring Back The Biff – David Klemmer will be the first man this season to throw a punch, though we may see someone sin-binned for a slap before him.

37. Biggest Trouble Maker – Matt Moylan will have a few too many boozy nights hitting up the pokies this year, and his patchy on-field form won’t help in the eyes of his critics.

36. Headline Moment – A host of fresh-faced young New South Welshmen will deliver the state their first series whitewash in over a decade.

35. Super Cooper – Cronk will prove that releasing Mitchell Pearce was worth it as the superstar half brings instant success to an already impressive Bondi squad.

34. Second Year Syndrome – Jayden Brailey was strong in his debut season, but the young hooker will falter in the second season as he loses his starting spot to James Segeyaro before Round 10.

33. Penthouse to the Outhouse – Slade Griffin and Chris Heighington both claimed premierships in the last eighteen months but will spend the majority of the season in reserve grade for a side that just won their third consecutive wooden spoon. A testament to Newcastle’s ladder surge to 10th.

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32. Biggest Transfer – He’s a Kangaroo and Blue, but Josh Mansour won’t be a Panther after 2018. Fans will rage as the Roosters net yet another rep player, though it does leave Daniel Tupou looking for a new club, possibly Parramatta.

31. Melbourne Makeover – Craig Bellamy has a knack of getting the best out of forgotten, out of form or end of the line players. Look for Sam McKendry to be a new man after a mid-season move down south.

30. Hometown Heroes – A host of big names will return – to varying levels of success. Jarryd Hayne will be dynamic at centre for the Eels, while Benji Marshall will provide more off-field than he does on it. If Ryan Hoffman jags a starting spot, we’ll see glimpses of his best. But expect the trio to have their moments in the sun this year.

29. First Coach Sacked – Stephen Kearney. He finished 2017 on thin ice already, and his below-par recruitment will expose him as a sub-par head coach.

28. Worst Recruit – Adam Blair. The man is far from what the Warriors need to fix their subpar front row rotation, but here we are, with the Kiwi club shelling out the big bucks for the prop. Expect him to return to his Wests Tigers form as the clings to the bottom end of the ladder.

27. Best Recruit – While the name on everyone’s lips in Bondi is Cooper Cronk, James Tedesco will be the year’s best buy, his 19 try-assists pairing nicely with his dozen tries.

26. Bargain Buy – Fans must be sick of hearing about the Roosters recruitment in 2018, but they’re onto another winner with Reece Robison. Returning to rugby league after a two-year stint in Union, Robinson will earn a spot in the first-grade backline by the end of May and never look back.

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  1. We can certainly can see which team Zero Tackle supports. Guess who? They annoy you with their crowing in the morning and think they rule their roost.

    Personally I think the Roosters made a big mistake letting go Pearce, who’s just entering his prime years. Meanwhile his replacement is slowing down with age and was not as impressive as many suggest last year. He wont be as effective without Smith, who really runs the show at the Storm and has raised the status of several half backs in the past who went on to disappoint after leaving the Melbourne nest.

    I also think the acquisition of Maloney will in fact raise the Panthers status. I think they got the better of the Moylan-Maloney swap

    • Pearce off bearfax, your gotta be kidding. Pearce has been going missing in action in the biggest contests of the year since 2014. A top player during the premiership, but come semis and origin he has failed continually. The Roosters hand was forced. Pearce had ample opportunities to cement his potential greatness. But it was not to be. He cant take a game by the scruff of the neck and dominate his skills to force a winning result. As for Smith running the show mate, you are dead set wrong. All halbacks run the show not hookers. That’s why Pearce left. Cronk is the Melbourne mastermind/ orginiser tactical kicker and four plays ahead of the opposition in attack, not Smith from dummy half. I agree that Penrith will be much more dangerous and a premiership threat with Maloney in their team.

  2. Kasiano to be the comps best bench prop this year? I doubt it.

    I’m expecting Addin Fonua Blake to take that award. He will have a break out season.

  3. It hardly takes a brave tipster to say Kearney will be the first coached sacked and Blair the duddest buy. Kearney was hopeless at Parra and Blair useless at WT. And what have they both got in common? They’re at Auckland, the club of guaranteed failure.

  4. Massive call on the Raiders fading to bottom four. Agree that Hodgson is an integral cog in their (green) machine, but firmly believe that they will learn from last seasons woes. Williams will likely prove to be an astute homecoming and assist in closing out tight contests.

  5. I think Matt Moylan may win the “Bubbler Award” if he gets on the plonk at the place where they think that there is only one Shire in Australia. Actually it is the Sutherland Shire but if they go out west to a place called Nyngan they will find a Shire tougher than theirs. Its called the Bogan Shire. However it is just another of hundreds of “Shire”s throughout Aussie Land. Sorry to have to break the devastating news to all you Sutherland Shire dwellers.

    As for the prediction of Topou leaving because the Roosters may sign Josh Mansour then don’t believe it. He just signed a four year deal at the Roosters. If for some fluke Mansour comes to the Roosters it will be to replace Ferguson who has caught a bad case of Kenny -Dowall syndrome. Ferguson played so bad through the semis last season nearly bombed for the chooks against Brisbane, then backed up his poor handling when he scored a try for the Roosters against the Cowboys to give them the lead to get into the grand final only to knock it on from the kick off and six tackles later the Cowboys made the 2017 grand final. Nick should sell him off to Souvs Sydney now.

  6. shadow January 8, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    ReportRorters to be investigated in 2018 for multiple salary cap breaches…A little bird today told me to stay tuned…

    SOUTHS gracious government 10million dollar plus grant to build at Heffron Park in Maroubra will be the envy, thus the rorters will end up being our feeder club once politis retires which aint that far away FACT!!!

    A little bird told me that a massive stadium is in the works and will be built at Heffron Park / And a new Souths Seniors Club premises will be in Maroubra apparently the plans have already been drawn up long ago to revamp and extend this particular premises at maroubra. So just expect #22 is closer than one predicts.I am told that Souths will end up being Sydneys #1 Most Powerful And Richest Rugby League Club in the NRL for future generations to come FACT!!!…SSTID SHADOW…

  7. No.41 , dont worry about Sam Thaiday on ( 279 games ) . Aussie coach abit the same 4got about Old Sammy , poor bloke like all players they go through a up an down patch in there career and He’s been loyal to the club and I just hope Wayne is to him this year , in saying that Sammy has to turn up and play good footy.

  8. souths marched and won
    stgeorge merged and did not march and lost their identity and history
    souths 21 premierships
    stmerge 1 premiership


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