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.

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.

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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