SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 03: Mitchell Moses during a Parramatta Eels NRL pre-season training session at Old Saleyards Reserve on January 3, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/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.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 50 Fearless Predictions For 2018 – Part One

25. Coach of the Year – Nathan Brown will finally lift his struggling Newcastle squad off the ladder’s bottom rung. And while they won’t make the finals, taking a team of youngsters and rejects as far as he will is a testament to his coaching ability.

24. State of Origin Debutants – Mitchell Moses, Tom Trbojevic, Damien Cook and Tyrone Peachey will earn their first sky blue jerseys, while lock forward Nathan Brown and Latrell Mitchell will spend the series as 18th men. Queensland will see the first appearance of Ashley Taylor and Korbin Sims, though the series will be defined by retirees more than debutants.

23. State of Origin winners – Brad Fittler will stun the rugby league world and lead the Blues to a 3-0 series victory, ushering in a new era of dominance for New South Wales on the back of Jonathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk’s exit.

22. Top Point Scorer – Jordan Kahu will edge out Dylan Walker with a strong attacking season, while a Penrith half will nab third spot. It’s just a matter of whether Nathan Cleary or James Maloney snatch the kicking tee in 2018.

21. Top Try Scorer – The likes of Alex Johnston, Suliasi Vunivalu or Jordan Rapana would be safe picks here, but it will be Bevan French nabbing top honours with 24 tries following the exit of Semi Radradra. And if Reece Robinson starts 2018 in first-grade for the Roosters, expect him to nab second spot.

20. Female Player of the Year – Alanna Ferguson will shine for Cronulla and the Jillaroos as she fights her way back from injury to prove she belongs amongst the elite women of the game.

19. Rookie of the Year – Remember the name Payne Haas for your little black book. The teenager stands at 194cm, 120kgs and certainly delivers on his first name. Expect him to play plenty of minutes from Brisbane’s bench in 2018, while halves Kyle Flanagan (Cronulla), Tom Wright (Manly) and Adam Doueihi (South Sydney) will also be in strong contention if given their chance.

18. Ladder Slide – Manly’s salary cap saga will drag into their season, with the loss of experienced campaigners Blake Green and Brenton Lawrence to have a lasting effect on the side that will struggle with its consistency and composure over the regular season.

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17. Climbing the Rungs – South Sydney will beat out the St George Illawarra Dragons in the race for Manly’s spot in the top eight. The arrival of Dane Gagai coupled with the return of Greg Inglis and the return of form to the likes of Adam Reynolds and the Burgess twins will see the red and green finals bound once more.

16. Should’ve Retired – Paul Gallen was fantastic in 2017, controversially beating Jason Taumalolo to earn the Dally M Lock of the Year award. But a host of niggling injuries and some short spelled suspensions will disrupt his campaign, and bring an end to his career.

15. Most Improved – The Hayne plane is back in town. Almost certain to line up in the centres, a simplified role surrounding a team more well rounded than the Gold Coast Titans were, Jarryd Hayne will show Eels fans what they’ve been missing.

14. Lock of the Year – Jason Taumalolo has this position on lock for the next five years at least, and will stand strides above the rest of the pack once more.

13. Second-Rower of the Year – Boyd Cordner will edge out Matt Gillett for the prestigious award, but expect strong seasons from youngsters Angus Crichton and Coen Hess as they back up their breakout seasons.

12. Prop of the Year – Sam Burgess will make the move from lock to prop in 2018 to allow youngster Cameron Murray a starting role, and will make the number ten jersey his own this year.

11. Hooker of the Year – Cameron Smith is a safe bet, but Damien Cook will shine in his first entire season as an eighty minute, starting hooker. The Dally M Hooker of the Year award will pair nicely with his maiden NSW jumpers as a testament to a breakout season.

10. Halfback of the Year – Mitchell Moses, in his first full year in the seven, will take home the award with such a strong side surrounding him. Expect Moses to top the try-assists tally as he rockets towards his long-touted potential.

9. Five-Eighth of the Year – Shifting back to five-eighth, Michael Morgan will just pip Cameron Munster and James Maloney as he bring his late-season form into this year, and takes more and more control of the side with Thurston passing him the reigns.

8. Centre of the Year – Dylan Walker will take out this award for back to back seasons, returning to peak form despite missing the pre-season with an ankle injury.

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7. Winger of the Year – Bevan French will score two dozen tries this year as he takes over from Semi Radradra as Parramatta’s try-scoring machine. Playing outside Mitchell Moses and Michael Jennings, French has enough x-factor around him to pip Jordan Kahu for the top winger.

6. Fullback of the Year – While Greg Inglis will hit the paddock in 2018 as fresh as he’s been in years, this will be James Tedesco’s award. Finally playing with a strong squad, Tedesco will rise in his abilities, earmarking himself as the Kangaroo’s future custodian.

5. Wooden Spoon – It’s finally time for Newcastle to give up the unwanted utensil, and pass it onto the boys across the ditch, the New Zealand Warriors. Their recruitment is lacklustre and will highlight their issues this year, as they finish dead last, but don’t think the Wests Tigers won’t throw their hat in the ring for dreaded title as well.

4. Minor Premiers – They’ve lost quantity, but they’ve gained quality. That’s right, the Sydney Roosters will win their fourth minor premiership in six years as Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco lead the charge.

3. Dally M – There’s a lot of contenders this year. Jonathan Thurston and Greg Inglis are back, Jason Taumalolo can’t be stopped, Billy Slater is returning to his peak and you can never count out Cameron Smith. But it will be Mitchell Moses who rises as the cream of the crop, guiding the Eels to consecutive top four finishes as the blue and gold finish one game short of a grand final berth.

2. Runners-Up: You’ve got lose one to win one, right? The Sydney Roosters will return to the big show five years after their last appearance, but they won’t be walking away with the trophy this time. Cordner, Cronk and his mighty tricolours will fall by four points in a classic grand final.

1. Premiers: Talk about a fairytale. Jonathan Thurston, after missing the majority of 2017, returns in his final year in the NRL, and will close out a glittering career by holding the premiership trophy above his head. While it’ll be Lachlan Coote to claim the Clive Churchill medal in a thrilling 22-18 victory over the Roosters, all eyes will be on JT as he leaves the game with another ring on his finger.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 50 Fearless Predictions For 2018 – Part One


  1. Here’s my view on a couple of these “predictions”.

    Coach of the year: Nathan Brown will only win if Knights make the eight, I believe they will fall just short and to me if Hayne performs and Eels have a good year you cant go past Brad Arthur.

    State of Origin debutants: Yeah these are pretty accurate although I dont see how Cleary doesnt play beside injury, he has to play. He is NSWs best half. And Koroisau should play, Fittler says he is a bolter and rates him highly, best hooker NSW have had for a while.

    Ladder slide: To an extent yes but we will not fall to far down if we fall. I still think we can play finals but we wont make top 4 but you never know when Manlys under pressure the team performs. We will finish around or just lower than we did in 2017.

    Climbing the rungs: I cant see what everyone does in Souths, they put everything into Sam Burgess and have got nothing for it, lost Crichton, I dont see the improvements.

    Dally M and Halfback of the year: Moses I think will have a wonderful year but I think Cleary will blow everyone away ane take both of these, plus I dont think Moses is that good just yet, quality young player but not that good.

    What I do see in these fearless predictions is plenty and I mean ####loads of bias towards the Storm, Roosters and Rabbits. Thats all these predictions were for, to talk up those sides.

    • Rabbits don’t lose Crighton until next year and I think he is professional enough to give %100 this season.
      Nathan Brown will look better than previous years but I don’t think he will get COTY.

    • Agree on Cleary. As much as I hope Moses does have a breakout season, unless Cleary is injured or has a massive form slump, he will be the next NSW half no doubt, and should finish above Moses for halfback of the year too. One thing Moses does have going for him is Fittler is a fan of his.

      As for Manly, a lot will depend on what you guys do with the 6 jersey. I don’t know enough about your young guys to comment on them, but history shows that DCE needs a quality halves partner for him to be able to do his job.

      Also, a belated welcome back holmesy…..

      • Croker seems promising and will play 6. Ive got full confidence he and DCE will both step up. The rest of our side has improved, young guns and new signings will also be a big help. 6 is a big unknown. But I have a feeling we will be fine and surprise a few. Croker will have a good year, his form in the off season has been great. We will miss having Green but having 2 running halves will also be great.

        • Good luck with Crocker. He might be a fantastic buy for Manly but he has a few things working against him. 21 and has played little to no fg. Manly have only signed him for 1 year. Raiders no longer wanted him.

          For me, Manly should have resigned Green for another year or two until Wright is ready

    • Moses 😂😂😂 , Eels47 , DCE mmmmm , ya know if only he had the complete skills of a 7 then manly wouldn’t need to partner him with anyone ! Yah know Fox have been replaying ole days , Ricky Stuart blows DCE off the park ! And sticky was ok at 7 , not the best , I just don’t understand how all of a sudden “7” needs a partner ! What we need is a half !
      Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Moses ends up performing like “prediction “ where does that leave DCE and his band of groupies? Prediction 51 , Manly will finally start asking DCE the hard questions

  2. Holmsey, any team that can field quality players such has Inglis, Sam Burgess, Gaigai, Reynolds, Walker Crichton Farah, Cook Johnston will always be competitive, not sure what you mean’t by getting nothing from Sam Burgess, you serious with that comment? anyway talk is cheap, and really no one knows whats going to happen this year, that’s why this is such a great game, but to me the COWBOYS are clearly the team to beat

    • I think Souths will improve this year. I do agree that a lot was invested in Burgess’ return, and it came at a cost, but he is still a top quality player. With a fully fit GI (hopefully), the aquisition of Gagai and a more experienced Crichton, improvement will come. At this stage I would think anything less than a top 8 birth would be a failure given the roster.

    • Burgess was not worth what you paid considering the cost in cash and players. He is still one of the best forwards in the game but he has not been worth it. Inglis and Farah are past it in my opinion, Inglis has been for a couple of years, only plays well in origin. Its my opinion that Souths are going to be bottom 8 again, so dont worry I could be badly wrong or very correct.

  3. Can’t help thinking Homsey that if those players played for Manly your opinion would be different , in any case Souths will go better than most think, i believe with those players i mentioned, they will make the 8 and Burgess has played awesome and deserves what ever pay he gets, tell me who has played better or more consistant than him, not many, anyway only time will give us the answers, also knock Inglis at your peril at his best he still is the most damaging back in the game bat none.

      • Come on Holmsey, you’ve got to admit he’s got you there, with regards to the player list (with the possible exception of Farah).

    • Paying to much for “players” is an “oxy” 😂😂😂, from a supporter who’s team is getting reamed by the most over payed player in history

  4. Cowboys will not make this years grand final.
    Tedesco will win the Dally M,
    Newcastle to make the finals.
    Cleary and Maloney to be the Blues halves.
    A fresh Cronk to be Halfback of the year.
    Roosters to be Minor Premiers and play Penrith in the grand final
    Thurston to retire mid season as injuries catch up with his age.
    Souths to consider merging with Roosters to form a super franchise as Crowe wants out.

    • Would think more of the lines of.
      Tedesco earns most overrated player award, and Cronk gets season ending injury after rd 3, As revealed hasn’t been training hard after leaving storm and admits was just after a final big pay day.
      Roosters miss 8 even after trying to once again buy a premiership…

        • Cam Smith found out without his orginiser halfback Cronk. Smith’s marriage to his virgin rookie half will expose how he is too old to retrain another bride.

      • Crowy, you need to understand that 16 teams are trying to buy a premiership. Including one team towns like Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra, Townsville, Melbourne Gold Coast and while your doing some research on local juniors. Penrith have the biggest local juniors in the Sydney region but half their team comes from purchases from rival clubs. Oh I forgot the one country team NZ Warriors. they have plenty of players from other teams also. Like I sais Crowey. Every team is guilty of buying a comp.

        • Theres a difference mate, buying a comp is what the roosters do, other sides buy player yes but they hardly go to the extent the roosters do buying everyone.

        • Holmsey did Melbourne just win the last comp with one local junior? or was it none? Also the Cowboys there opponent with 8 or was it nine that where purchased from other clubs? I rest my case. Verdict. All teams are guilty of trying to buy a comp. The days of tribalism with local juniors went out the window decades ago mate.

  5. The loss of Myles at Manly was felt half way through the season and had little impact. The loss of Lawrence is more noted, though Manly have picked up a number of young forwards on the rise as well as Thompson from St George. Manly will actually be stronger in the forwards than in ’17 and many of the young players in the team and coming through will lift their performance. Their only problem area is 5/8. Green is the sole major loss. However if young Hastings or Croker fit in to that position well, Manly will be well in the 8

    • Have Manly actually signed Thompson? I thought the NRL hasn’t and won’t until register contract until salary cap breaches are sorted

      • Its been approved, plus manly had 1 mil left on the cap but have lost a possible 400k at most as a punishment.

        • So are you saying you’ve still got $600k after signing Thompson, and the approx $400k cap reduction, or the $600k is pre the Thompson signing?

        • I don’t know what their present financial status is but they had sufficient monies to bring over Thompson, and the club has declared that the NRL has approved the transfer. He is also training with the Sea Eagles at Narrabeen.

        • holmesy, the consensus out there in nrl land is that Manly were in trouble with their salary cap long before the investigation and Thompson signings, so I think the 1mil you think you had isn’t there.
          It was quite openly reported that when Pearce came on to the market (after Green was released) that they could not even come close to matching Newcastles offer, in fact it was rumoured they could only offer him around the 600k mark in year, and backending the contract to average 800k over the length of the contract.
          If they had the 1mil you claim, don’t you think they would have been more active in the player market merry-go-round than they were?

        • No we offered Pearce 1 million, Knights offered a ton more so we went back to Thompson and offered him 400k for a long term deal he took it. Now we will lose 400k as a punishment leaving us with 200k to buy hodkinson and that is the figure being thrown around as Knights will 400k of his 200k contract for his final year. Simple maths.

        • I’m not sure about your maths Holmsey.

          The Knights signed him for a $1 mil. p.a, “not a ton more”, and that was too steep for Manly.

          If you can get Hogkinson for $200k, and if you have that left in your cap. he’d be a good fit, but I can’t see why the Knights would forgo a reserve half (reserve to their line up) for $200k, especially when they have plenty of cap room to hold him.

          I think If you get Hogkinson you’re going to have to do a player swap.

        • Only thing stopping the club getting Hodko is that the club has not given the response to the tpa breaches yet but he’s basically a done deal. As for the knights offering more yes they did, manly gave him 900k and upwards but he went to knights for more, a lot more.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I actually think you’ll get him, but I’m expecting a player swap.

          I’d also agree that nothing can happen until the salary breaches are sorted, and how does that feel by the way?

          As for the knights deal, according to the media articles at the time, he signed a 4 year deal for $4mil. For whatever reason/s that trumped Manly’s offer, and they got him.

          That said, and in fairness, if DCE’s contract includes salary cap indexing, and I honestly can’t see that it wouldn’t, then you’re already spending between $1.6 and $1.7 mil p.a on a half (player), who happens to plays at HB. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

  6. Rorters 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…

    • Dreaming Shadow. Heffron Park the home of Souffs? Is Packer and Crowe going to build a train line to the ground? Its right next door to nowhere and miles away from everything. Good luck. I think your little Birdie is full of porky pies.

  7. Not sure how the tigers will fair in 2018, but I do know it’ll be one heck of a season! Probably the closest one in recent time and just wanna wish every team the best of luck!!! My predictions for this year:

    Top 8: (Would love to see the tigers, but I’m going to be realistic as possible)

    1. Roosters
    2. Cowboys
    3. Storm
    4. Eels
    5. Broncos
    6. Penrith
    7. Sharks
    8. /Rabbitohs/Dragons/Manly (Depending on if they get Hodkinson or not)

    Wooden Spoon: If we can’t get it right then Tigers or Warriors

    SOO: Blues 2-1 with a Penrith combination at the 6. Maloney 7. Cleary 9. Wallace

    1. Tedesco
    2. Mansour
    3. Mitchell
    4. Walker
    5. Trobjevic
    6. Maloney
    7. Cleary
    8. Fifita
    9. Wallace
    10. Klemmer
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizell
    13. Trobjevic

    14. Bird
    15. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    16. McLean
    17. Graham

    Dally M: Thurston or Cronk

    ROTY: Payne Haas or Kyle Flanagan (If Moylan gets shifted to 1, Holmes on the wing and Flanno at 6)

    Dally M Bench player of the year: Sam Kasiano or Coen Hess

    Dally M team of the year:
    FB. Tedesco
    W. Vunivalu
    C. Gagai
    5/8. Thurston
    1/2. Cronk
    Prop. Bromwich
    Hooker. Friend
    Second Rower: Cordner
    Lock: Taumalolo

  8. Fearless more like fruitless predictions.
    NSW will win but not 3-0
    Moses won’t be present in the series
    Warriors won’t take out the wooden spoon- congratulations Canberra
    Souths won’t make final eight
    Kasiano won’t be heard of which is a good thing and be a success in the storm system

  9. 2018 Predictions


    Minor premiers Roosters
    2 Cowboys
    3 Penrith
    4 Sharks
    5 Eels
    6 Storm
    7 Broncos
    8 Dragons
    9 Manly (Will make eight if we get Hodkinson)
    10 Knights
    11 Rabbitohs
    12 Tigers
    13 Bulldogs
    14 Raiders
    15 Titans
    16 Warriors

    Premiers/Grand final, Roosters vs Cowboys, Cowboys win

    Blues 3-0

    NSW Team

    1 Tedesco
    2 Mansour
    3 Walker
    4 Mitchell
    5 T Trbojevic
    6 Maloney
    7 Cleary
    8 Woods
    9 Koroisau
    10 Klemmer
    11 Cordner
    12 Graham
    13 J Trbojevic

    14 Peachey
    15 Campbell-Gillard
    16 McLean
    17 Frizell

    Dally M: Tedesco

    Dally M team of the year:
    1 Tedesco
    2/5 Robinson
    3/4 Walker
    6 Morgan
    7 Thurston
    8/10 McLean
    9 Koroisau
    11/12 Cordner
    13 Taumalolo

    Bench Fonua-Blake (He is due foe his breakout season)

    Rookie Dargan

    Buy of the year Hodkinson (If we get him I think we get top 8, he is also an elite goal kicker and a great foil for cherry)

    Flops of the year (Player I think will go missing)
    Hayne (Dont be surprised to see him in reserves)

    • If you’re right, sack your coach.

      You’ve got 4 NSW SOO players in your squad, 2 of which are going on to win Dally M’s, and you’re expecting to finish 9th, and that’s without counting DCE who could/should be in the QLD SOO squad, according to some (incl. me, but only because I’m a NSW supporter).

  10. Fearless prediction of the year: Dogs in the top 4, Cronulla to struggle, Knights to go close to top 8, Warriors specials for the spoon, Tedesco to do a knee in pre-season, Hayne loses his civil suit and is rubbed out, the NRL mangement will still suck as will the refs, McGregor punted half-way through the season and replaced by another in-house dud.

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