The NRL season kicks off in 64 days’ time! Here is part one of our 50 Fearless Predictions for 2020.
50. 7/8 ain’t bad – Seven teams that played in the 2019 finals series will feature in September footy again in 2020, but who will slip out? None other than Grand Finalists and near premiers, the Canberra Raiders. Releasing Sezer is a huge mistake, and the loss of Jordan Rapana can’t be underestimated. Canberra will fall all the way from 4th to 10th, with a North Queensland outfit featuring Valentine Holmes will return to pressure cooker footy.
49. Chocolate soldiers melting – Penrith will miss the eight as the rest of the competition laughs at the clubs decision to bring Ivan Cleary back purely to see his son re-sign. They’ve added the likes of Koroisau, Tetevano and Capewell, two of which are premiership winners, however the loss of Maloney and Campbell-Gillard will see them fall to 14th.|
48. NRL Nines – The Rabbitohs’ will win their second Nines title, with explosive, off-the-cuff players like Cody Walker and Damien Cook leading the side, with James Roberts to be the leading try-scorer for the two day tournament.
47. Captain’s challenge a messy success – The captain’s challenge will work, overturning decisions and changing the result in games. But it will add to the confusion of fans at home and ultimately slow down a game that figures high up have been trying to speed up for years.
46. Musical chairs – Latrell Mitchell’s immediate move to South Sydney will trigger a host of moves across the competition. South Sydney will release Gagai to the Titans and Johnston to the Tigers, and while everyone is talking about Bronson Xerri moving to Bondi, it’ll be Cronulla team mate Josh Morris that bites the bullet and joins brother Brett at the premiers, opening up enough salary cap room for Xerri to re-sign on big money for the Sharks.
45. Best value recruit – Right the name Edene Gebbie down in your little black book. The PNG flyer tore England and Fiji to shreds in the end of season test matches for the Kumuls. Signed for South Sydney, Gebbie is usually a fullback but is equally comfortable on the wing. Don’t be surprised if Gebbie is a bolter for an opening round spot on the wing for the Rabbitohs, with the club potentially releasing Dane Gagai and Alex Johnston to accommodate the arrival of Latrell Mitchell and Jai Arrow.
44. Worst recruit – George Williams will prove that forwards are the only thing England can produce that can handle the rigours of the NRL. The Super League is very attack based, with less defensive structure allowing halves and backs to dominate, unlike the defence-focused NRL game plans. Ricky will try to get the best from Williams but they’ll soon see letting Sezer walk will haunt them.
43. Best recruit – Jayden Brailey plugs the much-needed gap of a class hooker in the Knights’ outfit, someone who’ll get quick and clean service to Pearce and Ponga. He’ll also help fix Newcastle’s middle third defence.
42. Finally, revenge – The Tiger’s have watched for years as players that debuted at the club left only to suceed and reach their potential elsewhere. James Tedesco, Marika Koroibete, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Mitchell Moses, Andrew Fifita…. Now, they’ll finally snare one of the players that left back. Josh Addo-Carr is set to return to Sydney in 2021, and expect him to return to where it all began. Addo-Carr nearly tried to backflip on his contract to join Melbourne when he signed on in mid-2016, but he’ll finally have his wish, and the Tigers will get their man.
41. Boyd by low expectations – Everyone has written off the remainder of Darius Boyd’s career, however the former Kangaroo will register his highest ever try-scoring tally for a season with 14, finding a new home on the right wing for the Broncos outside of Croft and Staggs, Boyd isn’t done yet.