40. Off field drama
We see players embroidered in off field drama, and this year it’ll be Jack Bird’s dramas that see him sacked from Brisbane before the season’s over.
39. Broncos jump ship
The mass player exodus in Brisbane has begun with rep duo Josh McGuire and Alex Glenn released. Expect Tevita Pangai Jnr, Jordan Kahu, James Roberts, and Corey Oates to hit the exit doors at season’s end – if not sooner.
38. Rookie of the Year
Cronulla centre Bronson Xerri will be crowned the Rookie of the Year after a strong maiden season for the Sharks, with constant niggling injuries to centres Josh Morris and Josh Dugan squeezing him into the spot.
37. All Stars success
The updated All Stars concept (Indigenous All Stars vs Maori All Stars) will prove a success with the move to Melbourne, despite missing stars Latrell Mitchell and Joseph Manu to the World Club Challenge the same weekend.
36. International Nines
New Zealand will be the maiden winner of the Nines World Cup, built on the back of electric performances from Nikorima, Johnson and RTS.
35. Magic Weekend success
The NRL’s inaugural Magic Weekend will prove a huge success with a sold out Suncorp Stadium, laying out the platform for a shift to the new Western Sydney stadium for the 2020 Magic Weekend.
34. Super League premiers
Leeds Rhinos will best Warrington in the Super League Grand Final on the back of NRL recruits Tui Lolohea, Konrad Hurrell and Trent Merrin.
33. Man of steel
Blake Austin will star in his first season at Warrington, taking his side to the Grand Final on his way to earning the Super League’s top gong, the Man of Steel.
32. First punch
Joey Leilua will throw the first punch in 2019 – and it’ll be directed towards Curtis Scott, in their Round 2 match up.
31. Should’ve retired
Poor Gal. In the lead up to his final year in the NRL, Cronulla have been dragged into a salary cap scandal, their superstar fullback has departed for the NFL,
and their head coach is set to be suspended. He’s unfortunately played a year too long.
30. Top try scorer
Alex Johnston will be the beneficiary of a return to the Rabbitohs left wing, with Cody Walker and Greg Inglis the main assist providers.