WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Kalyn Ponga of the Knights runs the ball during the round four NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights at WIN Stadium on April 1, 2018 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

50. Ponga halves

Kalyn Ponga’s shift to five-eighth will pay dividends in 2019, igniting Newcastle’s attack and allowing Connor Watson more freedom to run the ball from fullback.

49. Seibold Struggles (or swap)

Anthony Seibold’s debut season at Red Hill won’t be as successful as first thought, with the rookie coach having to deal with a mass player exodus, and the fatigue of his young forwards late in the season.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 16: South coach Anthony Seibold speaks to media during a press conference after the round 23 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium on August 16, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

48. QLD Cup

The Townsville Blackhawks will win the QLD Cup, with the Cowboys depth providing the side with a host of stars at their disposal.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 27: Ipswich fans show their support during the Queensland Cup Rugby League Grand Final match between Townsville and District Blackhawks and the Ipswich Jets at Suncorp Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

47. NSW Cup

Newcastle Knights will take out another NSW Cup title, with the NRL side picking up some quality players, expect the outside backs for the NSW Cup side to have a field day in 2019.

46. NRLW

St George Illawarra will claim their maiden NRLW trophy after a luckless 2018 campaign, expect Sam Bremner to be a shining light for the side when fully fit.

45. SCG 

Round 10 – it will take ten rounds for rugby league fans to start complaining about crowd numbers at the SCG, and rightfully so. The Roosters are synonymous with low crowd figures, and on a grand stage like the SCG, the unimpressive attendances will be scrutinised.

44. Defection 

We’ve seen some quality players that certainly still had more years in the NRL left defect to the Super League this year, Blake Austin and Trent Merrin for example. Expect South Sydney’s Kyle Turner and Parramatta back Josh Hoffman to join the Super League either by June 30, or for the 2020 season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 06: Kyle Turner of the Rabbitohs watches on from the bench after leaving the field with an injury during the round one NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on March 6, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

43. Retirees

We’ll see over a thousand games of experience retire in 2019, with 300 gamers John Sutton, Paul Gallen, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith call time, don’t be surprised if some younger stars are medically retired. Keep a close eye on Greg Inglis.

42. Headline of the year

Son Rise: Ivan the key to Nathan’s success.

41. First coach sacked  

This is a three horse race, but New Zealand’s slow start to the year will see Stephen Kearney as the first casualty, beating out the under pressure Brad Arthur and Dean Pay.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 03: Warriors coach Stephen Kearney during a New Zealand Warriors NRL training session at Mount Smart Stadium on July 3, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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