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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.