The NRL season is over, and as was the case 12 months ago, the Penrith Panthers will be left to defend their premiership once again.

It's a tale of woe at the other end of the ladder though as the struggling sides attempt to make improvements.

Here are the two sides from that half of the ladder who should make big improvements in 2023.

Canterbury Bulldogs

The Canterbury Bulldogs will be the team to watch next season, as the equation of finals or bust has been set.

Like Brisbane's 2022 expectations; Canterbury will finish the season successfully if they reach the top eight, as a couple of key players will be added to the strongly building side.

Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney are the two big catches for the men from Belmore, as both have played key roles in their clubs being in the 2022 decider.

The Bulldogs hold a young group of outside backs, as well as Josh Addo-Carr providing strong leadership on the wing. Expect Jacob Kiraz and Arron Shoupp to both have breakout years in 2023, after both showing signs of having the ability to become key players in their position. Being around more successful and classy players will only go to improve young individuals like themselves.

Newly appointed coach Cameron Ciraldo and General manager of football Phil Gould have proved that they're two of the best coaches to have around a club and their history at Penrith should manufacture into success for the blue and white.

Wests Tigers

The Wests Tigers have had tough times over the past decade predominantly, with the club now looking to end their eleven-season finals drought.

It seems like they've been stuck in the mud over this never-ending poor period, however, hope of making improvements next season is alive.

New faces have been added on the field, as well as a couple of appointments in the coaching box, which are arguably more important. Tim Sheens will take over as the head coach, alongside club legend Benji Marshall and Robbie Farrah as assistant coaches.

This is a mixture which can work for the Tigers and give their fans some rare success. Despite a lot of drama surrounding the signings of Apisai Korisou and Isaiah Papali'i, they will certainly be at the club next year. These are two great recruitments for the Tigers.

Mind you, I would be tearing up Api's contract after a comment over the past week, although that's a story for another day.

These inclusions will create a new spark, however Tigers' fans should be most excited about the addition of Benji Marhsall. As an ‘NRL 360' addict; I love listening to Benji Marshall and he should have something special to bring to the club.