Top 10 – What I’m Looking Forward To In 2017

Although we’re now ‘only’ less than two months away from the NRL season, it still seems like an eternity for those of us who live and breathe rugby league.

Right now I am looking forward to anything involving a ball that isn’t round being broadcast on my screen. No this is not a shot at soccer, or cricket, both of which I am huge fans, but to put it bluntly, I miss my rugby league.

Below are ten of the rugby league themed moments I am looking forward to in 2017.

1010. Pre-Season Fixtures

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 13: Taane Milne of the Dragons is tackled by Dane Nielsen of the Rabbitohs during the NRL Charity Shield match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on February 13, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The NRL pre-season use to mean very little to fans. The emergence of the Auckland Nines, All-Star fixtures, and televised pre-season games means the Rugby League season kicks off just that little bit earlier.

The Charity Shield remains a fun fixture in the pre-season calendar, although it is joined now by other televised games both on Fox Sports and online, as clubs cater to the demand of fans to watch these games. Even the survival of the World Club Challenge means two more pre-season games on my television.

Even the survival of the World Club Challenge means two more pre-season games on my television.



  1. Dan you might want to check some of the things you wrote. For 9 and 8, when reading it, it sounds like your repeating the same thing.

  2. “Tom, perhaps the most exciting young player in the competition, looks set to put the NSW incumbents under huge pressure, whilst looking to make a permanent move into the fullback position in 2017.” – is written 3 times

    “Jake’s debut for the Kangaroos solidifies what we already knew, that he has a monster representative career ahead of him.” – written twice.

    Just making sure I wasn’t crazy.

  3. And Dan, why aren’t you excited about Melbourne winning in 2017? You obviously don’t support them then.

  4. I agree with a lot of what Dan has written (except for his ”double-ups), but I am looking forward to seeing the egg on the faces of those tipsters who don’t have Souths in their top eight.

  5. This is my crystal ball top eight in no order


    Roosters will improve dramatically and I’m assuming Warriors will finally live up to their ability and expectations. If the warriors are yet again duds I pick one of Titan, Eels or Souths to take their place

    • Hey daffy, I think you are confusing Roosters with Rabbits… What’s up Doc? Also Titans are specials to be in the top 8 and are my dark horse to finish in the top 4.

  6. Raiders
    All locked in the 8.

    Dogs, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Manly, Parra, Roosters to make up the final 3 spots.

    Everyone else spoon material.

    • As usual Mr Wayne I agree with you.
      titans I think will make the 8 if elegy is injury free and Hayne will have a big year with pre season under his belt.
      dogs will struggle unless they change there he plan they always do the same and have done so since Des left manly. Reynolds is a dud as iv said since day one. my be is average and liccah lol dogs fans it’s true and you know it. grub needs to go to hooker and buy some one as a half or bring someone up. Should of made a play for benji Imo he’s twice the player Reynolds is. Also looking forward to Graham wearing the maroon and white in 2018 😃
      I’m batmaaaaan

    • batman, you left your Seagulls off the “spoon material” list and forgot to lock the Rabbitohs in the 8. Typo?

      • No typo mate.

        Just my opinion but as I’ve said before I think Souths recruitment has been going backwards. Biggest signing is 33yr old Farah when you have Cook?… one of the most talented up and coming hookers…. playing 2nd fiddle to an aging narcissistic club destroyer…maybe and exaggeration.

        You’ve lost some good signings in Grevsmuhl, Brown, McInnes, Carter, Auvaa, Keary….
        Massive step backwards in order to afford big Sam.
        Again, just my opinion, but think the Rabbits are headed for a tough trot.

        I just compare squads from the previous year. Rabbits look worse than last year.

        • Grevsmuhl, Brown, McInnes, Carter, Auvaa, Keary??? So which one is South Sydney going to miss? Have you watched those players over the last 2 seasons? Though Brown went good…I don’t think it will work for him at Parra.

        • That’s the thing about opinions….
          I’m allowed one. Your allowed one.

          All those players are first grade material. Grevsmul and Carter are fantastic backrowers. Just off field issues. Brown a very confident young prop who can demand momentum. He’ll be missed.
          McInnes would a solid dummy half that would find a home in most nrl teams. Auvaa a talented centre again with off field issues. And I believe Keary is one of the most talented halves in the comp. Just didn’t get along with Rusty and Madge. He’ll be a huge addition to the Roosters.

          You’ve replaced them with nobodies. Rochow the only other name and can go alright but his constantly injured….

          Steps backwards….

        • Rabbits! 🐰You out did yourself on that one! ZT Poet Laureate and sage RL commentator.

          Brown did OK but, by all accounts, didn’t like the intensity of Souths training schedule (just like Grevsmhul and Tim Grant). Madge only keeps those who are prepared to work and not whinge! That was the undoing of Keary. But that’s just my opinion which batman agrees I am entitled to have. 😉

        • batman, yes you are entitled to your opinion but if you think Keary is one of the most talented halves in the game you have been watching highlights of the 2014 GF because he hasn’t done much since.

          He has no kicking game, his organisation on field is patchy and he drifts in and out of games.

          Compare Cody Walker this year with Keary. If Keary is one of the games better halves then by your reckoning C. Walker must be one of the games elite! And a quarter of the cost of DCE! LOL 😂

        • Yeah all hose players you mentioned were horrible players that they won’t miss other than Brown but they have cover for him.

        • Going backwards , are you for real? we just locked in all our key players for at least the next couple of years, most of those players we won’t miss, Brown is a good back up but no leader, he will be looked upon at Parra for leadership which just won’t happen as a import player, he will probably spend more time on the side line with suspensions to be honest, Keary will be missed , sure , but not that much to be truthful Grevsmul and Carter were honest players that’s all, nope i’d rather our squad than your’s Batman.

        • If you feel the need to compare squads because my comments have upset it probably speaks volumes of your maturity…. or lack of.

          Everyone’s allowed and opinion. My opinion is your squad is in a much worse position than this time last year. Remains to be seen if I’m right or not.

          Time will tell.

        • You may not want to trade squads batman but I just bet you would trade coaches in a heart beat. 😉

          About being in a worse position than last year, yes time will tell but we have some VERY good young players ready to step up to the mark this year. Lane and Meehan look exciting for your boys, I’ll give you that.

  7. Looking forward to seeing how manly go with all there new players lots of potential. green and dce in the halves will be a great combo Imo and could form one of the best pairing in the comp. dce needs to get back to the basics. He had the best kicking game when he came onto the scene with these big forwards hopefully they will lay the platform for him to get back to that. I’m worried about uate and taufua as our wingers though. taufua cost us many a game last year. many! without matai there he can’t read the play and we all know he can’t catch. hopefully snake returns to fb pushing Tommy to center as I want to see snake play again. He and foran were the best combo and my favorite players at manly. foran left a rat Stewart deserves much better. go manly though I think the Raiders will get it this year 😉 or Cowboys if jt doesn’t get injured

    • looking forward to see how Manly go too. I am excited by Green’s signing as Walker just didnt cut it at 5/8. Taufua and Uate need to really work with their Center partners on their defensive reads (Walker and Kelly/Turbo Im assuming?), as i feel that they can be quite destructive in attack (Taufua can be anyways)

      I can already see letting Buhrer go being a big mistake tho.

      Bring on the season!

      • I reckon the 9’s may decide a couple of outside backs positions…

        Certainties will be Turbo, Walker, Green and DCE. Hopefully those 4 miss the 9’s.

        Leaves both wing spots and a centre.
        We have Omar, Tafua, Kelly, Uate, Wrightx2…

        And if Snake can play?… you’d have to assure him the 1 and Turbo to centre.

  8. Souths will be top 4, and in the Grand Final. Warriors got nothing…they have signed the wrong coach again. Manly a couple of years off the mark. Panthers are too injury prone…Saints have wrong coach…Tigers don’t have any mongrel…Raiders are a worry for most teams…Broncos have lost their way…Cowboys doomed by players, and coach Furner leaving …Storm a worry as always…Sharks there abouts…Easts not much better…Titans, there but flops…Parra just not enough…Newcastle, hope they stick with Brown…he deserves their support…Doggies, same pack that ain’t done it for them- so no show. woof woof.

    • agree rabbit, there will be plenty of egg on faces when the rabbitts perform this year, can’t wait.

      Top eight.

      • I’ll go with:


        By mid season Madge will have the team sorted. Angus Crighton to have a big year. Hopefully, Tyrell Fuimaono, and\or Robert Jennings to make good like AJ, Auvva, and Luke Keary did in 2014. GI, Tom, Sam and George, and Farrah- all back to their best, Sutton and Reynolds too! Hunt and Gray to be strong…AJ back to scoring trys…Zane Musgrove to show what his got! And the bench, wow…so much competition!!! And not to forget…David Furner to the coaching staff. And the hardest draw in the comp. I can’t wait either.

        And lets not forget Cody Walker. 🙂

    • The Holmes vs Bird thing I had the same reaction but I think it refers to them battling to be fullback. Gallen is playing for another year, he retired from rep footy.

  9. My ladder predictions at the moment:

    Sea Eagles

    • mmmm.. my two cents (kent brockman style),
      The starting factor of any team is … the coach.
      After that their is multitude of factors and you have to get 9/10 to make the finals. After that its on gods grace for a GF win.

      Ive won two footy tipping comps in 20 years so its hardly set in stone…
      1. The coach / coaching dept
      2. Halves combo’s – for me is paramount in terms of a gelling attack.
      3. Forwards – have to be mobile and fit for the modern game (parra have this in abundance)
      4. Player depth / burnout coverage, not necessarily limited or related to injury (Broncs fans understand what i mean)
      5. The mix being experience leadership against youth / with some x factor.
      6. The captain, yes the bloke barking orders and motivating the team on game day when you need to score points or stop leaking tries (Saints fans start writing to your known club members)
      7. Player retention in terms of building long term players that know each other and respect the jersey they play for (i.e Cowz are a great example)
      8. Playing through peaks and troughs throughout the season.
      9. The draw…. :((
      10. The supporters… But this is another chapter.

      The two biggest killers are injuries and player depth. The others can be resolved to a degree.

      This year i think Panthers / Raiders on the above points can do really well.
      i know the panthers have had injuries but they also have very good depth this year.

      • Some really good point there pedro. Are you still in the country or back OS again? Footy tipping comps aren’t my thing, I bet my strike rate would be worse than yours, but I do well each year in Supercoach. Do you play Supercoach pedro? I go close most years (generally in the top 2% of about 145,000 teams) and won my comp back 2009 on the back of captaining Jarryd Hayne at the end of the year when he went on his golden run of form.

      • Haha I know I am, just wouldn’t be surprised if Nathan Brown has a really special year and turns it around just as Henry did for Gold Coast this year. Remember this time last year when everyone had Gold Coast running in the bottom 3 (myself included) last year? It’s just a gut feeling, but it could also just be gas.

        • Dragons will do a lot better than people think, but still won’t make the eight. Knights still for the spoon, they’ll need another year of rebuilding at least, maybe 2018 will see them improve a lot.

        • Henry is a coach , brown is a windscreen at lights washer dude come coaching imposter ! Big difference

        • Brown will be a good coach, I think he will be up there in a couple of years time, around the same calibre as Michael McGuire or Brad Arthur.

    • trollz, you can swap the Knights for the Titans and the Warriors for the Rabbitohs for a start. How many V’s did you have before making that list?

  10. Yep the Turbos will be in the blues and Roos side next year I suspect. Surley Daley can’t keep selecting has beens like Jennings and Tamou and expect results. Pick the young guns like the turbos, Cleary (I don’t care how old he is), Cartwright, Paulo and others.

    And surprisingly I’m more looking forward to Reynolds and Farah combo than leipana. I think that’s a key for the bunnies those 2 going well.

  11. My ladder-

    1- Panthers (Perfect team in my opinion, good balance between experience)
    2- Storm (Just too good with Cronk and Smith and Slater)
    3- Raiders (Good team, big pack just can’t see them winning in 2017 with Wighton at fullback)
    4- Titans (Strong across the park and building well, 2018 will be the year of the Titan)
    5- Cowboys (Always in the mix for premierships, too good to miss out on finals)
    6- Cronulla (Good team but loss of hunger and getting older)
    7- Roosters (Pearce will have a big year plus less injuries)
    8- Eels (Will finally get back in the mix due to some Norman magic)
    9- Manly (Just miss out but will show massive improvement and pick up some good buys)
    10- Broncos (On the slide and will continue to struggle with Hunt and the pack not firing)
    11- Bulldogs (Not enough attack power through the spine plus poor plans)
    12- Souths (I don’t see the improvement honestly but if Farah fires who knows)
    13- Warriors (Sorry but too inconsistent for finals footy and Foran will just leave again)
    14- Tigers (Solid team but I think the pressure will get to them, lead to not winning the big games)
    15- Dragons (Will struggle for points and poor spine)
    16- Knights (Will show improvement but not good enough)

    • Holmsey, there’s a few in there that I would have to disagree with, but I think this season is going to be so close, so competitive that I’d go with:

      Panthers, Storm, Raiders, Cowboys, barring a catastrophe, to make the 8.

      Dragons, Knights, Tigers all but certain to miss the 8, and I’d go close to including the Dogs in this list.

      So realistically that leaves 8 (or 9) teams vying for 4 spots. I obviously hope Parra gets 1, but for my money it will come down to injuries, the little 1%ers, a bit of luck etc.

      It should be a really competitive season. I can’t wait.

      P.S – welcome back SSTID and st47.

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