With the festive season approaching, club officials will be allowing their players and coaching staff some time off to enjoy a well-deserved break.
However, the job really is never done, and there’s always something that could improve a club’s chances of glory in the approaching season.
Below is a light-hearted look at what your club is hoping to find/receive/stumble up this Christmas.
Bulldogs: Mybe Magic
Des Hasler took a huge punt on a very talented youngster. Moses Mbye has been entrusted with Trent Hodkinson’s number seven jersey, and will be looked upon as the side’s leading playmaker in 2016. Mybe has all the attributes to make him a special player and a reported massive, long-term contract shows the faith that the Bulldogs brains trust believe in those attributes. Mybe needs time to adjust to his new, fulltime role, but given the strength of the Dogs roster across the park, I’m not sure how patient fans and officials can afford to be.
Sharks: Jack Bird’s Signature
The Sharks haven’t had a talented pair of youngsters like Val Holmes and Jack Bird in a very long time. Reports indicate that the Sharks are willing to move mountains to re-sign their talented utility. They’ve even had him training at his preferred fullback role to convince him to stay in the Shire. 2015’s rookie of the year can play in the halves, second row, centres or at fullback, which makes him a valuable player. Reports are that he’ll make a decision before Christmas. Fans of the black, white and blue will hope Bird’s bright future remains with them.
Titans: An Attacking Weapon Out-Wide
Looking at the Titans roster, they really lack a genuine attacking weapon in the outside backs. The James Roberts situation has been well covered, but has left Kane Elgey and Tyrone Roberts without too much strike power. Reports have linked the Gold Coast club to Dragons centre Peter Mata’utia, who would provide a very positive start to any potential Titans recruitment spree. With Dale Copley likely to be looking for a new home should Roberts sign with the Broncos, the Titans should be readying an all-out recruitment assault on the monster winger.
Sea Eagles: Gel Cream
As we’ve mentioned earlier the Sea Eagles have had a huge turnover in staff both on and off the field. They’ve brought in a wealth of talent, and importantly have added muscle and experience to their forward pack. If their newly signed stars can gel quickly under new coach Trent Barrett, they can achieve anything. Unfortunately for Sea Eagles fans, we have seen similar sides struggle to create combinations early, forcing them to play catch up on the table. Jamie Lyon’s likely move back into the halves will be absolutely key.
Storm: Anti-Aging Cream
What the Storm would give to be able to clone the likes of Cronk, Slater and Smith. Kangaroo, QLD and club captain Cameron Smith is still only 32, as is Billy Slater, but you have to wonder when they will start to slow down. Plenty of pundits have left the Storm out of their early predictions for next year’s top eight, and that is mainly due to both of the Storm’s major stars being that little bit older. Don’t get me wrong, the Storm have PLENTY of talent outside their big three, but the difference between a decent season and a great season comes down to the likes of Smith and Slater.
The amount of talent on show at the Warriors next year will be incredible. Shaun Johnson, RTS, Luke, Kata, Lolohea, Vatuvei, you get the point. One thing you certainly could ever accuse the Warriors of is consistency. The one year they did manage to produce their best more times than not saw them go all the way to the final day of the season. There will be plenty of fan bases hoping the Warriors continue to struggle to put their best together consistently, because if not, the Warriors will be tough to beat in 2016. Andrew McFadden will be on his very best behaviour in hope the key is left in his stocking.
Cowboys: DeJa Vue
The Cowboys had a near perfect season in 2015 culminating in Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott lifting the premiership trophy. For the Cowboys, they will hope that 2016 is much the same. As good as Thurston was, and boy was he good, everyone in the Cowboys 17 had a role to play this season. The big men up front all had brilliant seasons, as did their backrow, while Morgan and Coote had career best seasons. Even the supposed weakness in the squad, the outside backs, performed well above expectation. With a near identical squad next season, there’s no reason they can’t expect another successful year.
Eels: Cloning machine
It’s not often that a winger is a club’s best player, but in 2015 that is exactly what Semi Radradra was. Although they’ve added Kieran Foran to the side for 2016, Radradra remains a vital part of the side and a real advantage for the Eels over nearly every side in the competition. If they could find another outside back to target on those rare days that Radradra is not at his destructive best, they’ll be a far more dangerous side. Although he presents a different threat, it could be young Gutherson who has come across from the Sea Eagles.