The 2023 NRL season was a topsy-turvy one, but when the smoke cleared and the results became clear, it was bleedingly obvious that three teams had more disappointing seasons than the rest by a considerable margin.

2022 grand finalists the Parramatta Eels, and 2022 preliminary finalists the North Queensland Cowboys and South Sydney Rabbitohs (who had topped the table as late as Round 11) all missed the finals.

To label their seasons disappointing would be almost an understatement.

But coming into 2024, all three clubs will have their eyes firmly fixed on turning things around rapidly, and with bet365 casino nz, there is plenty of options to predict exactly how far those clubs may be able to turn things around.

But the question remains - will they.

Typically, there are always one or two changes to the previous year's top eight, but to widely predict so many early on would be a bold claim, so there is the very real prospect that at least one of the trio fails to rebound into the top eight.

That is even more so the case when you consider most teams who finished below them are also expected to improve, while not many teams in the top eight are obvious candidates to come crashing out - certainly, there are plenty of question marks regarding the Canberra Raiders, while the Newcastle Knights and New Zealand Warriors were last year's surprise packets and plenty are yet to be sold on their prospects for the 2024 campaign.

But when it comes to the three clubs mentioned as last year's disappointments, it appears as if the Eels are the most likely to rebound.

No team with a representative-calibre starting prop pairing in Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo, as well as having Ryan Matterson, Shaun Lane, Mitchell Moses, Clint Gutherson and Dylan Brown should be missing the top eight.

As it stands, their biggest queston, as it was last year, is at dummy half, but a combination of Brendan Hands and Joey Lussick should be solid enough to pilot them back into the finals.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs are also widely viewed as a strong chance of returning to the top eight. As it was last year, Latrell Mitchell's fitness may be the single biggest question hanging over the club, while Jack Wighton's arrival creates an intriguing dynamic given Lachlan Ilias is yet to properly fire as an NRL level halfback.

Campbell Graham's injury until at least mid-season creates some headaches, while it will also be intriguing to see if the off-field dynamic which knocked them through the second half of the season can be fixed, with their defence also in dire need to reform.

The North Queensland Cowboys are seen as the one of the trio most likely to not make it back into the finals. 2022 seems a distant memory for a side who, while still holding a winning record at home last year, struggled to put the pieces together on the road.

Scott Drinkwater, Thomas Dearden and Reece Robson are the keys, but they need more out of Jeremiah Nanai and their backline, while their right-hand side defence also must be better if they hope to be anywhere near the top eight.