The Sydney Roosters are coming off back-to-back premierships and are the favourites to make it a three-peat in 2020.
The Tricolours got past Canberra Raiders in the grand final 14-8 to secure their second premiership in as many years despite Jack Wighton claiming the Clive Churchill Medal.
This team is loaded with stars, led by James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Angus Crichton while possessing the league’s best system on both ends of the ground. Can anyone stop Trent Robinson’s side? Here are the main three contenders.
The Storm just keep on keeping on and consistently find themselves in the hunt for the top prize. Melbourne claimed the minor premiership last season with 20 wins and 4 losses but were knocked out by the Roosters in the preliminary final.
The Storm are the second favourites for the 2020 premiership behind the Roosters, and get all the best odds at NetBet.
It was revealed last week that club great Cameron Smith will extend his career into a 19th season, with the 36-year old becoming the first NRL player to reach 400 games in 2019.
Feeling refreshed and excited about season 2020. @storm
— Cameron Smith (@camsmith9) November 21, 2019
“I’ve had a good break after another pretty big season in 2019. I’ve had time to relax and put my feet up and I’m feeling pretty fresh now,” Smith told the melbournestorm.com.au.
“I’m looking forward to next year.
“I’ve been given some ‘long service’ leave (from training) as I had last year as well so I won’t be back until the New Year.
“That seemed to work really well last year. It gives me plenty of time to freshen up and get ready for another gruelling season.
“I’m excited to see the squad improve on last year….and seeing the younger guys go to another level again in 2020.”
The Storm have lost Joe Stimson (Bulldogs), Billy Walters (Wests Tigers), Solomone Kata (rugby union), Brodie Croft (Broncos) and potentially Josh Addo-Carr. But you can never write off this club, especially with Smith back for another season.
After finishing 10th in 2018, the Raiders came from nowhere last season to soar into the top four. The Green Machine weren’t satisfied with just regular season success though, knocking the Storm and Rabbitohs out of the finals to march on to the decider.
Unfortunately, Ricky Stuart’s side fell short at the last hurdle back will take plenty away from a successful campaign where they earned a reputation as one of the toughest defensive units in the league.
The Raiders will retain the majority of their 2018 squad, other than the departures of Jordan Rapana and Aidan Sezer, while Joey Leilua is sticking around. They will be boosted by the additions of George Williams (Wigan) and Curtis Scott (Melbourne)
And Canberra are looking to keep this side together for the long term, with NRL.com reporting that the club are looking to lock down Wighton and Jarrod Croker on long-term deals.
The Green Machine are the second biggest threat to upsetting the Roosters in 2020. And if they can improve on their fairy tale 2019 campaign, look out.
Manly Sea Eagles
Do the the Sea Eagles have what it takes to go all the way next year? The better question is – why not?
Des Hasler’s team finished sixth last season and ousted Cronulla in the first week of finals. However, Manly bowed out the following week against the Rabbitohs.
Api Koroisau (Panthers), Kane Elgey (retired), Trent Hodkinson (retired) all departed the club in what was a quiet off-season. But stability could be exactly what this side needs.
It feels like the Sea Eagles’ best can match is with the big dogs and they have a higher ceiling that they can reach in 2020. With the Trbjoevic brothers leading the way, a premiership tilt is not out of the question.
They might not be as well-rounded as the aforementioned teams, but if Manly can stay healthy in 2020, they might be the big premiership dark horse.