MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: John Bateman of the Raiders scores a try during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on September 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

With only four teams remaining in the competition following the Eels and Manly getting un-ceremoniously cut in the last round of the finals series, many have tipped the winner of the Roosters versus Storm preliminary final to go on to be the eventual premiers. However, here is why each of the four remaining teams could go on to win the competition.

Sydney Roosters: their roster

A blind man could see all the star-studded names the Roosters currently possess in their stacked squad, with the Bondi boys’ roster featuring superstars such as Cooper Cronk, Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner, James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Siosiua Taukeiaho, just to name but a few.

The sheer quality and depth of their squad is undeniable and quite frightening and with the game’s premier match organiser in Cooper Cronk directing one of the most destructive forward packs in the competition around the park, allowing the likes of Tedesco and Mitchell to pick apart already scattered defensive lines, good luck stopping that.

South Sydney Rabbitohs: the return of big Sam

Having conceded 56 points in their two finals outings so far, the Bunnies have been unusually porous in recent weeks.

Undoubtedly missing the aggression that their inspirational leader Sam Burgess brings in the 30-6 thumping at the hand of the Roosters in the first week of the finals, Sam’s return coincided with a confidence-building eight-point win over a gritty Manly side.

While conceding 26 points at the hands of the injury-ravaged Sea Eagles may not be a whole lot to crow about, there was a noticeable increase in line speed and intensity with the big Englishman back on the field.

While Souths have not been discounted or taken out of the equation, the winner of the Roosters and Storm preliminary final is widely expected to the eventual premiers, just the way Uncle Wayne likes it; underdogs.

Canberra Raiders: their forward pack

While the Raiders might not be as physically large as the Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo led team that swept aside the competition in 2016 on the way to a second-place finish, make no mistake they are just as intimidating and twice as dynamic in 2019.

Possessing a pack blessed with size, agility, nouse, and good old fashioned toughness thanks to their English contingent, if the likes of Papalii, Bateman, and Tapine can get a roll on through the middle, the green machine’s outside backs could be in for some serious fun.

Melbourne Storm: Cam Smith & Craig Bellamy

Two of the most pre-eminent and proven winners the game has ever seen on and off the pitch, these two masterminds can set strategy and pick apart an opposition team like no other.

While on paper their roster may not match up to the quality of the Roosters, Bellamy will bring his team into the game totally mentally and physically prepared to execute their game plan, and there is no player I would want more than Cameron Smith to direct and engineer their team to execute that plan.


  1. I think the Raiders will beat the Bunnies, and are more deserving of a win. I don’t have anything against the Bunnies, but they really haven’t been playing consistent enough for the last couple of months. I know, and I’d be the first to admit it, as a Parra supporter “you can’t talk”, but just calling it as I see it.
    The Storm / Roosters could go either way, but I have to hope the Roosters win. In years gone by that would have been a no brainer, a Sydney side, any Sydney side, against the Storm, but they (the Roosters) have a few (probably very few, or even just 1) “supporter/s” that post so regularly on this site that have swung the balance back in the Storms favour, so now the only reason I hope the Roosters beat the Storm is for the sport. A Raiders / Storm GF could (probably would) take much of the shine of the GF.

  2. P.S, I should clarify a statement I made, being “a Sydney side, any Sydney side”, and add, except Manly, but surely that would go without saying.

  3. Melbourne-Easts is a toss of the coin but with the chooks being without JWH I’d favour Melbourne. I’m glad it’s a Melbourne-Easts semi final, it means one of them can’t make the GF.
    I hate to say it Rabbitohs fans, but I can’t see you winning against Canberra even with Sam back. I see Canberra as that type of side that has an x factor about them – they have the potential to lift in the semis. I think with the other sides that what you see is what you get.
    But as usual, I’m sure to be wrong.

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