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.
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.