Season 2023 guarantees to be essentially the most open NRL competitors in years, with a litany of contenders vying to be slaughtered by Penrith within the grand closing.
The truth is, the race for glory is so extensive open, not even the Panthers have an opportunity.
Right here’s why your facet ought to already surrender on 2023.
Penrith: The Mountain Males are two legs deep in to a uncommon three-peat, a feat no person has achieved for the reason that Fraser Administration. However with your complete roster on-course to be signed with Canterbury by midwinter, they’d be higher off cashing out their multi and ready for Ivan Cleary’s subsequent son.
Melbourne: The Storm might have certified for 12 straight finals campaigns, however it’s no completely different to coronavirus. If you happen to ignore one thing lengthy sufficient it’s going to ultimately go away.
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Not solely has Craig Bellamy shed an enormous chunk of skilled forwards, rugby league now has a lot ‘Storm Fatigue’ we’ve moved on to the Panthers and monkey pox.
Roosters: Let’s be trustworthy, apart from the three premierships and numerous finals campaigns, the Trent Robinson period on the Roosters has been a practice wreck. These guys haven’t received a comp for 3 harrowing years, and I can’t see them diverting focus lengthy sufficient from looting lowly golf equipment to finish the drought anytime quickly.
Souths: Endured an interrupted low season with the Latrell Mitchell skirmish and the rolling turmoil of assistant coach Sam Burgess, with the latter copping extra random checks than a Roosters recruit. Jason Demetriou’s facet will function within the playoffs, however as historical past attests, they’re contractually obliged to advance no additional than the preliminary closing.
Parramatta: Statistically and pharmacologically, Eels followers are struggling by way of essentially the most onerous premiership drought within the sport. Their final title was so way back, it’s solely accessible in VHS and SD whereas PMSL. Extra likelihood of the Intercourse Celebration profitable the higher home majority on the subsequent election. Heck, even the Liberal Celebration.
Cowboys: Produced a breakout season in 2022 underneath Todd Payten, with the gentle mannered coach unlocking the sorcery of Scott Drinkwater from behind a tireless ahead pack. This facet possesses all of the attributes of a grand finalist, however contemplating they’re a 3 hour flight away, they’d doubtless miss kick-off resulting from Australia’s lemony flight trade.
Cronulla: The Sharks might have discovered themselves in an unlikely premiership tilt final 12 months underneath Craig Fitzgibbon and Nicho ‘Hutchence’ Hynes, however did anybody actually consider it was real? In spite of everything, this perennial underachiever already loved their time out in 2016. Would you count on Halley’s comet to U-turn again per week later for a second go to?
Canberra: The Raiders are everybody’s second favorite staff, primarily as a result of they’re fully innocent. The truth is, the facet solely boasts one true hazard: Ricky Stuart. And that is solely to journalists, referees, and anybody who dedicated an act in opposition to his son in under-12s a decade in the past.
Broncos: Bear in mind the great outdated days in Brisbane when gamers had been so mischievous within the low season that spherical one wasn’t ‘kick-off’ however ‘kick-ons’? Fortunately these guys have modified their methods. As a substitute of going rogue, now they spend their time bagging out Kevin Walters on podcasts. Will probably be fortunate to complete any larger than their Spotify rating.
Bulldogs: Loved one other busy summer time within the participant market, with Phil Gould and firm belching up egregious quantities of money in a bid to bury the Trent Barrett years. Now boasting an thrilling new lineup lead by rookie coach Cameron Ciraldo, there’s no motive this facet can’t elevate as excessive as twelfth.
Manly: Waves of optimism proceed to emerge from Manly as life begins underneath new coach Anthony Seibold, however I’m not shopping for it. Put merely, the Sea Eagles with out Des Hasler is like Simon with out Garfunkel or a comb-over with out loneliness. No disrespect to Seibold, however the gamers will likely be bewildered – and so will Scott Penn. Who will he blame?
Tigers: Each time hopes are buoyed by an encouraging Tigers pre-season, simply bear in mind the three way partnership has been so dreadful for the final twenty years that their 2005 premiership ought to be erased from historical past just like the fats youngsters in Roald Dahl’s books.
Warriors: Because the childless cat girl of rugby league, the Kiwi membership has now resorted to attractive nameless assistant coaches. No disrespect to Andrew Webster, however he’ll have his palms full simply guaranteeing the season doesn’t die unfulfilled and coated in kitty litter.
Dragons: One other hectically lively low season, in case you had been the membership’s legal professional. That is an organisation whose sole goal proper now could be issuing a membership assertion that isn’t about helping police inquiries.
Titans: At all times the proverbial little brother to Brisbane, the Seth Curry to their Steph, the Peter Stefanovic to their Karl. However even with the Broncos AWOL in current instances, they nonetheless proceed to soil the mattress and wrap themselves up within the linen. Can’t deal with the altitude of a wood spoon battle, not to mention the highest eight.
Newcastle: Neglect it. Newcastle’s glory days are lengthy gone. There’s no Gidleys left in storage, their property costs are actually corresponding to Sydney, and Daniel Johns is in some bizarre electro-synth section.
Dolphins: The brand new boys enter their debut marketing campaign with no hype, no geographical identification and no likelihood. They do, nevertheless, have the half the Storm’s pensioners and a documentary capturing the membership’s glory days: their life earlier than enjoying soccer.
Dane Eldridge is a long-suffering Roosters fan who has endured three lengthy years with out premiership glory