One third of the season is complete (already???) and who can crystal ball a winner in 2015?
Better yet, who can pick a wooden spooner? Most pundits and experts (again ???) picked the Raiders to run last but the Green Machine are 4/8 and looking impressive after two come from behind victories away from home. If only they could win at home…
At the beginning of the season, The Raiders, Dragons, Titans, Sharks, Eels and Tigers were all tipped to fight it out for the spoon but all have shown promise and potential, especially the Dragons, who after eight rounds are equal first on the ladder with the despised Broncos.
Manly are running last at present, but have just beaten the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne. Once they get a few troops back it’s not inconceivable the Sea Eagles could string six wins + together and get back on track and make a late charge for the finals.
Obviously some teams will have their mid-season slump and some big guns will make a late season charge towards the finals. The Roosters, Bulldogs and Rabbitohs have all been underwhelming so far in 2015 but have all had some significant injuries and suspensions to deal with. That’s not to say they are specials for the top four but they all have elite talent on the sidelines and once fit, are capable of making a challenge for the premiership.
The Knights and Panthers are two other sides who are hard to figure out. The Knights roared out of the blocks, winning their first four, then losing their next four. They look to be in a modicum of difficulty at the moment and I’m not sure if they can turn it around with what I consider to be an average roster at best, lacking elite talent and the game breakers necessary to make a run at the title. The Panthers have probably been hit the hardest by injuries but a bits and pieces side beat an in form Cronulla on the weekend to revive their season.
The Cowboys, a team everyone predicted to go close to winning their first premiership, are now running hot and looking like the early season powerhouses everyone expected them to be. Cna they maintain this form for the entire season and especially through the origin period given they will have significant representation for NSW and Qld.
How about the Warriors? Flip a coin with these guys as I doubt they even know what they are doing most of the time. They could finish dead last or top four. Easily the games biggest enigma. I doubt their mental toughness and their ability to maintaint the right mindset for an entire season.
If I had to throw a semi-accurate dart at a board, I’d say the Eels and Knights will be the two teams to fight it out for the spoon but that is said with no confidence whatsoever and having said that, they’ll probably both finish top four.
As for premiers, please not the Broncos. The Cowboys would be a refreshing change and just what the game needs. Better still, a Raiders premiership would do me just fine.