NRL 2019 Predictions - 3 best bets for the 2019 NRL season

Andrew Hendrie 6 Mar 2019
  • Three predictions for the 2019 NRL season
  • Roosters to win minor premiership
  • Raiders for top eight finish
  • Vunivalu for leading try scorer
Can the Roosters go back-to-back in 2019?

It’s been another off-season of drama and controversy, but the on-field action is almost underway - and we’ve made our three predictions for the 2019 NRL season!

Minor premiership - Sydney Roosters


The Roosters are trying to become the first team in over 25 years to win back-to-back NRL Grand Finals, but while they chase that piece of history, I think they will firstly steamroll to the minor premiership at the end of the regular season.

Trent Robinson’s side is equipped with immense depth and have added even more quality to their Grand Final winning side, replacing Blake Ferguson with a pair of international wingers in Brett Morris and Ryan Hall.

Add in Angus Crichton to an already-dominant forward pack, and you have a team that is set to fire on all cylinders again in 2019. Cooper Cronk has recovered from his shoulder injury and is on course for another brilliant season, while the explosive talent of James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Victor Radley will ensure plenty of excitement in Bondi.

The fact that the Roosters have only lost Ferguson and Dylan Napa from their Grand Final team, and replaced them with the talent they have, is incredible. Defending premiers can often struggle in the NRL, but this could be the season the Roosters buck the trend.

Top eight finish - Canberra Raiders


One of the most under-achieving teams in recent times, can the Raiders finally put it all together and return to finals football in 2019? I think they can. Canberra appeared poised to kick on after their extraordinary run to the preliminary finals in 2016, but they couldn’t close out the tight games in missing out on the eight the last two seasons, including last year when they lost 11 games by nine points or less.

Defence is the issue for Canberra, and coach Ricky Stuart has come out and revealed his side have barely practiced any attack in the off-season, focusing almost entirely on shutting other teams out. It goes without saying, that if the Green Machine can find the right balance between attack and defence, they will be one of the best teams in the competition. The likes of Nick Cotric, Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua and Jack Wighton are among the most talented players in the NRL - and if they can improve that defence, Canberra will surely be making the top eight in 2019.

Leading try scorer - Suliasi Vunivalu


After finishing 12th in the 2018 leading try scorer tally with 13 four-pointers, I expect a bounce back season for flying Fijian Suliasi Vunivalu in 2019. Vunivalu has scored 61 tries in just 72 games for the Melbourne Storm since making his debut in 2016, and he will surely be in the conversation for leading try scorer was again this season. A lot depends on how successful the Storm will be without Billy Slater, but with Cameron Smith kicking on and Craig Bellamy steering the ship, odds are they will be challenging for the premiership again. Vunivalu is as good a bet as any pre-season to bag the most tries.

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NRL 2019 Predictions - 3 best bets for the 2019 NRL season

It’s been another off-season of drama and controversy, but the on-field action is almost underway - and we’ve made our three predictions for the 2019 NRL season!

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