The 2020 NRL season is almost upon us and we’ve come up with our three best predictions for the year.
Grand Final Winner – South Sydney Rabbitohs
Of course two-time defending premiers Sydney Roosters are the favourites after becoming the first team in over 25 years to go back-to-back last season, but completing the hat-trick will be extremely difficult.
Melbourne, while still operating at a very high level, will continue to gradually slide in my opinion, while Canberra might still be a year or so away after making the Grand Final last season.
For me, the Rabbitohs are the best value in the Grand Final market. They’ve added Latrell Mitchell to their ranks, with the centre arguably the best player in the world when he’s fully focused and fit. They have a strong forward pack and are covered in the key positions of fullback, the halves and hooker. You definitely need a bit of luck with these pre-season bets, but with Wayne Bennett as wily as ever, I can see Souths surging to the premiership in 2020.
NRL Wooden Spoon – Gold Coast Titans
I’m backing the Titans to pick up back-to-back wooden spoons over the likes of the Warriors, Tigers, Bulldogs and Dragons.
Truth be told, any of those aforementioned sides could finish in last – a lot as usual will depend on injuries, which crucifies these teams with a lack of depth – but I don’t see any way the Titans will avoid being in a dogfight for the spoon.
Gold Coast have finished in the bottom three the last three seasons and simply don’t have the class to week in and week out match the top sides. They desperately need Ash Taylor to fire at halfback if they are to mount any sort of finals challenge, but that’s unlikely considering his form over the last few seasons.
The Titans are lacking strength in the key positions and as mentioned, they will struggle with depth if they are hit hard by injuries.
Top Four Finish – Parramatta Eels
Could this be the season Parramatta end their 34-year premiership drought? Time will tell, but I think they are set for a big season and a top four finish.
Brad Arthur has carefully assembled a magnificent team over the last few seasons and this should be the year it all comes together.
Mitch Moses is primed for his biggest season yet and could challenge for the Dally M, while Maika Sivo proved himself as the most devastating winger in the competition last year. Ryan Matterson adds more skill and strike power to the edges, while Clint Gutherson is going from strength to strength at fullback.
No team gets on a bigger roll than the Eels when they are in form, and if they can build some momentum up early, the crowds will make Bankwest a genuine fortress. I’m very confident of an Eels top four finish in 2020.