NRL 2018 predictions: Fox Sports experts give their tips for the season

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NRL 2018 predictions: Fox Sports experts give their tips for the season

Post by Tacky » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 11:53 am

THE predictions are in and the winner of the 2018 NRL premiership is ... North Queensland!

That’s the verdict from the rugby league experts at Fox Sports, who are tipping last year’s runners-up to go one better in 2018.

NRL greats including Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis, Greg Alexander were on hand at the Fox League 2018 launch today, and we asked them for their predictions for the upcoming season.

Each expert was asked:

— Who will win the 2018 NRL premiership?

— Who is the dark horse for this year’s title?

— Which team is most likely to go backwards?

— Which player will be the best buy of 2018?

Read on to see what the Fox Sports NRL experts predict for the 2018 season


MATTY JOHNS

Premiers: I think it’s going to be hard to break the status quo. I think Melbourne Storm and North Queensland are still a step ahead of the rest. Roosters will go close with Cronk and the new signings but it takes a while to get those combinations. I’m going to go Storm v Cowboys grand final. Why not? Storm back to back.

Dark horse: I’m not saying the Gold Coast are going to be a top four side. But I honestly believe the Gold Coast are going to surprise a lot of people. I think the Gold Coast will improve dramatically. I’ll tell you why, they’ve got Ash Taylor who I believe is going to be the best player in the game. Whether it will be next year, year after … it’s just a matter of time.

Most likely to go backwards: I see the Broncos going backwards. I think Ben Hunt is maybe a bigger loss than they think it’s going to be. St George IIIawarra is an interesting one. I haven’t got them in my eight so I think they slip back a little bit. They’ve got Ben Hunt and James Graham who will go well, so they might surprise.

Best buy: Mitchell Pearce. I think the town and the team suit him. I’ve bumped into Mitchell a few times, he’s buzzing, he’s happy. I think the change will do him good.

GREG ALEXANDER

Premiers: Cowboys. The return of Johnathan Thurston in the line-up along with Matt Scott and the signing of Jordan McLean at the moment puts them as my favourites

Dark horse: I don’t think in this competition there can be a dark horse. Everyone has claims on a top eight spot. You have to separate those teams in the end. I really don’t think there is a dark horse. My prediction is the Knights will grab a top eight spot.

Most likely to go backwards: I think the Sea Eagles will miss the eight this year. Then there’s the Warriors, can they go lower than they were last year? Yes. They can run last so I think they’ll go backwards as well.

Best buy: James Maloney. That’s an easy one. One of my favourite players over half-a-dozen years. He’s slotted in perfectly at Penrith, he’ll be fantastic.

GORDEN TALLIS

Premiers: Roosters. I think they purchased really well to get Cooper Cronk, with the organisation and game management he brings to a football team. They’ve got young Latrell (Mitchell), they’ve got (Blake) Ferguson, they’ve got a great forward pack — two of the meanest front-rowers in the competition.

Dark horse: The two biggest improvers of the competition will be the Titans and the Knights. I think (Wests Tigers coach Ivan) Cleary has this ability for magic dust and the other day when they beat the Cowboys, they beat them pretty easy. Those three sides have all recruited really well which is a credit to those coaches.

Most likely to go backwards: I think it’s the Warriors. I can’t see them improving. They’ve had every coach go over there. They’ve had good coaches too in Ivan Cleary and Daniel Anderson. It comes down to Shaun Johnson, he needs to step up. When Foran went over last year that would have been the best spine they’ve ever had. I just don’t see them improving with the player losses they have had.

Best buy: Jordan McLean and Mitchell Pearce.

YVONNE SAMPSON

Premiers: Cowboys. They went on such a courageous run through the finals and they did so without all of their superstars. And I think that playing group learned so much about their own leadership and talent, especially with Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan and Ethan Lowe. Now they have the best player in the game Johnathan Thurston back and I hope they can finish what they started so bravely in last year’s finals run.

Dark horse: Raiders. They lost so many games by one or two points last year but the differential was really tight.

Most likely to go backwards: Warriors. I just can’t see a solution there. They’re so important to the competition and they have so much talent and so much potential but … the Warriors.

Best buy: Kalyn Ponga. He has everything. He has all the toughness, all the talent, all of the skill and I think he is really enjoying his new home in Newcastle.

ANDREW VOSS

Premiers: Cowboys. Just as it was Smith, Cronk and Slater’s destiny last year it will be Thurston’s destiny to get another premiership this year.

Dark horse:
I don’t think there is a dark horse simply because there is a big three. I think Cowboys, Storm, Roosters are standouts. They only won the comp two-years ago but I think they’ll have one more shot in them and I think they’ll be there down the pointy end of the competition and they have a big player roster of experience so it doesn’t seem right to call them a dark horse but I think they will be there in the penultimate weekend of the competition.

Most likely to go backwards: I have Manly being the team plummeting. I think they overachieved last year and will finish 15th — from top eight to bottom four finish. To soften the blow, I think the gap between I think the cluster of teams near the bottom of the top eight will be very close.

Best buy: James Tedesco. I think if he stays fit, the dynamic he brings to the Roosters attack will be something so exciting and make Tigers fans cry on a weekly basis.

JIMMY SMITH

Premiers: Cowboys. Thurston no Origin, Scott back, Jordan McLean into the side. The emergence of Coen Hess and add Jason Taumalolo, the best middle forward in the world.

Dark horse: St George Illawarra. I’m still not sure how well Gareth Widdop will go or what Paul McGregor does with him and that will be key. Ben Hunt will be really big for them and they’ll be a top eight contender.

Most likely to go backwards: Sometimes it’s hard to tell at this stage but the side I that will struggle is Gold Coast Titans. I still think they have issues with their playing roster.

Best buy: Kalyn Ponga. Absolute star in the making. Should have seen more of the football at NRL level up to this point. He’ll be at number one and will make a huge impact on the Knights.


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Post by TSupps05 » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 11:55 am

Only Tallis mentioned Tigers, we are going into the season deeply under the radar
I don't know why but Braith Anasta pisses me off :mrgreen:

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Post by Geo. » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 11:56 am

Fox and experts in the same sentence..well I never...
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 25 Oct, 2018 12:17 am
OK I was wrong
happy tiger wrote:
Thu 22 Nov, 2018 12:13 am
I know at times I'm not always the brightest light in the kitchen

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Post by innsaneink » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 12:10 pm

Saw m johns name
..stopped reading

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Post by Russell » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 1:50 pm

Rugby League experts and NRL greats including Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis, Greg Alexander says Tacky.

That'll do me.


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Post by supercoach » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:12 pm

I think if you asked 99% of NRL followers the same questions, but told them they had to excluded there own team they would come up with much the same answers as the fox panel did. Anything outside a Storm.Cowboy, Chooks or at a pinch the Sharks Grand final win will be a massive boil over. As for us anything is possible but a lot of things are unlikely.

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Post by hobbo » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:15 pm

CBAR
We need mongrel ..
No more plodders !

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Post by Fade To Black » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:26 pm

Whats CBAR Hobbo? Surely it's a nice reference? :-)

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Post by hobbo » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:31 pm

Fade To Black wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:26 pm
Whats CBAR Hobbo? Surely it's a nice reference? :-)
Couldn't
Be
Arse'd
Reading
We need mongrel ..
No more plodders !

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Post by Fade To Black » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:38 pm

YDMM.
You didn't miss much!

Matt Johns' mouth just spouts crap like a smashed s-bend. He has written the book on how a bloke can eke out a career living wholly in his brothers' shadow.

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Post by Tacky » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:44 pm

Russell wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 1:50 pm
Rugby League experts and NRL greats including Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis, Greg Alexander says Tacky.

That'll do me.
I didn't write the article mate, I just shared it.
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Post by Russell » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 3:56 pm

Tacky wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:44 pm
Russell wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 1:50 pm
Rugby League experts and NRL greats including Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis, Greg Alexander says Tacky.

That'll do me.
I didn't write the article mate, I just shared it.
Doesn't matter who said it mate.

It'll still do me.

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Post by Tweed Tiger » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 3:58 pm

People didnt put us in top 8 in 2005 either

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Post by Yossarian » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 4:01 pm

Geo. wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 11:56 am
Fox and experts in the same sentence..well I never...
I think the word they were looking for id blowhards...

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Post by happy tiger » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 4:12 pm

Most of it is based on common sense

Cowboys and Storm have to be favourites

Many sides could improve greatly , Titans top 17 is pretty good , if they get injuries they are doomed though

Tallis gave us a chance as a dark horse

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Post by Tigerdon » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 6:18 pm

Tacky wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 2:44 pm
Russell wrote:
Wed 21 Feb, 2018 1:50 pm
Rugby League experts and NRL greats including Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis, Greg Alexander says Tacky.

That'll do me.
I didn't write the article mate, I just shared it.
Good one Tacky. Lol
in Ivan we distrust

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Post by Spud Murphy » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 6:51 pm

I find it interesting that most of them predicted Manly to go backwards.

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Post by Snake » Wed 21 Feb, 2018 7:00 pm

The top 3 sides that all these experts are raving about IMO have already peaked last year... with the exception of a few additions there pretty much the same as last season and I really do not see that much improvement in them .
What I think will happen is there will be 3 or 4 teams that are really going to improve a lot with the addition of new coaches and players ,this season is going to be a lot closer than most predict.

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