/NRL 2018: Christmas list Broncos, Bulldogs, Sharks, Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Titans, Raiders, Knights

NRL 2018: Christmas list Broncos, Bulldogs, Sharks, Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Titans, Raiders, Knights


A month out from the Christmas break, most NRL squads are near finalised for the 2019 premiership assault.

With many of the massive participant strikes already made coaches are dealing with the truth that their hopes of profitable a premiership relaxation largely with the cattle they have already got on their books.

With that in thoughts Foxsports.com.au takes a take a look at what every of the 16 NRL golf equipment shall be hoping for on their Christmas want list.

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From star gamers coming back from harm to new gamers becoming a member of the ranks, we check out a very powerful points dealing with every workforce forward of the 2019 marketing campaign.

Scroll down for each NRL membership’s Christmas want list.

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BRONCOS

A good consistent halfback. Kodi Nikorima is capable of having brilliant games like he did in the Kiwis’ final Test against England in November, but he can go missing as well.

Sean O’Sullivan was brought to the club from the Roosters, but with one NRL game to his name, his best football might still be a way off yet.

Regardless of which of the two get the starting nod at No.7, the Broncos need a halfback that can lead their big pack around the park and allow big money man Anthony Milford to realise his true potential and dominate at NRL level.

The Broncos young and exciting pack also needs to step up in 2019 to cover the loss of experience from Sam Thaiday’s retirement and Josh McGuire’s defection to the Cowboys.

An end to the Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold coaching saga would also be high on the list.

RAIDERS

Aidan Sezer will take on the bulk of the playmaking duties for the Raiders.
Aidan Sezer will take on the bulk of the playmaking duties for the Raiders.Source: News Corp Australia

A dominant halves pairing and luck with injuries.

The Raiders have all the ingredients to challenge the best sides in the competition, but they have been unable to find a halves pairing that can win the big moments and ice games at the death.

Blake Austin has joined the Super League leaving Aidan Sezer and Sam Williams to get first crack at leading the Raiders back to the finals.

Whether they are up to the challenge or if Ricky Stuart will chase Shaun Johnson remains to be seen, but the Raiders need their halves to step up in 2019.

The Raiders also need to get lucky with injuries, after Josh Hodgson, Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana all had extended stints on the sideline in the last year.

BULLDOGS

A fit and firing Kieran Foran.

The former premiership winning half has failed to live up to the big money deals he signed with the Eels and the Bulldogs, after leaving the Northern Beaches.

Foran’s 2019 campaign ended prematurely with a toe injury and he has been plagued with back problems since his early days with the Sea Eagles.

The Bulldogs unearthed a real find in young five-eighth Lachlan Lewis in 2018, but he needs the benefit of an experienced half beside him to turn the Bulldogs’ fortunes around.

At his best Foran is an international standard half, but it remains to be seen if the 28-year-old can return to the form of his early years in the NRL.

SHARKS

A replacement for Valentine Holmes.

It is not everyday you lose your club’s best player with a year still to run on his contract and the Sharks have some big shoes to fill.

Shane Flanagan has Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan, who can play fullback, but would prefer to keep them at centre and five-eighth.

He also has youngster Bronson Xerri, but it would be a big ask for the 18-year-old to replace an Origin and Test player.

The Sharks have their eye on Ben Barba and Alex Johnston, but neither are off contract next season, so the they may have to bide their time to replace their best attacking weapon.

TITANS

Ash Taylor will be 24 next season.
Ash Taylor will be 24 next season.Source: News Corp Australia

Ash Taylor to come of age.

The Titans’ halfback has been earmarked for big things since his early days with the Brisbane Broncos, but the time has come for him to realise his potential.

Taylor will turn 24-years-old during Round 1 of the 2019 season and it is up to him to lead a promising Titans squad to the finals.

Taylor has been in the Origin conversation for the last couple of seasons, but if he is going to make the jump to representative footy, he needs consistency at club level.

Ryley Jacks may just be the perfect foil to Taylor’s brilliance, but the Titans need their halfback to dominate opposition teams week in and week out.

SEA EAGLES

A halves partner for DCE.

Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans has failed to recapture the form of his early years in the NRL, since longtime halves partner Kieran Foran left in 2015.

Cherry-Evans is an instinctive player, who is best served by playing what is in front of him and to do that he needs an organising half by his side.

Kane Elgey has been brought to the club to possibly fill that role and the Sea Eagles also have Lachlan Croker returning from a long injury lay-off.

Whoever gets the job at No.6 needs to consistently direct the team around the park, so that Cherry-Evans is free to roam and create opportunities for Manly’s speed men out wide.

STORM

Munster and Smith to sign and a Billy Slater replacement to step up.

It is not often at this time of year that your club’s two best players are not locked in long term, but that is the situation Melbourne face with Cameron Munster and Cameron Smith.

Munster is yet to put pen to paper on a contract extension for his deal that currently ends at the end of the 2019 season.

Smith is reportedly chasing a two year deal to finish his career in 2020, but remains unsigned for 2019 and the Storm need both players to push for a premiership next season.

They also need to fill Billy Slater’s sizeable shoes from a shortlist of Jahrome Hughes, Scott Drinkwater and Munster, which will be no mean feat.

KNIGHTS

Ponga and Pearce to fire in halves and David Klemmer.

The much hyped halves pairing of Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce is on everyone’s lips, but it remains untested over the course of a full NRL campaign.

The Knights need both playmakers to strike up a good combination, if they are to end their finals drought, which stretches back to 2014.

However before Pearce and Ponga can get their backs firing, the Knights need a world class front-rower to set the platform upfront.

The club has been heavily linked to David Klemmer, but as yet he has not signed on the dotted line and the Knights need his prized signature to become an elite team.

COWBOYS

Ben Barba is back in the NRL for the first time since 2016.
Ben Barba is back in the NRL for the first time since 2016.Source: News Corp Australia

Michael Morgan and Ben Barba back to their best.

The Cowboys lost their best player and arguably the best player ever in Johnathan Thurston to retirement in 2018.

Michael Morgan is tipped to get first crack at Thurston’s No.7 jersey and the Cowboys need him to return to the form that saw him lead the team to the 2017 decider, when Thurston suffered a season ending shoulder injury.

Ben Barba has not been sighted in the NRL since he left to play rugby union for Toulon following a positive drug test, after the Sharks’ premiership win in 2016.

Barba is the reigning Man of Steel in the UK Super League, but at 29 it remains to be seen if he can still dominate the NRL like he used to.

EELS

Moses and Norman to get back on track.

If the Eels are to have any chance of going from wooden spooners to finals contention in 2019, they need their halves Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman to improve dramatically.

Reports suggest both halves are playing for their futures at Parramatta and they will need to hit the ground running from Round 1.

Both Norman and Moses have brilliant performances in them, but the difference between their best and worst games is too great.

If the pair can gain some consistency individually and work on their combination, the Eels will be far better placed to climb off the bottom of the ladder.

PANTHERS

A bit of luck with injuries.

Dylan Edwards, Josh Mansour, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, James Maloney and Nathan Cleary all had stints on the sidelines last year and it affected the Panthers at the back end of the year.

In what has become a bit of a worrying trend at the foot of the mountains, the Panthers have had one of the worst injury tolls in the competition over the last few seasons.

Ivan Cleary’s last stint as coach of Penrith ended, after Phil Gould thought he was burnt out following the club’s horror run of injuries in 2015 and he won’t want history to repeat.

If the Panthers can keep the majority of their top team on the park, they have the depth to push for the title next season.

RABBITOHS

Anthony Seibold could move to the Broncos in time for 2019.
Anthony Seibold could move to the Broncos in time for 2019.Source: News Corp Australia

Coaching clarity.

Like the Broncos, the Rabbitohs are still unsure who will be their head coach in 2019.

While Bennett was guaranteed he will coach the Broncos in 2019 reports suggest a swap with Anthony Seibold in time for next season is still on, but the later it gets, the harder it will be to have each side well prepared for the 2019 campaign.

The Rabbitohs under Seibold had easily their best season since their title winning 2014 campaign, but if they are to change coaches they will need time to adapt to Bennett’s vision.

The Rabbitohs have two excellent candidates to coach them next season, but not knowing which one will be more detrimental the longer the saga drags on.

DRAGONS

An end to their mid-season wobbles.

The Dragons have been one of the best teams in the competition from rounds one to 12 in the last few seasons, but haven’t been able to maintain the rage in the back half of the year.

Paul McGregor has tried a number of tactics to end the side’s confounding late season fade-outs, but 2018 was another missed opportunity.

McGregor clearly needs to look at resting some of his stars during the representative season, to have them fresh and firing come the business end of the season.

Keeping Ben Hunt’s mind clear is another challenge, as he obviously struggles when the critics are on his back and the side is struggling.

ROOSTERS

The defending premiers curse to be lifted.

The Roosters are as well placed as any team in the last 25 years to go back-to-back, but we have said that before.

No team since the Broncos in 1993 have successfully defended their premiership title as the full effect of the salary cap has put an end to dynasty’s in rugby league.

Blake Ferguson’s defection to the Eels is undoubtedly a big a loss, but the addition of Angus Crichton arguably makes the Roosters’ pack even better than last season.

If the Roosters can just have a little luck on the injury front, they will be in with a great chance of back-to-back titles.

WARRIORS

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.Source: Getty Images

Consistent defence.

The Warriors showed in 2018 that when they apply themselves in defence, they can match it with the best in the competition.

Unfortunately they didn’t show that as often enough as they would have liked, with staunch defensive displays one week followed up by thrashings the next.

The Warriors made their first finals appearance since 2011, so they are on the right track, but coach Stephen Kearney needs to put an end to their defensive lapses.

If they can get their defensive game in order, the Warriors have the attacking players in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and co to set the competition alight.

TIGERS

A consistent spine.

Not since their one and only premiership season in 2005 have the Tigers boasted a consistent spine over the course of a season.

That year Brett Hodgson, Benji Marshall, Scott Prince and Robbie Farah carried the Tigers to a memorable title.

While injury and form have intervened the Tigers still have Marshall and Farah vying for starting spots, but they need stability at fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker.

New coach Michael Maguire needs to pick and stick with his spine players and build their attack around reigning Dally M halfback of the year Luke Brooks.



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