Aldo’s 2015 NRL PredictionsWith the NRL season kicking off this month, the usual air of optimism permeates from the very pores of rugby league fans everywhere. And who can blame them? Being one of the most even competitions in the world, everyone’s got a chance at making the finals this year and more than a handful are genuine contenders, especially here in the Eastern Suburbs. Here are my predictions for 2015…
1. The Roosters Will Struggle
An unpopular call in this neck of the woods I’m sure, but the loss of Sonny-Bill ($BW) and Anthony Minichiello is huge, and I feel it will be a bridge too far for them to bounce back so quickly. I’ve got big wraps on their coach and they should still easily make the eight, but the culture those two would have brought to the team is something not easily replaced.
2. The Bunnies Will Go Back to Back
Yes, yes, I know Burgess is as a big loss as $BW, if not bigger, but I feel Souths have the troops to fill the void. The gap between them and the rest last year was so immense I can’t see it closing enough for anyone to knock them off. It won’t be as easy, but I expect to see the Bunnies bandwagon in full swing yet again come the Labour Day long weekend.
3. Parramatta Will Make the Eight
Now that the ‘Hayne Plane’ is following his dream of being like Bobby Boucher in the NFL, I expect some of the other blokes to step up and stop waiting for him to do everything. They’ve bought well, Sandow’s playing for his contract and as much as I irrationally dislike the bloke, Anthony Watmough is certainly going to bring some much needed mongrel to their pack.
4. Manly Won’t Make the Eight And It Will Be The Referee’s Fault
Even the signing of one of the favourite characters in the game, big Willie Mason, won’t be enough to save the Sea Eagles, or make them any more likeable for that matter. It might salvage the dressing room initially, but you can only polish a turd for so long before you get shit on your hands. You can be assured Geoff Toovey won’t take a skerrick of responsibility either and it will all be because the refs are conspiring against them.
5. There Will Be Scandal
Without Todd Carney there is a real danger that NRL scandals this year won’t be as chuckle-worthy as they once were. Sadly young blokes these days seem more intent on striking their pregnant girlfriends than taking a poo in their teammate’s shoe and the tough larrikin image the NRL once enjoyed has been replaced by plain thuggery. I’m hoping this year, when the inevitable storm comes, it’s something we can laugh about (as long as it’s not your shoe).