This year yet?
History suggests that at least 2 and probably 3 teams that made the top 8 in 2018 won't be there in 2019. There was a decent gap between the top 8 and the rest in 2018 so let's be conservative and say only 2 teams drop out - I struggle to see how that could include the Roosters, Storm, Rabbits or Broncos. Panthers a small chance although they've been a constant in the 8 for a few years now and the recent off field turmoil doesn't really impact their first grade side. Sharks possibly at risk of missing out with the loss of Lewis, Graham for much of the season, Ramien ,Holmes, coach Flanagan and salary cap dramas offset by Shaun Johnson and an aging Josh Morris. Then there is the Dragons and Warriors who I think are most likely of the 2018 top 8 to miss. In saying that, talk of us getting the spoon is surely crazy - our defence won't allow us to get close to that.
Titans to be big improvers.
Out of last years 8 looking at who could drop out;
Roosters- Can’t see them missing the 8, it’s tough to get up for a premiership 2 years in a row and their ins are as good as their outs.
Storm- Slater is a big out and Smith is another year older, possibility to drop out but the production line they have in Melbourne makes anything more than a small slide unlikely.
Rabbitohs- Looked a bit rusty and I’ll disciplined in the charity shield, couple of off field dramas with players won’t help. Their hopes lay on whether they get St George Bennett or Newcastle Bennett
Sharks- Do their dramas overcome them or galvanise them? Lost a couple of big boys and have new combinations that need to click, could see them sliding and just missing.
Panthers- Again dramas and potentially more to come, still some strife with Cleary and they’ve lost a couple of handy players, could see them dropping out.
Dragons- Despite the De Balin drama they’re still pretty solid, likely bottom end of the 8 but could drop out.
Broncos- young team and I think Siebold could be good to inject something new in them, usually there or there abouts.
Warriors- really could go either way, first 6 or so rounds will give a good read- we have a relatively ‘easy’ start so win and the confidence comes, more losses and we are doomed.