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NRL 2019 predictions: Big name set for breakout season

On Monday, we kicked off our day-by-day 2019 NRL season preview with former coach Anthony Griffin taking a look at how Brisbane, Canterbury, Canberra and Penrith will go this year.

Adam ‘mad dog’ MacDougall looked at the premiership chances of the Warriors alongside his former teams – Souths, the Roosters and of course the Newcastle Knights.

On Wednesday, NRL legend Corey Parker analysed how North Queensland, the Dragons, Gold Coast and Cronulla will go in 2019.

And today, Peter Sterling will be looking at the chances of Parramatta, Wests Tigers, the Storm and Manly.

Check out Sterlo’s predictions below.

PARRAMATTA EELS

It was a disastrous wooden spoon season for Parramatta in 2018 with a number of issues derailing their season, despite high expectations being placed on them at the start of the year.

It’s fair to say the pressure will be on Brad Arthur, but with minimal big name changes to their rosters Parra’s fortune may remain the same this season.

Sterlo says the Eels

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Sterlo said.

“When you look through their side, the one, six, seven and nine are very inexperienced.

“Clint Gutherson is a wonderful player and has been for a number of seasons and I think the best is yet to be.

“Obviously in regards to Dylan Brown, Mitchell Moses and Reed Mahoney there’s not a lot of First Grade experience.

“In regards to Mitchell Moses I think this could be the making of him.”

2018 FINISH: 16th

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: Blake Ferguson, Shaun Lane, Junior Paulo, Maika Sivo.

OUT: Kenny Edwards, Cameron King, Suaia Matagi, Corey Norman, Beau Scott.

 

MANLY SEA EAGLES

It was an eventful 2018 season for Manly with several off-field scandals resulting in a poor year for the men from Brooky.

However, Des Hasler returns to the northern beaches and could just be what the Sea Eagles need to have a big 2019.

Tom Trbojevic is out of their season opener against the Tigers, but Sterlo says the return of Hasler and a capable roster will see an improved team in 2019.

“It kind of fits Des and Manly,” Sterlo said.

“We know how much success he’s had there in the past.

“The big question mark for me is Kane Elgey.

“I’ve always had a wrap on this young bloke when he was on the Gold Coast, but he never quite fulfilled the opportunities and the promise, maybe the change is what he needs.”

2018 FINISH: 15th.

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: Kane Elgey, Brendan Elliot, Reuben Garrick.

OUT: Lewis Brown, Brian Kelly, Shaun Lane, Akuila Uate

 

WESTS TIGERS

It was the worst kept secret at the end of 2018 – Ivan Cleary would be returning to Penrith.

However, Michael Maguire has now arrived as head coach at Concord alongside a couple of handy additions leaving the Tigers with a big chance to make the eight in 2019.

Sterlo says the omission of Josh Reynolds shouldn’t be for long with the crafty utility set to be included in the coming weeks for the Tigers.

“Josh Reynolds he’ll be back in the side fairly quickly,” Sterlo said.

“I think he’ll be pushing for a starting spot in the halves.

“The first opportunity has been given to Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks which is a good sign.

“To me that’s the big storyline in a lot of ways – the changes with certain clubs, not just players but coaches with Michael Maguire coming here.”

2018 FINISH: 13th.

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: Robert Jennings, Ryan Matterson, Paul Momirovski (Sydney Roosters), Zane Musgrove.

OUT: Tim Grant, Tuimoala Lolohea, Matt McIlwrick, Kevin Naiqama, Sauaso Sue, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak.

 

MELBOURNE STORM

In 2018, Melbourne showed they could still be a force without Cooper Cronk finishing as runners-up behind the Roosters.

However, take away Billy Slater this season and only Cameron Smith remains from the big three.

It’ll is still an ominous looking roster with the likes of Cameron Munster and Jesse Bromwich and Sterlo says.

“They just keep on keeping on,” Sterlo said.

“So much of that does comes back to Craig Bellamy who’s the master coach, I think he’s the best coach in the competition and he continues to proves that.

“This year they’re looking for their 17th straight first round victory.

“I’ve got no doubt that they’ll be there in the top eight at the end of the year and the best side to beat in so many ways.

“They have the best culture in regards to a football club in the competition.”

2018 FINISH: Runners-up.

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: Tom Eisenhuth, Albert Vete.

OUT: Tim Glasby, Ryan Hoffman, Ryley Jacks, Sam Kasiano, Billy Slater, Young Tonumaipea.

 

Click ‘play’ to hear Sterlo’s predictions in full.

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