Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

NRL 2019 predictions: Can the Roosters go back to back?

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.

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

For the Roosters, they’re looking to become the first team to go back to back since Brisbane technically achieved the rare feat during the Super League era in 1997-98.

While for Souths, master coach Wayne Bennett has arrived at Redfern and is looking to make an immediate impact on the club after leaving Red Hill.

Check out Mad Dog’s predictions for 2019 below.

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

It was another strong recruitment drive from Nathan Brown and the Newcastle Knights for the 2019 season with a host of stars joining the club.

However, despite having a squad full of talent, all could come down to whether Kalyn Ponga’s move to the halves alongside Mitchell Pearce is a success.

Newcastle cult hero Adam MacDougall says he doesn’t understand Brown’s decision to move Ponga from fullback.

“I’m a little bit perplexed as to why he’s (Brown) moving Kalyn Ponga to five-eighth,” MacDougall said.

“Probably for me it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in a long time.

“But I’m not one of the guys with the inner sanctum access, it’s easy for a fan to be critical of coaches.

“Obviously Browny has a reason for it.”

2018 FINISH: 11th

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: TIM GLASBY, JAMES GAVET, JESSE RAMIEN, DAVID KLEMMER, EDRICK LEE, MASON LINO, KURT MANN.

OUT: JACK COGGER, CHRIS HEIGHINGTON, BROCK LAMB, JACOB LILLYMAN, NICK MEANEY.

 

SYDNEY ROOSTERS

It’s the question on everyone’s mind – can the Sydney Roosters go back to back?

With Cooper Cronk fit and firing again after battling through a shoulder injury during the 2018 Grand Final and a host of firepower joining the club including Angus Crichton, Brett Morris and Ryan Hall, the Bondi based team will give the competition a serious shake again.

MacDougall says if the Roosters can keep a fit and healthy roster, they can make it two premierships in two years.

“I think honestly the only thing that’s going to stop them going back to back is injuries,” MacDougall said.

“If the Roosters can stay healthy, they’ve got the best roster in the game.

“They’ve got an amazing ability to manage their salary cap.

“The reason they’re such a great club is because they’re a winning club and because you’re a winning club you can afford to keep players because they’ll take less money and you can attract other players at the end of their career who want success.”

2018 FINISH: Premiers.

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: ANGUS CRICHTON, BRETT MORRIS, RYAN HALL, BROCK LAMB.

OUT: DYLAN NAPA, BLAKE FERGUSON, RYAN MATTERSON, SEAN O’SULLIVAN, PAUL MOMIROVSKI.

 

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

After much conjecture, the supercoach Wayne Bennett has arrived at Redfern and Anthony Seibold has moved to Brisbane.

The fitness of Greg Inglis will also have a major impact on how the Rabbitohs perform in 2019.

MacDougall says if South Sydney are to win another premiership, it will depend largely on how the squad reacts to Bennett’s unique coaching style.

“Wayne Bennett is a really different coach these days,” MacDougall said.

“He’s a very old school and brings an old school approach to his teams, he focuses more on what they’re doing rather than the opposition.

“It’s an interesting one, it’s going to depend on whether he’s the right fit for players at South Sydney.

“So it’s really going to come down to whether he gels with his playing group.”

2018 FINISH: Preliminary final.

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: COREY ALLAN.

OUT: ANGUS CRICHTON, JASON CLARK, TIM GRANT, ROBERT JENNINGS, TYRELL FUIMAONO.

 

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS

For the New Zealand Warriors, arguably the biggest story of the off-season was star play-maker Shaun Johnson being released to join Cronulla for 2019.

It leaves the Kiwi side to pick from rookie halves Adam Keighran and Chanel Harris-Tavita to partner Blake Green.

Coach Stephen Kearney re-signed earlier this year, but MacDougall says Johnson’s departure could be extremely costly.

“They’ve lost their most consistent player Simon Mannering and then to lose Shaun Johnson I don’t know how that happens,” MacDougall said.

“You don’t unearth a player of his ability every single day.

“It’s a big set of shoes to fill.

“I’d love to know who was in charge of making that decision, I think it’s a mistake they’re going to rue for a very long time.”

2018 FINISH: 8th

2019 MAJOR ROSTER CHANGES

IN: LEESON AH MAU, ADAM KEIGHRAN.

OUT: SHAUN JOHNSON, JAMES GAVET, MASON LINO, SIMON MANNERING.

 

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

Advertisement