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I hope I'm wrong but I can't see castleford making the top 4. I hope it's not a saints v Leeds grandfinal.

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I think Castleford will struggle in 2018 ( I hope I'm wrong, really enjoyed the rugby they played last season) however teams might know how to play against them now.  I have this feeling that the Catalans might make the Top 4. Wigan will struggle this season.

 

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Schofield lost a lot of games against Wigan, and he is stuck in an endless wish fulfilment cycle when writing us off. 

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1 hour ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

Schofield lost a lot of games against Wigan, and he is stuck in an endless wish fulfilment cycle when writing us off. 

I’m actually surprised he didn’t mention his drop goals in the TRL piece!

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1 minute ago, Colly said:

Cats top 4 , really?

Yes I dont really see that. They have made some good signings, but they were a million miles away from competing last year. 

I would put money on the top 4 being the same as last year but in a different order. Maybe Wigan can muscle in if they have luck with injuries for a change. Dont fancy anyone else breaking through.

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After what has happened the last two seasons it is too hard to predict, with both league leaders going into the middle eights. For what it's worth I see saints as a front runner. 

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1 hour ago, Colly said:

Cats top 4 , really?

With the players they've got & McNamara in charge. I really fancy them doing it. 

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3 hours ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

Schofield lost a lot of games against Wigan, and he is stuck in an endless wish fulfilment cycle when writing us off. 

I don’t understand the writing-off of Wigan either.   The squad is no worse (nor better) than the teams that most predict will be in the top 4, but if they stay injury-free with Tomkins in the halves, Escare at full-back and O’Loughlin motivating them, I can see them getting top 4 after the 8s.   If they do that, I’d back Wane to get them to Old Trafford and win it.   Tomkins at the back-end of last season started to show his worth - not as an individual player but for his rugby brain.   With Escare linking up from the back and their talented wingers we could see a different side to Wigan.

That said, I’m a Warrington fan so I hope others are right.   Wigan are the one team I fear in a grand final as they just know how to grind us out of the fight with the basics.

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On 1/7/2018 at 7:22 PM, Desert Skipper said:

I don’t understand the writing-off of Wigan either.   The squad is no worse (nor better) than the teams that most predict will be in the top 4, but if they stay injury-free with Tomkins in the halves, Escare at full-back and O’Loughlin motivating them, I can see them getting top 4 after the 8s.   If they do that, I’d back Wane to get them to Old Trafford and win it.   Tomkins at the back-end of last season started to show his worth - not as an individual player but for his rugby brain.   With Escare linking up from the back and their talented wingers we could see a different side to Wigan.

That said, I’m a Warrington fan so I hope others are right.   Wigan are the one team I fear in a grand final as they just know how to grind us out of the fight with the basics.

I agree. Wigan were ravaged by injuries last year and suffered badly just like the Rhinos did the year before. Write them off at your peril, I think they are much more likely to bounce back than the Wire who were dreadful last year but did not have the excuse of a completely decimated squad.

I think Saints will go well but their fans might be bored to death.

I think Cas will fall well short of last season and might not do enough to scrape into the 4.

I see no reason why Hull will not go very well again.

Lots of unknown quantities this year, it should be a cracker.

 

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27 minutes ago, MyMrsWouldPreferSinfield said:

I agree. Wigan were ravaged by injuries last year and suffered badly just like the Rhinos did the year before. Write them off at your peril, I think they are much more likely to bounce back than the Wire who were dreadful last year but did not have the excuse of a completely decimated squad.

 

 

I think you are incorrect with regards to wire not decimated by injuries, they were hit as bad as Wigan or any other side. But I agree that was not the sole reason and that is why Smith went. I hope we will be up there this season but the last two seasons have shown that you can't always predict so easily now. 

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5 hours ago, MyMrsWouldPreferSinfield said:

I will lay that bet.

I am not sure what McNamara has on his CV to fill you with such confidence.

Knowing my luck, i'll probably be wrong. I just hope they do it. 

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Cant believe people think Cas wont make top 4 finished 18 points clear of 5th last season now all of a sudden other teams are going have great seasons and cas are going lose 8-9 more games.

Wishful thinking for some people.

:) 

 

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Warrington, St Helens & Hull are the three contenders in 2018 with Wakefield the dark horses.

Not feeling to good about Wigan or Leeds.

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I think there's a lot of uncertainties for lots of clubs next season that should make it exciting.

Leeds without McGuire and Burrows will hopefully not lead to another 2016, but there's no guarantee of that. I do think the experience of 2016 has stood the players and club in good stead going forward though.

At the top end of the table, Cas losing Hardaker will be difficult for them, however I don't think it will dismantle them all that much. I'd also add Hull FC into that mix as without Ellis last season they did look a bit rudderless. Wire are an unknown quantity imo as are Catalans at this point, new(ish) coaches and players will be aiming to improve results. I worry for Wigan (though not too much obviously) without McIlorum. Wigan's problem is keeping as many of their salary cap fit and on the pitch - if they do however they're dead certs for the top 4.

Towards (what I anticipate to be) the lower end, Widnes, HKR and Salford are all clubs with points to prove. Salford seem to be worryingly light in some areas. Have Widnes found a genuine replacement for Brown? KR must make sure that their whole campaign isn't just based around beating FC at Easter. 

I'm surprisingly certain Wakey will do well. They have genuinely improved their squad depth from last year and will comfortably make the 8, I expect them to be challenging for top 4.

On paper, for me at least, Saints have the best team. If Saints can play in the way we expect them to with the quality and talent they have, they'll be an improved version of Cas from last year. 

Huddersfield I have absolutely no idea!

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On 1/7/2018 at 6:22 PM, Rage said:

With the players they've got & McNamara in charge. I really fancy them doing it. 

I just had a quick look back at the thread title to make sure it didn't say "Championship predictions 2019".

On 1/9/2018 at 12:34 PM, MyMrsWouldPreferSinfield said:

I will lay that bet.

I am not sure what McNamara has on his CV to fill you with such confidence.

Compromising photographs of every club owner where he's coached?

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9 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I'd also add Hull FC into that mix as without Ellis last season they did look a bit rudderless.

I don't think rudderless is the right word. Ellis never really gave us direction. The thing that was sometimes noticeable was that we seemed to play with more energy with Ellis on the field. He seemed to inspire that extra few % out of his team mates. There were exceptions. The Cas cup game for example was one of the most physically demanding games I've ever seen and we got through that without him. But theres no coincidence that alot of out flattest performances came without him. 

We do have alot of good pros with bags of experience in the pack though. Imo its still the best pack in the league even without him, so its not something I am too worried about.

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On the assumption that everyone suffers equally from injuries, I can’t see beyond Wigan, FC and Leeds for the big prizes, with high hopes that Leeds turn Melbourne over next month. Between Cas, Saints and Wire for 4th. Cas’ players to revert to their norm, Saints to stay as they were and Wire to improve but still need another year to be transformed to their former glory. 

I think Cats, the Giants and Trinity will have an almighty scrap for 8th, while I think it could be a long hard summer for Widnes, HKR and Salford. But that as no one will lose their place in ‘19 they will use the opportunity to blood promising young players.

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32 minutes ago, MZH said:

I don't think rudderless is the right word. Ellis never really gave us direction. The thing that was sometimes noticeable was that we seemed to play with more energy with Ellis on the field. He seemed to inspire that extra few % out of his team mates. There were exceptions. The Cas cup game for example was one of the most physically demanding games I've ever seen and we got through that without him. But theres no coincidence that alot of out flattest performances came without him. 

We do have alot of good pros with bags of experience in the pack though. Imo its still the best pack in the league even without him, so its not something I am too worried about.

Yeah I agree with most of that. Hopefully a new pack leader will emerge.

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5 minutes ago, muckymunksy said:

Haha what you smoking pal 

Wigan wont be anywhere near the top 4 

With a fully fit squad? Yeah the loss of McIllorum will be big but with Escare, Tomkins, Lockers and Williams on the pitch they have undeniable quality in the spine and their pack is hardly toothless is it. It wouldn't surprise me if Wigan bounced back in a way similar to how Leeds did.

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1 hour ago, Tommygilf said:

With a fully fit squad? Yeah the loss of McIllorum will be big but with Escare, Tomkins, Lockers and Williams on the pitch they have undeniable quality in the spine and their pack is hardly toothless is it. It wouldn't surprise me if Wigan bounced back in a way similar to how Leeds did.

Lockers is clearly excellent but will only be able to play a limited number of games.  Tomkins looked well off his best last year and MIGHT be past it.  Williams is enigmatic but needs a decent consistent partner in halves.  Escare is good but will need a decent pack in front of him.  I just don't see Wigan doing much at all this year but i guess they have it in them.

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43 minutes ago, Tre Cool said:

Lockers is clearly excellent but will only be able to play a limited number of games.  Tomkins looked well off his best last year and MIGHT be past it.  Williams is enigmatic but needs a decent consistent partner in halves.  Escare is good but will need a decent pack in front of him.  I just don't see Wigan doing much at all this year but i guess they have it in them.

Just me and bookies then. :) 

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