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2019 Predictions

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The internationals are done and dusted, teams are back in preseason. There will still be some tinkering to come with squads, but the bulk of recruitment is done now.

Lets all prove how little we really know by having a stab at some predictions:

 

1. St Helens - I still have my doubts about them in the big knockout games, but in terms of week in week out putting results together they look the best equipped to me. Exciting backs, decent halves and with Walmsley back that pack looks strong too. Plus they have a bit of depth. Team to beat for me.

2. Warrington - I got Warrington wrong last year. I had them improving, but without ever really looking like contenders. As it was they really impressed me. They look to have made a couple of decent acquisitions and will be knocking on the door again.

3. Castleford - In 2017 Cas entertained everyone and took the league by storm. In 2018 we also got to see how they coped with a bit of adversity and they passed with flying colours. They have good players, a very good coach, and they will be there or thereabouts again.

4. Hull FC - This is partly my own bias speaking, I don't expect many others to have Hull as high as 4th, but don't forget that despite being with a lot of key players throughout the season we were still in contention at the split. It was only once we found ourselves in the limbo of, can't go down, can't make the top 4, that the wheels really came off. The first choice 17 is still very good, and the fringe players will have benefitted from a really tough year. I think we will be a force again.

5. Wigan - I actually typed Wakefield at first and then deleted it, because whilst this might be a big transitional period for them, this is still Wigan that we are talking about, and they still have some very good players. Actually winning something is a big ask, but they will still be a quality side on their day.

6. Wakefield - Along with Cas they are the success story of the last couple of years, and I think they will be up there again. It would be nice to see them push on and actually make a playoff game instead of just missing out by one spot again. If I have one concern it is Brough coming back. I hope it doesn't disrupt the obviously excellent team spirit they have there.

7. Catalans - As great as their cup run was I just don't see them having the consistency to mount a proper playoff charge. They have the talent, and if they can finally start winning regularly away from home then they could be a real threat, but I just don't think so.

8. Huddersfield - This shows what a competitive league this is going to be, because I actually think Huddersfield are a very decent side and yet I simply think there are 7 teams better than them.

9. Leeds - They were rubbish last year, their recruitment has been average at best and they have just allowed their best prop to join Hull KR. They will be nowhere near.

10. Hull KR - They finished 10th last year, and I don't think they have improved their squad significantly enough to push on from there, although Garbutt is a very good signing.

11. Salford - They have a handful of quality players but very little depth. If they stay unusually injury free they could have a good season, but I can't see how they will win games without the likes of Hastings and Lussick.

12. London - I wish them all the best but I think it could be a very long year unfortunately.

 

It really is tough to call. I am fairly confident about the top 2 being at least in the playoffs, but from 3 to 8 I struggled, because any of those sides are capable of having a good year. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that Leeds, Rovers or Salford could have a say either if the stars align for them.

So, lets have your thoughts and predictions and lets see if anyone can get anywhere near this year. That would be a first!

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It's hard to post any true predictions yet as a the squads for each team are not finalised, especially in Leeds' case who are likely to announce at least 2/3/4 more signings before christmas, 1/2 which could be significant but i can't argue with your assessment there as it stands and if the squad were to stay the same as now it would be a struggle again.

All i can say with certainty is that Saints and Warrington will be right up there along with Cas again. Wigan likely to drop off a bit and Catalans should make the play offs this time. Bottom 2 almost sure to be London and Salford the other places we will have to see.

the change back to the old play off system will make it far more interesting as the reward for finishing 1st and 2nd are far greater than the top four system, which should mean far less coasting towards the back end of the year.

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1. Toronto -  Can't see anything other than a top of the table finish and then a question of if they bottle it in the final.

2. Toulouse - I expect them to continue where they left off and although I don't think they can top the league I think they may edge out Widnes for 2nd.

3. Widnes - Im not expecting the collapse that Leigh saw last season and they look to have a competitive squad I just don't see them challenging for top spot.

4. Halifax - Recruitment has been as good as any team outside Toronto and anything less than a top 5 finish would be a disappointment.
5. Bradford - I know their fans are playing down their top 5 hopes they have a very good squad and a very good coach. I expect them to be there or there abouts.

6. Fev - This could be the one that goes either way by the time the season starts. They have lost a lot of players and not replaced them with the same quality but sometimes that can spark a club after this week though this could easily go the other way. I doubt there will be much in the 2-6 positions.

7. York - on the crest of the wave and again look to have a decent squad and will surprise a few teams. Not sure they are strong enough to break the top 5 though.

8. Sheffield - Big turn over of players but if they can make use of DR again then they should make mid table comfortably.

9. Barrow - Some interesting signings and always a tough place to go, no danger of relegation for me.

10. Leigh - Assuming they get a team on the field I really can't see them been too competitive and expect them to be fighting relegation with the teams below.

11. Batley - Nothing to see here really, they seem to be standing still while teams around them improve. If they do well then they make mid table but if things go against them they could be in trouble.

12. Dewsbury - Similar to Batley with little improvement other teams around them are getting better and they could end up with a relegation fight on their hands.

13. Swinton - Themselves and Rochdale could be in either order but neither are strong enough to get in the mid table cluster and they can only hope to finish above either heavy wollen outfit.

14. Rochdale - See above.

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1. Toronto -  Can't see anything other than a top of the table finish and then a question of if they bottle it in the final.

2. Toulouse - I expect them to continue where they left off and although I don't think they can top the league I think they may edge out Widnes for 2nd.

3. Widnes - Im not expecting the collapse that Leigh saw last season and they look to have a competitive squad I just don't see them challenging for top spot.

4. Halifax - Recruitment has been as good as any team outside Toronto and anything less than a top 5 finish would be a disappointment.
5. Bradford - I know their fans are playing down their top 5 hopes they have a very good squad and a very good coach. I expect them to be there or there abouts.

6. Leigh - The great unknown as nobody knows the team that will be turning out, although the rumours are good making T5 a distinct possibility.

7. Fev - a number of financial challenges but Leeds will keep them mid table. 4-7 could be anybodys

8. Dewsbury - Big turn over of players but if they can make use of DR again then they should make mid table comfortably.

9. Barrow - Some interesting signings and always a tough place to go, no danger of relegation for me.

10. Batley - Nothing to see here really, they seem to be standing still while teams around them improve. If they do well then they make mid table but if things go against them they could be in trouble.

11.Sheffield - hopeless club with no fans and a park as a ground, really should be in C1 or NCL

12.York - Will get a few drubbings and probably go bust mid season again.

13. Swinton - Themselves and Rochdale could be in either order but neither are strong enough to get in the mid table cluster and they can only hope to finish above either heavy wollen outfit.

14. Rochdale - See above.

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Too early to say because I still think a few clubs have yet to complete their business for the 2019 season (Wire, Leeds and Wigan to name three). 

A couple of predictions though: 

London to finish on less than 10 points. 

Hull FC to sack Lee Radford. 

 

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1. Warrington

2. Sts

3. Wigan

4. Cas

5. Huddersfield

6. Catalans

7. Salford

8. Wakey

9. Leeds 

10. Hull KR.

11. Hull FC

12. London 

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4 hours ago, sweaty craiq said:

12.York - Will get a few drubbings and probably go bust mid season again.

When was the last time York went bust mid-season please?

[Edit - the answer was 2002.]

Edited by Gav Wilson
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Looking at Blues Ox & Sweaty Craig's predictions, you'd have to add the rider that it's too early to say with final squads far from finalised (especially Leigh). The ones I'd change from those two lists are that Dewsbury might struggle even more than they are suggesting, I'm not sure they are even as strong as last season and they might struggle to avoid relegation. Sheffield look a fair bit stronger than the last 2 or 3 years with Thackeray, Knowles, Walker, Aaron Brown, Guzdek all looking upgrades. Batley have lost a few but they have signed two or three decent forwards so they might do ok. Swinton have made a few reasonable-looking signings too and I'd fancy them to avoid relegation.

Fev and Leigh probably the two hardest to assess as we'll have to wait for the dust to settle on the current Duffy/Ridyard rumours and then see what squads each end up with.

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I would like to know where sweaty gets his information from because as far as I'm aware we haven't got a pot to slash in right now and if I had my wish we would swap places with Workington and rebuild without degsys involvement,maybe this is a prediction best kept for 2020,but my mrs says I'm premature with everything.

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Avalanche of good signings announced with the new coach anytime soon, looks like we are staying FT with a £1.2m squad. New money washing all over LSV and expect to see Evans pulling the shirt on again on reduced terms. Now expect T2 finish and to win GF

Edited by sweaty craiq

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Usual suspects at the top, Salford have not got enough quality and same with London so either of those for the drop!

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13 hours ago, sweaty craiq said:

Avalanche of good signings announced with the new coach anytime soon, looks like we are staying FT with a £1.2m squad. New money washing all over LSV and expect to see Evans pulling the shirt on again on reduced terms. Now expect T2 finish and to win GF

It would cost you the salary cap to get releases from contracts for the players you think you are signing.

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23 hours ago, SilentAssassin said:

It's hard to post any true predictions yet as a the squads for each team are not finalised, especially in Leeds' case who are likely to announce at least 2/3/4 more signings before christmas, 1/2 which could be significant but i can't argue with your assessment there as it stands and if the squad were to stay the same as now it would be a struggle again.

All i can say with certainty is that Saints and Warrington will be right up there along with Cas again. Wigan likely to drop off a bit and Catalans should make the play offs this time. Bottom 2 almost sure to be London and Salford the other places we will have to see.

the change back to the old play off system will make it far more interesting as the reward for finishing 1st and 2nd are far greater than the top four system, which should mean far less coasting towards the back end of the year.

Who is out of contract (and worth it) that Leeds can sign?

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I wouldnt be surprised to see Leeds top 5 next year at all. Lolohea, Hurrell, Merrin are all upgrades on what we lost last year and give the squad much better balance. Mclelland and Crosby adding a bit more depth. Another couple of signings at prop and 2nd row, plus some of the outstanding youngsters we have coming through like Oledzki, Newman, Walker and Furner putting his stamp on things has all the ingredients for a big turnaround.

Warrington would be my guess for LLS and Cas or Wigan for the ones to take a big step backwards. Wigan have lam coming in for only a year, might be a little bit of a lame duck and might not be able to get them adding up to more than the sum of their parts as Wane did. Cas look to have a hit their ceiling, they either need to break through or will go backwards.

I worry for Wakefield who have over-acheived for a few years now with a low cap spend but we have also seen Leeds, Hudds and Les Catalans under-acheive massively but we saw Les Catalans finally click last year and a new coach at Hudds saw something of a turnaround. Its hard to keep improving year after year when your spend is one of the lowest in the league and you keep needing to eek more out and if Wakefield even stand still i think they will get taken over by those three plus possibly HKR who have a good pack, Danny Mags in his last year and Tim Sheens is a great coach.

London look at a long way away however so I dont think they will be in danger of relegation.

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1. Wigan

2. St Helens

3. Castleford

4. Warrington

5. Hull FC

6. Leeds

7. Wakefield

8. Catalans

9. Huddersfield

10. Hull KR

11. Salford

12. London

----------------------------------------------------------

1. Toronto

2. Toulouse

3. Widnes

4. Halifax

5. Featherstone

6. Bradford

7. Leigh

8. York

9. Batley

10. Sheffield

11. Barrow

12. Dewsbury

13. Swinton

14. Rochdale

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53 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

Who is out of contract (and worth it) that Leeds can sign?

well Merrin is a good signing for a start. on that alone it significantly improves Leeds chances next season. another strong front row signing and you would say we would be at least a contender for a play off spot from here.

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9 minutes ago, SilentAssassin said:

well Merrin is a good signing for a start. on that alone it significantly improves Leeds chances next season. another strong front row signing and you would say we would be at least a contender for a play off spot from here.

Ikahihifo supposedly who would be the first forward we had that actually punches holes since Kylie retired.

Singleton, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Ward, Ablett, Merrin with a bench of Ikahihifo, JJB, Ferres, Dwyer has a lot of impact. With Crosby, Oledzki, Cam Smith, Peteru in reserve thats a decent rotation. Plenty of size and offloads in that pack, if they can create some broken field for Lolohea, Hurrell, Walker and Watkins there are a lot of points there

Edited by scotchy1
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I can’t see wigan taking a big step backwards, but I don’t think anyone backed us to make the play offs this year and that turned out fine n dandy.

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1. Warrington

2. St Helens

3. Wigan

4. Wakefield

5. Castleford

6. Leeds

7. Shudds

8. Catalans

9. Hull FC

10. Hull KR

11. Salford

12. London

Other than London I see it as being very fluid. Can't see Hull KR or Salford making the five but both could end up higher. I'm unsure about Hull FC, even despite injuries they were horrendous in the second half of last season and it will IMO take a lot of sorting.

Warrington or Saints for me but not a lot in it tbh as any of the top 8 in my list could pinch it IMO.

Leeds are the dark horses - they will either come back all guns blazing or will have another poor season, hard to tell.

I'm hoping Cas and Wakefield will be neck and neck, obviously put Wakey above Cas because I'm biased.

 

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Some massive competition for the top 6 and the test will be who keeps their injury list to a minimum.

One feature of the giants last 2 seasons has been an injury list in double figures for large chunks of it, lot of effort spent on addressing this apparently and our form when the squad has been fit shows the ability the team has.

 

A season not blighted by injury and giants to make top 4 will be my only prediction. 

Oh, I'll say Radford will finally be sacked and Wakefields bubble will burst as teams who have underperformed start to play again. 

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1. Leeds

2. St Helens

3. Warrington 

4. Wigan

 5. Catalans

6. Castleford

7. Hull kr

8. Hull FC

9. Wakefield 

10. Huddersfield 

 11. London

 12. Salford 

 

Improvers

Leeds and Hull kr are the two teams I expect to improve the most, both have made good signings. I think Hurrell and Merrin will have a massive impact at Leeds, as will playing with two half backs instead of one. Catalans had a terrible start to 2018, but they had some good results in the 2nd half the year and I expect them to kick on in the league following their cup silverware.

Decliners

Wakefield punched above their weight last year, I can’t see them keeping that up. Salford’s squad is too small and lacks depth, it will be them or London for the drop. Hull fc were dreadful at the back end of the year and don’t seem to have made any decent signings, neither have Huddersfield.

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Amazed to see Leeds being predicted as low as 9th with their recruitment.

I would expect Saints and Wire to be a cut above the rest next year but it will be very competitive to make the Top 5 (as it should be).

Cas, Catalans and Leeds to join them in the finals. 

Wigan to have a pre-Shaun Edwards fallow year. Huddersfield the dark horses. Wakey also in with a shout of the 5.

Looking forward to it. There’s more quality about than for the past few years.

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On 11/15/2018 at 10:48 AM, Exiled Wiganer said:

I can’t see wigan taking a big step backwards, but I don’t think anyone backed us to make the play offs this year and that turned out fine n dandy.

Who have you signed other than Hardaker?

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