Let’s be honest here – it will be the same major players this year as it has been for the last few. Roosters, Souths, Melbourne and possibly Canterbury and North Queensland, depending on how much cheating and drugs the Doggies can get away with, and the kind of form that Thurston is in for the Cowbs following his Origin kick. Everyone else can probably just put their season away now and say, “Well, we tried our best,” even if that's a big, fat lie.
For once, the NRL season launch went off without complaint, arrest and ongoing investigations. One reason this happened was the NRL’s choice of “Face of the Game” which was Anthony Minichello, a player who most people think retired about four years ago. Congrats, Mini. You’re still alive.
Mister Evil Breakfast’s 2014 Predictions
Traditionally, I’ve been like a John Edwards/Dynamo hybrid with just how spot-on my thoughts on the upcoming season will be. Let’s rub the crystal ball again and see what the future will bring:
- Souths will win the comp, even though they probably had a better year last year. They’ll beat Manly in the grand final, and everyone will be happy. The Burgess boys will all get into shit this year, and follow Sam into rugby.
- Soward and Wallace won’t gel in the Penrith half line, and Sowie will probably retire halfway through the season, citing, “I’m not playing with that fuckwit anymore.”
- Chris Sandow will claim that his off-field issues are affecting his on-field performance which will be news to most of the punters, who reckon he’s having “a pretty good year.”
- Josh Papalli will get into some trouble with drinking, drugs and violence, and may also have some drama off-field. Calls to reinstate Dave Furner as Raiders’ head coach will begin after Round 4.
- Ben Barba will be injured for most of the year, but will be pretty happy to pick up his weekly pay packet, having seen how well it works for Josh Dugan and Shane Watson.
- The Dogs will perform as averagely as they have for a while, but it’s kind of what we’ve come to expect. Who do they even have on their team? Terry Lamb? Hasim el Masri? One of the Mortimers? Fuck it, I don’t know.
- Josh Dugan will most likely fuck up due to drugs and alcohol, and will enter into a rehabilitation centre for 20 minutes and become reborn. Again. At the rate of Duges’ rebirths lately, he is on track to be the next Dalai Lama.
- The Cowboys will do alright again, even though JT really only tries to play well during Origin season.
- Steve Matai will retire and be a major player in a badly-thought-out Australian WWE contest. He will then move onto the third incarnation of Gladiators. Then he’ll come out of retirement and play league again, but will finish his career at the Titans.
- Hopefully Greg Bird gets suspended for being a dick, or contracts scurvy or something. I just don’t like him and think he’d fit in quite well playing rugby union so I don’t have to watch him.
- The Warriors will go quite strongly during the middle part of the year while everyone else is interested in Origin, and will sneak into contention for the top eight, just like they do every year. But then they’ll suck and won’t make it.
- The Sharkies will find strength from their previous kerfuffles with drugs and dodgy coaches and horse tranquilizers and Asian midget prostitutes and stick together for another dose of “fuck it” football. When the entire team is playing individually so they can catch the eye of another club, it makes everyone perform better.
- Slater will succumb to an injury that he describes as being like “a crowbar hit across the back of the head” and spend a few months on the sideline having VB cans lobbed at him by me.
SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
Here’s Round 1 in a nutshell.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Sydney Roosters
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Brisbane Broncos
Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights
Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers
Parramatta Eels vs New Zealand Warriors
Cronulla Sharks vs Gold Coast Titans
Game of the Round
Nth Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders
While a few games in this round are a bit “maybe Team A, maybe Team B,” this match is pretty simple. Hopefully the Raiders turn up warm and ready to go, because come kick-off, they’ll need to be flexible enough to bend over and grab their ankles for a full 80-minutes.
The warm weather of North Queensland will only add to the debauchery that will ensue. Poor Raiders.