With the 2017 season finally here, it’s time to go back to basics and start dissecting the action with a view to identifying key moments from each team and player.
A lot of work is being done to understand the nuances of the game, and this season we can all start to pick apart the action from the outside.
We’ve identified four major storylines, and each has been given its own detailed section.
There are also a handful of additional highlights and tidbits, such as the Cowboys’ impressive win over the Bulldogs, the Rabbitohs’ record of victories over the Titans and Roosters, and a little bit of banter.
The 2017 NRL premiership game: Who will be the winners?
What are the key storylines for the coming season?
The Cowboys’ success is largely down to the players.
They’re arguably the most experienced and skilled group of players in the competition, and while they might not have won a premiership, they’ve won at least one game in their last eight.
They have two outstanding ruckmen, and the Cowboys can be proud of their work in the halves.
They’ve also got a couple of players who can be counted on to play big games, such the big guns, James Maloney and Paul Vaughan.
The Rabbitoh-Eels have also had a strong start to the season.
They finished third last season, and they’ve been on a hot streak since, with five wins in their opening five games.
The Knights are a very different team from last season.
They finished fifth last season and have played a very solid brand of rugby.
They lost in the finals to the Dragons and the Roostaws, but they’ve shown they can still be a very tough side.
The Titans have been a real surprise.
They’ve been struggling for a few seasons now, but the new coaching staff and the recruitment of new talent have helped them to the top of the table.
They’re one of the few teams in the NRL that don’t really play with a lot of speed and power, but when they do play it can be very potent.
They’ll be keen to avoid any repeat of last season’s upset loss against the Rabbitou-Evans.
They will want to take that momentum and turn it into wins.
The Raiders have had a very good start to their season, with four wins in the first three games.
They will be hoping to bounce back from last year’s disastrous loss to the Storm in Round 16.
The Broncos have had an impressive start to 2017, with a win over Parramatta in Round 15 and a win against the Roosterers in Round 17.
It’s an exciting start to this year, but will they be able to build on it?
They’ve had some very disappointing losses in the last couple of years, but a big part of that has been their poor defence.
They have been extremely inconsistent in their performance at the moment, so this may be a bit of a turning point.
The Storm have struggled to win since the end of the 2016 season, but there are some exciting young players.
The Dragons are a different team, and their big guns have been very inconsistent.
They’ll be hoping for a big win over a tough Roostaw.
The Roostavies were very inconsistent last season in the premiership race, finishing fifth.
They were knocked out by the Titans in Round 14, and were knocked back by the Knights in Round 20.
They had a tough start to 2018, but have been rewarded with a good win against Cronulla.
The Sea Eagles have a number of new faces, and are looking to make an impact this season.
The Kangaroos were unlucky to finish last season at the bottom of the competition.
They made some very big improvements under Tim Molloy, but also have a new coaching team and a new coach in Matt Moylan.
They started the season well, but after a rough start to Round 10, they are now in a good position to be a big winner.
What are your predictions for the 2017 premiership?
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