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2024 NRL Season Preview

The 2024 NRL season is days away from beginning as 16 teams look to dethrone the reigning three-time premiers, the Penrith Panthers. Kicking off in Las Vegas, the opening round will be played across two weekends as fans get to watch their teams after a short hiatus.

2024 NRL Season Preview

Brisbane Broncos

Minutes away from clinching the 2023 premiership from the Panthers in last year’s Grand Final, the Brisbane Broncos have the team that can go all the way and emerge as the premiers this season. Guided by Reece Walsh, Ezra Mam and Adam Reynolds, the club will likely go far in this season’s competition.

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Canberra Raiders

The Canberra Raiders will enter the season with an entirely different roster due to the departures of veterans Jarod Croker and Jack Wighton. Their failure to recruit an elite playmaker will likely see them lack poise in attack and may struggle to put points on the board. Set to enter a rebuilding stage with many young players, the Raiders could finish the season at the bottom of the ladder.

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Canterbury Bulldogs

The Bulldogs were one of the most active teams in the transfer market ahead of this season, deciding to sign Stephen Crichton, Jaeman Salmon, Bronson Xerri, Kurt Mann, Drew Hutchison, Zane Tetevano, Connor Tracey, and Jake Turpin. While they may still be a couple of years from making the finals or making a deep run in the final series, there is no doubt that the acquisitions will make them one of the most improved clubs in 2024.

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Cronulla Sharks

Like the past couple of years, the Sharks have won the easiest draws this season. Led by ex-Dally M winner Nicho Hynes, the Sharks have an incredible backline and a solid forward pack. Although they have struggled in the finals, they have always succeeded in achieving a spot in the finals and are always near the top, so becoming minor premiers shouldn’t be put past them.

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Gold Coast Titans

The Gold Coast Titans failed to make the top eight last season, but they will be eager to make up for this as they bring in former premiership coach Des Hasler as their head coach. The club has David Fifita, who is regarded as one of the best players in their prime who can dominate any team on their day. If he can play like this consistently, the outcome is endless for the Gold Coast side.

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Manly Sea Eagles

The Manly Sea Eagles have one of the best complete rosters in the NRL but have continually struggled with their star players, such as Tom Trbojevic, Josh Schuster, and Jake Trbojevic, getting injured. Add in recruits Luke Brooks, Nathan Brown, Tommy Talau and Jaxson Paulo, and the Sea Eagles will easily zoom past eleven wins this season as they aim for a run into the top four.

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Melbourne Storm

Despite only playing a few games over the past two seasons due to back-to-back injuries, Ryan Papenhuyzen still remains an elite fullback and showed it during the pre-season trial matches. A prolific goalkicker and tryscorer, the fullback will be in contention to become the season’s top point scorer if he remains fit and healthy and away from any injuries.

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Newcastle Knights

The Newcastle Knights have been treated with a significant blow to their roster this season, with star winger Dominic Young leaving the club to join the Sydney Roosters. However, Young’s departure has opened the door for ex-teammate Greg Marzhew to stand up in his absence.

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New Zealand Warriors

The New Zealand Warriors are unbeatable when facing teams in New Zealand, with one of the main factors being the success of winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. A member of the Dally M Team of the Year in 2023, the winger will be looking to continue his great form on the wing and take home the honours of becoming the top tryscorer.

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North Queensland Cowboys

While the North Queensland Cowboys may be quite inconsistent regarding winning or losing games, star centre Valentine Holmes can always be leaned upon when it comes to needing tries. Add in the fact that he is their primary goalkicker, and Holmes will be in contention to become the top pointscorer. Playing under the guise of Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden, Holmes has quality players around him, which will see him cross the line often.

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Parramatta Eels

Two years ago, the Parramatta Eels reached the Grand Final. Now, they are set to miss the finals series for the second consecutive year. The club have struggled to find that X-factor that they are in desperate need of. While they always manage to get points on the board, the defence on the edges can sometimes be lacklustre.

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Penrith Panthers

The Penrith Panthers enter 2024 after winning the past three premierships and making the last four Grand Finals. Regarded as one of the best teams in rugby league history, it is hard to go against them, considering the basis of their team remains intact. A fourth consecutive would make them the first team since St Geroge in the 1960s to achieve the honour and will be the first team to do it without a captain-coach.

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South Sydney Rabbitohs

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have all the makings of a team that can make the Grand Final. Already having stars Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Cameron Murray in their team, they have signed former Dally M winner Jack Wighton to sharpen their side. Although they didn’t make the top eight last season, the club have openly stated 2023 was a disappointment and will be ready to bounce back in the best way possible.

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St George Illawarra Dragons

The Dragons will contend with the Wests Tigers for the wooden spoon this season. A change of coach will likely change their circumstances at the moment, and they lack quality star players in their squad. Yet to make a marquee signing, the Dragons have yet to figure out the best positions of several players at the club.

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Sydney Roosters

The arrivals of Dominic Young and Spencer Leniu from rival clubs add to the strength of the Roosters squad as they look to win a title before the departures of Joseph Suaalii, Joseph Manu and Angus Crichton to rugby union. While their depth may be lacking, when the full team is on show, there is no better team on their day.

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The Dolphins

After making headways in 2023 in what was their maiden season in the NRL, The Dolphins can only get better this season. Yet to lose anyone significant from their roster, they have been productive in the transfer market, signing Herbie Farnworth, Thomas Flegler, and Jake Averillo. The duo of Farnworth and Flegler bring representative and Grand Final experience and are crucial signings that further help their depth at the club.

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Wests Tigers

The back-to-back holders of the wooden spoon, the Wests Tigers are one of the favourites to take out the infamous award again this season. The club struggled during the trial matches and has yet to find the right combinations that will lead them to attack. It is easy to see them remain near the bottom of the ladder yet again this season.

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