What your team needs in 2017: Part 2
With most NRL clubs already looking ahead to next season we look at where your team could improve heading into the 2017 Telstra Premiership campaign.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Key 2016 stats: Attack 11th, Defence 11th, Run Metres 14th
What they've got: A team that has seemingly lost its way just a couple of years after winning the competition. The core of that premiership-winning side is still there – Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds, John Sutton – but Issac Luke and Ben Te'o have been missed more than expected. Still, they ended the season with four straight wins after a one-point loss to the Storm in Melbourne so they will carry momentum into 2017.
What they need: To improve their go-forward, significantly. Remarkably for a team that dominated up front in 2014, thanks largely to the Burgess brothers, the Rabbitohs ranked third last for run metres this season. George Burgess's injury problems played a part, but all too often Sam Burgess was left to carry too much of the burden.
What they're getting: A star hooker, albeit one who was left out of the Wests Tigers' 17 at the backend of the season. Robbie Farah's arrival suggests Souths are confident of challenging again in the next two seasons – hence bringing in a big name at the back end of his career rather than giving more experience to youngsters in the position – and while age is not on his side the NSW hooker is a class above youngsters Damien Cook and the departed Cameron McInnes.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Key 2016 stats: Attack 15th, Line Breaks 15th, Ball Control 14th, Run Metres 5th, Tackle Breaks 5th
What they've got: An attacking game that needs some major improvements despite the presence of several talented players. They ranked second worst in points scored and line breaks made this season and struggled to hold the ball as well, and with their defence not matching the heights of their 2015 campaign they fell well short of a top-eight finish with a points differential of -197. Their forwards remain pretty strong, ranking fifth for run metres, with Tyson Frizell thriving in his first taste of State of Origin football.
What they need: A new halfback after the departure of Benji Marshall, a new hooker to replace Mitch Rein, and some general spark in attack. They actually got into attacking positions pretty regularly, ranking fifth in the league for run metres and tackle breaks, but lacked the finished product.
What they're getting: Cameron McInnes is the new hooker at the club after the Dragons missed out on Robbie Farah, while Nene Macdonald adds some strike power out wide.
Key 2016 stats: Line Breaks 2nd, Defence 14th, Completion Rate =11th
What they've got: Some brilliant attacking players, but a team that has lapses in concentration in defence and prone to making unforced errors in attack. In short it's the same story as last year, and the year before.
What they need: Some consistency to match their natural brilliance. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's return from his season-ending injury will be a boost but the fleet-footed fullback won't be able to help his team make their tackles in the front line of defence, and that's where they let themselves down this year.
What they're getting: Kieran Foran is another huge name to join Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke, but will he solve the team's problems?
Key 2016 stats: Defence 15th, Run Metres 15th, Line Breaks 8th
What they've got: A gutsy coach, three of the most promising young playmakers in Mitch Moses, James Tedesco and Luke Brooks, and a quality leader in Aaron Woods. They also have some big improvements to make in defence and go-forward, despite the presence of Woods.
What they need: A fit specialist hooker in the side would be handy after Robbie Farah's exit, although veteran Matt Ballin and youngster Jacob Liddle fit the bill. Some more depth in the forwards wouldn't go astray either, with the team already boasting some quality talent in the backline.
What they're getting: No confirmed signings as yet.