What your team needs in 2017: Part 3
With most NRL clubs looking ahead to next season we look at where your team could improve heading into the 2017 Telstra Premiership campaign.
GOLD COAST TITANS
Key 2016 stats: Line Breaks 14th, Tackle Breaks 16th, Missed Tackles 15th, Completion Rates 2nd
What they've got: A team with no shortage of heart who defied wooden spoon predictions to reach the NRL Finals Series in 2016. Promising young half Kane Elgey will feel like a new recruit next season and Ryan James looks like a leader of the future after a sensational individual season. Jarryd Hayne could also be somewhere near back to his best after a full NRL pre-season.
What they need: The Titans now have a quality spine and a few strong performers up front in James, Zeb Taia and Agnatius Paasi, but some more experience would help, especially after the exits of Nathan Friend, David Mead and Luke Douglas.
What they're getting: Young forward Jarrod Wallace is a handy signing from the Broncos, while Jarryd Hayne will still feel like somewhat of a new signing after he gets his first NRL pre-season under his belt in a few years.
Key 2016 stats: Run Metres 4th, Completion Rate 3rd, Attack 9th
What they've got: A great forward pack, some real talent in the backline in the Morris twins and Will Hopoate, and a halves pairing that's a work in progress. They were comfortably inside the NRL's top eight this year but rarely looked like genuine premiership contenders.
What they need: More out of Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds, and some general sharpness in attack. The Bulldogs struggled to build pressure or force repeat sets despite dominating games up front through James Graham, Josh Jackson and the like. Their team doesn't have any obvious weaknesses but their spine doesn't look as dangerous as the top sides.
What they're getting: No big names at the time of writing.
Key 2016 stats: Attack 5th, Tackle Breaks 4th, Offloads 1st, Ball Control 13th, Missed Tackles 14th
What they've got: A young team stacked with talent. Trent Merrin was an excellent signing at lock this season but the headlines were dominated by young guns Bryce Cartwright, Nathan Cleary, Josh Mansour and skipper Matt Moylan, while another excellent young playmaker in Te Maire Martin could partner Cleary in the halves next season.
What they need: To keep their stars on the field, and strengthen their defensive game. Penrith's attack was excellent in 2016 and they once again led the league for offloads, thanks largely to Cartwright and Merrin. The focus needs to be at the defensive end where the team ranked third worst in terms of missed tackles, although that might be inevitable with such an inexperienced team.
What they're getting: James Tamou is a star signing who will add some grunt to an already strong forward pack, as will Tim Browne, while Michael Oldfield is a handy outside back to have in the squad. This season's top point-scorer in the Intrust Super Cup, Darren Nicholls, also arrives to add some depth in the halves.
Key 2016 stats: Attack 6th, Ball Control 2nd, Offloads 14th, Defence 4th
What they've got: A star-studded team with the best coach in the business, who were once again foiled by arch rivals the Cowboys in extra time in their final game of the year. Wayne Bennett's hallmark is all over this team – relatively risk-free footy with high completion rates and strong defence – but the natural flair from the likes of Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd makes Brisbane an attacking threat as well.
What they need: Replacements for the retiring Corey Parker and the Titans-bound Jarrod Wallace. Otherwise they remain among the NRL elite, bowing out in 2016 via yet another extra-time thriller against the Cowboys.
What they're getting: David Mead is a very handy pick-up in the backline after the retirement of Jack Reed, while Moses Pangai – brother of current Bronco Tevita Pangai Jr – has been a try-scoring weapon in the lower grades in recent years.