Queensland teams' finals hopes: NRL.com experts have their say

The NRL’s three Queensland teams are surprisingly all struggling with a 1-4 record to be mired on the bottom rung of the ladder alongside Canterbury and Newcastle. The NRL.com experts have their say on their chances of reversing their early-season form and making the finals.

NRL.com's experts view

Brett Kimmorley (Former Kangaroos halfback)

None. I had actually thought Brisbane were a chance of winning the comp under Anthony Seibold with the crop of kids Wayne Bennett had developed. With the emergence of Parramatta, the Raiders and a couple of other sides who missed the eight last year I think it will be too hard. The Broncos are the best possibility of the three, but with their form I can't see them making it.

Jamie Soward (Former Blues five-eighth)

One. The Broncos are looking shaky after their poor start to the year but their class will shine through. They need to sort out their go-forward in the middle of the ruck and once their pack clicks, the backs will flow from there.

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

My prediction at the start of the season was all three would be there however that looks highly unlikely. Even though not one of these teams have given me any confidence I think yes Broncos, and possibly the Cows! The Titans haven’t given me any confidence that they will come near the eight. This is solely on their current form from them.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

None. It’s early days but I’ve seen enough from all three to suggest it could be a lean year for the clubs from the sunshine state. I tipped only the Broncos to run sixth and make the eight of the three before a ball was kicked, but they’re the most off the pace at this rate.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

All three Queensland teams have had a shocking start to their 2019 campaign - only winning one match each over the opening five rounds. The Titans and Cowboys will have to make drastic changes if they wish to turn their season around, as they find themselves in the same predicament as this time last year. The Broncos however have a roster that is more than capable of making the finals regardless of their poor start. It will come down to whether or not they can find some continuity within the side under new coach Anthony Seibold.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

Two. It seems like injury-affected halves are going to wreck the Titans' season, but momentum swings on stringing just a couple of wins together. Both the Broncos and Cowboys have the squads to make a run. They also have two proven coaching minds in their corners. Broncos and Cows in the top-eight by July….. and then away we go…

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

Broncos and Cowboys: The forward talent both teams boast should ensure their fortunes will eventually turn around. The Broncos appear to be adjusting to Anthony Seibold’s coaching style while the Cowboys are without Jason Taumalolo and Scott Bolton and their return will be a boost. The play-offs seem a bridge too far for the Titans at this stage.

Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

It’s the non-controversial option - one, the Broncos. Jason Taumalolo is coming back soon enough to dig the Cowboys out of the hole they're in - not to mention their injuries keep mounting, and the Titans are still a work in progress. But with the calibre of players, plus the expectation on them and their coach, the Broncos can turn things around. If they can keep up with the teams in the middle of the table the class in their side should win them a few crucial games.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

One. The Broncos are too strong across the park to not make the playoffs and they’re 1-4 start is a case of teething problems with adjusting to a new coach’s style rather than a season-long trend. The Origin period will actually work in their favour for once with very few Brisbane players likely to be affected by the rep season. Gold Coast and North Queensland need to make dramatic turnarounds in form to be any chance of making the post-season.

Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)

Two. Three teams – the Storm, Rabbitohs and Roosters – are guaranteed finalists, the rest is a lottery. The Broncos will get their act together at some point and go on enough of a run to force their way into the top eight; Brisbane might explode if they don’t. I also believe the Titans have enough quality in their squad to win games consistently now that the monkey is off their back.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

The only Queensland team to make the finals this year will be the Brisbane Broncos. Despite some serious talent in their squad, the Titans continue to under perform and the Cowboys have some serious gaps in their roster after a couple of players have stayed on one season too many.  The Broncos have had a slow start, but I'm confident that they will make the eight, even if they just scrape in by the skin of their teeth.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

One. Brisbane were in my top four prediction and the Cowboys in my eight to start the year. The Cowboys’ start combined with the issues in their backline and continued absence of key man Jason Taumalolo, it looks a bridge too far for them currently. But Brisbane’s roster is still stacked, they’re still feeling their way under a new coach and they’ll string some games together at some point to sneak into the bottom half of the eight.

Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)

Despite just one win from five games I am predicting the Broncos will find their mojo in the middle and back half of the year and make a run to finish in the top eight, but only just. I don’t think the Broncos are going to be consistent enough to get into the top four but there is too much strike power and talent in the side for them not to click soon. The Cowboys have no strike power in the backline and their defence is leaky. They look set to finish in bottom four. The Titans have more going for them in the halves and up front when fit, but they won’t make the eight on the form they have shown thus far.

Corey Rosser (NRL.com reporter)

One. It will be left to Brisbane to fly the flag for Queensland in the finals. The Broncos have players across the park with Test and Origin experience, and their slow start in 2019 is unlikely to worry coach Anthony Seibold too much given he won only four of his first eight with South Sydney last year before recovering to finish third.  

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

One. The Broncos will be the only Queensland team to play finals footy in 2019. Why? Their squad is too strong to miss out and their coach will eventually get things to click.

The Rabbitohs lost three of their opening five matches under Anthony Seibold in 2018. It’s evident the Broncos have some growing pains, but the experience of Boyd, Gillett, Oates and Glenn mixed with the youth of Fifita, Haas, Isaako and Staggs will be a lethal mix at the back end of the season.

The Cowboys will continue to struggle without Jason Taumalolo (injured) and Johnathan Thurston (retired), while I think the Titans will leave their run too late.

Jonathan Healy (NRL.com reporter)

One - It's very tempting to answer zero, but you would have to think the Broncos will get their act together at some stage and qualify for the post-season. You can put a line through the Titans, and the Cowboys would need a massive form turnaround to feature.

Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)

The Broncos will make it – just. For all their early season woe, they are just a couple of lucky breaks away from a multi-game winning streak. The Cowboys should be at the longest odds, they look decidedly ordinary. As for the Titans, maybe next year.

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)

Broncos. Only Penrith match them for sheer talent in their roster and they’ve got the Dally M coach of the year calling the shots. A 1-4 start is a serious wakeup call, but they’re easily still in the best eight teams of this competition. If the Cowboys can jag a couple of wins before Jason Taumalolo returns from injury I still think they could build enough momentum for a late charge at seventh or eighth place.

Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

Just one, and it’s the Titans who will finally break free of their little brother tag and show them how Queenslanders do it when times are tough. All three teams have the cattle to turn things around but the Titans don't carry the weight of expectation the other two do.

Brett Keeble (NRL.com reporter)

Just the one. Brisbane are yet to find their groove but it is only early days, and it is unfathomable to imagine them missing the top eight. It’s a different story for the Cowboys and Titans. Both teams have had their moments and are competitive in patches, but injuries to key players have taken a toll in the first month. By the time both teams get healthy again, they could be too far off the pace to make a run.

Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter)

None. The Broncos haven't looked consistent enough, the Cowboys lack strike power to make enough of an impression while the Titans even if they get on a bit of a roll just won't be able to make up the gap on the top sides after their slow start to the season.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.