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Experts' view: Bold predictions for 2021

The saying "life is full of possibilities" is particularly apt when thinking about rugby league.

In an ever-changing sport where anything can, and sometimes does happen, new ideas are never far away.

With that in mind, the experts at NRL.com have come up with their own bold predictions for 2021.

Experts' view - Bold prediction for 2021

Brett Kimmorley (Former Test halfback)

By the end of the season, we will have a 17th team in the NRL. A second team in Brisbane will change the landscape both up there and all over the competition.

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

The Dragons will be wooden spooners. They weren’t too far from the bottom of the ladder last year and I’m not confident in their signings for this year. They really need to show some positives early in the season.

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Jamie Soward (2010 premiership winner)

Brett Morris will win the try-scoring title. He's the best finisher we have seen and that I have played with. Positionally, he's always right and he makes the correct play time and again.

Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers legend)

After a lack of attempts, let alone successes, with two-point field goals, the NRL will look at removing it from the rule book altogether.

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Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

Harry Grant will not only keep Brandon Smith on the bench throughout the season but will also make life hard for Mal Meninga to leave him out of the Kangaroos line-up by season’s end. The Storm rake will edge Damien Cook for the No.9 jersey at the World Cup. 

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

This shouldn't be a bold prediction but Cronulla's head honchos will see sense and re-sign John Morris as coach on a long-term deal. It's ludicrous that he hasn't been re-signed, let alone that he's supposedly under pressure.

After all, he's led the Sharks to successive finals campaigns despite a roster compromised by salary cap sanctions and some underperforming players chewing up plenty of coin. 

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League) 

Tom Starling will not finish the year at the Canberra Raiders. I was shocked at seeing the team lists and he had missed out on selection for round one. He was great last year and given the lack of hooking depth across the competition, the offers will soon start rolling in.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

Latrell Mitchell will have the "perfect" year. As in, a recall to the Blues team and an Origin series win, a Dally M Medal win, a grand final win with Souths (and possibly a Clive Churchill Medal) all capped off by a Rugby League World Cup win in November.

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Paul Zalunardo (NRL.com senior journalist)

There will be no coaches sacked between now and Round 25. The new men in at struggling clubs North Queensland, St George Illawarra, Brisbane and Canterbury will all get at least 18 months to prove themselves, while the murmurings about John Morris at the Sharks will quieten down if they make the top eight again. Dessie and Manly will sort things out.

Lone Scout (NRL.com Fantasy guru)

The first two-point field goal will be kicked this season, but it will come from the winning team in the final five minutes of a blowout victory. Cameron Munster is a decent bet to land it.

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

The Warriors will host a home final before a huge crowd at Eden Park. After being based in Australia since the beginning of last year, the introduction of a trans-Tasman travel bubble will allow the Warriors to finally return home. Mt Smart Stadium won't be big enough for a home final.

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Troy Whittaker (NRL.com reporter)

Manly will get the wooden spoon despite Tom Trbojevic’s return from injury. At their best, the Sea Eagles are a strong team, but a lack of depth is really hurting them. While Lachlan Croker and Cade Cust are good, versatile players, the lack of a genuine hooker can be crippling in today's game. 

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)

Brandon Smith will stay at Melbourne. Rival clubs are keen but after four months no realistic player swap has been put to the Storm yet that will see him released.

More importantly, Smith is loving life in the Victorian capital, playing fantastic footy and as we saw with Josh Addo-Carr, could well end up happily seeing out his deal before eventually making a move.

Martin Lenehan (NRL.com senior journalist)

The wooden spoon will hang in the balance until the last round and be decided in the space of a couple of hours on Saturday, September 4. At 5.30pm that day the Cowboys will host the Sea Eagles in Townsville and then it’s the Dragons squaring off with the Rabbitohs at 7.30pm.

Rest assured the Bunnies won’t be in the spoon conversation and the Cowboys shouldn’t be, but the Red V and the men from Brookie could be very nervous given neither club has ever run last.

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Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

Victor Radley will make his Origin debut for NSW in 2021. The Roosters No.13 was the in-form lock of the NRL before he ruptured his ACL in June last year. I back Radley to rediscover the same form when he returns and force his way into Brad Fittler’s 17.

Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

There is a fine line between bold and foolish. With a host of coaches coaching in their first season at a new club, and theoretically free from the axe this year, the relentless search for a scapegoat will result in at least two CEOs stepping down (or being pushed aside) for poor team performances.

 

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

 

NRL Magic Round Brisbane 1-Day Passes are now on sale with eight massive games across round 10 at Suncorp Stadium this May. With the league's best players all heading to Brisbane, you'd hate to miss it! Tickets at NRL.com/Tickets

 

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