At the start of a season, everyone had the top eight sorted and they'd worked out which players would star over the coming months.
But those educated guesses don't always work out - and those at NRL.com fit squarely into that category.
So, here is a "my bad" from each of the weekly contributors to the Experts' View panel.
How do these compare to some of your ideas about 2021?
Experts' view - 2021 prediction you'd want again
I said that Melbourne would struggle without Cam Smith and that they would finish sixth. I was off the mark there. The lesson here is to doubt Craig Bellamy at your peril.
Brett Kimmorley (Former Test halfback)
I thought the Titans would make the top eight and maybe even push for the top four if their recruits all clicked. Tino has been great but Fifita? They need to improve their attack by six points each week and let in one try less per game. Jayden Campbell could help with the attack next year.
Mine was that the Cowboys were going to be the top Queensland team. They have fallen away badly and will go into the 2022 pre-season with more questions than answers.
Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers legend)
I had high hopes for the Cowboys heading into the season. That didn't work out and now they will prepare for next season knowing there is a lot of work to be done.
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I always have a couple of real stinkers in my pre-season predictions and this year was no different. Apart from thinking the Sea Eagles would finish towards the bottom of the ladder, the one I regret more is predicting that the Raiders would make the grand final. It is still possible, but right now extremely unlikely.
I said the Warriors would host a home final before a huge crowd at Eden Park because Mt Smart Stadium wouldn't be big enough. Who knew that COVID would still be having such an impact on our lives or the Warriors wouldn’t even make it home, let alone for a game.
Historically the Bulldogs have bounced back quickly from lean spells and heading into this season it didn’t seem unfathomable with a bunch of recruits and a new coach that they could sneak into the eight. Not so. Not even close. Even with more high-profile signings next year my predicted top eight will not contain the words Canterbury, Bankstown or Bulldogs.
After a month I had Ryan Papenhuyzen winning the Dally M Medal. He was outstanding to start the year but unfortunately hasn’t been anywhere near that form since his concussion in Magic Round. The emergence of Nicho Hynes had also left Craig Bellamy with a big selection decision for the Storm No.1 jersey in the finals.
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I had high hopes for the Raiders. They were really good in 2019 and 2020 and a great mix of powerful forwards and plenty of points in the backline was cause for optimism. Unfortunately little has gone right since then.
I left the Sea Eagles out of my top eight and six months later they are in with a red-hot chance of winning the title. Not for the first time in his career, Des Hasler has conjured something very special and taken his Manly team into the top four.
I feared Tom Trbojevic’s bathroom slip-up would be the first setback in another injury-plagued season – thanks to his troublesome hamstrings. How wrong I was. Turbo has turned himself into the most influential player in the game and could well take out this year’s Dally M Medal.
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My pre-season tip was for the Panthers to come back to the pack this year, thinking they wouldn't be able to back up what was a very charmed run last year but it turns out they are the real deal once again.
Raiders. Really thought they would be giving the premiership a good shake this year given the roster looked to be at its peak. In reality, Canberra topped out in 2020 when injuries cruelled their run, with John Bateman’s exit and dramas around George Williams, Josh Hodgson and Curtis Scott taking a toll.
Tipping the Sea Eagles to take out the wooden spoon has proven very foolish indeed. It looked a smart selection a month into the season, but Tom Trbojevic and co. quickly showed themselves as a true premiership threat. Oops.
The one team I overlooked was the Sea Eagles, who have shot into premiership contention on the back of a career year for Tom Trbojevic. With the NRL's new rules producing the kinds of high-scoring games we used to see in the old under-20s competition, Trbojevic is dominating the league the same way he dominated the NYC back in 2015.
(Sigh). Another year of genuinely thinking the Wests Tigers could break the (now ten year) finals hoodoo. What looked like strong recruitment and great showing in the pre-season presented another dawn of false hope. Love can blind you sometimes.
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