Saturday 2 March 2024

2024 NRL Season Preview and Top 8 Predictions from NOT The Footy Show

2024 NRL Season Predictions
Published March 2, 2024.
There won't be a podcast version of NOT The Footy Show's 2024 NRL Predictions but hopefully we get a chance to record next week with some initial thoughts on Vegas games and to reiterate these selections.
Robb Cox has yet to pick his 1-17 finishing positions for the upcoming NRL Season, but Warrick Nicolson's are below.
At this time of year you build the predicted ladder based on 60% last year's form plus 40% gut feel to get the 1-17 Ladder - cue the triggering.

Warrick Nicolson's 2024 NRL Predictions 

True Contenders
1. Penrith Panthers - Minor Premiers
2. Brisbane Broncos

These two look to be a class or three above the rest of the pack entering 2024. Penrith have lost some pieces but still look excellent across the park and Cleary has a Dally M he has to tick off his bucket list so don't back against him getting Penrith to another Minor Premiership. Brisbane will still rely on Adam Reynolds and his hamstrings holding up, but even with Tom Flegler and Herbie Farnworth moving to Redcliffe - they have a lot of firepower to challenge the Panthers for the JJ Giltinan Shield. I've got these two sides back at Accor Stadium on Grand Final day for good reason.

Should Play Finals
3. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
4. Parramatta Eels
5. New Zealand Warriors
6. Melbourne Storm
7. South Sydney Rabbitohs
8. Sydney Roosters
At the end of the day the reason these six teams make up the rest of the Top 8 is they have more of the higher quality top level players on their rosters. That doesn't mean they'll all play great as a team but game-breaking talent matters at NRL level. Cronulla, Parramatta, Melbourne and the Warriors could all end up in the Top 4, whilst I feel Souths and Easts may have to scratch and claw their way into the Top 8. I almost left the Chooks out entirely but they just have too many good players to do that - I will stick the neck out and say they won't make the Top 2 and probably not the Top 4 though... Sharks and Eels will beat up on the bad teams like they normally do and that's why I've got them in 3rd and 4th, Warriors keep winning at home and they won't lose their mojo, and Melbourne have so much elite talent but a forward pack that is suspect when Nelson Asofa-Solomona is the forward you must rely on most outside of hooker Harry Grant. Souths need Lachlan Ilias to take a step forward and make up for when Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell aren't firing too.

Missing the Cut
9. North Queensland Cowboys
10. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
11. Newcastle Knights
12. Redcliffe Dolphins
13. Gold Coast Titans
14. Canberra Raiders
The Cowboys and Manly are probably the next closest to the Top 8 talent wise so that's why they are 9th and 10th. Scott Drinkwater and Tom Trbojevic can carry their respective sides into a Finals spot, but I don't rate Le Chad at all and think the North Queensland pack is overrated - plus DCE has been playing otherworldly footy in recent years but Manly just don't make the Semis without Tommy fit and he turned 35 last month. Newcastle - I'm more than happy for you to prove me wrong and play like it's the last 10 weeks of 2023 again for all of 2024 but that felt like lightning in a bottle v the norm. Redcliffe won't fall off the pace in Wayne Bennett's final season in charge there - he simply won't allow them to give up but their halves must lift big time for them to threaten the semis. Gold Coast with Des and Canberra with Ricky will have plenty of fight in them but both need a reset in their approach - the Titans in regards to their defence and Canberra in terms of their attacking structure with a badly needed injection of youth. Hard to see those delivering week in week out so they sit visually further out of the Top 8 than I think they may actually be with a month left to go in the season.

2024 Spoon Bowl
15. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
16. Wests Tigers
17. St George-Illawarra Dragons
Sorry if you love your Bulldogs, Tigers or Dragons but this is going to be a long, long, long year. Any one of these three teams have excellent Wooden Spoon credentials - so may the worst team win!

2024 NRL Grand Final: Penrith v Brisbane
Don't see a good reason amongst the other 15 teams to be against the Broncos and Panthers going at it in a repeat of the 2023 decider.
"Only one team can stop Penrith from 4 in a row... and that's the team that got run over in the GF after leading by 16 with 25 to go (maybe)."
2024 PREMIERS: Penrith
Clive Churchill Medal: Nathan Cleary.

Reason? See CCM pick above - Nathan Cleary.

Regular Season Awards:
Dally M: Nathan Cleary from Nicho Hynes and Reece Walsh,
Tryscorer: Brian To'o, from Dominic Young and Alex Johnston
Pointscorer: Nicho Hynes from Nathan Cleary and Mitchell Moses,

State of Origin - NSW 2-1... surely Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell show up for at least two games in 2024???

Thanks for reading - hope to have a Podcast out soon and will add Coxsmith's predictions here when I get them.
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