Talk is cheap, promises mean nothing, and the only team who will claim to have got the job done in season 2017 will be the one that lifts the premiership trophy over their heads on Grand Final day.
A few teams should be looking at this season as being a bit of a turning point. The moment when the promises they keep making are finally fulfilled.
In 2017, its time for these teams to put up, or shut up:
The massive distraction that was Robbie Farah and his personal crusade to rid the club of anyone that wasn’t kissing his arse is finally over. We are left with a young Wests Tigers team that has a decent amount of first grade experience.
The Tigers core of talent can no longer fall back on their age to cover their failures. You have to give young players time to get up to speed with first grade, learn what works and what doesn’t, work out how to just survive through a full season, and the get to a point where they can go out and make a difference in games against top quality opposition.
I think the Wests Tigers young core of talent is past that point. I think now it is time for them to become a team that isn’t called young, but a team that is just flat out called good!
I had a feeling that last year the Raiders were a bit of a dark horse for the title and they had a really good season. They fell short in a disappointing way, and as Raiders supporters would tell you, when that has happened in the recent past they normally back it up with a bit of a poor showing the next season that sees them slowly slip back down the ladder and need another rebuild.
The 2017 Canberra Raiders can’t allow that to happen.
I don’t want to see the Raiders “Do well for a Canberra Raiders team”, I want to see them being one of the toughest teams to beat in the comp full-stop!
St George/Illawarra Dragons
There is no excuse for the Dragons to be in the position they find themselves in. The clubs management and its coaching staff aren’t doing anyone any favours. This isn’t a charity event. These people all earn a lot of money to run a club that is terrible on the field, and losing money hand over fist off of it.
Failure in 2017 should see a complete clean-out of the entire club. From players to coaching staff, the front office, and most importantly, their CEO, who has been completely immune from the disgraceful position the Dragons find themselves in right now.
The time for promises to their fan base is over. Either the Dragons perform this season, or everyone needs to go.
They have one of the highest paid coaches in the competition, one that has a coaching staff that is so expensive that it has driven the NRL to look into a soft cap on off field spending at all clubs.
Des Hasler has had more than enough time to build the team he thinks can win a title. He isn’t working with spare parts, he isn’t having to find places for players that he inherited under old contracts, this is exactly the team he wanted.
We have seen too many seasons out of the Bulldogs recently where it has been clear the club was playing the wrong style of football. A top of the line coach would make mass changes and adapt to what works. Hasler, for what ever reason, hasn’t really done that.
The Bulldogs need results in 2017. Not for me, for their own supporter base.
The media loves kissing the Broncos arse because it sells well in Brisbane. The Broncos are one of the favourites to win the title. They’ll sort out their problems. Don’t worry about their form, because for some reason the dynamics that affect the rest of the competition don’t apply to the Broncos.
They brought in Wayne Bennett, who brought in Darius Boyd. They managed to steal the centerpiece for the entire club from the Canberra Raiders knowing they could build a team around him for years to come.
Does this sound like a club that needs any excuses made for them when they fail?
New Zealand Warriors
How could a club add Issac Luke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Kieran Foran to Shaun Johnson, while calling upon the best Rugby League nursery on planet earth and be anything other than completely dominant?
Under achievers? If this team isn’t the team to beat in 2017 then they’ve been a complete and utter failure!
Much like the Canberra Raiders, they can’t decide to “Do well for a Warriors team”, they need to flat out be one of the top clubs in the competition by any standard.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com