When the season kicks off, everyone feels like they have a chance of winning the NRL Grand Final. Soon after though, reality starts to set in and teams that started off with high expectations find themselves on the wrong end of too many scoreboards.
So who were the most disappointing teams in season 2012?
Obviously the level of disappointment needs to be weighed against pre-season expectation. If a team wasn’t expected to do much, and didn’t end up doing much, that isn’t as disappointing as say a team that was expected to be in the top four and who missed the finals all together.
So I’ve ranked the teams below, none of whom made the finals, on the level of disappointment their fans felt once their seasons had finally ended.
New Zealand Warriors
After making last years Grand Finals in all three grades the Warriors were sure to have a good season in 2012. They started off the season looking like they would make the finals again, but as the season went on, they just got worse and worse. It all ended with an 8 game losing streak and Brain McClennan being sacked after just 24 games. Nothing short of a disaster. Disappointment Level: 10/10
An early season favorite who had a few injury problems and a forward pack that simply wasn’t up to the task. The Tigers looked like a small team playing against giants most of the season and even the likes of Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah couldn’t do much to drag them kicking and screaming to wins as they have done in the past. It all ended with a pathetic loss to the Melbourne Storm that prompted a lot of people to call for Tim Sheens head. Disappointment Level: 10/10
St George/Illawarra Dragons
Their first year without Wayne Bennett and the Dragons were pretty dissapointing. It is easy to forget that a lot of their key players jumped ship when Bennett did, but still. At the beggining of the season you could still see the Dragons had a bit of something remaining from their glory….erm, year. By seasons end though that was all just a distant memory. They become nothing but an alsoran and what hurt more than anything is that they didn’t manage to sign anyone significant heading towards 2013. Disappointment Level: 7/10
It started off badly with poor performances and an injured Jarryd Hayne. The football club board then hid behind players at the clubs AGM. Then Stephen Kearney for the full support of the board. Then they signed Chris Anderson to help and Ray Price to….do something. Then Kearney got sacked, the clubs kept losing, they signed Ricky Stuart to coach them in 2013 and they finished the season with a titally inept performance in front of 45,000 fans in Nathan Hindmash’s last game. Disappointment Level: 7/10
Some people thought the Knights would magically be a great side all of a sudden when Wayne Bennett started coaching them this year. They must have over looked the fact their recruitment was terrible and the team still relied on a number of extremely unreliable players. The thing that comes from the Knights for me is this. Imagine paying Wayne Bennett around $1 million this year for the team to do worse than they did last year? Even if you were looking at longer term goals, that has still got to piss Nathan Tinkler off. Disappointment Level: 6/10
While the clubs kept talking about how young their lineup was, the fact is they were terrible. At times they looked OK at best, but for the most part they were just never in the contest. Brian Smith’s position at the club looks safe simply because there are not too many other options out there right now. At least looking towards next season they will be paying $800,000 for an injury prone Rugby Union player though. Disappointment Level: 6/10
Phil Gould made it pretty clear that with the way the previous administration had murdered the clubs salary cap, season 2012 was going to be a bit of a tough year for the Panthers. Few people thought the Panthers would do much at all this year, and they pretty much met all those low expectations. Disappointment Level: 4/10
Gold Coast Titans
Expectations were not all that high for the Titans, especially when it was revealed that the club was in a lot of financial trouble. While the Titans managed to turn things around they managed to lose two very important games at seasons end that killed their hopes of making the finals. The big problems the Titans have? They have really neglected their junior development. That will bite them in the arse eventually. Disappointment Level: 2/10
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
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