Who Are The True Contenders In The NRL In 2024

We are now 6 rounds into the 2024 NRL season and we have been able to get a good look at every single NRL clubs against varied levels of opposition. So, who do you think stands out as the true contenders so far this season?

I think it’s fair to say we can put a line through a few clubs already. The St George/Illawarra Dragons, the Gold Coast Titans and the South Sydney Rabbitohs are anchored at the bottom of the ladder and at this stage, their goal isn’t to win the premiership, or even make the finals. They would all be happy to just not end up with the wooden spoon.

The Canterbury Bulldogs and Wests Tigers would love to play finals football this season, but dreams of winning a premiership in 2024 are way off. These are two clubs still looking to rebuild, and both hope brighter futures lay ahead.

Then we have a big block of NRL teams who are all similarly talented, and who all have real hopes of playing finals football in 2024. The problem is, there are way more of these teams than there are places in the finals, so some of them are going to miss out.

The Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels and Manly Sea Eagles have all had good wins at points this season, but they’ve also had some pretty bad losses as well. You get the feeling that the ceiling for these teams right now seems a little low, and they all need a few things to go their way to end up being a finals team. Hence, you see the Parramatta Eels cop a few injuries and they find themselves in 14th position on the ladder.

Could these teams go on a run and still make the finals? Yes. Are any of them a true contender for the 2024 NRL Premiership? No. Not at this stage.

The Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, Canberra Raiders and Redcliffe Dolphins all look like they are going to have pretty solid seasons. All four clubs would be extremely disappointed if they slip down the ladder and out of the finals by seasons end. Can any of these teams get the job done in September? They feel like they could probably beat one another, and any of the teams named so far by this masthead (Sorry, I had to!), but it’s hard to see any of these teams really holding up the trophy after the last game of the season.

Then we have the New Zealand Warriors, who are in their own category. They look great so far this season, a couple of close losses, some impressive wins, and they look like they have improvement in them too. I could see them catching some form at the right time and going on a charge through the finals series. It is possible they could win it, but it feels like it would need the type of run we saw from say the 2005 Wests Tigers. You’d rather be that close to winning a premiership than further away!

Which brings us to the team who I think look to be the true contenders this year.

The Brisbane Broncos find themselves further down the ladder than they probably like, but they’ve been hit by a number of injuries to key players, and even in their losses they’ve been hard to beat. A lot rides on the injury fortunes of Adam Reynolds, and that is a pretty shaking bet at this stage, but they have everything else they need to win the premiership, including Grand Final experience and a burning desire to turn around last years result.

The Melbourne Storm look really good this year. They too have had to navigate some key injuries so far, and despite a loss to the Newcastle Knights, they have looked outstanding in a number of games, including impressive wins over the Brisbane Broncos, and the last team on our list.

The Penrith Panthers have had a bit of a strange season so far, but they still look the goods. Despite a few major injuries they’ve had to deal with, and a terrible loss to the Manly Sea Eagles, the Panthers still find themselves highly placed on the NRL ladder, they have all the winning experience you could want, they have a little more depth than last year, incredibly they are still a fairly young team so its not like they are looking worn down by long seasons and long careers, and they look set to be the team everyone has to beat in 2024 to be Premiers.

Can the Melbourne Storm or the Brisbane Broncos beat the Penrith Panthers? I think they have it in them. It will be tough, just look at last years NRL Grand Final, but they have everything they need to get the job done.

Can the Warriors beat the Panthers in September? I just can’t see it. The Warriors are very good, but I just think the Panthers would have their numbers in finals football.

As for any other team in the NRL, no. I just don’t see it happening. Not unless Penrith have some terrible injury luck going into the finals and we watch them come home with a wet sail. Even then they’d be hard to beat!

So, the Penrith Panthers, Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, they all look like the true contenders for the title, with the New Zealand Warriors being a bit of a wild card, and everyone else on the outside looking in.

What do you think? Do we have more than 3 true contenders for the title in 2024?

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