Wed, Dec 13, 12:42pm by Staff Writer
The NRL off season has been rocked by another potential salary cap breach. Manly Sea Eagles are the club in question after a NSW based police task force who had been assigned to investigate match fixing, found other possible monetary breaches in the game.
Two current senior officials and the club have been issued breach notices that could put their 2018 finals hopes in jeopardy. Although, Manly have confirmed that they will challenge the accusations.
The timing of the charges mean that the club will have time to get their affairs in order. Unlike Parramatta who were served their sanctions in the midst of the 2016 season.
Whilst similarities between the two cases exist, it is believed that Manly’s wrongdoings will not result in a similar punishment. The Eels were docked competition points that completely destroyed their season.
For the Sea Eagles, the breach notices will no doubt disrupt their pre-season ahead of the 2018 season. Especially in terms of player recruitment at this early stage of the off-season.
Looking ahead to 2018, Manly are already well of the pace to be crowned Grand Final winners in October. They stand at $17.
Sydney Roosters top the prices as favourites priced at $5. Their acquisition of Cooper Cronk from Melbourne could well be a huge boost to their squad. As they look to go all the way next year, after an impressive 2017 campaign.
Beaten Finalist, North Queensland Cowboys will be looking to go one better at $6 and certainly have the hottest property in rugby league at the moment. Jason Taumalolo set the World Cup on fire with Tonga despite going down to England in the dying stages of the Semi-Final.
Reigning Premiers, Melbourne Storm will be eyeing another shot at the Premiership crown in 2018. The loss of Cooper Cronk to break up the sublime trinity of Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater may have an effect but at $6.50 they are certainly not out of the running.
Away from the top three, things get a little congested as several teams look capable of causing an upset in 2018. Brisbane Broncos ($12), Penrith Panthers ($13) and Parramatta Eels ($13), all have a shot of breaking into the top four and having a crack at the Grand Final.
The NRL has become extremely competitive in recent years with even a number of the mid-priced sides having the potential to force their way into contention. 2016 Premiers Cronulla will have something to say about their price of $15. Whilst a South Sydney side who underperformed this year, need a big 2018 also at $15.
The World Cup highlighted all the positives of rugby league and it only took a few weeks for the game to be once again dragged into unsavoury accusations. All the NRL sides will be looking to put these sorts of issues behind them and look forward to getting back on the field in 2018.
2018 NRL Premiership – Sportsbet
Sydney Roosters $5
Nth Queensland Cowboys $6
Melbourne Storm $6.50
Brisbane Broncos $12
Penrith Panthers $13
Parramatta Eels $13
Cronulla Sharks $15
South Sydney Rabbitohs $15
Canberra Raiders $17
Manly Sea Eagles $17
St George Illawarra Dragons $21
Newcastle Knights $31
Canterbury Bulldogs $34
New Zealand Warriors $41
Gold Coast Titans $51
Wests Tigers $51
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