Thu, Feb 23, 9:50am by Staff Writer
In 2016 the Cronulla Sharks claimed a first-ever NRL Premiership crown after impressing all season. Despite a dip in performances at the end of regular fixtures they peaked in the Finals to defeat the Melbourne Storm. That two-point victory in the Grand Final back in October seems like a lifetime ago as all 16 sides prepare for the start of the 2017 NRL season on March 2.
The Grand Finalists
The fortunes of the two Grand Finalists in the off-season are highlighted by the prices to be the 2017 NRL Premiers. Beaten finalists, the Storm are favourites to go one better this time around, priced at $8.00 with William Hill. They unearthed some incredible talent in 2016 that saw them claim the Minor Premiership but fell at the final hurdle. This year they will be hoping that they can find the right blend of youth and experience.
Meanwhile, 2016 Premiers Cronulla, have divebombed with William Hill to $13.00 to go back to back. Having won 15 straight games last year, the side themselves dipped in form only to recover for the finals and it will take a huge turnaround for them to be challenging once again this year.
2016 Semi Finalists Hopes
From the four sides that comprised the 2016 Semi Finals it is the Penrith Panthers who top the odds. They are matched with the Storm as favourites to be Premiers at $8.00 with William Hill. Penrith’s strength in depth saw them impress many last year. Although the loss of star winger Josh Mansour could dampen their hopes. Whilst the North Queensland Cowboys ($9.00), Canberra Raiders ($9.00) and Brisbane Broncos ($11.00) will be looking to overturn their prices and claim glory. Expect all four of these sides to be in the running come the business end of the season.
A thoroughly disappointing 2016 saw the Sydney Roosters finish second from bottom on the ladder. With only six wins to their name, the Roosters will need vast improvements if they are to live up to a price of $10.00 with William Hill. After a thrilling Downer Auckland Nines victory, the Roosters are currently flying and appear to be the in-form side in the NRL. With rookie Johnny-Tuivasa-Sheck at their disposal this year they could be a real threat to the rest of the competition.
Away from the top sides in the competition in what is probably one of the most competitive leagues in the world, there a couple of other chances, The Newcastle Knights made an emphatic statement in a trial game victory over the Canberra Raiders, 44-0. They propped up the ladder last year and realistically only have one way to go from there. William Hill has them priced at $151 to be the 2017 NRL Premiers and although it was just a preseason game, could they have the beginnings of a miracle.
Bet of the Season- Sydney Roosters to be 2017 NRL Premiers at $10.00
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