My 2018 NRL commentary samples (Round Eight – ANZAC Day Cup)

My call of the ANZAC Day Cup match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters, including the pre-match ceremony! Enjoy!

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2018 NRL season preview: Penrith Panthers

In the last of my previews of every National Rugby League (NRL) club for 2018, we look at the Penrith Panthers, a team that has been under pressure heading into 2018 to deliver their fans their third premiership. It is a squad that has been written off by many during the off-season, and they have a coach who is seemingly under pressure to keep his job! However, will the Panthers claim glory when many least expect it?

Roster

Sione Katoa
Corey Harawira-Naera
Corey Waddell
Isaah Yeo
Jack Hetherington
James Fisher-Harris
James Tamou
Jed Cartwright
Kaide Ellis
Moses Leota
Nick Lui-Toso
Peter Wallace
Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Sam McKendry
Tim Browne
Trent Merrin
Viliame Kikau
Wayde Egan
Dallin Watene Zelezniak
Dean Whare
Dylan Edwards
James Maloney
Jarome Luai
Josh Mansour
Nathan Cleary
Tyrone May
Tyrone Peachey
Tyrone Phillips
Waqa Blake
Christian Crichton

Coach

Anthony Griffin

 

2018 Starting 17 Line-Up (Predicted)

1. Dylan Edwards
2. Josh Mansour
3. Dean Whare
4. Waqa Blake
5. Dallin Watene Zelezniak
6. James Maloney
7. Nathan Cleary
8. James Tamou
9. Peter Wallace
10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
11. Corey Harawira-Naera
12. Isaah Yeo
13. Trent Merrin
14. Tyrone Peachey
15. Viliame Kikau
16. James Fisher-Harris
17. Tim Browne

Reserves

Outside Backs
Tyrone Phillips
Christian Crichton

Spine
Wayde Egan
Sione Katoa
Jarome Luai
Tyrone May

Power Forwards
Kaide Ellis
Moses Leota
Nick Lui-Toso
Sam McKendry

Small Forwards
Corey Waddell
Jack Hetherington
Jed Cartwright

 

Ryan Eckford’s prediction (1st)

After looking at every single team, the Penrith Panthers are my 2018 NRL premiership favourites!

The Panthers are looking to make the finals for a third-straight year for only the second time in their history, and in the third year in the only time they have made the finals for three-consecutive years, they won the premiership!

In addition to this, new recruit James Maloney (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks) is looking to win a premiership in his first year with a new club for the third-straight time after helping the Sydney Roosters win the premiership in 2013, before helping the Sharks to a drought-breaking premiership in 2016.

For a wonderful half who has been overshadowed by the likes of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, the next three years will give Maloney the opportunity to cement his legacy as one of the best players of his generation, as well as help develop a star of the next generation in Nathan Cleary, who in my opinion, given his age and the amount of matches he has played, is the most-prepared player to make his State Of Origin debut this year!

Overall, the Panthers are filled with world-class quality, and good NRL-ready depth. I think much of the criticism of coach Anthony Griffin is due to the fact that we don’t feel we really know him, but I think he is going to prove many people wrong to steer the Penrith Panthers to a third premiership!

 

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/2018-nrl-season-preview-melbourne-storm/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/2018-nrl-season-preview-sydney-roosters/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/2018-nrl-season-preview-north-queensland-cowboys/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-brisbane-broncos/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-cronulla-sutherland-sharks/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-parramatta-eels/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-manly-warringah-sea-eagles/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-st-george-illawarra-dragons/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-canberra-raiders/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-canterbury-bankstown-bulldogs/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-south-sydney-rabbitohs/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-nz-warriors/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-wests-tigers/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-gold-coast-titans/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-newcastle-knights/

2018 NRL season preview: Melbourne Storm

After dominating the 2017 NRL season, only losing four games, the Melbourne Storm will be looking to become the first club in an unified competition in 25 years to go back-to-back. However, after losing Cooper Cronk to the Sydney Roosters, will Brodie Croft be able to fill the large shoes of Cronk? Or, will the Storm struggle by their own standards in 2018?

Roster

Billy Slater
Billy Walters
Brodie Croft
Cameron Munster
Cheyse Blair
Curtis Scott
Jahrome Hughes
Josh Addo-Carr
Justin Olam
Ryan Papenhuyzen
Ryley Jacks
Sandor Earl
Scott Drinkwater
Suliasi Vunivalu
Will Chambers
Young Tonumaipea
Cooper Johns
Brandon Smith
Cameron Smith
Christian Welch
Dale Finucane
Felise Kaufusi
Harry Grant
Jesse Bromwich
Joe Stimson
Kenneath Bromwich
Lachlan Timm
Louis Geraghty
Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Patrick Kaufusi
Ryan Hoffman
Sam Kasiano
Tim Glasby
Tui Kamikamica
Tino Faasuamaleaui
Kayleb Milne
Junior Ratuva

Coach

Craig Bellamy

 

2018 Starting 17 Line-Up (Predicted)

1. Billy Slater
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
3. Will Chambers
4. Curtis Scott
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Cameron Munster
7. Brodie Croft
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith
10. Tim Glasby
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Ryan Hoffman
13. Dale Finucane
14. Kenneath Bromwich
15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
16. Christian Welch
17. Patrick Kaufusi

Reserves

Outside Backs
Cheyse Blair
Justin Olam
Sandor Earl
Young Tonumaipea
Junior Ratuva

Spine
Billy Walters
Jahrome Hughes
Ryan Papenhuyzen
Ryley Jacks
Scott Drinkwater
Cooper Johns
Brandon Smith
Harry Grant

Power Forwards
Lachlan Timm
Sam Kasiano
Tui Kamikamica
Kayleb Milne

Small Forwards
Joe Stimson
Louis Geraghty
Tino Faasuamaleaui

 

Ryan Eckford’s prediction (2nd)

Despite losing Cooper Cronk (Sydney Roosters), as well as Jordan McLean (North Queensland Cowboys), Tohu Harris (NZ Warriors), and Slade Griffin (Newcastle Knights), you sense that the Melbourne Storm haven’t lost a beat, and have a genuine chance to become the first team in an unified competition since the Brisbane Broncos in 1992-1993 to go back-to-back.

Based on genuine playing merit, the Storm have not missed the finals for the past 15 years, which is ever since Craig Bellamy became the coach of the Storm. They have only missed the finals in 2010 due to being penalised for systematic salary cap breaches from between 2006 and 2010.

Overall, the Storm have made the finals for the last seven years, which is the equal-longest active streak (Cowboys) in the NRL, and I doubt this will change any time soon, especially with captain Cameron Smith, and fullback Billy Slater still very much at the top of their games!

And, I cannot see this team missing the finals with captain Cameron Smith still at the very top of his game, Billy Slater at the top of his game, and a high quality support cast around them!

After smashing the Leed Rhinos (38-4) in the World Club Challenge, the Storm have shown that they should be right at the top when the whips are cracking at the end of the season.

 

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/2018-nrl-season-preview-sydney-roosters/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/2018-nrl-season-preview-north-queensland-cowboys/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-brisbane-broncos/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-cronulla-sutherland-sharks/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-parramatta-eels/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-manly-warringah-sea-eagles/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-st-george-illawarra-dragons/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-canberra-raiders/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-canterbury-bankstown-bulldogs/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/2018-nrl-season-preview-south-sydney-rabbitohs/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-nz-warriors/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-wests-tigers/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-gold-coast-titans/

https://ryaneckfordsports.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/2018-nrl-season-preview-newcastle-knights/