The Sydney Roosters head into the 2014 NRL season as $4.50 favourites at Sportingbet.com.au to defend their title but they’ll have history to beat if they’re to win back back-to-back premierships. Only once in the past 10 years has the pre-season favourite actually saluted for the punters.
The Roosters were supported from $26 into $8 in the months before the 2013 season kicked off and two teams have attracted similar support prior to the commencement of the 2014 season.
The Panthers, after some astute off-season recruiting, are $26 into $21 at Sportingbet while the Warriors have shortened from $15 into $11. The money for both sides suggests we can expect big things from these teams this year, despite disappointing and inconsistent past seasons.
Here’s a rundown of each team’s odds to win the 2014 NRL Premiership, where we think they’ll finish on the ladder and some tips for the season.
Sydney: $4.50 – Tip 1st
Competition favourites and deservedly so. The fact there’s only minimal changes from last year’s squad makes them a dangerous proposition for any side.
Odds of $1.55 to make the top 4 appear succulent.
South Sydney: $6 – Tip 4th
The Bunnies are clear second picks with punters. Their potent attacking side will once again rely heavily on Greg Inglis to kick start their sets. One weakness is that they do look a little thin with outside backs this year.
Manly: $8 – Tip 6th
The Sea Eagles have been a model of consistency over last few years and they possess arguably the competition’s finest halves pairing. They have lost a lot of experience up front though.
Melbourne: $8 – Tip 5th
If the big three remain injury free it’s basically a sure bet that they will be there come finals time. You can never write this team off.
New Zealand: $11 – Tip 2nd
Historically the Warriors are extremely inconsistent but Sam Tomkins provides a huge boost to their attack and on paper they look more than capable of making the Grand Final.
Canterbury: $13 – Tip 7th
A well-coached side that fell away towards the end of last year but with a fearsome forward pack they’ll win plenty of games in 2014.
North Qld: $13 – Tip 3rd
Finished with a wet sail last year and on their day his side can beat any team in the competition. They appear to be very strong on paper and with the likes of Thurston leading the team around they are once again one of the competition heavyweights.
Newcastle: $17 – Tip 8th
Well drilled side with some classy young centres. Mullen’s injury will hamper early season form.
Brisbane: $21 – Tip 13th
They’ve drifted from $17 out to $21 after poor pre-season form. With major selection problems in the halves, it could be a long season.
Cronulla: $21 – Tip 9th
Well documented off season dramas but still a solid team that will upset some fancied teams.
Penrith:$21 – Tip 10th
Have been recruiting well but still a young side and maybe they are still a year off being their best.
Gold Coast: $34 – Tip 14th
They have a solid forward pack but seem to lack that X-factor.
St George: $41 – Tip 12th
The loss of Dugan combined with poor pre-season form will lead to mountains of early pressure for this newly formed team.
Canberra: $51 – Tip 15th
A new coach may help but they just don’t have the cattle to cause any concerns for the competition this year.
Parramatta: $51 – Tip 11th
After a disastrous couple of years look out for some big improvement from the Eels this year. They will be very tough to beat at home.
Wests: $67 – Tip 16th
It’s a rebuilding season for this very young side and they will most likely find this year beyond them.
2014 Premiers: New Zealand ($11)
2014 roughie: Newcastle ($17)
Top Point Scorer: Shaun Johnson ($7)
Top Tryscorer: Akuila Uate ($13)