THE saturated pre-season media coverage of the 2015 NRL competition would have us believe that as many as a dozen teams have a genuine chance to win the premiership which kicked off last night.
But in all seriousness, it is a race in four.
And the bookies concur.
Only the Rabbitohs, Roosters, Bulldogs and Cowboys are under $10 in the betting, with the Cowboys just scraping in at $9.
As much as my heart would like to see a win for Johnno Thurston and the boys from the deep north, my head is yelling the Roosters.
And they might well play the runners-up from two of the past three deciders, the Bulldogs, in the big one on October 4.
In there, scrapping right to the death, will be the Rabbitohs.
But when push comes to shove, the pressure of being the first to go back-to-back since 92-93 will be too much.
And the Cowboys, with negativity abounding at finals time, will again find the pressure unbearable.
Briefly, my thoughts on the premiership race are:
Broncos - look much stronger all round but will take a season to gel.
Bulldogs - will be as inventive as ever and potent all over the park.
Cowboys - some wonderful talent but that final-hurdle remains a major obstacle.
Dragons - will improve on 2014 but still lack size and grunt up front.
Eels - because of their impressive coach will be in the hunt, even without Jarryd Hayne.
Knights - ageing forwards, but brilliant backs will make them competitive.
Panthers - the progress of last season will stall as Jamie Soward is targeted.
Raiders - still re-building and nowhere near enough strike power.
Rabbitohs - Sam Burgess will be hugely missed, but they will still be in the frame.
Roosters - if their discipline improves, and with Blake Ferguson on board, they win the comp.
Sharks - the big improvers and will annoy every other team, every week.
Sea Eagles - they are almost as unsettled as the Titans. Forget them for 2015.
Storm - only a fool would write them off, but the brilliance in their ranks is thinning.
Tigers - if Jason Taylor is the man, he has the troops. Young, impressive roster.
Titans - $101 in the market and drifting. At the moment are an absolute shambles.
Warriors - their Achilles heel is a lack of consistency, and Ryan Hoffman can't cure that.
Yes, yes, yes
A TOTAL ban on coaches commenting on referee performances post match is long overdue.
Sure referees make mistakes, but not as many as the players
No, no, no
THE notion that referees wearing pink jerseys are not respected by players seems ridiculous, but the NRL apparently believes it is true.
Whistleblowers in the class of 2015 will wear either red or blue.
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