UP AND RUNNING: Fassifern player Sione Pintau takes on the Goodna defence in last weekend's first round of Rugby League Ipswich matches.
UP AND RUNNING: Fassifern player Sione Pintau takes on the Goodna defence in last weekend's first round of Rugby League Ipswich matches. Rob Williams

Fearless predictions for NRL, AFL seasons


THE NRL season gets under way tonight after an off-season filled with bad behaviour.

Many questions will be answered as the season moves on.

Who will win the premiership, who will be the biggest improvers, who will be the wooden spooners, who will be a few of the standout players?

Here's some of my fearless predictions.

The 2019 premiers will be the first team to go back-to-back for a long while in the Roosters. They were strong last year and they have only gotten stronger.

The big improvers will be the Cowboys who have undoubtedly one of the best forward packs in the competition.

If their backs can capitalise on the go forward, they will go deep into the premiership.

The wooden spooners will be the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Players to shine will be Mitchell Moses (Eels), Michael Morgan (Cowboys), Josh Hodgson (Raiders) and Cody Walker (Rabbits).

The AFL season kicks off next Thursday with the clash between the Tigers and the Blues.

My predictions for the season are: Premiers - Richmond Tigers. They were the best team for the season last year before being outplayed in their semi-final.

Biggest improvers: Melbourne Demons. They had their best season for quite a while and will be deep in discussions late in the Premiership.

The wooden spooners will be the Gold Coast Suns, who have lost several experienced players which will hurt them dearly.

Players to shine will be Brody Grundy (Magpies), Clayton Oliver (Demons), Dustin Martin (Tigers) and Jack Macrae (Bulldogs).

RLI preview Rd 2

REDBANK v West End at Redbank (Saturday): Both sides suffered first-up losses but both coaches were proud of the effort put in by their players. Redbank skipped out of the blocks against Swifts but were run down. West End led the more favored Brothers outfit but were also taken over in the second half. Although the Bears will be playing at home I saw a lot in the Bulldogs that tells me that as the season goes on that they will be the big improvers. Tip: West End.

Brothers v Norths at Brothers (Saturday): Brothers got their campaign off to a good start with victory over West End. Norths had a Round 1 bye. Brothers were their own worst enemy in the first half with some poor ball handling. However, they rectified this in the second half in their win. Norths have enjoyed a longer pre-season than any other club and will be itching to get out onto the field. Norths are a completely different team this year with the loss of some very experienced players. But they have replaced them with Tigers juniors. Brothers are always hard to beat at home and this will get them over the line. Tip: Brothers.

Goodna v Swifts at Goodna (Sunday): This is the clash of the round with both teams being tipped for top four spots. Goodna started in fine style at home last week with a great victory while Swifts started slow in their clash before seeing off Redbank. Both sides have a big mobile set of forwards. Home ground advantage will be a big plus. Tip: Goodna.

Quick thoughts

HERO of the week: While the Brisbane Roar put in some sub-standard performances, fingers cannot be pointed towards Dylan Wenzel-Halls who has been the one shining light for them. He has scored some cracking goals and continues to improve game after game.

Villain of the week: The idiotic Birmingham fan that ran onto the field and coward punched Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish. He has 14 weeks in jail to think about the low act. The 10 year ban is nowhere near long enough.

Did you know: Billy Slater (190) has scored the second most tries in rugby league history. The leader is the great North Sydney winger Ken Irvine who crossed the tryline a phenomenal 212 times.

Bomber's best: My tip came crashing down with the Jets not starting the season how I thought they would.

This week I have found a horse that will be rattling home to victory. It is at the Gold Coast in Race 1: No 9 Sir Barnabus.