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The rugby league soap opera is more compelling than any scripted drama, political machinations or reality TV you’ll see this year.
On and off the field, the greatest play of them all can deliver a left-field scenario that no one saw coming.
Like sand through the hourglass, the days in the life of the NRL are endless when it comes to entertainment.
Here’s a bunch of random predictions for 2022 – some you can guarantee* will happen, some less likely than others.
(* – is not a guarantee)
Whatever happens, the NRL season – which unofficially kicks off with the All Stars clash in Sydney next weekend before the start of the first leg on March 10 – will be unpredictable.
Random Predictions 2022
Requests that the bunker be destroyed no later than turn 3. Whether it’s a subjective call or an outright shout, the usual suspects will overlook the vast majority of correct decisions made by the Bunker to call for its immediate disintegration.
New Broncos captain Adam Reynolds will be one of the best buys of the season, if not the best of the bunch. Brisbane named him the first captain from NSW, so you know they respect what he brings to the table. The role of captain won’t be a burden on the unflappable Reynolds, who will also hold the titles of halfback, star rookie, goal kicker, head playmaker, team butcher, baker and candlestick maker.
The story comes out quoting the former club stalwart saying the pressure is on the current player to justify his salary.
The current player mutters in a low voice that the former has-been is just jealous.
Panthers hooker Api Koroisau is technically eligible for NSW after being fined but not banned for breaking biosecurity rules last year, but he won’t be chosen again even though the Blues’ first-choice hooker Damien Cook is not available.
Several Queenslanders are seeking an early release from their contract after personal reasons and/or a severe bout of “homesickness” with the Dolphins having millions of dollars in reserve in their 2023 salary cap.
The NRL will claim to be considering Hawk-Eye style technology after a game has been decided by a dodgy forward pass.
Newcastle and Parramatta fail to qualify after making last year’s final, with Cronulla and Canberra replacing them in the last eight.
A television commentator says that “scrums are a joke these days”. Those days of scrums being a joke have been going on for at least 30 years now, if not longer.
The ‘f**kwit’ antivaxxer who claimed on social media that Martin Taupau had died of COVID-19 is making a much smarter decision to never leave their house to remove any possibility of stumbling upon the Manly prop .
Josh Addo-Carr scores less than 16 tries in a full season for the first time in his career. Canterbury’s backline is improving, but it’s nothing like what he was used to in Melbourne.
The Maroons claim underdog Origin status for the 43rd year in a row
The off-season rookie reveals he has settled in ‘well’ at the new club, surprisingly claims his teammates are ‘a good bunch of guys’ and it was ‘the best move of my career’.
After a few false starts, Roosters lock Victor Radley finally makes his Origin debut for NSW.
Rising star Will Penisini solves some of Parramatta’s lingering problem at center, but Waqa Blake’s hot and cold defensive dramas continue to be a concern for Brad Arthur.
Shane Flanagan is linked with any potential coaching vacancies in the NRL.
Kalyn Ponga’s early release clause will be more present than Santa if the Knights struggle at the start of the season.
The referees will be officially in crisis at Easter. At the latest.
Shaun Johnson is hailed as the prodigal son back at the Warriors when he plays well, but sprayed with luxury when he doesn’t, reminding him why he left the club in the first place.
Representative eligibility rules will be in question when a player declares he is available for New South Wales, Queensland, three Pacific nations and England due to the rubbery rules that only apply in a World Cup year.
Nicho Hynes rivals Andrew Ettingshausen’s status as the best Cronulla of all time…in the looks department.
— Cronulla Sharks (@cronullasharks) November 22, 2021
Titans marquee David Fifita is being criticized for not justifying his seven-figure price tag. Anything less than three tries, 30 tackles, 20 hits and five line breaks per game will be considered a disappointment by some.
Luke Brooks is blamed for the misfortunes of the Wests Tigers.
Jarrod Croker is overcoming his knee issues and can end his stellar career with the Raiders on his own terms. Let’s hope so anyway.
Valentine Holmes will find himself in centers after again failing to clinch the full-back spot, with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow becoming the Cowboys’ No.1 option.
The new club player denies having a point to prove ahead of the first game against the old side, before stepping out and playing at a dizzying intensity that proves he is really trying to prove a point.
The rebuilding Dragons will struggle and midway through the season the board will have to decide whether to allow Anthony Griffin to continue overseeing the changing of the guard or bring in a new coach.
Rabbitohs newcomer Jason Demetriou becomes the first manager to guide a team to the top four of the year immediately following Wayne Bennett’s exit.
It will be a two halves match and rugby league will be the winner.