NRL Week 1 Finals and NRLW Round 8: Going with the rankings

For general use


The NRL season is over for nine clubs most of whom could be considered to be ‘the losers’ in one way or another. But that’s a bit unfair on one of them in particular.


The Dolphins had a solid debut season and have recruited well for 2024. Plus they featured the top try scorer and points scorer in Jamayne Isaako who deserves consideration as one of the players of the season. On the scrapheap just a year ago, Isaako rediscovered his talents which were on display in his first full season with the Broncos in 2018. He should be back in NZ colours for the Pacific Championships.


The real losers were, in no particular order, South Sydney, Parramatta and North Queensland, all of whom could have and should have made the finals but didn’t. Keep an eye out for off season turmoil in those clubs.



Can the Broncos finally get the better of the Storm? Last week’s game meant nothing given the number of players rested by both sides. This week they seem to be very close to full strength, hence a more realistic test of their respective premiership potential. From my perspective, the best of the Storm is better than the best of the Broncos but the worst of the Storm is worse than the worst of the Broncos. Toss of the coin, I’d say. My gut tells me that the Broncos’ moment has come in this clash of old rivals. Brisbane.


The Panthers are short-priced favourites for this game while the Warriors are the surprise packet of the season. Both are close to full strength, both rely heavily on their No. 7. I expect the Warriors to give this a really good shake, especially if Johnson has a good game. But I can’t go past the Panthers who seem to be able to meet just about every challenge.


The Sharks v Roosters clash is the game of the weekend for me. Cronulla look very good with Hynes in charge – this is the key to the game. If he can be restricted then the Roosters are a chance. Give him space and it’s game over. Sam Walker showcased his talents last week but it was the discipline of the Easts forwards that impressed me most. If they can control their temperament again they’ll go a long way to winning this one. But somehow I think the Roosters have used up all their energy in the past month so I expect the Sharks to progress.


The Knights, riding a high for the last two months, meet the Raiders who are at a low ebb with key absentees, Papali’i and Chris. I doubt that even the coaching nous of Ricky Stuart can overcome this challenge. Get on Newcastle.


So my winners this week are the Broncos, Panthers, Sharks and Knights. (I got 7/8 last week.)



The top two seem set in the NRLW but it’s less predictable from there on. The Broncos seem to have found a groove after an uncertain start but are they good enough to challenge the Roosters and the Knights?


The Sharks v Dragons clash is a season-defining game for both sides. Only a win will keep one of them in contention for a finals spot; a loss and the season is over. The Dragons have found a bit of form of late but a local derby usually brings out the best in both sides. I’ll go with the Dragons.


The Wests Tigers can’t take a trick in recent times and now meet the resurgent Broncos. I can’t see recent trends changing so get on the Broncos.


The Knights v Roosters game is a Grand Final preview. The Knights have shown real G&D in a couple of their wins; the Roosters have been more consistently impressive. Somehow I think the Roosters will have the scoring potential to win this one with Tarryn Aiken leading the way.


The Cowboys are entertainers but the Raiders have the form going into this game. I seem to be going with the rankings this week so, again, I’ll stick with form and go with the Raiders.


The Titans got back into winning form last week and have, to some extent, been the surprise packet of the season. The Eels have disappointed after getting to the decider last year (even if somewhat fortuitously).  More of the same ahead this weekend with the Titans to cement a finals spot.


So my winners this week are the Dragons, Broncos, Roosters, Raiders and Titans.


For an alternative look at this weekend’s fixtures, check out Matt O’Hanlon’s take elsewhere on the site today.



To see the full draw for Season 2023 click HERE.

To see the full draw for the 2023 NRLW season click HERE.

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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.

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