The Broncos and Knights are massively underperforming in the NRL this year, while last year’s grand finalists have picked up where they left off. This is an unexpected result, except for the Storm, and is putting coaches Nathan Brown and Anthony Siebold under pressure while Trent Robinson looks like a genius.
The Knights and Broncos are currently sitting at the bottom of the ladder with the Bulldogs on 1 win from 6 games, which is unacceptable given the rosters the two former clubs have got on the books. The Bulldogs at least have backroom dramas and salary cap mismanagement to blame their form on, and were not expected to be a challenger this year – but Brisbane and Newcastle need to wake up soon.
Newcastle have been through a long rebuilding phase, but finally have the talent at their club to challenge the competition heavyweights. With Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Pearce and David Klemmer at the club, along with a host of other players with representative experience, the Knights should not be 1 and 5 to start the season – especially with four home games in that period.
The Broncos are in a similar position. They have a generally very young squad, although with Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford in the team they do have some very experienced leaders. They also sacked Wayne Bennett as coach after he took them to the finals last year, with predominantly the same squad. Now Bennett has Souths at the top of the ladder with 5 wins and 1 loss, while Brisbane are the opposite.
Conversely, the Roosters – who had a trip to England at the start of the year for the World Club Challenge – have started the season with a bang, with only their round 1 loss to Souths marring their record. The reigning premiers handed their Grand Final opponents the Melbourne Storm their first defeat of the season on the weekend, and these two sides will again take some beating this year.