Wednesday 21 February 2018 / 08:41 AM


With six teams virtually out of the running, below are the top reason each team will not play finals football in 2017.

Newcastle – Lack of Talent

The Knights were never going to threaten this season and they certainly haven’t. After just a single win in 2016, the young Newcastle team were expected to improve this year. They have won twice but a lack of talent and a failure to bring on the young crop of players mean the Knights will collect a third straight spoon.

Wests Tigers – Division

The Tigers have been in the papers for all the wrong reasons this year. Ivan Cleary is the third coach to be at the helm in 2017, while three of the so-called big four players have signed elsewhere in 2018. Mitchell Moses was released after deciding he couldn’t be bothered trying. The Tigers are now deep in the throes of a rebuild.

South Sydney – Underperformance from Big Players

South Sydney seem to throw the towel in quicker than nearly any other team and that has filtered from the top down. Adam Reynolds has had his worst season. Sam Burgess has been terribly disappointing and his brothers have been downright horrid. Robbie Farah hasn’t lived up to his billing. It has trickled down to the effort of many of the young players.

Canterbury – The Spine

Canterbury’s top problem is their lack of scoring, which goes through the spine and is a result of Des Hasler’s recruitment and retention decisions. The Bulldogs have arguably a worse spine than Newcastle. Michael Lichaa will be out of the league next year. Moses Mbye is not a halfback. Josh Reynolds tries – sometimes too hard. Will Hopoate lacks genuine speed. The result is the worst attack in the NRL.

Gold Coast – Injuries

The Titans have been absolutely crippled by injuries this year. There is hardly a player on the roster that has not missed time through injury with Ryan James and Ashley Taylor the only players to turn out in all 17 games.  It is astonishing the Titans have won as many games as they have considering the lack of cohesion.

New Zealand – Coaching

It should defy belief that a team with a spine of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke can be out of contention so early. All have underperformed but they have not been helped by some weak coaching from new mentor Stephen Kearney, who has done little to improve culture or attitude while their style is a poor fit: a meek imitation of Melbourne without the Storm’s talent or player-led accountability.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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