Even during the 2020 premiership, bookies and armchair experts had already started making NRL 2021 predictions. As teams were eliminated, speculation began on how they would fair in the 2021 games. It’s always a good idea to keep researching, and to refine ladder predictions as time goes on according to transfers, performance, injuries, odds and other factors. To this end, a basic starting ladder of plausible NRL 2021 predictions is given below.
Possible NRL 2021 Ladder
- North Queensland Cowboys
As the current League leaders the Cowboys have to be first on the list, and the team remains strong.
- Brisbane Broncos
Barring massive injury, the Broncos should do very well.
- Melbourne Storm
The Storm is a strong side, but they gave to miss a finals series on one day which could leave them vulnerable.
- Sydney Roosters
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and James Maloney have left the team, but it remains in good shape otherwise.
- South Sydney Rabbitohs
With concerns over whether the Burgess twins can bounce back and whether Cameron McInnes can replace Isaac Luke, it will be interesting to see if Michael Maguire’s historically strong team can pull a rabbit out of a hat.
- New Zealand Warriors
This is the team that Isaac and Tuivasa-Sheck have moved to, which should help the Warriors to turn their recent losing streak around. Both players are in excellent form and should take some of the pressure off Shaun Johnson.
- Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
The Dogs have been leaving their finals run extremely late for the past few seasons, and as far as NRL 2021 predictions are concerned they could go either way.
- St George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons have performed inconsistently and the loss of Trent Merrin is a blow, so the 8th rung of the ladder seems quite a fair assessment.
- Canberra Raiders
This side had close losses to the Sea Eagles, Tigers, Sharks, Cowboys, Storm, Dragons and Bulldogs last season, and will probably be champing at the bit to redeem itself.
- Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
The Sharks are another unknown quantity, and their performance in the games leading up to season should be carefully watched. Some experts feel they could comfortably make the 8, while others disagree quite strongly.
- Penrith Panthers
The Panthers had a fantastic 2019 season and then a very disappointing 2015 season. It will be interesting to see which way they swing for 2021.
- Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
The Eagles have lost Kieran Foran but have also gained Lewis Brown, Apisai Koroisau and Nate Myles, and have replaced Geoff Toovey with rookie coach Trent Barrett. The team might still need some time to settle down and find its rhythm, or it might already be in fine form for 2021.
- Parramatta Eels
Kieran Foran and Beau Scott have been brought in to end the Eels’ losing streak, but how this pair will work together remains to be seen.
- Newcastle Knights
The Knights’ performance in 2020 was quite dismal and they have yet to redeem themselves properly, which is why they are so far down the ladder.
- Wests Tigers
The young players in the Tigers have recognised potential, but the general consensus is that they need to mature and 2021 might be a little soon for them.
- Gold Coast Titans
The Titans have struggled to attract players and crowd support, and it seems unlikely that 2021 will be their year.
To help with NRL 2021 predictions, many websites offer advice, chatrooms, statistical analyses and tools to create ladders. Spectators and bettors should use all of these.