Brisbane Broncos

-In 2010 Brisbane were ranked first in tackle busts, averaging 38.4 per game. They were also third in run metres (1386 p/g) and second in runs from dummy-half (25.2 p/g).
-The addition of Ben Hannant to the Broncos pack will only strengthen their go-forward. He averaged 114.2 metres per game and 28.6 tackles with Canterbury-Bankstown in 2010.
-However, the club will need to improve on an un-Broncos-like trend which saw them rank 11th in tries conceded, 13th in missed tackles and 15th in metres conceded.


-Canberra want an improved start to their season. Last year they won just five of their first 15 matches, before winning eight of their last nine regular season matches to finish seventh.
-The Raiders made the third most line-breaks in 2010 (5.5 per game); the addition of Matt Orford and Blake Ferguson means they should once again be one of the more lethal attacking forces.
-The Raiders made the most metres in 2010 on the back of their gigantic pack – and it just got bigger with the addition of Brett White.
-Canberra need to make Canberra Stadium the fortress it once was; in 2010 they won just seven of their 13 home matches.


-Canterbury need to improve on their consistency. They only managed nine victories in 2010, and on only two occasions did they win more than two consecutive matches.
-As has been the case for the past few seasons, the Bulldogs have had a high turnover of players for 2011.
-The club has lost 702 games of NRL experience in Brett Kimmorley, Luke Patten and Ben Hannant.
-The Dogs will need to improve both their attack and defence to be a real threat; in 2010 they were ranked 12th for points scored (20.6 p/g) and 12th for points conceded (22.5 p/g).


-The Sharks desperately need to improve their attack; they scored the fewest points in 2010 (14.8 p/g), the fewest in 2009 (15 p/g) and the second fewest in 2008 (18.7 p/g).
-With injuries and a high player turnover since 2009, they have given younger players first grade experience sooner than expected. Nathan Gardner has potential for a long career in the NRL and has already extended his contract. Albert Kelly is also primed for a big season; he was played out of position at fullback for five games in 2010.

Gold Coast Titans

-Recruit Luke Capewell has a big job to do following the retirement of Mat Rogers. Rogers was versatile for the Titans, playing the first half of 2010 in the centres and the remainder of the season at five-eighth.
-Scott Prince’s form will go a long way to determining where Gold Coast finish this season. He has been their try-assist leader in each of their four seasons, and in 2010 was second in the NRL for try assists with 28.
-Joseph Tomane proved an exciting find for the Titans in 2010, scoring seven tries in 11 matches before sustaining a season-ending injury. His return will be an extra strength for the Gold Coast out wide.

Newcastle Knights

-It isn’t surprising that the Knights are chasing Kade Snowden for 2012; they were ranked second last in the NRL for run metres (1255 per game).
-Newcastle will be hoping Akuila Uate picks up from where he left off last year. He scored 21 tires, made 30 line-breaks, busted 136 tackles and averaged 144 metres per game.
-The Knights have bought two of the best Toyota Cup players in the competition’s short history; halfback Beau Henry played 51 NYC games for the Dragons, scoring 429 points (33 tries/148 goals). Rangy backrower Kyle O’Donnell (brother of Luke) played 30 NYC games for the Sharks.
-Newcastle have only reached the finals twice in the past seven years, putting coach Rick Stone under considerable pressure.


-In the past two seasons Brett Stewart has played just six matches, however, in their 2008 premiership season he played 24 matches, scored 22 tries, made 16 line-breaks and gave 11 line-break assists.
-The Sea Eagles made the least errors in the NRL last season, averaging just 10.4 per game. Something coach Des Hasler will need to fix, however, is their discipline, with Manly being the equal most penalised club in 2010 (6.3 p/g).
-Manly’s away record was disappointing in 2010, winning just five of their 13 games on the road (38.5%). From rounds 14 to week one of the finals they won just one away game.
-In 2009, Anthony Watmough averaged 15 runs for 136 metres per game; in 2010 he was making 13 runs for 109 metres. The big difference was that he was not able to bust tackles; in 2009 he busted a total of 138 tackles but last year was only able to break 77.

Melbourne Storm

-Melbourne have lost just eight of their 66 matches in Melbourne since the beginning of 2006.
-Despite playing for nothing but their fans in 2010, they were still the second best defensive team in the NRL. They conceded just 15.1 points per game and 2.6 tries.
-Cooper Cronk continues to improve as a halfback; in 2010 he kicked four 40/20 kicks (equal first). Coach Bellamy will look to him to ease some of the pressure off Cameron Smith.
-The Storm play eight of their first 11 games at home this season, giving them a strong chance to begin the year successfully.

North Queensland Cowboys

-The Cowboys will need to start winning matches on the road to have any chance of making their first final series in four years. Since 2008 they have won just seven of their 36 matches away from home.
-Their home record is not much better; they have won just 14 of their 36 matches at home in the past three seasons.
-Neil Henry will be under immense pressure to win some early season matches. At the Cowboys he has won just 16 of 48 matches (33.3%).
-As long as Johnathan Thurston is on the field the Cowboys are a chance of winning; in 2010 the club lost five of its seven matches which he played, including their last four consecutive matches.  Thurston was second in the NRL for most line-break assists last year (29).


-Parramatta will be relying on the older brigade to bring them success in 2011. Carl Webb, Reni Maitua, Chris Hicks, Paul Whatuira and Chris Walker bring with them a combined experience of 760 NRL matches.
-The recruits have 134 more matches of experience than departed players Nathan Cayless, Feleti Mateo, Krisnan Inu, Kris Keating and Timana Tahu.
-Nathan Hindmarsh’s leadership will need to be even stronger this season with the loss of Captain Nathan Cayless.
-The Eels need to improve their home ground record – in 2010 they won just five of their 12 matches at Parramatta Stadium (41.7%).


-In 2010 Penrith averaged the most points per game (26.1) and scored the most tries (4.5) per game.
-The bounce of the ball went Luke Walsh’s way, leading the try assists in the NRL. However, 29 of 33 assists were via kicks, and whether he can replicate that again may determine how successful the Panthers are.
-Should the Panthers make the finals this year, coach Matthew Elliott will be looking to break his losing streak – he is yet to win a finals match from seven previous attempts over five years with both Canberra and Penrith.
-Michael Gordon will play an important role for Penrith, being somewhat of a revelation in 2010. He was the leading point scorer in the NRL, bagging 270 points and the leading goal kicker with an 82.4% accuracy.

South Sydney

-South Sydney will need to improve their defence to be a real chance in 2011. They conceded the fourth most points (23.6 p/g) in 2010 and their 2011 trials have not gone better, letting in 74 points in their last two outings.
-Their attack in 2010 was outstanding: they were second for both most points (24.3 p/g) and most tries (4.3 p/g), while they also averaged the most line-breaks in the NRL (6.2 p/g).
-With the loss of Luke Capewell and injuries in the trials to both Matt Mundine and Adam Reynolds, their lack of depth in the halves could become a problem should either John Sutton or Chris Sandow become unavailable.

St George Illawarra

-The Dragons’ 2011 defence stats make for impressive reading: Ranked first in points conceded, tries conceded, line-breaks conceded and missed tackles.
-In their past four competitive matches, the Dragons have had a remarkable series of second-half shutouts – holding Manly, Wests Tigers, Sydney Roosters and Wigan all to nil.
-The Dragons will be aiming to become the first side since the NRL was formed, in 1998, to win back-to-back premierships. The most recent team to win back-to-back titles in united competitions was Brisbane in 1992/1993. The Broncos also were the last team to win consecutive premierships in 1997/1998, however, the 1997 title was Super League.

Sydney Roosters

-In 2010 the Roosters ranked third in points per game (23.3) points per game, after a dismal 2009 when they were 14th in attack with 15.9 points per game.
-Halves: Todd Carney 2010 – equal second in points scored (16 tries, 95/118 goals, eight line-breaks, 27 line-break assists and 22 try assists); Mitchell Pearce – 22 try assists (fifth in NRL) and 27 line-break assists (third in NRL).
-Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s move from the wing to the centres has proven a masterstroke. Last season he was equal leading try scorer in the NRL (21 tries), second in line-breaks (27), fifth in run metres (3613m) and third in tackle busts (151)


-In 2009 they managed just two victories away from home, but in 2010 they won seven of their 12 regular season matches in Australia. If they can have similar success in 2011, they will be well on their way to finals football again.
-The 2010 season was big for winger Manu Vatuvei. He scored 20 tries last season (equal second in NRL).
-The loss of veterans (and brothers-in-law) Steve Price and Brent Tate is significant, with 475 NRL games of experience between them.
-Halfback James Maloney was a revelation for the Warriors in 2010; he was the fifth highest points scorer in the NRL and along with halves partner Brett Seymour made the equal most try assists for the Warriors (13).

Wests Tigers

-In 2010 Wests Tigers became more consistent as the season progressed; they lost consecutive matches on just two occasions and between round 10 and round 23 they won 11 of their 14 matches.
-In 2011 Benji Marshall played in every match for the Tigers – the first time in his NRL career. He made the most line-break assists (37) and the third most try assists (25).
-The underrated Wests Tigers forward pack will need to have another solid year for the team to move forward: Chris Heighington, Keith Galloway and Gareth Ellis all averaged over 100 metres per game in 2010.
-The team has tremendous success at their outer home grounds; they won eight of their nine home matches at Campbelltown and Leichhardt Oval respectively.