It's the hope that kills you. Will you have any left after reading this?
2021 finish: 14th.
Gains: Kurt Capewell (Panthers), Ryan James (Raiders), Corey Jensen (Cowboys), Brenko Lee (Storm), Te Maire Martin, Jordan Pereira (Dragons), Adam Reynolds (Souths), Billy Walters (Tigers).
Losses: John Asiata (UK), Ethan Bullemor (Sea Eagles), Xavier Coates (Storm), Dale Copley (retired), Brodie Croft (UK), Alex Glenn (retired), Danny Levi (UK), Anthony Milford (Souths), Tevita Pangai Junior (Bulldogs), Isaiah Tass (Souths), Reece Walsh (Warriors).
Best 17: 1. Tesi Niu, 2. Selwyn Cobbo, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Tyson Gamble, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Payne Haas, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Thomas Flegler, 11. Kurt Capewell, 12. Jordan Riki, 13. Patrick Carrigan. Bench: 14. Kobe Hetherington, 15. TC Robati, 16. Keenan Palasia, 17. Ryan James.
The X-factor: Payne Haas. This bloke is dead set on a trajectory to be one of the game's greatest ever props. Hopefully he can inspire his forward pack mates to go with him.
The blowtorch: Adam Reynolds. It will never seem right seeing this bloke not wearing cardinal and myrtle. He heads north with huge pressure to give this young Broncos side some direction.
The verdict: The arrival of Reynolds and Kurt Capewell - opponents in last year's grand final - will give Kevin Walters' young side some badly-needed experience and direction across the park. But the one-time NRL heavyweights will still need something special from those two and the likes of Haas and Kotoni Staggs to drag this side into the finals. The depth still isn't quite there.
Our tip: 11th.
2021 finish: 10th.
Gains: Nick Cotric (Bulldogs), Adam Elliott (Bulldogs), Jamal Fogarty (Titans), Peter Hola (Cowboys), Brandon Morkos.
Losses: Caleb Aekins (released), Adam Cook (released), Siliva Havili (Souths), Ryan James (Broncos), Dunamis Lui (released), Darby Medlyn (released), Kai O'Donnell (released), Curtis Scott (released), Bailey Simonsson (Eels), Sia Soliola (retired), George Williams (released),
Best 17: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Jordan Rapana, 3. Sebastian Kris, 4. Jarrod Croker, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Jamal Fogarty, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Ryan Sutton, 11. Elliott Whitehead, 12. Hudson Young, 13. Joe Tapine. Bench: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Xavier Savage, 16. Adam Elliott, 17. Corey Harawira-Naera.
The X-factor: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. CNK's injury effectively ruined the Raiders' 2021 campaign. There's a lot of calls to move him to the centres to accommodate Xavier Savage. But his experience and class at the back is too strong to ignore.
The blowtorch: Jack Wighton. Jamal Fogarty's arrival must act as the catalyst for Wighton to reclaim his 2019-2020 form. The Raiders won't go anywhere this season if he doesn't.
The verdict: There's enough talent across this squad to play finals football, and we think they will - just. But there's still massive question marks over whether a largely ageing side with some promising young talent sprinkled in can click again. Wighton and Josh Papalii need to lead the way after quiet 2021 campaigns. The Raiders won't give the comp a serious shake but can lay the platform for a top four tilt in 2023.
Our tip: 7th.
2021 finish: 16th.
Gains: Josh Addo-Carr (Storm), Braidon Burns (Rabbitohs), Matt Burton (Panthers), Joshua Cook (Souths), Matthew Dufty (Dragons), Max King (Storm), Brent Naden (Panthers), Tevita Pangai Junior (Broncos), Paul Vaughan (Dragons).
Losses: Renouf Atoni (Roosters), Dean Britt (released), Nick Cotric (Raiders), Christian Crichton (Panthers), Bradley Deitz (released), Adam Elliott (Raiders), Will Hopoate (UK), Sione Katoa (released), Lachlan Lewis (released), Nick Meaney (Storm), Dylan Napa (UK), Chris Smith (Panthers), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Warriors).
Best 17: 1. Matt Dufty, 2. Josh Addo-Carr, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Aaron Schoupp, 5. Corey Allan, 6. Matt Burton, 7. Jake Averillo, 8. Paul Vaughan, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 12. Tevita Pangai Junior, 13. Josh Jackson. Bench: 14. Kyle Flanagan, 15. Corey Waddell, 16. Jack Hetherington, 17. Max King.
The X-factor: Tevita Pangai Junior. An explosive talent at his best, TPJ has the potential to provide the Bulldogs' forward pack with a game-breaker it has lacked in recent seasons.
The blowtorch: Trent Barrett. The team Barrett really wants will arrive in 2023, with Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau on the way. But he'll need to show some improvement with this lot to get a chance to coach them.
The verdict: Predictions of a finals-bound Bulldogs are greatly over-exaggerated. There's no doubt Barrett's squad has improved, especially with the additions of Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton and Tevita Pangai Junior, but it's going to take some time for what is virtually a brand new team to click. The Dogs lack the depth to be a serious finals contender but should be aiming to set up a serious top eight tilt in 2023.
Our tip: 12th.
2021 finish: 9th.
Gains: Dale Finucane (Storm), Nicho Hynes (Storm), Matt Ikuvalu (Roosters), Cameron McInnes (Dragons).
Losses: Will Chambers (rugby union), Josh Dugan (retired), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Nene Macdonald (UK), Billy Magoulias (UK), Chad Townsend (Cowboys), Aaron Woods (Dragons).
Best 17: 1. William Kennedy, 2. Matt Ikuvalu, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Connor Tracey, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Nicho Hynes, 7. Matt Moylan, 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Dale Finucane, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Cam McInnes. Bench: 14. Braydon Trindall, 15. Toby Rudolf, 16. Siosifa Talakai, 17. Andrew Fifita.
The X-factor: Nicho Hynes. Just how good (looking) is this bloke? Was one of the form players in the NRL for large parts of 2021. If he can replicate that outside the Storm system, the Sharks will be fun to watch.
The blowtorch: Wade Graham. We don't want to say it. But everyone's thinking it. One more bad head knock and Wade needs some seriously good people in his corner to help him make the right call on his future.
The verdict: The Sharks are the hardest team out of the whole lot to tip, we reckon. Could finish anywhere from fourth to 14th depending on how the season plays out. Hynes is a fantastic recruit, while the additions of Dale Finucane and Cam McInnes in the forward pack will give highly-touted debut coach Craig Fitzgibbon a significant platform to build a bright new future in the shire. They'll make the finals.
Our tip: 8th.
2021 finish: 8th.
Gains: Aaron Booth (Storm), Isaac Liu (Roosters), Will Smith (Eels), Paul Turner (Warriors).
Losses: Anthony Don (retired), Jamal Fogarty (Raiders), Tyrone Peachey (Tigers), Jonus Pearson (released), Mitch Rein (Eels), Sam Stone (UK), Ash Taylor (Warriors), Jai Whitbread (UK).
Best 17: 1. Jayden Campbell, 2. Phillip Sami, 3. Patrick Herbert, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Corey Thompson, 6. AJ Brimson, 7. Toby Sexton, 8. Mo Fotuaika, 9. Erin Clark, 10. Isaac Liu, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. David Fifita, 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Bench: 14. Tanah Boyd, 15. Beau Fermor, 16. Jarrod Wallace, 17. Jaimin Jolliffe.
The X-factor: David Fifita. This guy dead set looks like a 14-year-old playing against under-7s at times. But he can't just do it when the Titans are on a roll against weak teams. Needs to step up against the big boys.
The blowtorch: Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. The Queensland Origin forward had a tendency to drift in and out of games in his first season as a Titan in 2021. He's the captain this year. That won't cut it any more.
The verdict: We're just gonna come out and say it. The Titans were the most undeserving finalists in the game's history in 2021. With a 10-14 win-loss record, they made it almost solely on the back of a horrendously weak bottom 10 teams. This team has talent across the board. But it's got to learn how to muscle up in defence this year if it's to be taken seriously. With AJ Brimson playing a new role in the halves alongside Toby Sexton, we're not sold on the hype.
Our tip: 9th.
2021 finish: 4th.
Gains: Ethan Bullemor (Broncos).
Losses: Cade Cust (UK), Tevita Funa (rugby union), Jack Gosiewski (Dragons), Zac Saddler (released), Curtis Sironen (UK), Moses Suli (Dragons).
Best 17: 1. Tom Trbojevic, 2. Reuben Garrick, 3. Brad Parker, 4. Morgan Harper, 5. Jason Saab, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Martin Taupau, 9. Lachlan Croker, 10. Taniela Paseka, 11. Haumole Olokau'atu, 12. Josh Schuster, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Bench: 14. Dylan Walker, 15. Karl Lawton, 16. Sean Keppie, 17. Ethan Bullemor.
The X-factor: Tom Trbojevic. I mean, seriously. This guy could actually be worth 40 points per game to these blokes. Played about half of last season and won the Dally M like he was Winx - if Winx's competitors were ponies in quicksand.
The blowtorch: Daly Cherry-Evans. Who else? When DCE fires alongside Turbo, not many teams can stop Manly. At 33, this could be one of his final chances to steer a premiership-calibre team to glory. He has the ability to do it. But will he?
The verdict: Manly can win the comp. But tipping them to do so is fraught with danger given they might just be the biggest one-man team in sporting history since Diego Maradona's Argentina World Cup team in 1986 (and that worked out OK for them). That's no disrespect to the rest of the squad - Tom Trbojevic is just that good. If his injury problems are truly behind him and Des Hasler's men get to the finals fully fit, they can give this comp a real shake.
Our tip: 4th.
2021 finish: 3rd.
Gains: Xavier Coates (Broncos), Josh King (Knights), Nick Meaney (Bulldogs), Jayden Nikorima.
Losses: Josh Addo-Carr (Bulldogs), Aaron Booth (Titans), Dale Finucane (Sharks), Nicho Hynes (Sharks), Ryley Jacks (released), Max King (Bulldogs), Brenko Lee (Broncos), Isaac Lumelume (Bulldogs), Aaron Pene (Warriors), Tyson Smoothy (released).
Best 17: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2. Xavier Coates, 3. Reimis Smith, 4. Justin Olam, 5. George Jennings, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Christian Welch, 11. Kenny Bromwich, 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Brandon Smith. Bench: 14. Jack Howarth, 15. Tom Eisenhuth, 16. Chris Lewis, 17. Josh King.
The X-factor: Ryan Papenhuyzen. Several nasty concussions curtailed the Storm's star fullback in 2020. Hopefully he can regain his confidence in contact, because few are better to watch.
The blowtorch: Cameron Munster. A brilliant player and a larrikin, Munster is one off-field indiscretion from being driven personally by Craig Bellamy to Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins.
The verdict: Every year people want to write off the Storm. Every year those people look stupid. But by the same token, the side that equalled an all-time winning streak last season (19) bombed badly in the preliminary final. And it has lost Josh Addo-Carr, Nicho Hynes and Dale Finucane from that group. The Storm will batter most teams in the regular season but fall short of another title.
Our tip: 3rd.
2021 finish: 7th.
Gains: Adam Clune (Dragons), Dane Gagai (Souths).
Losses: Blake Green (retired), Josh King (Storm), Mitchell Pearce (UK), Gehamat Shibasaki (rugby union), Starford To'a (Tigers), Connor Watson (Roosters).
Best 17: 1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Enari Tuala, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Adam Clune, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Chris Randall, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Mitch Barnett. Bench: 14. Kurt Mann, 15. David Klemmer, 16. Brodie Jones, 17. Jack Johns.
The X-factor: Kalyn Ponga. The Knights have one of the strongest centre combos in the comp in Dane Gagai and Bradman Best, but Ponga can do things no other player in the comp can.
The blowtorch: Kalyn Ponga. We're not picking on the bloke. But given the inexperience across the rest of the spine, anything truly creative coming out of Newcastle has to originate from him.
The verdict: Where do you start with the Knights? Losing hooker Jayden Brailey for half the season with an Achilles tendon injury is unlucky. Letting 311-game halfback Mitchell Pearce leave for England without guaranteeing the replacement you wanted (Luke Brooks) is foolish. There's Origin quality spread across this team, but there's just not enough experience and talent in the spine outside of Ponga to steer them anywhere.
Our tip: 10th.
2021 finish: 12th.
Gains: Jesse Arthars (Broncos), Shaun Johnson (Sharks), Aaron Pene (Storm), Ash Taylor (Titans).
Losses: Leeson Ah Mau (retired), Kane Evans (UK), David Fusitu'a (UK), Peta Hiku (Cowboys), Karl Lawton (Sea Eagles), Ken Maumalo (Tigers), Sean O'Sullivan (Panthers), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (rugby union).
Best 17: 1. Reece Walsh, 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3. Adam Pompey, 4. Euan Aitken, 5. Edward Kosi, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Matt Lodge, 11. Bunty Afoa, 12. Josh Curran, 13. Tohu Harris. Bench: 14. Ash Taylor, 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 16. Jazz Tevaga, 17. Eliesa Katoa.
The X-factor: Reece Walsh. The Persian prince was one of the few shining lights in a tough 2021 Warriors season. Has the skill, speed and footwork to create something out of nothing.
The blowtorch: Shaun Johnson. It's great to see Johnson back at the Warriors. But he was axed at the end of 2018 because he wasn't 'the man' to get it done. Why will it be different at age 31?
The verdict: Criticising the Warriors puts you on a par with the bloke that shot Bambi's mum. We simply wouldn't have a comp without them, as they stare down the barrel of a third straight season based in Australia. It's an incredibly tough situation for coach Nathan Brown and the playing group to navigate. They'll cause a few upsets but it's hard to see this playing group sustaining a push towards the top eight.
Our tip: 15th.
2021 finish: 15th.
Gains: Tom Dearden (Broncos), Brendan Elliot, Peta Hiku (Warriors), Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (Warriors), Chad Townsend (Sharks).
Losses: Javid Bowen (retired), Corey Jensen (Broncos), Esan Marsters (Titans), Francis Molo (Dragons), Michael Morgan (retired), Justin O'Neill (retired).
Best 17: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Brendan Elliot, 5. Kyle Feldt, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Coen Hess, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 11. Heilum Luki, 12. Ben Condon, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Bench: 14. Jake Granville, 15. Reuben Cotter, 16. Tom Gilbert, 17. Jeremiah Nanai.
The X-factor: Jason Taumalolo. The Cowboys' marquee man looked disinterested throughout much of 2021. And who could blame him? But he's still North Queensland's best by a mile.
The blowtorch: Valentine Holmes. We've shifted him from fullback to the wing. Just too many mistakes at the back, and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow deserves a crack. Must be more consistent.
The verdict: Mum always said if you can't say anything nice about someone or something, don't say anything at all. But she's not the boss of us anymore. The recruitment of Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden to play halfback is just bizarre. So many players in this squad have failed to fire over the past couple of years and, quite frankly, it will be a miracle if the Cowboys avoid the spoon.
Our tip: 16th.
2021 finish: 6th.
Gains: Mitch Rein (Titans), Bailey Simonsson (Raiders).
Losses: Blake Ferguson (released), Keegan Hipgrave (retired), Joey Lussick (UK), Michael Oldfield (released), Will Smith (Titans).
Best 17: 1. Clint Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Will Penisini, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Bailey Simonsson, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11. Isaiah Papali'i, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Nathan Brown. Bench: 14. Ray Stone, 15. Marata Niukore, 16. Shaun Lane, 17. Bryce Cartwright.
The X-factor: Mitchell Moses. Got a taste of Origin football last year. One of the most polarising figures in the game, if Moses can fulfil his undoubted ability, don't count the Eels out.
The blowtorch: Dylan Brown. Still just 21, Brown must step up and ease the pressure off Moses after a quiet 2021, where stats such as two try assists and two line break assists all season won't cut it.
The verdict: It's now or never for the Eels. Put simply, they won't be a better side in 2023 than they are this year, with hooker Reed Mahoney and back-rower Isaiah Papali'i in their final seasons with the club. Parra produced one of its gutsiest displays in recent history in bowing out to eventual premiers Penrith in last year's finals. If the Eels can replicate that effort when it matters, don't count them out.
Our tip: 5th.
2021 finish: 1st.
Gains: Christian Crichton (Bulldogs), Sean O'Sullivan (Warriors).
Losses: Billy Burns (Dragons), Matt Burton (Bulldogs), Kurt Capewell (Broncos), Tyrone May (UK), Paul Momirovski (Roosters), Brent Naden (Bulldogs), Tevita Pangai Junior (Bulldogs).
Best 17: 1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Brian To'o, 3. Stephen Crichton, 4. Izack Tago, 5. Charlie Staines, 6. Jarome Luai, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. James Fisher-Harris, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. Moses Leota, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Liam Martin, 13. Isaah Yeo. Bench: 14. Mitch Kenny, 15. Scott Sorensen, 16. Spencer Leniu, 17. Matthew Eisenhuth.
The X-factor: Jarome Luai. Looked burned out towards the back end of 2021 after a breakthrough Origin campaign. When Luai fires on the back of Cleary's direction, the Panthers are unstoppable.
The blowtorch: Viliame Kikau. Was notoriously booed at the club's grand final celebrations after leaked photos of him in a Bulldogs polo emerged. He needs to produce before he heads to Belmore.
The verdict: History suggests it's so hard to go back-to-back. The Panthers overcame plenty of adversity at the back end of 2021 to win three brutal finals to take out the title. Losing the likes of Matt Burton, Paul Momirovski and Kurt Capwell in particular seriously hits Penrith's depth. That will prove just too difficult to overcome when it matters.
Our tip: 2nd.
2021 finish: 2nd.
Gains: Michael Chee Kam (Tigers), Siliva Havili (Raiders).
Losses: Braidon Burns (Bulldogs), Joshua Cook (Bulldogs), Dane Gagai (Knights), Benji Marshall (retired), Tautau Moga (Dragons), Adam Reynolds (Broncos), Jaydn Su'a (Dragons).
Best 17: 1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Jaxson Paulo, 4. Campbell Graham, 5. Blake Taaffe, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Lachlan Ilias, 8. Mark Nicholls, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Tevita Tatola, 11. Jai Arrow, 12. Keaon Koloamatangi, 13. Cameron Murray. Bench: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Thomas Burgess, 16. Liam Knight, 17. Michael Chee Kam.
The X-factor: Latrell Mitchell. This guy is just so good. When he's on form, he can beat teams single-handedly. But unless he can find a way to control his aggression, he's in danger of becoming a liability.
The blowtorch: Jason Demetriou. Talk about big shoes to fill. The rookie coach steps into the role vacated by million-time premiership winner Wayne Bennett, who had this team performing above its ability. Needs to hit the ground running.
The verdict: There was a real sense of 'now or never' when Souths made last year's grand final. It could be never, now. It's impossible to replace what No.7 and club favourite Adam Reynolds brought to the Bunnies. With Bennett's departure and the loss of Benji Marshall and Dane Gagai as well, Cody Walker will need to prove he can steer Souths around the park - and be the main creator - largely by himself.
Our tip: 6th.
2021 finish: 11th.
Gains: George Burgess (Wigan), Jack Gosiewski (Sea Eagles), Moses Mbye (Tigers), Tautau Moga (Souths), Francis Molo (Cowboys), Jaydn Su'a (Souths), Moses Suli (Sea Eagles), Aaron Woods (Sharks).
Losses: Gerard Beale (released), Adam Clune (Knights), Matthew Dufty (Bulldogs), Cameron McInnes (Sharks), Corey Norman (retired), Jordan Pereira (Broncos), Paul Vaughan (Bulldogs), Brayden Wiliame (rugby union).
Best 17: 1. Tyrell Sloan, 2. Cody Ramsey, 3. Moses Suli, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Jayden Sullivan, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Jack de Belin, 11. Jaydn Su'A, 12. Tariq Sims, 13. Jack Bird. Bench: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Blake Lawrie, 16. Tyrell Fuimaono, 17. Josh McGuire.
The X-factor: Zac Lomax. The goal-kicking centre has plenty to offer in defence and attack. Probably unlucky NSW has some quality in his position, but he's not far off if they pick up a few injuries.
The blowtorch: Jack de Belin. Look, it's always Ben Hunt. But he shone in a dismal Dragons side last year. De Belin, who the club stood by through his legal dramas, repaid them by hiding under a bed during Weekend at Vaughanys. He owes them.
The verdict: It's a good thing Dragons fans are notoriously patient. Oooft. This team has some promising young talent in Tyrell Sloan and Jayden Sullivan, while Jaydn Su'A and Francis Molo will add some starch up front in a forward pack that otherwise looks too old and cumbersome. Extending a coach no one wanted in pre-season is also bound to go well. Strap yourselves in, Saints fans.
Our tip: 13th.
2021 finish: 5th.
Gains: Renouf Atoni (Bulldogs), Paul Momirovski (Panthers), Kevin Naiqama (St Helens), Connor Watson (Knights).
Losses: Boyd Cordner (retired), Jake Friend (retired), Matt Ikuvalu (Sharks), Isaac Liu (Titans), Brett Morris (retired), Josh Morris (retired).
Best 17: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Joey Manu, 4. Billy Smith, 5. Joseph Suaalii, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Sam Walker, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9. Sam Verrills,10. Lindsay Collins, 11. Sitili Tupouniua, 12. Angus Crichton, 13. Victor Radley. Bench: 14. Connor Watson, 15. Nat Butcher, 16. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 17. Drew Hutchison.
The X-factor: Luke Keary. Everyone knows how good James Tedesco is. But Keary's the forgotten man of the NRL. If he can return well from last year's ACL injury the Roosters have a massive chance to go all the way.
The blowtorch: Victor Radley. The Roosters are a completely different team with Radley on the field. They can't afford for him to be suspended for one-third of the year again, as he was in 2021.
The verdict: This is the best team on paper in the competition. The Bondi boys will feel they're owed a change of fortune injury-wise after two massively interrupted seasons. If Keary and Tedesco, in particular, are fit in September, watch out. It speaks volumes of the club's depth that we couldn't even find a spot for the likes of Paul Momirovski, Kevin Naiqama, Adam Keighran, Egan Butcher or Fletcher Baker in their top 17.
Our tip: 1st.
2021 finish: 13th.
Gains: Oliver Gildart (Wigan), Jackson Hastings (Wigan), Tyrone Peachey (Titans), Junior Tupou (rugby union), Starford To'a (Knights).
Losses: Zac Cini (Sharks), Michael Chee Kam (Souths), Joey Leilua (UK), Moses Mbye (Dragons), Russell Packer (retired), Billy Walters (Broncos).
Best 17: 1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Oliver Gildart, 4. Adam Doueihi, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Jackson Hastings, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Stefano Utoikamanu, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Joe Ofahengaue, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Tyrone Peachey, 14.Jake Simpkin, 15. James Tamou, 16. Alex Twal, 17. Tom Mikaele.
The X-factor: Adam Doueihi. If by some miracle the Tigers are still an outside chance of launching a late finals run mid-season, Doueihi's return from an ACL injury could provide the spark needed.
The blowtorch: Everyone. There's so many torches alight at this place it may as well be a Survivor tribal council meeting. When it inevitably goes belly up, Luke Brooks and coach Michael Maguire will be voted off first.
The verdict: Jackson Hastings and Tyrone Peachey are interesting additions. Both enigmatic, if Maguire can unlock their best the Tigers could outperform expectations. Doueihi's injury is a massive loss. He was one of their only bright sparks in 2021. The Tigers are perennially in the news for disappointing their fans - and that won't change in 2022.
Our tip: 14th.
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