The Sydney Roosters were up against it in 2018 but Trent Robinson’s side got the job done. With two months of the regular season to go, Sydney were some way off the pace but the Roosters built momentum in the business end of the campaign and claiming top spot in the regular season was huge for confidence. After Week 16, Sydney were six points off the pace but a thrilling end to the year helped to snatch first place.
Once the Roosters had secured home advantage throughout the playoffs, they were always fancied to advance to the Premiership Grand Final. Sydney’s defence in their three playoff fixtures was something else – allowing a combined 22 points against their title rivals. If the Roosters can emulate that kind of effort on the defensive line in 2019, they will take some stopping in their pursuit of securing back-to-back NRL titles.
February’s World Club Challenge win over the Wigan Warriors could give Sydney a platform to go on and enjoy a successful 2019 campaign back in Australia. Travelling to England is no easy feat but the Roosters produced a superb performance to claim a 20-8 victory – much to the delight of fans back home. Being crowned world champions for a record-equalling fourth time could be the catalyst for NRL glory this year.
On paper, Sydney tick all the right boxes to repeat in 2019 but history is against them. You have to go back to 1993 to find the last time an NRL side notched back-to-back Premiership titles – an incredible statistic. The Roosters may struggle to cope with the added pressure of entering the campaign as title holders and Sydney are likely to come under the cosh early on in the season. A few bad results could see the fanbase turn.
Plenty of punters will fancy the Roosters to go all the way this year after their exploits in the World Club Challenge; and with good reason. Wigan have won four world titles of their own and the defending Super League champions are no slouches. That victory has cemented the Roosters as NRL favourites, with rugby league betting odds showing Sydney at 7/2 for Grand Final glory. The 2018 winners will be right in the mix to rewrite the history books this year.
— Sydney Roosters 🏆 ⭐️ (@sydneyroosters) February 17, 2019
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will fancy their chances ahead of 2019 though and they may be the closest rivals for supremacy in the NRL. With just one title since 1971, the Rabbitohs are hardly a safe pick but South Sydney were right in the mix last year and arguably should have secured home-field advantage. Consistency will be the difference between success and failure for Sydney’s city rivals. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see these two sides do battle in the 2019 Grand Final.
Eight teams finished within two points of each other at the top of the NRL table last year and that shows just how competitive Australia’s primary rugby league division is. Sydney will need to be at their brilliant best to fend off their rivals this time around and another thrilling season awaits for neutrals. Rugby league fans, start counting down the days until the 2019 campaign gets underway – this could be the best year yet.