True Blue and Channel Nine commentator Jamie Soward previews all 12 teams ahead of the 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW season, with a prediction of each teams final place on the competition ladder at season's end.
2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview | Newcastle Knights
Soward says: I think it might be a long year for Newcastle. They were inconsistent last year and really mirrored their NRL team in terms of one week being outstanding, and the next week not so good.
Tex Hoy will be a vital piece if they are to do something in the competition, but it’s about consistency and depth, and their overall roster in the Top 30 might be stretched at times.
2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview | Western Suburbs Magpies
Soward says: The Magpies are an experienced group with a lot of misfits from other clubs, but they get an experienced coach and that could be key for them. Jock Madden’s development will be interesting to watch - Benji Marshall has had a fair bit to say about his development going forward.
I like what I saw from him last year, and If he can kick on and take that next step -they may be able to push to make the eight.’
South Sydney Rabbitohs 2020 Canterbury Cup Preview
Soward says: Straight away you look at the loss of Billy Brittan and Connor Tracey - that was their attack last year. I think that they may struggle this year (with a) first-year coach in Ben Rogers.
The NRL side has been thinned out a bit more as well, so they get a chance with some of those young guys like Blake Taaffe - a skillful young half and Jersey Flegg Player of the Year. He’ll have to come up and take ownership of that side if they are to make the eight, but I think they will just miss.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 2020 Canterbury Cup Preview
Soward says: Their year last year was just all injuries. Steven Hales did a fantastic job to keep those guys excited and energetic about playing, and they finished the year how they probably deserved to start the year, with a full side.
You get a nice injection of youth coming through - Josh Schuster should be one to watch to see how he develops. I think they will just miss this year. Their squad up top is a little bit thin and they’ll have to send some players up to be able to cover them.
2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview | Warriors
Soward says: Every year they have talent coming through, but they just can’t deliver at the right moments. Justin Morgan must get that consistency on the road, it is tough for them traveling every second week. Hopefully, with him taking over, he can just try a few different things and be able get the best out of those guys.
They’re going to have Adam Keighran and Paul Turner. These guys can win games and are pushing for first-grade selection, so it will be interesting to see how they go.
2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview | North Sydney Bears
Soward says: They have two of the best halves in this competition in Lachlan Lam and Drew Hutchison. I’m looking to see how their development goes - when Kyle Flanagan came one of those guys probably thought they were going to go into the team (Sydney Roosters).
I will be looking to see how they bounce back to start the yea, but when you have two quality halves like that you can definitely do some damage in this competition.
Mounties 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview
Soward says: 2019 was a tale of two seasons - they started the year like the best team in the competition and they finished in the middle of the road, which is where they ended up bowing out. Peter Marrapodi has a tough job to be able to get some of those guys playing consistently throughout the year.
They have some injuries so I think they may struggle, but I like that Sam Williams is sticking around for another couple of years.
Newtown Jets 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview
Soward says: It’s hard not to love watching Newtown play, and every time they play at Henson Park. I think Greg Matterson’s last year surprised many. They would have internally believed (winning the competition), but coming from 8th, the mountain’s always a little bit steeper.
They were able to get it done and I don’t think Matterson would have envisioned winning those two games (Canterbury Cup NSW Grand Final and the State Championship) in that fashion.
His challenge this year is to get them consistent to start the year, to put themselves in a spot where if they get a few injuries they can have a bit of a buffer and maybe try some things.
Parramatta Eels 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview
Soward says: I love Ryan Carr and what he was able to with Mounties before he went overseas, he was successful overseas with Featherstone. He’s got a tough job getting some of these young guys who are itching to go into first-grade to keep their mind on the job week-to-week playing this competition.
I think he (Carr) is their greatest asset. I know that Brad Arthur and a lot of good judges around the game know that Ryan Carr is an elite coach.
Bulldogs 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview
Soward says: A great job last year from Brad Henderson. I misjudged how strong that club was bringing youth through. I thought they may have had an outlier year where they’d miss the eight, but they fought through, made some key moves at the right time and got some help back as well. It will be interesting to see how they go in 2020, I think that they will be a powerhouse.
They’ve got the luxury of having guys that have played first-grade in the halves that all can’t play at once, so they’ll have one of those players back and (hopefully) be able to do same thing this year.
Penrith Panthers 2020 Canterbury Cup NSW Preview
Soward says: ‘They’ve always been strong but just haven’t been as dominant as what we’ve seen at times throughout the year. Their discipline cost them last year in the big games. For Matt Burton, they will be looking for him to take another step forward.
If he can lead this side from the front, he’s not only going to put himself into NRL calculations, but if he’s playing for this side you would think they will be successful.