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The winners and losers from the 2017 NRL fixture

NRL fixture 2017
IF the bookmakers are right, 2017 could be one of the most even, contested seasons in NRL history.

After the league released its fixture this week, bookmakers updated their premiership markets which separate the top five teams in betting by only one dollar.

The new season kicks off with a blockbuster between Cronulla Sharks and the Brisbane Broncos on March 2. has reported that all but two teams have been backed to win the premiership, but its the Cowboys and the Storm holding the fort at the head of the market.

The Storm, paying $8, will be looking to go one better after losing in the grand final last season, but it has lost plenty of players which were key to its success in 2016.

Marika Koroibete has switched codes to union and the likes of Ryan Morgan and Blake Green were snapped up by other clubs. Coach Craig Bellamy will have his work cut out for him this year, but the trio of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater will ensure the Storm continue to contend.

The Cowboys, also at $8, will get a boost from additions Ben Hampton and Carlin Anderson from the Broncos, but losing James Tamou and Ben Hannant will affect its forward pack.

Ben Hampton had dreamed of playing for the Cowboys throughout his junior days and despite having to leave Melbourne, Hampton is happy with his decision.

“The dream was always to play footy, but I don’t think I ever went out there to try and get signed by the Cowboys or anyone. It just happened that Melbourne saw something in me that they liked and they approached me and my family and that’s how it happened,” Hampton said

“I always said that if things worked out that I would like to play for the Cowboys one day, but in saying that I would have been really happy to stay in Melbourne as well.

“But this opportunity has come up and this new chapter has started now and I couldn’t be happier with the decision that I’ve made.”

Three other teams are currently at single-figure odds for the premiership. The Broncos, Panthers and Raiders are all at $9 at

The best-backed side has been the Panthers, which have made plenty of moves in the off-season. Penrith has signed the likes of James Tamou, Mitch Rein and Tim Browne.

2017 NRL Premiership futures betting

Cowboys – $8
Storm – $8
Broncos – $9
Panthers – $9
Raiders – $9
Sharks – $13
Roosters – $13
Warriors – $13
Rabbitohs – $15
Eels – $17
Titans – $17
Bulldogs – $17
Manly – $21
Tigers – $26
Dragons – $81
Knights – $151

There is also a market for teams to miss the top eight, which punters can find some great value in. The hot-favourite is the Newcastle Knights, which are set for another dreadful season, but there’s money to be made on other teams.

To miss the top eight market:

Knights – $1.05
Dragons – $1.15
Tigers – $1.28
Titans – $1.62
Eels – $1.62
Manly – $1.70
Rabbitohs – $1.77
Bulldogs – $1.85
Roosters – $1.85
Warriors – $2.25
Sharks – $2.40
Raiders – $2.50
Panthers – $2.65
Broncos – $3.20
Storm – $3.75
Cowboys – $4

The key to making money in this market is identifying which teams have been overvalued by bookmakers.

The New Zealand Warriors are often are shorter odds than they should be and this season is no different.

The Warriors were disappointing last season and whilst the $13 is far too short to win the NRL Premiership, punters should look at backing the $2.25 at Sportsbet for the Warriors to miss the top eight.

We also like the Bulldogs to miss the top eight at $1.85 and multi-bet punters will likely have this option running in their futures bets.

Off-season winners and losers

We have looked through every off-season signing and picked out which teams are the big winners and which teams have struggled to make the signings they needed.


The Gold Coast Titans signed Dan Sarginson (Wigan), Jarrod Wallace (Broncos), Kevin Proctor (Storm) and free agent Paterika Vaivai.

Jarrod Wallace is an up-and-coming player, who alongside Kevin Proctor, will give the Titans a much-needed boost.

UK-based players often find it tough in the NRL, but Dan Sarginson has plenty of upside and the Gold Coast are winners because they haven’t had to break the bank to secure these signings.

It does let go the likes of Nene McDonald and Greg Bird, but this is a fresh start for the Titans, which will still have Jarryd Hayne, who is seeking his first premiership win.

The Penrith Panthers made some key off-season signings and the players it had to let go weren’t exactly household names.

The Panthers signed James Tamou (Cowboys), Tim Browne (Bulldogs), Michael Oldfield (Rabbitohs), Darren Nicholls (Redcliffe Dolphins), Mitch Rein (Dragons), Darren Nicholls (Broncos) and Jed Cartwright (Titans).

All of its star players remain in the side, which is why the Panthers have been heavily backed at $9 to win the premiership. The club has been slowly and methodically building a team for a few years now and it’s starting to pay off handsomely.

The St George Illawarra Dragons made some good signings with Josh Kerr (Storm), Nene Macdonald (Titans), Cameron McInnes (Rabbitohs), Shaun Nona (Illawarra Cutters) and Paul Vaughan (Raiders), which should ensure a good season in 2017.

The Dragons said goodbye to the likes of Benji Marshall and Ben Creagh, but a new start was needed and we think the $1.15 for the Dragons to miss the top eight is a touch unfair.


The Canterbury Bulldogs are battling salary cap issues from 2016 and the future doesn’t look bright for the once-proud club.

The Bulldogs made no key signings in the off-season and the list of players leaving is long. Top Bulldogs players Sam Perrett, Curtis Rona, Tim Browne and Tony Williams have all left for various reasons and we can’t see the Bulldogs recovering any time soon.

The Cronulla Sharks may be the defending NRL champions, but they’ve lost plenty of talent in the off-season. The Sharks haven’t made any note-worthy signings and losing the likes of Ben Barba, David Fafita and Michael Ennis destroys the core side that overcame Melbourne in the 2016 Grand Final.

Those three players were key to its success last season and we would want more than $13 currently offered.

Players have been leaving the Manly Sea Eagles in droves this off-season. The list is long and among the names features; Jamie Lyon, Isaac John, Tim Moltzen and Tom Symonds. This season should be a long one for the troubled club.

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