A strong start to the season is enough to see the reigning premiers lead the way in terms of favourites for the 2019 NRL premiership.
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The Luke Keary-led Sydney Roosters were no match for the Melbourne Storm back on September 30 last year, and have continued on their strong form this season, starting the year with eight wins from their opening 10 games.
They sit in third, two games clear of the Raiders in fourth, but behind the Rabbitohs and Storm on the table.
James Tedesco in particular has impressed so far this campaign, with the number one stamping his authority on the title as the game’s best attacking fullback.
Tedesco has racked up 12 Dally M votes so far this season, and is just two votes off Cameron Munster in first.
The NSW Blues incumbent has seven tries, four try assists and an average of 176.6 running metres per game to his name so far this season, and has become one of the most damaging players in the competition.
Not only that, but ‘Teddy’ leads both the NRL in tackle breaks (61) and linebreaks (11).
With Cooper Cronk recently confirming the 2019 season will be his last, what a fitting end to his career it would be if he can not only come away with a second grand final win with the Roosters, but a third consecutive premiership ring, after his 2017 triumph with Melbourne.
The Storm may be standing in his way – just like they tried to last season – and could be aiming for their second flag in three seasons.
Cameron Munster leads the Dally M tally with 14 votes, and has been unbelievable for Craig Bellamy’s men so far this season.
Five tries and four try assists might not show the full story, but Munster’s leadership has been first class alongside Cameron Smith all season long.
Smith, amazingly, is on 12 Dally M votes, and is still having a massive impact on the Storm’s year despite being in the middle of his 18th season in the competition.
The Storm are 8-2 as well this campaign, but neither side have been as strong as the 9-1 Rabbitohs, who lead the competition heading into the Origin period.
Damien Cook and Cody Walker have been the stars of the Bunnies’ show this season, while Sam Burgess has been at his dominant best.
Five-eighth Walker has 11 tries to his name, two more than any other NRL player, while Cook’s 12 try assists are also the highest in the league.
Those three sides are the clear favourites for the premiership trophy, with Cronulla, Brisbane and Canberra in the next tier below.