Dragons off to another flyer; Roosters unstoppable

St George Illawarra Dragons

Best 17
1. Matt Dufty, 2. Zac Lomax, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Tristan Sailor, 6. Gareth Widdop, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Paul Vaughan, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. James Graham, 11. Jack De Belin, 12. Tariq Sims, 13. Tyson Frizell, Bench: 14. Corey Norman, 15. Jacob Host, 16. Luciano Leilua, 17. Korbin Sims

6:30pm, Saturday February 23 vs. Knights - Jubilee Stadium
7:30pm, Saturday March 2 vs. Rabbiohs (Charity Shield) - Glen Willow Stadium, Mudgee

The start
The Dragons have a tough start to the season, travelling to Townsville where it will be steamy, to play a Cowboys team that will be looking to bounce back from last season. They then come home to take on fierce rivals South Sydney before travelling north again for another hot one against the Broncos. Coach Paul McGregor should have his players out in the summer sun preparing. The Dragons started last year on fire and will be hoping for another unbeaten beginning to 2019.
Prediction: Win 4/5

First five games
Cowboys - 1300SMILES Stadium - 7:35pm, Saturday March 16
Rabbitohs - Jubilee Stadium - 7:50pm, Thursday March 21
Broncos - Suncorp Stadium - 7:50pm, Thursday March 28
Knights - McDonald Jones Stadium - 6:10pm, Sunday April 7
Bulldogs - Jubilee Stadium - 4:05pm, Sunday April 14

Sydney Roosters

Best 17
1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Ryan Hall, 4. Latrell Mitchell, 5. Brett Morris, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jared Waerea-Haregreaves, 9. Jake Friend, 10. Zane Tetevano, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Angus Crichton, 13. Victor Radley, Bench: 14. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 15. Isaac Liu, 16. Sitili Tupouniua, 17. Mitchell Aubusson

6am, Monday February 18 (AEDT) vs. Wigan (World Club Challenge) - DW Stadium, Wigan
7pm, Saturday March 2 vs. Sea Eagles - Central Coast Stadium

The start
When you claim the minor premiership, as the Roosters did last year, you naturally spend the following season playing teams that finished lower than you. But last year's ladder was so tight, that for-and-against was needed to separate the top four teams, with the next four teams only one win behind. It won't necessarily be an easy start for the reigning premiers, who play home games against the Rabbitohs and Broncos at the unfamiliar SCG, as well as the dangerous Sharks in Cronulla. With a line-up that is arguably stronger than the one that claimed the title last year, the Roosters should be leading the charge early in 2019.
Prediction: Win 5/5

First five games

Rabbitohs - Sydney Cricket Ground - 7:55pm, Friday March 15
Sea Eagles - Lottoland - 7:35pm, Saturday March 23
Eels - ANZ Stadium - 7:55pm, Friday March 29
Broncos - Sydney Cricket Ground - 7:50pm, Thursday April 4
Sharks - Shark Park - 7:35pm, Saturday April 13

New Zealand Warriors

Best 17
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu'a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Blake Green, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Agnatius Paasi, 11. Tohu Harris, 12. Isaiah Papali'i, 13. Adam Blair, Bench: 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Bunty Afoa, 16. Sam Lisone, 17. Leivaha Pulu

7:30pm, Friday February 22 vs. Storm - Kardinia Park, Geelong
3pm (AEDT), Saturday March 2 - Tigers - Northland Events Centre, Whangarei, NZ

The start
The Warriors have to quickly adapt to life after Shaun Johnson, with exciting young halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita expected to be thrown in the deep end. They have a relatively friendly start against four teams that didn't play finals football last season, before they face the Rabbitohs. Three of their first four games will be played in New Zealand, so they really should have no excuses.
Prediction: 2/5

First five games
Bulldogs - Mt Smart Stadium - 3pm, Saturday March 16
Tigers - Campbelltown Stadium - 6:10pm, Sunday March 24
Sea Eagles - Christchurch Stadium - 3pm, Saturday March 30
Titans - Mt Smart Stadium - 6pm, Friday April 5
Rabbitohs - Sunshine Coast Stadium - 3pm, Saturday April 13

Wests Tigers

Best 17
1. Moses Mbye, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Mahe Fonua, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Corey Thompson, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Russell Packer, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Matt Eisenhuth, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Elijah Taylor, Bench: 14. Benji Marshall, 15. Chris Lawrence, 16. Michael Chee-Kam, 17. Alex Twal

3pm (AEDT), Saturday March 2 vs. Warriors - Northland Events Centre, Whangarei, NZ

The start
The Tigers have a new coach in Michael Maguire and a fairly friendly start to the season. They host the Sea Eagles first-up at Leichhardt Oval in what always turns out to be a great clash, before two more home games at Campbelltown against beatable opposition in the Bulldogs and Warriors. They'll need to have their house in order by then, as they face the Panthers and Broncos away next up. Their whole season could hinge on how Maguire manages Benji Marshall, Josh Reynolds and Robbie Farah.
Prediction: 2/5

First five games
Sea Eagles - Leichhardt Oval - 5:30pm, Saturday March 16
Warriors - Campbelltown Stadium - 6:10pm, Sunday March 24
Bulldogs - Campbelltown Stadium - 4:05pm, Sunday March 31
Panthers - Panthers Stadium - 7:55pm, Friday April 5
Broncos - Suncorp Stadium - 7:50pm, Thursday April 11