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What my perfect 2023 season would look like




Imagine your team wins the premiership. That would be a great season.

Now imagine your most disliked team also gets the spoon. That’s an even greater season.

Finally, imagine all sixteen teams magically finishing in your preferred ranking order. That … would be a perfect season!

Perfect seasons don’t happen very often, in fact it’s likely there’s never been one.

That’s because the laws of probability are stacked so heavily against it.

If you start with the assumption that all teams are equal, then there are sixteen factorial permutations of the table.

This is a very large number, nearly 21 trillion possible arrangements. So your preferred final placings are almost guaranteed to never happen.

But of course not all teams are created equal. Some have a more flexible approach to the salary cap than others, and some are not the Titans.

Of course next year with seventeen teams the task will be even more impossible, which is just the sort of challenge I enjoy.

Here’s my perfect 2023 season.

A first-up premiership for the Dolphins (1). They’ve been recruiting very hard and deserve some reward for their efforts.

Wayne Bennett

Wayne Bennett will be the first coach of the Dolphins. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The Broncos (2) are my team until next year. I really like Brisbane, but tend to think they’ve won more than their fair share, and it would be nice if someone else, like the Titans, had a turn.

Yes, the Gold Coast (3) are currently my second team, and I always have a good chuckle whenever they beat NSW sides. I just hope one of my great grandkids lives long enough to see them win a title.

I’m also keen on the South Queensland Storm (4) just because everyone loves a winner.

Coming in fifth are the Queensland Raiders. Someone once randomly gave me a pair of their socks and then all my friends sort of assumed I was a Canberra fan and eventually they gave me a jersey which came in very handy on grand final day in 1989.

I do like to see them win, but must admit Ricky Stuart’s press conferences are more fun when they lose.

I put the Cowboys as a reluctant sixth. I’m still a bit annoyed about the 2015 grand final.

Warriors get my seventh ranking. I’ve always admired the way they are not from NSW.

Parramatta were my team back in ancient times (before Broncos) but because they didn’t join Super League I have to push the Eels into 10th spot, below Cronulla (8) and Canterbury (9).

I enjoyed the Raiders win in the greatest grand final ever (1989), but have always had a soft spot for the Tigers (11). If there was any justice in this game Blocker and Benny would have at least one premiership.

I occasionally surprise myself these days by cheering for Manly (12) something I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. They used to have a great cast of villains … John Hopoate, the Stewarts, Tony Watmough, Steve Matai … but seem a much nicer bunch now.

Souths (13) showed a lot of resilience to come back from the dead so I don’t begrudge them the occasional win against their Sydney rivals.

Newcastle (14) have strong working class credentials and all that, but I’m still bitter their half-back was named an Immortal ahead of the great Alfie Langer.

By the time he retires Langer will have spent more than 50 years behind the Broncos forwards barking instructions. That’s as close to immortal as any player will ever get.

I often watch the Roosters (15) play and wish the whole team, with the exception of Sam Walker and Lindsay Collins, would suddenly fall in a ditch.

My brother is a St George (16) supporter. He jumped on the bandwagon just after their lucky run in the sixties and was unbearable in 77 and 79, so I’m always happy to see them struggle.

Which leaves Penrith (17). I think we’ve all had enough of that human pyramid after every try.





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