The premiers Penrith are adamant gun halfback Nathan Cleary will be given right up until game day to prove he’s good to go for the season-opener against Manly.
But as we know with the champion Penrith and NSW halfback, where there’s a will there’s a way.
Cleary has timed his rehabilitation to the millisecond to the point where there’s every chance he’s out there to take on Tommy Turbo and the Sea Eagles.
Can the Panthers become only the second team in 25 seasons to go back-to-back?
If they’re going to do it they need Clive Churchill Medallist Nathan fit and firing for most of the season.
On the flip side, it’s been a rollercoaster initiation for prized Brisbane Broncos recruit Adam Reynolds who’s gone down with COVID and is highly unlikely to play against his old club South Sydney on Friday night.
The Broncos are fuming about the NRL’s mixed messaging around COVID protocols with the game’s governing body essentially passing the buck back to the 16 clubs as to when players are able to return to train and play.
The most important question Broncos fans want answered is will Reynolds being playing against the Bunnies and at this point Brisbane coach Kevin Walters is saying the little no. 7 is highly unlikely.
Ding, dong, could the Eels finally kill the witch and end the NRL’s longest premiership-drought of 36 seasons and counting.
Parramatta’s premiership window is definitely wide open and there’s a sense if not this season, then when?
Does it start to close once they lose Reed Mahoney, Marata Niukore, and Isaiah Papali’I to other clubs at the end of this year?
And as much as they fell in a hole towards the end of last season, they found a way to kick again and gave premiers Penrith one hell of a game in week two of the finals.
Will the Bulldogs get better now that Gus Gould is back as Canterbury-Bankstown’s Minister for everything Rugby League?
Or should head coach Trent Barrett be jittery given they’ve got a tough draw for the opening six rounds and who knows what happens if it’s more of the same from last year?
The Sydney Roosters get the cavalry back in the form of playmaker Luke Keary, gun centre Joey Manu, front-rower Lindsay Collins and hooker Sam Verrills and there’s a feeling if they all stay fit, the Chooks are going to be awfully hard to beat.
They’ve also added experience in terms of depth in the centres with Paul Momorovski and Kevin Naiqama.
The Dragons have looked sharp in the trials as coach Anthony Griffin looks to really put his stamp on the Red V.
How will Souths go without Reynolds, Dane Gagai and Jadyn Su’A and the biggest loss of all – supercoach Wayne Bennett?
Can Tommy Turbo replicate the out-of-this-world season he put together last year for Manly again?
The Melbourne Storm are always a juggernaut but are coming off the most interrupted pre-season in the club’s history in terms of off-field headlines?
Somehow you get the feeling if anyone knows how to handle that, it’ll be Craig Bellamy and Frank Ponissi.
We could go on and on. Only three more sleeps and the footy is back. How good.