FEW clubs can look back on a split second and lament what might have been had fate not cruelled them, like the Newcastle Knights.
ST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA are still awaiting serious results to emerge from serious promise. In 2004, the Dragons showed signs of transferring their tag as one of the best teams on paper to a being good team where it matters on the field. But the underlying problem of consistency and the necessary luck with injuries still evades the joint venture club.
IN 2004 the Bulldogs experienced the highs and lows that high profile sport can provide. The year began with a sex scandal but finished in premiership glory.
THE Warriors went back to being ?Worriers? in 2004 as they stumbled their way through internal rifts, sackings, resignations and several humiliating defeats.
SEASON 2004 may appear to have been another failure for the Cronulla Sharks, but on the bright side at least Sharks players and fans started to enjoy their footy again.
THEY may have collected their second consecutive wooden spoon, but 2004 could be the year that the red and green of South Sydney laid the foundations for a brighter future.
TIME is running out for Brian Smith to get results at the Parramatta Eels. The under siege head coach will have few excuses if he fails to at least achieve a finals berth in 2005, after overseeing the Eels worst season since 1995. The signings of Dragons hooker Mark Riddell, Cowboys lock Glen Morrison, Newcastle and NSW winger Timana Tahu, Warriors rake PJ Marsh, as well as toilers Paul Stringer and Chad Robinson have raised expectations for a far more productive 2005. However, the cynics still believe that the once ?super coach? Smith is past his time. Veteran CEO Denis Fitzgerald has also copped strong criticism from the media and Eels fans for his loyalty to Smith.
ONCE silvertails of the NRL, the Manly Sea Eagles continued their long re-building phase in 2004 as they aim to regain the respect of their glory days.
THE Tigers were one of the big improvers in 2004 but it still wasn?t enough to secure a first finals berth for the joint venture club.
IT?S time to get out the calculators and do the sums, as the Tigers (24 Pts, -15), the Raiders (24 Pts -99), the Sharks (24 Pts -101), the Eels (22 Pts -71), and the Knights (22 Pts -111) take part in the Race for 8th in Round 26.