2012 Toyota Cup Previews - Part 3 of 4

North Queensland Cowboys
2011 Review - 2011 was a two horse race for almost the entirety of the year between Warriors and the Cowboys. It was only fitting that they both played in the Grand Final. A Grand Final that had to go into extra time to find who the better team was. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, a Jordan Meads field goal after 82 minutes and 42 seconds saw them fall agonisingly short of a victory. The Cowboys weren't a team surrounded by a star player, they were a solid unit playing as a team. The fact that they continued winning after giant Jason Taumololo moved into the NRL very early in the year is evidence of this.
2012 Preview - The Cowboys will again one of the benchmark teams. Kyle Feldt will be a key player in the Cowboys backline. With the NRL team well looked after in depth in key positions, it should see the NYC team suffer minimal interruptions and a chance to go one better, literally, in 2012.

Parramatta Eels
2011 Review - The Eels were a solid defensive unit in 2012, but at times they lacked the strike power in attack when they needed it most. They finished the year just 2 wins out of the finals race and in 12th on the ladder. They had a few disruptions to their team during the year with Jacob Loko and Pat O'Hanlon most notably, moving up to NRL and back to NYC. This prevented the Eels from stringing wins together often enough to push themselves into the top 8.
2012 Preview - Parramatta's halves are going to be a year wiser and it will show. Whether it will be enough to catapault them into finals contention is another issue. Defensively, the Eels will still be strong, but their attack is still going to be a problem. They have some talented players in the three-quarter line, but they need quality service from the halves if they are to be as effective as they could be.

Penrith Panthers
2011 Review - The Panthers finished outside of the eight by just one point, yet even if they did make the finals, its not sure if they would have performed any better than the Knights did against the Warriors in Week 1. The Panthers lost strike players Blake Austin, Harry Siejka and Nafe Seluini during the year which contributed to a downfall in form.
2012 Preview - With the NRL side lacking in depth in most positions, it's expected that the void will be filled by NYC players this year which sould see the team slip down the ladder further in 2012. If they have an uninterrupted year however, they could finish eighth.

St.George-Illawarra Dragons
2011 Review - The Dragons unveiled the player of the year in Jack de Belin (Grandson of 1940's Test played Fred de Belin). He, along with Alex McKinnon, formed the best back row in the competition in 2011. However they were eventually called up to the NRL side, which had a devastating effect on the teams go forward and defence in the latter half of the year. This saw the Dragons slowly drift out of finals contention.
2012 Preview - The Dragons backs are a relatively good unit, however they struggled when de Belin moved into the NRL. With a new back row raring to go from Round 1, they could be back to their best and become a genuine finals contender in 2012.