Group 16 predictions revisited: What we got right and wrong

In case you've been living under a rock (or are simply not into sports), the Tathra Sea Eagles ended a 66-year premiership drought in yesterday's 24-18 grand-final win over Bega.

You'd think that'd be the end of rugby league for us Far South Coast sports reporters, but we thought we'd get one more bite of the cherry by revisiting our preseason predictions.

1. Moruya (Finish: 6)


Our first prediction just happens to be our worst, as not only did they not finish on top of the ladder, they missed the finals completely.

All the reasons we thought Moruya would finish this high didn't pan out. Depth ended up being a huge problem for the Sharks, particularly in the backline.

We said Moruya's backline would be the most dangerous in the competition, but they ended up looking a bit old and slow.

We also said Tim Weyman, Peter Lett, and Dean Scott were important for them. Well, Weyman and Scott spent most of the season injured, and Lett got himself suspended midway through the season.

All in all, a below-par season for Moruya, and a terrible prediction on our behalf.

2. Bombala (Finish: 4)

This prediction somehow looked both horrible and right on the money at different stages of the season.

The Blue Heelers found themselves languishing in the bottom three midway through the year with a 2-4-1 record, but quickly found form to jump as high as second towards the end of the season.

They eventually settled for a fourth-placed finish, capped off by a disappointing loss to the Eden Tigers in week one of the finals.

We did mention Bombala's player turnover in the prediction, it just ended up affecting them more than we predicted.

3. Eden (Finish: 5)

Eden was a tough side to predict this year, so we're pretty comfortable with only being two spots off.

The Tigers were solid from the get go, shaking off a heavy loss to Moruya in round one to sit pretty comfortably inside the top five for most of the season.

They did find themselves in a fight for fifth spot in the end, but an elimination final win over Bombala proved they were good enough for finals footy.

Doesn't Group 16 just feel better with Eden in the comp?

4. Merimbula-Pambula (Finish: 3)

Ah, so close.

The Bulldogs are perennial finals contenders, and this year was no different as they finished third with a 10-5-1 record.

Captain-coach Jake McDonald did a fantastic job with a team that lost both Kyle Shepherdson and Ruben Smahel over the offseason.

I personally thought this was a brave prediction considering those losses, but it ended up being almost on the money.

5. Tathra (Finish: 2)

Honestly, who saw this season coming?

To win a first-grade premiership is tough no matter where you play; to do it in your first season back in first grade is phenomenal. They also had the small matter of a 66-year premiership drought.

None of that phased them, as they beat the all-conquering Bega Roosters twice in the finals series, and in Bega if you don't mind.

Probably the best story in Group 16 for a number of years, and one prediction we're thrilled to be wrong about.

6. Bega (Finish: 1)

I'd like to take this opportunity to personally apologise to the Bega Roosters.

I thought the amount of players lost in the offseason would see a fall down the ladder. I was wrong.

I thought an ageing core group of players would hold this team back. I was wrong.

To not only finish as minor premiers, but to do it with a five-point gap to second place, is an outstanding season. Sure, it wasn't ultimately the finish they wanted, but still a lot better than this mug predicted.

You know what, scratch that thing about Moruya being our worst prediction, this one takes that prize.

7. Cooma (Finish: 9)

We thought Cooma would miss the finals, but we didn't think they'd be as bad as they were.

They only just avoided a winless season, and finished two-games adrift on the bottom of the ladder.

It wasn't for a lack of trying, but there were times towards the end of the season where this group looked like a reserve-grade team trying to play up in first.

Hopefully there are better times ahead for the Stallions, because the competition is better when Cooma is strong.

8. Narooma (Finish: 8)

Finally, we get one right.

The Devils have struggled for a few seasons now, and this one wasn't any different. Similar to Cooma, it wasn't for a lack of trying, and they troubled some good sides at Bill Smyth Oval, but the lack of talent caught up to them.

They can hold their heads high knowing the eventual premiers needed a field goal in the last minute of the game to beat them in Narooma.

9. Batemans Bay (Finish: 7)

Batemans Bay showed flashes of potential this season, but it was ultimately an extremely disappointing year in the northern reaches of the comp.

The Tigers finished nine points adrift of a top-five spot, and endured a player exodus midway through the season.

Home wins over eventual finalists Bombala and Eden were the highlights for this team, who have enough injured talent coming back to potentially jump up the ladder next year.