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Immortal Combat: Andrew Johns' huge call to start the 2019 NRL season

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In the first of his weekly columns, Joey predicts Brisbane will not only beat Craig Bellamy's side on Thursday night, they will also be the premiers come October.

STORM v BRISBANE, AAMI Park, Thursday, 7.50pm

I’m not just predicting Brisbane to cause an upset against Melbourne in the first match of the season: I think they will win the competition. They’ve got the best young forward pack we’ve seen in the last 20 years. It just depends on what their halves, Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima, can do off the back of those forwards. They’re the keys to the season.

Centrepiece: Kodi Nikorima's (centre) fortunes will go a long way towards deciding Brisbane's fate.Credit:AAP


This match isn’t just a battle of styles but also a battle of coaches. New Broncos coach Anthony Seibold did his apprenticeship for three-or-so years under Craig Bellamy in Melbourne. If you look at the coaches to come out of Melbourne, they are all successful. They all take that blueprint and the same principles, especially defensively, and they all have success. Michael Maguire was the best example of it at Souths when they won the comp in 2014.

Seibold has that but he’s also very attack-minded, too. I heard an interview this week in which he........

© Canberra Times