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NRL: Biggest flops of the 2022 NRL season

The 2022 NRL campaign is heading into finals but for some the season is over and for a handful in particular it has been a season to forget.

There have been some surprise packages this season with the North Queensland Cowboys catching the eye as they finished third on the ladder.

The same can be said for the Cronulla Sharks who took their game to another level when finishing second, while the Brisbane Broncos were flying at one stage before missing out on the eight altogether.

It would be harsh to call the Broncos season a flop as ninth is a big improvement on the last few years, but they will be disappointed nonetheless.

Along with the winners, come the losers and there have been some sides that have fallen well below expectations in the 2022 season.

Now they have time to reflect, make changes and come back stronger in 2023. Let’s take a look at the sides that will be glad 2022 is over. 

Gold Coast Titans

Hopes and expectations were high for the Gold Coast Titans heading into the 2022 season as they looked to be making progress under coach Justin Holbrook.

They made finals in 2021 and although they fell at the first hurdle, they were expected to make the eight again in the new season.

However instead of making progress they slumped down the ladder in alarming fashion. They lost 10 games on the bounce in the middle of the season and managed to win just six games all year.

They did manage to win three of the last four games, but still finished miles away from the top eight and now it remains to be seen if Holbrook will keep his job for next season.

Wests Tigers

The Tigers had not made finals for 11 years heading into the season and the pressure was on for coach Michael Maguire to deliver after the powers that be gave him a vote of confidence.

However he couldn’t and the Tigers started the season badly when losing their opening five games. They briefly rallied with back-to-back wins over the Eels and Rabbitohs that saved Maguire from the axe and offered hope for the future.

The Tigers then reverted to type and Maguire lost his job with Brett Kimmorley taking over on an interim basis. He could not do any better and the Tigers ended with the first wooden spoon in their history.

Tim Sheens has been handed the reins from the start of 2023 with Benji Marshall and Robbie Farrah set to work alongside him. It remains to be seen if the trio can turn things around.

Newcastle Knights

The Knights got the season off to a cracking start when winning both of their opening two games of the season.

However it was all down hill from there and they went on to win just four more to finish third from bottom on the ladder.

In fairness they did have horrible luck on the injury front with a number of key players, including star fullback Kalyn Ponga out for lengthy periods of time.

Coach Adam O’Brien managed to hang on to his job but a poor start to the 2023 season will see him under pressure.

Canterbury Bulldogs

The Bulldogs had picked up the wooden spoon in 2021 but with a host of star players arriving for 2022 they were expected to push for finals.

However even Matt Burton and Josh Addo-Carr could not help the Bulldogs in the early part of the season and the outcome was coach Trent Barrett losing his job.

There was an improvement under interim coach Mick Potter and they did pick up some encouraging results to climb to 12th spot on the ladder.

Once again hopes will be high for 2023 as more big names are set to arrive, including new head coach Cameron Ciraldo who has been lured away from Penrith.

Manly Sea Eagles

Manly looked on course to make the eight at one point but a disastrous end to the season put an end to any hope of playing finals.

They lost the last seven games of the season to finish 12th on the ladder and there is all kind of talk suggesting that all is not well behind the scenes at the club and the pressure is on coach Des Hasler.

The Sea Eagles were not helped by the loss of star fullback Tom Trbojevic to injury but the club now face a big off-season before looking to come back stronger in 2023.

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