The 2024 NRL WA Countdown Begins

By Pete Rowe 

As the NRL kicked off its 2024 season with a glitzy double header in Vegas last weekend, local rugby league fans will know they still have 31 days until the Fuel to Go and Play Premiership gets under way.
With five teams in action again for the season, local league fans will heartened to learn that 2024 could see more games than in recent seasons, culminating with finals to identify who will become Premiers. 
And what a tight season it’s going to be with all five clubs already deep into preseason preparations readying for Round One on April 6.
Can the North Beach Eagles go back-to back, or will Fremantle gain some revenge for the loss in 2023? 
The Roosters certainly hope they can and will have Delane Edwards – their Benjamin Button player-coach – still at the helm.
“We’ve all got some unfinished business,” captain Duane Butler said of last year’s grand final loss. 
“We will be ready and pushing to win again.”
And the Sea Eagles? They won’t want to let their standards slip after such a dramatic all-in team effort to win the Premiership.
They may have lost Jaylen Grey to Queensland Cup but welcome back Bowman Stein from injury and coach Phil Douche is quietly confident his side will be challenging again.
“Pre-season so far has been good, decent numbers. Some news faces, so we’re happy,” Douche said.
And who does he fear, looking over his shoulder at the other four teams? 
“All of them. I think it’s going to be a really big season and you can’t discount anyone.”
Joondalup will have a few new faces on the field and on the sidelines with Darren Smith returning as head coach.
The Giants have also lost a key player to Q Cup – Riley Captien – and it’s likely influential half Gus Marshall will be missing as well.
“New faces, new challenges. Yep, we’re up for it,” said a positive captain Taurean Sheehan.
South Perth welcome Marty Collis back – as their coach for 2024. Collis, a Lions stalwart and former captain will know what it takes to lift his side – and hopes to have standout Corbyn Daniels available again after the big centre missed much of last season through work commitments.
“We’ve had good numbers at training and Marty has all the experience to deliver winning football for us,” team manager Paul Brown said.
“But it’s going to be a big season – no easy games, right now you can’t predict who will win, but we will want to be up there.”
Rockingham Sharks missed out on playoff football last season and have spent the summer rebuilding with player coach Tom Murphy using his Queensland connections to bring in halfback John McLaughlin from the Sunshine Coast. 
Next to arrive was backrower Zack McEntyre, a rising prospect out of the Maitland club in the Newcastle comp.
But the one that has attracted many comments is the capture of standoff Samisoni Langi, a player with over 100 English Super League games under his belt with Catalan Dragons and the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in 2023.
A Tongan and more recently, French international, Langi could forge a devastating halfback pairing with McLaughlin, backed up by Murphy and 2022 Ken Allen Medal winner Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards.
The Sharks could be the dark horse bet if they come together as a unit early, but as others have already said, 2024 looks like being a season of intense competition with all five clubs wanting their hands on the premiership shield at the end of the season.