See what else the hall-of-famer says about this years competition.
Former NRL playmaker Darren Lockyer has had his say on who will win the premiership this year with his answer of the Manly Sea Eagles hardly surprising many.
Manly belted the Wests Tigers 40-8 to begin the round 18, with the two points taking them to the top of the ladder with only Penrith able to catch them by the end of the weekend if the Panthers have a massive victory over Brisbane.
Lockyer said with the dust still settling after the State of Origin series, the next fortnight could make or break certain team’s title chances.
“Manly will win the premiership, the Warriors are the dark horse, the Broncos need to be mentally tougher and the Cowboys, incredibly, face an uphill battle making the playoffs,” Lockyer said.
“From my experience, an Origin campaign has a marked influence on the players returning to their respective clubs.
“I’ve learnt that Origin glory isn’t always a good thing for an NRL club.
“Conversely, Origin defeat can deliver an upside, motivating disappointed players who are suddenly hungrier for the big prize they were denied in the interstate arena.
“There have been some surprise packets this season but here are the teams who will make headlines, good or bad, at the business end of the season.”
Lockyer also commented on the other big news to his the NRL this week, with Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett confirming he will quit the club at the end of the season.
Bennett and Lockyer had a close relationship when the pair were both at Brisbane, with the player and coach more like father and son at times.
“I wasn’t surprised at his decision to quit the Knights. Will he come back to Brisbane?” Lockyer said.
“There seems to be interminable talk about Wayne coming home to the Broncos but the only way the club will move on from Wayne is if it becomes successful without him.
“Everyone at the club, coach Anthony Griffin included, is striving for success.
“Right now, Brisbane are doing OK, but ultimately clubs are judged on results and every coach accepts that.
“Knowing Wayne, I can’t see him taking on a coaching director’s role. Not yet anyway.
“Wayne is very much a hands-on mentor and I think he still has a desire to be a head coach.
“Wherever Wayne goes, he will take a great work ethic and be inclined to be the main man in the trenches doing his thing. I don’t know if that will ever change.”