Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell has emerged as the man to keep fit if the eastern Sydney suburbs NRL club can go all the way and win this year’s premiership.
Mitchell is a man-mountain, having made his debut in Origin earlier this year but the Roosters will need him and captain Boyd Cordner fit if they are to maintain their run to the finals.
Standing between them is Melbourne Storm and fiercely hated arch-rival South Sydney.
Souths coach Anthony Siebold will have his own man-mountain back for the finals with Greg Inglis returning from injury and the two are key to both club’s finals aspirations.
Roosters captain Cordner said 21-year-old Mitchell doesn’t yet know just how powerful he can be.
“He’s a player that can create something out of nothing,” Cordner said.
“He’s a very special talent. I don’t think he knows how good he is really, which is a scary thing.
“I think he’s still got a lot more development in him.”
With finals around the corner the early betting for 2018 is Rabbitohs, Roosters or Storm – and each is capable of winning that premiership in late September.
Meanwhile, the legendary Sonny Bill Williams is thinking of a return to the game after next years rugby world cup in Japan.
All Black Williams turns 34 next year and is weighing up ending an amazing career spanning Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan, rugby league, rugby union and boxing.
Williams walked out on Canterbury in 2008 over a contract dispute, before returning to play for the Sydney Roosters in 2013, only to return to the union, where he won the 2015 World Cup and appeared in the 2016 Olympics.
In AFL, reigning premiers Richmond are on course for back-to-back premierships, such has been their dominance this season.
They survived a scare from Geelong recently but still look odds-on for the MCG grand final.
Who could they face?
There’s a cluster of clubs all chasing; West Coast Eagles are still in the hunt, but are not favoured by eastern States fans to make it; Greater Western Sydney (GWS) is another contender, but injuries will weaken their squad and Melbourne, who are really showing they mean  business this season after so many seasons in the doldrums, are sitting pretty in the the top four. They have the toughest of run-ins, which could see them fall away.
In the 5 to 8 spots, Hawthorn is coming good at the right time, but for Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Sydney and Geelong it might be too much too late for 2018.
Michael Cheika’s Wallabies are focussed on the Bledisloe Cup after naming an extended squad for the annual clash with New Zealand.
It’s been 16 years since Australia last held trans-Tasman bragging rights and Chieka is anxious to put that unwanted record to bed.
“We will learn to trust each other and be really aligned around what we believe so we can get our energy pointing in the right direction for game one,” Chieka said.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has resumed training after suffering a hamstring injury in the final Test against Ireland earlier this year and
back-rower Pete Samu has rejoined the side after helping the Crusaders win a record ninth Super Rugby title this month.
Backs: Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Billy Meakes, Sefa Naivalu, Jordan Petaia, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Matt Toomua.
Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Folau Faingaa*, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (capt), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou.