Our Way Too Early… predictions continue with the expanded Division One. With 6 teams in each conference in 2018, expect the battle for the post-season to get even tougher this time around!
It’s all change in the NFC1 North! Gone are the Manchester Titans (promoted), Doncaster Mustangs (realigned) and West Coast Trojans (relegated). The Newcastle Vikings are now the Northumberland Vikings, Lancashire Wolverines join having been relegated from the top flight, and three sides join via promotion from Division Two; Glasgow Tigers, Gateshead Senators and Leeds Bobcats!
Even with all that change though, #TeamDC lean heavily in favour of the conference veterans, Yorkshire Rams. But for the dominance of the Titans in 2017, the Rams would have cantered to the conference crown last year, and that is reflected in the votes. Nathan and Grant opt for the Wolverines to bounce back and straight in to the post-season, whilst Nick (Vikings) and Joe (Bobcats) offer up wildcard picks.
Sure to be another tough conference in 2018, the NFC1 South retains all but one of it’s teams from last year. Down went the Birmingham Bulls to Division Two, across come Doncaster Mustangs and up come the 13-0 Shropshire Revolution.
The battles between the Leicester Falcons and Sandwell Steelers in 2017 weight heavily on the minds of the writers, as no other side is picked for the NFC1 South conference crown – not even Nottingham Caesars, who started off 7-0 before capitulating down the stretch to 7-3 and out of the post-season.
With South Wales Warriors relegated following the 2017 season, the SFC1 Central is boosted by the promotion of Berkshire Renegades and Bristol Apache. Can Sussex Thunder replicate their perfect 10-0 regular season from last year…?
…10 of our writers certainly think so! Rob, Rose and Stuart plump for Oxford Saints, who finished 5-5 in 2017. No love for the Apache, who went undefeated last season and are sure to ruffle a few feathers in the conference during the campaign.
One of last season’s toughest conferences, it’s no easier this time around as Wembley Stallions and East Kent Mavericks move up a division. Three wins separated the conference winning London Olympians and last placed Colchester Gladiators, who retained their second tier status heading in to 2018.
The tightness of the conference is reflected in the writers’ picks, as four teams have more than one vote each! London Hornets edge it with 6 votes compared to 4 for Kent Exiles and 3 for conference newbies, Wembley Stallions.