Star man ... Cooper Cronk. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Chammas says: This is arguably the greatest spine assembled in the history of first-grade rugby league. Even their weakest player - Gareth Widdop - would be considered a superstar at any other side.
1. Billy Slater. Luke Patten said: ''The best fullback in the world. He continues to keep setting the standard for all his rivals.''
Underrated ... Isaac de Gois Photo: Brendan Esposito
6. Gareth Widdop. Greg Alexander said: ''He's developed into a great No.6. Terrific footwork and a great foil for Cronk.''
7. Cooper Cronk. Steve Mortimer said: ''He's the complete halfback. A great playmaker and a great kicker of the footy.''
9. Cameron Smith. Dean Young said: ''He's the greatest hooker of all time. Nothing more needs to be said about him.''
Mr Reliable ... Jamie Soward. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Chammas says: Injuries weren't a big problem in the key positions for the Rabbitohs last year. They have Nathan Peats to cover for Issac Luke and plenty of fullback options to replace Inglis, but there is a shortage of depth in the halves.
1. Greg Inglis. Luke Patten said: ''Expecting a big year from him. He's changed the role of the fullback with his size and brute strength.''
6. John Sutton. Greg Alexander said: ''He had his best year last year. Michael Maguire learnt very quickly how to get the best out of him.''
7. Adam Reynolds. Steve Mortimer said: ''A star in the making. I see great potential for him to be one of the leading playmakers in the competition.''
9. Issac Luke. Dean Young said: ''The hardest hooker to tackle. A damaging player. When teams play against the Rabbitohs, they talk about Luke.''
Chammas says: No team chopped and changed its spine more than the Tigers last year. If Jacob Miller can find his feet inside of Benji Marshall and learn to dictate terms, they have the playing roster to return to finals football.
1. Tim Moltzen. Luke Patten said: ''Didn't prepare to play at fullback last year but handled it well when he was thrown in. He'll be better for the run.''
6. Benji Marshall. Greg Alexander said: ''Their season will hinge on how well he plays. Was tried at No.7 but is better suited to five-eighth.''
7. Jacob Miller. Steve Mortimer said: ''A halfback needs to be dominant, and that will be hard inside Benji Marshall.''
9. Robbie Farah. Dean Young said: ''The leader. Everything comes off him before it gets to Benji. Interesting to see how he plays under [new coach Michael] Potter.''
Chammas says: They've been bolstered by the arrival of Michael Gordon. There is a question mark over how Todd Carney will fare after his Achilles injury. Some say they are one creative player short of being premiership material.
1. Michael Gordon. Luke Patten said: ''Always been a fan of his. He scores points and kicks goals. He's underrated but he'll show what he can do.''
6. Todd Carney. Greg Alexander said: ''He was tremendous last year. We'll have to wait and see how he comes back from the Achilles injury.''
7. Jeff Robson. Steve Mortimer said: ''A good, stable player. He's capable of creating attacking options without being a star. I like the way he plays.''
9. Isaac De Gois. Dean Young said: ''Another underrated player. They need a big year from him.''
Chammas says: The retirement of Aaron Payne and the departure of James Segayaro has created a void in the hooker ranks. Coach Neil Henry also has to choose between Robert Lui, Ray Thompson and Michael Morgan for the No.7 gig.
1. Matt Bowen. Luke Patten said: ''A veteran who keeps getting the job done. Last year was his best season in recent memory. He's still got it.''
6. Johnathan Thurston, Greg Alexander said: ''A toss of the coin whether he's the best player in the comp. He fitted nicely into the No.6.''
7. Robert Lui. Steve Mortimer said: "Whoever plays in the No.7 at the Cowboys will have to try and demand the ball from Johnathan Thurston.''
9. Anthony Mitchell. Dean Young said: ''He's pretty quick out of dummy half. A lot of potential.''
Chammas says: It's the same spine that led the Sea Eagles to the premiership in 2011. They have played plenty of football together and their combinations are as good as any in the competition.
1. Brett Stewart. Luke Patten said: ''Current NSW Origin fullback with a phenomenal try-scoring strike rate. He's pivotal to Manly's hopes.''
6. Kieran Foran. Greg Alexander said: ''Did it tough with injury last year but he's the toughest No.6 in the business. Great hole runner.''
7. Daly Cherry-Evans. Steve Mortimer said: ''The third year of a player's career is when you show if you'll have a long career. Brilliant player.''
9. Matt Ballin. Dean Young said: ''A very underrated player, but not by his own teammates. He's the staple of the Manly pack.''
Chammas says: They are the quartet that guided the Bulldogs within a whisker of premiership glory. Michael Ennis was troubled by injury last year but if he can return to full fitness, it could be the improvement that helps Canterbury go one better this year.
1. Ben Barba. Luke Patten said: ''He's one of the most exciting players in the NRL. He's now up there with the top fullbacks in the game.''
6. Josh Reynolds. Greg Alexander said: ''What a season he had last year. He's the in-your-face type of player.''
7. Kris Keating. Steve Mortimer said: ''Very similar to Mitchell Pearce in the way he applies himself. Played his best football last year.''
9. Michael Ennis. Dean Young said: ''The heart and soul of the team. Set for a big year.''
Chammas says: Thomas Leuluai provides the experience, while Locke and Johnson provide the youthful exuberance. It could prove to be a handy mix for the Warriors, who struggled for large parts of last season.
1. Kevin Locke. Luke Patten said: ''Disappointing last year. He's in the Ben Barba mould but struggled to recapture his 2011 form. He'll be back.''
6. Thomas Leuluai. Greg Alexander said: ''He's been able to step up and play Test footy when required. It'll be interesting to see how he returns.''
7. Shaun Johnson. Steve Mortimer said: ''Has the potential to be a superstar. He has all the attributes of a good No.7. Brilliant on his feet.''
9. Alehana Mara. Dean Young said: ''A lot of responsibility on his shoulders. The injury to Nathan Friend gives him a chance to show his skill.''
Chammas says: The Roosters will benefit from the arrival of James Maloney. He should prove a good foil for Mitchell Pearce, who needs a big year if they are to make the finals. Jake Friend is developing into one of the better hookers.
1. Anthony Minichiello. Luke Patten said: ''He's still performing. The captaincy will get the best out of him. Could end his career with a bang.''
6. James Maloney. Greg Alexander said: ''He was disappointing last year in a Warriors side that struggled. No better hole runner as a half.''
7. Mitchell Pearce. Steve Mortimer said: ''Has a great work ethic and is a very tough player. Not in the [Cooper] Cronk level but has the potential to get there.''
9. Jake Friend. Dean Young said: ''Tough kid who has a great combination with Pearce. Turned his life around off-field.''
Chammas says: Plenty of competition for positions at the Broncos. Scott Prince is likely to keep Corey Norman at bay for the five-eighth position. Prince's combination with Peter Wallace is vital to Brisbane's chances this year.
1. Josh Hoffman. Luke Patten said: ''I really like him. He puts his body on the line and is a cannonball. I love that he has little respect for his body.''
6. Scott Prince. Greg Alexander said: ''He's a great signing. He can have a real impact at Brisbane. He's not past it.''
7. Peter Wallace. Steve Mortimer said: ''A very composed, mature halfback. Having Scott Prince next to him will only be a bonus for the Broncos.''
9. Andrew McCullough. Dean Young said: ''Very skilful player with a good attitude. Back-up for Cameron Smith as Queensland hooker.''
Chammas says: David Furner needs to find room for Sam Williams in the side. They haven't got a quality No.9, but between Josh Dugan, Terry Campese and Josh McCrone, there is enough strike power. They have a plethora of talent in the halves.
1. Josh Dugan. Luke Patten said: ''Every time Josh Dugan looks like taking the next step, injury strikes. You'll see the best of him if he stays fit.''
6. Terry Campese. Greg Alexander said: ''Undoubtedly a talent. If he can stay fit he will give David Furner a nice headache in the halves selection.''
7. Josh McCrone. Steve Mortimer said: ''I like what I see, but I need to see more for him to go a step higher. Needs more ball in his hands.''
9. Glen Buttriss. Dean Young said: ''A solid player who won't let the team down. He's not the flashiest player but knows how to get it done.''
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Chammas says: They have added some creativity with the signing of Gerard Beale, but are still one playmaker short. They have plenty of depth at hooker but scoring points may again be a problem.
1. Gerard Beale. Luke Patten said: ''Bit of an unknown but has played for the Kiwis. A ball-playing dimension to his game that will help the Dragons.''
6. Jamie Soward. Greg Alexander said: ''We saw how good he can be in 2010. If he finds that form, the Dragons could return to the finals.''
7. Nathan Fien. Steve Mortimer said: ''He's like a Kurt Gidley. He can play a number of positions but not up there with the best playmakers.''
9. Mitch Rein. Dean Young said: ''I love Mitch. He's one tough player with a bright future as a representative player. A fearless defender.''
Chammas says: If they suffer an injury to one of their key players, the Knights could struggle. But if they keep them on the paddock, they have the potential to be a top-four side.
1. Darius Boyd. Luke Patten said: ''He'll be disappointed with last year and will improve in a Knights team that is going places.''
6. Jarrod Mullen. Greg Alexander said: ''Potentially, he could be the best half in the competition but that hasn't been realised. It's time we see the best.''
7. Kurt Gidley. Steve Mortimer said: ''I'm a big fan. He's the catalyst for the Knights.''
9. Danny Buderus. Dean Young said: ''He was the greatest hooker of all time before Cameron Smith. Still has plenty to offer the Knights.''
Chammas says: The biggest problem Ricky Stuart has is picking the right five-eighth. He's likely to start the year with Luke Kelly ahead of Ben Roberts. If they can keep the same No.6 for most of the year, it will help Chris Sandow.
1. Jarryd Hayne. Luke Patten said: ''He's struggled in the past because his team has struggled. He'll have a big year if his teammates lift.''
6. Luke Kelly. Greg Alexander said: ''I liked what he did in his few games last year. He needs to be consistent otherwise the pressure is on Sandow.''
7. Chris Sandow. Steve Mortimer said: ''Both brilliant and erratic. He couldn't get a better mentor for a coach than Ricky Stuart. He'll mature a lot.''
9. Matt Keating. Dean Young said: ''Had a great year in '09 but hasn't taken the next step.''
Chammas says: Plenty of unknowns at the Panthers this year given their large player turnover. Dean Whare is a capable recruit who should thrive with the extra space at the back. Luke Walsh needs to create more in attack if the Panthers are to be a top-eight side.
1. Dean Whare. Luke Patten said: ''He did a pretty good job filling in for Brett Stewart at Manly last year. He's got good speed and good vision.''
6. Lachlan Coote. Greg Alexander said: ''Played junior footy at No.6. He'll play at five-eighth like he does at fullback - always around the ball.''
7. Luke Walsh. Steve Mortimer said: ''He doesn't threaten enough with the ball. A great kicking game but still lacks the creativity in attack.''
9. Kevin Kingston. Dean Young said: ''A captain who always leads by example. You know what you get.''
Chammas says: The Titans have one of the weakest halves combinations in the competition. Scott Prince's defection to Brisbane has left a gaping hole. It's hard to see where all their points will come from.
1. William Zillman. Luke Patten said: ''The halves will determine the opportunity he gets. He's put on size but needs to remain fast and elusive.''
6. Aidan Sezer. Greg Alexander said: ''Showed last year that he's a good player. He has plenty of ability and plays straight when he runs.''
7. Albert Kelly. Steve Mortimer said: ''Haven't seen enough of him but he has touches of brilliance. Been around a while. Needs to step up.''
9. Matt Srama. Dean Young said: ''Had a big year. I know Luke Bailey has big raps on him. He has a monster forward pack to get behind.''