NRL players with a point to prove in 2019
SOME NRL players have plenty more riding on the upcoming season than others.
Whether through injury, poor form or a big money club switch, a number of stars are entering round one under pressure.
Here's the NRL players with a point to prove in the 2019 season.
Brisbane's million-dollar man was arguably the disappointment of 2018, playing just eight games in an injury-plagued first season at Red Hill. The former NSW Origin utility will be desperate to prove his worth to new coach Anthony Seibold. The jury is still out on Bird's best position, but on recent form he'll have to be content with any spot in the 17 to begin the year.
It's a make or break year for Kieran Foran's career. Injury restricted the playmaker to just 12 games in his first season at Belmore. If his body continues to break down his NRL future looks bleak beyond his current contract expiring in 2020. His direct style of play is exactly what the lacklustre Canterbury attacking unit needs, but his best football could well be behind him. Should he fire, his experience and hard-nosed attitude will be a major boost for the youthful squad. Should he struggle, Lachlan Lewis and Jack Cogger could be Canterbury's new halves pairing.
The Gold Coast's $2.4 million recruit needs to rediscover his 2016 form to earn anywhere near his cheque up north. Boyd's past two seasons underwhelmed after a devastating period that saw him selected for Australia. While at times brutal, Boyd's impact in limited game time often lacks intensity. The bullocking prop averaged just nine runs in 35 minutes in 2018. A change of scenery after spending his entire career in Canberra could be what propels Boyd back to his best.
Cartwright went from Origin aspirant to Queensland Cup regular in less than a season. A change of attitude will hopefully spark a return to form in 2019. The former Panther possesses X-factor matched by few other forwards in the NRL. In 2018 he embraced a pass first, run second mentality that cruelled his game. The simple step of focusing on the fundamentals of rugby league - run hard, tackle hard - can go a long way to aiding his return to the top grade.
While Moses looked to further his career away from Wests Tigers, his old halves partner Luke Brooks stayed in Concord and won Dally M halfback of the year. Moses struggled for consistency all season and it correlated to a wooden spoon for Parramatta. Moses has tremendous talent, but his form hasn't always translated into success. With greater output from the men around him, in particular the Eels forward pack, hopefully Moses can lead the club to an improved 2019.
The Parramatta flyer's career hasn't reached anticipated heights since breaking on to the scene midway through 2016. French was dropped to NSW Cup last season and will be looking to bounce back and prove his worth in 2019. At just 22, French is still filling out his slender frame which has hindered him at times in the past. A questionable work ethic and lack of punch on kick returns are areas French needs to improve, but there's no reason he can't achieve this in the new year.
The former Titan makes a career change to the Northern Beaches of Sydney where he'll hope to rejuvenate his career. The 24-year-old has proven his class at times, but consistency had eluded him too often. Playing alongside veteran halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will prove invaluable for Elgey as he works on fine-tuning his game. The Manly skipper's expertise in game management can allow Elgey to flourish in attack, while hopefully solidifying his defensive efforts.