NRRRL preview: Players to watch and who we think will win
KEY GAINS: Zac Beecher (rugby) Jack Durheim (Marist Brothers) Jamie Lyon (NRL)
BIGGEST LOSS: Andrew Battese, Dylan Montgomery (Byron Bay)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Halfback Kel Sheather
CAPTAIN-COACH: Jamie Lyon
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 2nd
PREDICTED FINISH: Premiers
COMMENT: Ballina will have a smaller side this season and despite losing some of its best players they have recruited well.
Former NRL centre Jamie Lyon is a big addition with the team likely to land another experienced front-rower to bolster its forward pack.
Byron Bay Red Devils
KEY GAINS: Todd Carney (Queensland Cup) Andrew Battese, Dan Gibson, Dylan Montgomery (Ballina) Michael Thomas (Mullumbimby) Kyle Kennedy (Marist Brothers)
BIGGEST LOSS: Darryl Butcher (Marist Brothers), Simon Kelly (Cudgen)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Halfback Todd Carney
CAPTAIN-COACH: Todd Carney
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 11th
PREDICTED FINISH: 3rd
COMMENT: Massive recruitment drive including former NRL star Todd Carney and a handful of Ballina's best players.
The Red Devils will be the big improver's this year and the clash with Ballina in May will be a must-watch.
KEY GAINS: Roy Bell (Mullumbimby) Esi Tonga (Canberra)
BIGGEST LOSS: Chad Taylor (Group 2)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Second-rower Michael Schipp
CAPTAIN-COACH: Roy Bell
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 7th
PREDICTED FINISH: 5th
COMMENT: Former NRL player Esi Tonga will bring much needed size to the Cougars while a returning Roy Bell will add some class in the backline.
His combination with halfback Trevor Bolt should be one of the best in the competition and have them pushing for a finals spot.
KEY GAINS: Simon Kelly (Byron Bay) David Sheridan (Tweed Seagulls)
BIGGEST LOSS: Connah Mills (Tweed Seagulls)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Front-rower Caleb Ziebell
COACH: Mark O'Grady
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 4th
PREDICTED FINISH: 6th
COMMENT: A changing of the guard at Cudgen with captain-coach Pat Rosser moving on.
The core group will still be together with the club expected to bring up more of its junior players this season.
Evans Head Bombers
KEY GAINS: Simon Perkins (Ballina), Dennis Ritchie (Macleay Valley Mustangs)
BIGGEST LOSS: none
PLAYER TO WATCH: Second-rower Jordan Sly
COACH: Tyler Iverson
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 9th
COMMENT: The Bombers will continue to rebuild this year having brought in experienced coach Tyler Iverson.
They have a couple of handy recruits, however depth and injuries will test them.
KEY GAINS: Tim Ring (Casino) Owen Avery (Northern United)
BIGGEST LOSS: none
PLAYER TO WATCH: Second-rower Blake Davies
COACH: Shane Robinson
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 8th
PREDICTED FINISH: 10th
COMMENT: New coach Shane Robinson has had success at junior level and that could prove valuable with Kyogle fielding a young side.
Most of the team have been together for a few years now and they will need to start the season well to stay in touch with the better teams.
Lower Clarence Magpies
KEY GAINS: none
BIGGEST LOSS: Dan Randall, Hugh Stanley (South Grafton)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Fullback Rob Howard
COACH: Ray Mercy
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 10th
PREDICTED FINISH: 12th
COMMENT: The club has struggled for a number of years now and it looked like they were at breaking point early in the off-season.
The experienced Ray Mercy has stepped into coach but it looms as another long year for the Magpies.
Marist Brothers Rams
KEY GAINS: None
BIGGEST LOSS: Jack Durheim (Ballina), Kyle Kennedy (Marist Brothers) Evan Hickling (Northern United)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Centre Josh Patston
COACH: Michael Woods
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 6th
PREDICTED FINISH: 8th
COMMENT: The Rams have lost a stack of players this season and will have to rely on youth from the lower grades to replace them.
They still have some talent in key positions but will need all hands on deck to challenge for the finals.
KEY GAINS: Toby McIntosh (Burleigh Bears)
BIGGEST LOSS: Sam O'Dea (retired)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Hooker Joe Besgrove
COACH: Nathan Jordan
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 3rd
PREDICTED FINISH: 2nd
COMMENT: Finished strong last season and have most positions covered with plenty of depth.
The Mustangs are another side where the core group has been together for a few years now and they are a title contender with fullback Toby McIntosh returning to the fold.
KEY GAINS: Sio Alefosio (Marist Brothers) Jason McGrady (Gold Coast)
BIGGEST LOSS: Matt Ashton (England) Roy Bell (Casino) Michael Thomas (Byron Bay)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Halfback Jason McGrady
COACH: Dallas Waters
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 5th
PREDICTED FINISH: 7th
COMMENT: The Giants made some big improvements last year and should be thinking semi-finals again this season.
A lot of their points came off the back of halfback Roy Bell while the speed of fullback Matt Ashton will be difficult to replace.
KEY GAINS: Evan Hickling (Marist Brothers) Clarence Kelly, Bill King, Luke Simpson (Byron Bay), Justin Shillingsworth (Ballina)
BIGGEST LOSS: Mark Binge (Byron Bay)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Halfback Wally Kelly
COACH: Fred Waters and Alwyn Roberts
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: 12th
PREDICTED FINISH: 9th
COMMENT: They have a lot more strike in the backline this year but being able to match it with the better forward packs will be a concern.
The class of centre Clarence Kelly and five-eighth Evan Hickling might win them some extra games they would have lost last year.
Tweed Coast Raiders
KEY GAINS: Dom Murray (Cudgen)
BIGGEST LOSS: Tahne Robinson (Tweed Seagulls)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Second-rower Kalani Hensby.
COACH: Brent Kite
WHERE THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: Premiers
Predicted finish: 4th
COMMENT: The Raiders were the fairytale story last season winning its first premiership with a team made up mostly of their local products.
It's forward pack will lead the way again while halfback Tahne Robinson is a huge loss and they might struggle to capture the same attacking flair without him.