Sterlo says Bulldogs and Broncos are gone for 2017

RUGBY LEAGUE: For just the second time in 25 years, both Brisbane and Canterbury will miss the NRL finals, according to commentator and legend Peter Sterling.

The two heavyweights both missed the finals in 1991 and 2010, the only times since Brisbane joined the competition in 1988.

Sterling says the Broncos face one of the toughest starts to the season, facing each of last year’s top four in the opening month.

“I think they’ll be giving a head start,” Sterling told Triple M. “I don’t think they’ll make the eight this year.”

He said the only way Brisbane could make the finals was if halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt were at their absolute best.

Sterling said Corey Parker’s retirement would be a big loss.

“That will see them rely on a lot of young forwards coming through,” he said.

Sterling said he felt the Bulldogs’ stale attack would keep them out of the finals for the first time since coach Des Hasler arrived at the club in 2012.

“I don’t think they’ll be playing finals football for the first time under Des Hasler,” Sterling said.

“I just think their style of play hasn’t improved in the last couple of years well enough to stay with some of the sides that have improved their style of play.

“I still think there’s a question mark in the combination between (Moses) Mbye and Josh Reynolds in the halves.”

Sterling said Penrith was his favourite for the minor premiership, while last year’s champions, Cronulla, could be left fighting for a spot at the bottom of the eight.