Well it didn’t look like it would go ahead, then it did, now next week’s a chance, but not the week after, but no one will be there to watch anyway, and it might have to be at Darwin, one team might not play, the whole thing’s one unfortunate cough away from completing blowing over and in the middle of all this hysteria, there were 8 games in the NRL over the last 4 days and even a bit of SuperCoach thrown into the mix. Take a deep breath (and try and hold it for ten seconds), Rugbaleeg is back!
Amid the chaos that was the Round 1 NRL Season, one constant remained and that was that our fantasy football sides that we’ve spent the last two months tinkering and ‘perfecting’ finally got out on the field and we all had one eye on the actual game and one eye on the refresh button on the app. Just like the good old virus-free days.
Who among us is cheering their early calls? Cursing the PODs that haven’t come off? Threw the captain’s armband on the right player? Wondering whether we’ll even have enough games to crown this year’s Simonsson Star or #1 on the Palavi Scale (in honour of a failed Round 1 cheapie).
This year’s weekly roundup will be the streamlined version we closed the year out with in 2019, focusing on the Top 5:
- Rockers– the ‘SuperCoach-relevant’ players who killed it
- Floppers – the ‘SuperCoach-relevant’ players who killed your week
- Shockers – the left-field players who will no doubt be high on the list of trade-ins the next round and prime candidates for SC players chasing last week’s points!
The Rockers were harder to fill this week than the bog paper shelf at Woolies after a stampede of Karens spot a brand new pallet being wheeled out. Just the one SuperCoach score above 100 and David Nofoaluma only got there with a last-minute stroll over!
The Round 1 Top 5’s!
1. Api Koroisau – 97. Welcome back to Penrith, Api! 56 tackles, no misses, 8 runs, 7 busts. One linebreak, one linebreak assist. 80 minutes All from a $330k hooker. Not much more to say other than 68% of SuperCoaches who don’t have him will be fuming. Considering some of the other scores that were knocked up by hookers this round (Damien Cook’s 47 coming to mind), that’s absolute gold.
2. Shaun Johnson – 95. One of the Sharks’ best and almost dragged them across the line. Couple of moments of brilliance for two try/linebreak assists through crisp passes but his control of the game came to the fore and almost led to the win (what were you doing Connor Tracey…). Great start to the year for the dual half/five eighth.
3. Jack Wighton – 91. I think he scored 90 of these points in the first half and looked for all money like he’d be the first to raise the bat for a 100+ score this season. Then, the usual Wighton rollercoaster resumed with a kick out on the full to open the second half and he went back into his shell from there. That first half showed all the signs that owners wanted from him, taking the Titans to task with two tries, a 40/20, two linebreaks and plenty of tackle busts. New halves partner George Williams looks like he loves a good run, so Wighton won’t be as dominant a half as we saw in that first 40. But you can’t argue with that score.
4. Kalyn Ponga – 81. Watching the game live with Lakey and I was expecting more of a celebration when Ponga dotted down off a clever grubber kick from Pearce in the first half, ala Magic Round 2019. More muffled celebrations and a celebratory sip of his light beer than anything, out of relief his captains pick was going well (needs to given he’s our guru for all things C/VC!). The goalkicking duties finding their way back to Ponga this year and this firms him as a strong opening choice for fullback. He won this week comfortably for that position.
5. David Nofoaluma – 109. The lone SuperCoach centurymaker for Round 1 and he showed just why he starts this season at such a massive pricetag. The 80th minute try might have been fortuitous, but 36 hitup points, 7 busts and 4 offloads is the Nofo of 2019. The bloke’s floor is super high.
1. Latrell Mitchell – 17. Despite the pricetag, the underdone preseason, the brand new position, brand new team, and Alex Johnston lurking on the bench, 14% of SuperCoaches decided to take a punt on Latrell. And after that score, they’ll wish they hadn’t. Their worst fears were confirmed with Latrell coming off the field for a spell before the hour mark, and a very quiet showing up to that point. A forced dropout, offload and tackle bust to his name but no negative stats at least. It’s going to take him a while to warm up you’d suspect, and that price is only going one way.
2. Waqa Blake – 29. Plenty of love from the SC Talk contributors and it looked set to pay off early. Blake found the tryline wide open but just couldn’t quite crawl over (literally) in the process. In an 8-2 game, the CTW scores aren’t going to be pretty, so would hold fire on the trade button here.
3. Jarrod Croker – 24. Services weren’t really required in this game with all the damage done for the Raiders through the middle. Just the three runs for the game isn’t a complete surprise with Croker not a noted workhorse, but you would have thought that he’d have been able to stroll over against this rabble as he normally does. Priced at a 53 average but won’t clear that with a showing like this. Unless the Raiders score 10 tries and he converts all of them.
4. Brayden Wiliame – 19. 49% ownership but it’s much likelier we’re all holding him for the potential cash generation than the week-to-week points. If you played him, you’d have cursed at Corey Norman’s complete unwillingness to shift him the ball during the game. As well as his 6 runs all game (which, as Joe Fitz pointed out, is bang on Latrell’s average!). Wiliame has played just 29 NRL games across a 5-season career in the top flight. Depending on team lists, he could be a very strong contender for this year’s Simonsson Star if Aitken wins his spot back.
5. James Tedesco/Tom Trbojevic – 39/22. Most would have had at least one of these guys in their squads and that’s not really the return you want from a $700k+ player. Turbo was a Jorge Taufua fingertip away from a TS/LA with a very handy pass out wide in the second half of his game in an otherwise quiet outing, while Teddy’s 5 tackle busts and 30 hitup points meant he was also close to breaking through. Not to be, but they’re set-and-forgets for a reason.
1. Isaah Yeo – 95. Podcast regular this season Benny G had been banging on about Yeo’s wares the last few months and I should have listened to him. A rare dual 2RF/CTW that’s actually seemingly good in 2020, and he’s only priced at $400k. There was some conjecture about whether James Fisher-Harris being named on the interchange meant that his time at lock would be short-lived, but he got through the full 80 there with JFH pushing Kikau to the bench to start the game and prop Zane Tetevano going down with injury. He was one of the Panthers’ best, particularly at the death, so security there for that 80 minutes might not be an issue going forward. His tally of 7 tackle busts here actually almost eclipses his entire 2019 tally of 11, and he doubled his 2019 linebreak count with 2 here. 34 tackles and no misses is the kind of stats he’s always put up, but if that running game can keep up…look out. That 6% ownership is set to soar.
2. Emre Guler – 94. A try (his first-ever) and try assist courtesy of some woeful Titans middle defence. The 45 minutes he got seems high compared to his 2019 average of just 19 and will pique the interest of many SuperCoaches given his 220k price. But this is a stacked forward pack (or at least it will be once Bateman returns) so these stats surely won’t repeat themselves.
3. Benji Marshall – 95. Is this 2020 or 2005? The seemingly-ageless Benji turned back the clock with a vintage performance that featured a bit of everything. Dazzling running game, crafty passes, well-worked kicks, goalkicking for the first time in years and a stack of attacking stats in the washup. He had to do it all with Luke Brooks scratched in the leadup but few would have expected this. Great stuff.
4. Daniel Saifiti – 77. From just 34 minutes, featuring the opening try. Pretty even spread of minutes amongst the bench forwards, with Jayden Brailey pushing out 80 and Watson coming in at lock. PPM of 2.26!
5. Sione Katoa – 94. Got put over the line a couple of times in a relatively mixed NRL outing for Katoa but he’s the second-highest CTW scorer for the round on that effort. Last season in a very disrupted year for Skat, he followed up a 108 with an 11-point game against the mighty North Queensland Cowboys with a grand total of 9 base points. Yeah.
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONS
It’s a strange old time in the NRL, with the actual league on a week-to-week proposition at the moment, meaning that players might not ultimately be missing any game time at all.
Luke Brooks (Calf) was taken out in the leadup to Sunday’s game and is out for a month. Angus Crichton (Pneumonia) was tested for coronavirus, turned a negative result back but then still missed the game with this unusual ailment.
Dale Finucane, Justin O’Neill, Matt Ikuvalu, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Ronaldo Mulitalo (HIA) all left the field for concussion tests that they did not pass.
Zane Tetevano (Knee) was a reasonably-popular round 1 selection at 15% of teams but didn’t see out the match, succumbing to a knee problem 20 minutes in. Fellow Round 1 cheapie forward Sitili Tupouniua (Knee) failed to finish the match but got through a fair bit of work filling in for the rested Boyd Cordner. Mikaele Ravalawa (Thigh) might have strained it, opening the door for a potential Saab showing in Round 2.
Tevita “Dangerous Contact” Pangai Jr (Dangerous Contact – 4 weeks). I used the template from my Round 22 wrap last year to write this article and this exact charge was still in it. Nothing changes for TPJ, he’s now out for four rounds for another grub shot on a prone opposition player.
Elsewhere, Tariq Sims (Dangerous Contact) is facing a 1-match ban for his late shot on Josh Reynolds yesterday, and Penrith benchie Jack Hetherington (High Tackle) faces two weeks out.