The first round of NRL behind closed doors is now complete, and no matter your SuperCoach score for the week, it just feels good to have something to take your mind off the world around us for a moment or two. Long may it continue, if it can be done safely of course.
The quality of the weekend’s footy wasn’t great for the most part, but while the celebrations and noise were muted and errors were plentiful, the SuperCoach train rolls on for at least another week. One thing’s for sure – as soon as lockout hit today, that rage trade button copped an absolute battering. I’ve taken the extra step of adding some Honorable Mentions into this week’s categories, just because there is not enough room to highlight the true extent of the Floppers across Round 2. Well done if you managed to miss all of those!
- 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!
Also take a listen to Wenin and my debut Sunday wrap podcast below where we sum up a lot of the below and also open the door for any small business in need of a helping hand with free advertising over these trying times. Every little bit counts and we’d like to do whatever we can to help out.
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The Round 2 Top 5s!
1. Jason Taumalolo (99) – Lolo went full beast mode this week, linking with Molo for a terrific try and amassing 345 metres from 25 runs including 6 tackle busts. For anyone else, that’s a career day out. For Lolo, it’s just what we’ve come to expect of him. Minutes of 73 in a normalised rotation with no injuries for the game is another great sign.
2. Nathan Cleary (100) – Cleary started the game on fire with a try 15 minutes in and went on to notch up a heap of other attacking stats. 6 goals won’t happen every week but being the sharpshooter he is, it meant another 24 points to the kitty. With a 73 last week, those that started with him are sitting very comfortably for now.
3. Kotoni Staggs (121) – 13% of SuperCoaches backed Staggs in for a big start to the year and they were rewarded with a hat-trick of tries here. While the base wasn’t huge, with just 9 runs for the game, they were just about all effective. 7 busts, two linebreaks and an offload. With Darius on the other side of the field being a reverse-magnet for the ball, Staggs is sure to be the focal point of the Donkeys attack for the weeks to come. Titans this week as well…
4. Mitchell Moses (98) – His opening try against the hapless Titans harked back to the opening of BankWetht Thtadium last season against the Tigers. What a turn of foot. This game for the most part turned into a sloppy grind as neither side could hold the ball, but Moses stood above with a very handy performance to bounce back after a quiet last week. It was against the Titans but as a confidence player, he needs to be putting these teams to the sword. Score inflated by 36 points in goals but like Cleary, he just doesn’t miss them.
5. Josh Mansour (79) – While he might not have notched the score of some of those in the Honourables list below, he did this without scoring a try, as a $416k wing option. That is Mansour of old and he’s now set for a very handy price jump after his zero-try 65 from last week. Imagine what he’ll clear when he finally does cross the stripe? 40 points alone in tackles and hitups is great to see, but his 5 tackle busts and couple of offloads (1 effective) that are what makes him a buy.
Coen Hess (77), Luciano Leilua (80), Kalyn Ponga (82), Thomas Flegler (74), James Tedesco (85), Ryan Matterson (77), Mitchell Pearce (106), Alex Twal (72), David Klemmer (72).
1. BJ Leilua (30) – 10% of SuperCoaches bought into the pre-season hype, which in fairness was one brilliant debut game in Tigers colours. Last week the signs were there with a relatively quiet, but relatively mistake-free 30. This week, the BJ of old was back and boy it was a sight to watch. 5 missed tackles, including an effort on the line that Bryce Cartwright would have been proud of to let Connor Watson stroll past, and 3 errors. The defensive combination with his brother on that right edge was singled out by Michael McGuire in the post-match presser. While owners will be holding onto hope those attacking stats, like his 3 offloads and couple of busts, continue on, it might have to be
in reserve grade as a custom player on Rugby League Live 2 on the PS2. Yikes.
2. Damien Cook (35) – Before this week, the last sub-50 score Cook notched up was in that weird post-bye game last year against Newcastle in Round 13 where he played 68 minutes and looked wrapped in cotton wool. Before that? Round 23, 2018 against this same outfit at the same ground. The Broncos did well to keep him grounded but with only one (!) run for the game, did they really have to do much? No idea what the story is there but the Bunnies needed some spark and the one run is a big surprise. Without the calibre of forwards previously at his disposal to run onto his crisp passing game close to the line, maybe those attacking stats are drying up. Whatever the case, with a massive breakeven this week and the likes of Koroisau doing so well, this week will be a big cash grab opportunity for owners. But you just know he’s going to ton up this weekend now…
3. Shaun Johnson (28) – Got close to an attacking stat or two but the Storm defensive line just managed to shut down everything he tried. It’s very 2019 to see him already bouncing from the Rockers to the Floppers in the space of a week, but we all knew that about SJ. An afternoon game against the Knights scheduled this week, and that’s sure to suit the style of game SJ possesses a lot more than this did.
4. Jack Williams (26) – 47 minutes in total and not a hell of a lot of work done in that time. He mightn’t have even gotten back onto the field after the 32nd minute substitution if it wasn’t for Wade Graham limping off with an ankle injury in the 67th. That might be curtains for Williams owners who had hoped a move to starting lock would open up his PPM game and see him make some early price rises with bigger minutes. Not to be. A couple of errors and a couple of missed tackles at crucial times is a big blow to his longevity here. Time to move on.
5. Waqa Blake (19) – When your team puts on 46 points and your strike centre finishes in the teens, there are some problem signs there. It was a difficult game for the backline to get into I suppose, with plenty of mistakes through the middle and the Eels spending so much time parked on the Titans’ goal line shuffling the ball from side-to-side trying to find a way over. But stats of 6 tackles, 5 missed and just 8 runs for 1 bust are not ideal for Blake owners. Blake to Mansauce to be a hugely popular move for the 6% of SuperCoaches who own Waqa here.
James Fisher-Harris (41), Cameron Munster (39), Bryce Cartwright (31), Jesse Arthars (14), Latrell Mitchell (23), Joseph Manu (27), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (38), Braidon Burns (14)
1. Dylan Brown (123) – The game completely opened up late for Brown who scored twice, but leading up to that he also commanded a fair bit of ball on that left edge, putting in a nice grubber for a forced dropout and looking dangerous with the ball in hand. Points will be hard to come by in games that don’t involve the Titans and in a side with Moses in it week-to-week, so can’t see this effort getting repeated all too often this season.
2. Kane Evans (91) – Scored one of the softer NRL tries out of the 5 in total he’s ever scored, strolling through some tired Titans defence late in the game. Why couldn’t he have done that a few years ago when everyone had him as that early-season cheapie?
3. Tui Fuimaono (75) – 2018: PPM of 0.44. 2019: PPM of 0.45. Round 2, 2020: PPM of 1.0. Where the hell did that come from? Given the starting second row spot with Tariq Sims’ suspension, Fui defied his past history in this game, as well as the 26 he notched last week to have a day out. A linebreak and 5 tackle busts. What a reward for those that took a punt on the $201k dual 2RF/CTW! Just where he sits in the rotation going forward is the question, and he’s odds-on to drop back to those ordinary scores of the past, but at least he’s got a couple of weeks of price rises to come as this 75 stays around in his rolling average.
4. Tui Kamikamica (74) – Kami has held onto the starting spot two weeks in a row now with NAS being eased off the bench on return from injury, and has started the season beautifully. A try-assisted 74 to go along with a 52 last week will see his price shoot into the $350k-$400k mark soon enough and offer a very handy upgrade option in the weeks to come. The workload is pretty good as well, despite base being a little down in this game with all the errors and penalties involved. But Tui is doing his thing and that starting spot looks like his for the time being.
5. Jayden Brailey (72) – Helped himself to two try assists against a Tigers defence that looked more interested in putting elbows into the backs of heads than wrapping arms and putting shoulders forward in a defensive effort to prevent an opposition ball-carrier from making additional territory post-contact. Or whatever their job description is.
HMs: Lachlan Fitzgibbon (63) – Lakey’s Boy!
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONS
Brodie Croft (AC – 1 week) got some good news with scans showing his shoulder complaint wasn’t as serious as first thought.
Elsewhere, the Tigers will welcome back Moses Mbye from injury but will need to monitor Thomas Mikaele (Medial ligament) and Luke Garner (Ribs) which could open up minutes for popular cheapie Zane Musgrove.
The Titans couldn’t take a trick on the weekend, first losing Dale Copley (Ribs), then Brian Kelly (HIA – but returned), then Tyrone Roberts (Ankle) as well as having to field an already-handicapped side with the inclusion of Bryce Cartwright in the second row. In the same game, Reed Mahoney (Ankle) left the field in the second half and early scans were not looking ideal.
For the Raiders, Siliva Havili picked up a hamstring strain, which could open up extra minutes for popular cheapie Emre Guler.
Caleb Aekins could be forced from the fullback spot as early as this week with Dylan Edwards likely to return. Cam McInnes is another who looks like beating the clock and was thought to be almost ready to go in Round 2. Will have big interest over the coming weeks to see where his minutes are at given the handy dual positioning at HOK/2RF.
The cavalry is also coming for the Sharks, with Bronson Xerri, Josh Dugan and the scratched Briton Nikora looking like being named this week. Along with Wade Graham who came from the field late with an ankle complaint. Where that leaves the likes of fullback Will Kennedy in the rotation will remain to be seen.
No suspensions coming out of the weekends’ games up until Sunday. What a miracle.
UPDATE: Within seconds of posting this, massive news with Kalyn Ponga (Dangerous Contact) facing a 1-2 week stint on the sidelines for what looked to be a relatively innocuous shoulder charge on Corey Thompson late in the game. One with an early guilty plea.
Nathan Brown (Dangerous Contact – 2 matches) and Moeaki Fotuaika (Dangerous Contact – 1 match) are also facing time on the sidelines from yesterday’s grinding affair on the Coast. Brown may have been needed to step up to hooking duties in the absence of Reed Mahoney, so will be very interesting to see what their plans are now.