Well the bye rounds are finally behind us, and it couldn’t come a moment too soon! There was absolute carnage both on and off the field, with late omissions and poor performances from some gun players making it borderline impossible to field a (decent) team of 14-15 players, which is usually the benchmark. Huge congrats to anyone that managed to clear four figures. I saw just two such players across all 10 of my leagues, one of them being former champ Dave “VK” Von Kotze. Cream rising to the top!
Early in the weekend it was a case of whether you had Latrell Mitchell or not, and then who you would use your VC loophole on to boost his massive 110 points. Sadly, I found myself in the former camp, and now have to play catchup as he well and truly cleared his breakeven of 66 and looks primed for a massive run home with Luke Keary back steering the Roosters around. Déjà vu from last season!
The less said about other heavily-favoured captaincy choices in RTS (me) and Shaun Johnson this weekend, the better. Yeesh! At least the games they were in had more than a handful of drama to keep poor owners interested from an NRL perspective.
With all the headaches of bye planning now disappearing, we officially begin the run-home period where trades become scarce and the deadwood (of which I have plenty) needs to start getting cleared out as soon as possible. The team here will have you covered for all of those questions this week, but let’s get into the action from Round 16 first!
As always, the definitions stay the same:
- Rockers – the ‘SuperCoach-relevant’ players who killed it
- Floppers – the ‘SuperCoach-relevant’ players who killed your week
- Injuries & Suspensions – early prognosis and possible SuperCoach impact.
Dragons 14 def by Storm 16
Cameron McInnes (76) – Won the battle of the hooking Camerons on the night with an early try assist (if anyone had Jeremy Latimore as their first tryscorer, you owe McInnes a lemonade or three). Tried to find a hole through the Storm’s defence late in the game but couldn’t quite sneak through. Not helpful for the Dragons, but boosted his runs taken to 7 throughout the game which is equal to last week and equal to his highest of the season. Good to see when you mix that in with his huge tackle count stat (47 here).
Cameron Smith (71) – Despite not getting the try assist that McInnes did, his goalkicking (16 points) and forced dropout helped close the gap. He’s been at his defensive ceiling over the last couple of games, with two weeks in a row where his tackle count reached 43. It’s a tough grind on an ageing body, and so you wonder if a little spell for CS9 will happen in the near future.
Tim Lafai (17) – Not the best points-per-minute ratio given he spent 80 of them on the field here in his return. Would have only been the most desperate of POD-hunters that jumped on here given he’s shown very little the rest of the year.
Ryan Papenhuyzen (24) – Only got the 22 minutes on the park off the bench before he seemed to absolutely gas himself and trudge off. Looked dangerous but didn’t find the spark in the wet conditions. Would imagine owners are shipping him out very soon after his mammoth pay rise (over $250k!) this season.
Nuffs – Josh Kerr (25) and Sandor Earl (27) provided a warm body on the field and not much else, and will now hopefully disappear into solid nuff territory by not showing up in their respective team lists for the rest of the season. Earl though was pretty handy out there, he just happens to be behind two reasonable-quality wingers.
Kenny Bromwich (44) – He tackled a bit and ran the ball occasionally. That was really it from a guy that has shown far more willingness to do the grunt work at different stages this season with a hefty pricetag and an average of over 60 leading into this one. A late run and tackle bust helped push him into the 40s at least which is far above some of the other floppers this round.
Brodie Croft (85) was on fire on the night, helping set up a couple of the Storm’s tries and managing to mix 31 tackles in there which is huge from a young half. Been a bit of an indifferent year for him but definitely stood up in the absence of Munster. Joe Stimson (84) benefitted from the extra time on the field at starting second row (72 minutes) and helped himself to a try in the process. What could have been if he’d have been named there to start the season as we’d all hoped?
Jahrome Hughes (50) managed to squeeze into the 50s, helped along majorly by being on the end of a JBrom/NAS combination through the middle to score. Other than that, he was a little quieter than owners had hoped and only had two tackle busts running the ball back. Euan Aitken (41) didn’t get an attacking stat this week but has shown great improvement in his base stat game since being relegated to the bench during the year. 32 points in runs here. Just needed the try he’s gotten the last two games but can’t be too unhappy with that effort.
Tigers 16 def by Roosters 24
Latrell Mitchell (110) – Was on a mission this week and “Lazy” Latrell showed no signs of that nametag. Should have gotten additional points for scaring the bejesus out of Henry Perenara in his post-try celebration. Priceless. 3 linebreaks as well as a linebreak assist that led to a try, 7 tackle busts, 4 goals. Tonned up and got those stats despite just running the ball 9 times in total. Quality over quantity with this guy it seems. Just needed to get sacked from Origin to really get going.
Ryan Matterson (101) – Got off to a flyer with his ‘pinball’ effort to slip through about 5 tacklers to crash over the line and score. Had a tough night controlling the ball with 3 errors to his name, but again was staunch in defence (39 tackles, one miss) and crafty in attack (4 busts, an offload, a linebreak and linebreak assist by fulltime). Very much a season-long keeper.
Luke Keary (97) – Made his long-awaited return from nasty concussion symptoms and hit the ground running. Don’t think we’ll see a more outrageous try assist than his grenade lob over the top of everyone for Tupou to score. What a highlight. Definitely the spark the Roosters have been missing lately, with a 40/20, two try & linebreak assists, a forced dropout and a linebreak of his own adding up to a very nice night out. Interestingly still has 9k owners. If the Roosters are to fire on the run home as expected, he’s likely to be the one leading it. So maybe that 9k will inflate a little more as the weeks go by.
Esan Marsters (84) – Well and truly rewarded his very patient owners with an effort more reminiscent of his 2018 outings than 2019. Very lucky to have been given the green lights for a try early on in the second half that looked for all money like he’d just knocked it forward, but even outside of that his score would have been great. 3 offloads, 3 tackle busts, a linebreak and a linebreak assist are stats he’s come nowhere near getting in the same game all year. In fact his linebreak there was just his 3rd for the season. Off night with the boot saw him at just 2/4 but didn’t need the goalkicking points. Now the big question becomes whether he can string these games together and make himself a hold for the rest of the year.
Joseph Manu (22) – Tough break for Manu and his owners, leaving the field after copping a stray Marsters elbow to the face when Esan ‘scored’ his try. Meant he had no chance of replicating his ton from the fullback position a few weeks back, but a 136 and a 67 in his rolling average means he still rises in price.
Robbie Farah (27) – The freefall continues. Who’d have thought after he started the year with consecutive tons. In 57 minutes of footy, that’s not an outstanding return.
Nat Butcher (98) notched his 6th score of 60+ this season, and incredibly, has only started in 3 of his 12 games (correct me if I’m wrong there). His second try for the season certainly helped here but he seems a genuine workhorse on the field with a stack of runs and tackles in his first 80-minute game of the year. I’m sure I’m not alone in being stunned he’s well into the $500k price mark right now.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (79) crafted a rare try assist in his second-highest score of the season, Matt Eisenhuth (79) hasn’t quite hit the form or minutes that saw him start the year at the $505k pricetag, but scored his second try of the season and has been averaging 70 minutes a game over the last 3 weeks which is well up on the rest of his year. Corey Thompson (69) had a great night out, with virtually all his points coming from runs – 8 busts, 2 linebreaks and 31 hitup points. Another one that’s having a decent run of it.
Angus Crichton (62) seems to just perform better off the bench. Surprisingly, this is just his 4th highest score of the season (behind an 85, 80 and 63). Not the best of years for the Gus but at least anyone who held for the bye rounds got a handy total here.
David Nofoaluma (46) continues to fluctuate a fair bit in his scoring, which probably means he’ll ton up this week.
Knights 20 def by Warriors 24
Sione Matautia (97) – That’s exactly the type of bye round luck you need in this game. I’ve got a good mate who decided it was the right time to bring in the fallen gun (is that stretching it?) to his SuperCoach side and he was rewarded to a ridiculous extent with a couple of tries. One off an offload from Lachlan Fitzgibbon, busted elbow and all, and the other off a slick pass from Herman Ese’ese of all players. In a sea of 30-ish scores all year, he suddenly dots down twice running lines of two of his fellow forwards out in the centres. Just the one try his entire year before this (against the Warriors, lift your game for god’s sake) and then doubles up here. Meanwhile, some of us spend ridiculous amounts on $500k+ ‘genuine run-home guns’ who decide they’ll just fumble it around for some sub-40 mess. How good is this game?
Ken Maumalo (91) – Inexplicably denied a second-half hattrick by the Bunker that would have launched him into the 120+ territory. His first try was perhaps a little fortuitous as it came off what looked like a forward pass in the leadup, but you can forgive those sometimes (unless it’s against the Cowboys #conspiracy). Swings and roundabouts for the Warriors given their gift from the Bunker last week for Fusitua’s try, I guess. Was a beast yet again running the ball with 18 of his 21 runs over 8m. Tough run home but that base stat floor and the Warriors’ love of shifting it to his edge means I’m happy enough to keep him around for the rest of the year.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon (79) – Deserves a huge amount of credit for continuing to play on with an elbow injury that has ultimately cost him a month on the sidelines. His offload in the tackle to set up Matautia’s try was then built on by a lucky 4-pointer of his own after the halftime siren had sounded. His second try in a row. Horrible timing with injury as you’d suspect these last couple of games would give him the confidence needed to close out the year as many thought he would start it.
David Fusitua (27) – Denied a try out wide after it was found in the leadup to it that Kodi Nikorima had made the faintest of knock ons picking the ball up off his bootlaces, but other than that was again outshone by his wing counterpart Ken Maumalo in trucking the ball out of their own end. Hopefully you went the other Warriors winger for your bye coverage.
Kurt Mann (34) – A cheapie option that was moved into the somewhat unfamiliar position of 5/8 in the leadup to the game in Mitchell Pearce’s absence and had a hand in one try, but couldn’t get much else going. Kicking game was pretty good but unfortunately, that doesn’t translate to points in this game (maybe it should?). He might be the one to move when the Knights get their troops back on deck given Mason Lino played quite well.
Isaiah Papalii (36) – This guy hasn’t hit above 0.8 points per minute since Round 5 and that continues here despite yet another 80-minute stint on field. Not sure what’s going on. His runs are ineffective and he’s just making sloppy errors. A far cry from where we thought he’d be this season before his pre-season troubles hit.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (41) – 3 busts and an offload from 16 runs was all RTS had to show for his night out here. Close to getting a try assist for Fusitua’s effort in the corner before Nikorima ruined it by being found to knock on in the leadup. Outside of that, the tries were set up by Blake Green who took charge at the line and directed the Warriors around, with RTS having very little involvement in the successful sweeping runs out to Maumalo/Hiku’s edge. The only moment where he looked really dangerous was when he was chopped down just short of the line in the first half. Stumbled at the wrong time for owners hoping they could stave off having to fork out cash for the run-home Teddy/Turbo combination a while longer.
Herman Ese’ese (79) is another who really benefited from being given a starting spot in the absence of his Origin counterparts and even managed to slip a crisp ball away at the line to set up Mata’utia for his second. His 61 minutes on the park were almost 20 above his previous highest for the season.
Adam Blair (75) only gave away the one penalty during the game so well done, Adam.
Peta Hiku (72) was knocked into next week in a nasty attempted tackle on Jesse Ramien but before that had opened the scoring for the Warriors and even managed to actually pass the ball to Ken Maumalo to help set up two of his tries (only awarded TCs for those efforts – flashbacks to 2018 right there). Another Warrior heavily-involved was Blake Green (88) who helped set up 3 tries and put on 4 forced dropouts, which seemed to all come in a rush in a short space of time in the second stint.
Jazz Tevaga (50) had a wild night out. 56 minutes on the park, in which time he managed to:
- Give away 4 penalties
- Make an error
- Get HIAd
- Make 39 tackles
- Go off with an ankle injury with 15 to go
- Still make 50 SuperCoach points
Sharks 22 def by Broncos 24
Tevita Pangai (106) – Decent day out for TPJ. Pounced on a wayward ball that should have been cleaned up about 800 times by the Sharks’ backline to score, then set up the matchwinning try with a miracle flick pass to Jake Turpin late in the game. 6 offloads and 4 tackle busts show what he can do in this game but for too long, consistency (and remaining healthy) has been his issue. Good signs for owners who had brought him in for bye coverage if he can keep his minutes anywhere close to the 80 minutes he’s put out the last two weeks.
Payne Haas (96) – Crashed over the line easily to kickstart the Broncos’ comeback and was his usual busy self in the 60 minutes he was out there for. 63 points in tackles and hitups is tremendous. Has put away the offload over his last couple of games, though.
Shaun Johnson (20) – Not an afternoon that SJ or his owners will look back too fondly on. Had a bit of everything that you just don’t want, including an early shower. Just the one forced dropout and a try contribution was all he had to show for his 76 minutes out there, and that really shouldn’t have been the case given the inexperience of his opposition. Was it form or injury that led to him taking the goalkicking duties off himself? Have to imagine he’ll bounce back quickly from that one.
Matt Moylan (40) – Had a hand in three of the Sharks tries (only one worth of a Try Assist) before succumbing to a hamstring injury midway through the second half. In better signs for Moyza, he at least was only credited with the one error to his name after having about 3000 over the last few rounds. Should have just gone himself with the line in sight instead of passing the ball to eventual scorer Josh Morris.
Nuffs – Xavier Coates (31) and Herbie Farnworth (25) provided some great names for the week’s team lists on their debuts but not much in the way of SuperCoach scoring. Coates scored a beauty reeling in a bomb and almost made a repeat effort before being denied as the ball had touched Morris’s hands before he could regather it. Like Sandor Earl and Josh Kerr above, owners would probably just be hoping they disappear for a while, but the injury crisis at the Broncos means that one of them might stick around a while longer.
Shoutout to the mercurial Darius Boyd (28) who almost managed to clear 30 for what would have been just the 7th time all season. #ROBBED. 40% higher return this week than Shaun Johnson, though.
Kotoni Staggs (51) was a little quiet but won the game for the Broncos with his goalkicking – 4/4. Briton Nikora (58) and Bronson Xerri (60) turned out numbers well above recent weeks which helps slow down the price drops they were in for. Not sure that either really showed a great deal on the day, but Nikora’s 43 tackles were his highest of the season and food for thought for those thinking of moving him on.
Josh Morris (108) tonned up for the first time this year with a hattrick of tries. They would have been more useful in the hands of, say, Bronson Xerri, but well done anyway JMoz.
Injuries & Suspensions
Both Matt Lodge and Kyle Flanagan would both have been nervous men today after being involved in a bizarre knee to the face (Flanagan), sweep-the-leg (Lodge) fracas on Sunday afternoon. Both have avoided suspension, with only Flanagan charged but able to lodge an early guilty plea and is free to play next week if required.
Zane Tetevano and Josh Aloiai (both dangerous contact) were cited out of the Roosters/Tigers game. Aloiai can escape suspension with an early guilty plea, while Tetevano’s late hit on Luke Brooks saw him charged with a Grade 2 offence which, with carryover points, would see him miss two games with an early guilty plea.
Where to start.
Popular R16 buy Patrick Herbert (hamstring) was a late scratching during the week, while Anthony Milford (MCL) and Sio Siua Taukeiaho (concussion) weren’t named in their respective sides. Who needs to bye plan?
- Matt Moylan (hamstring) – Moylan limped from the field with a recurrence of his troublesome hamstring injury. Not yet sure of the extent here but can’t be too careful given his history with that injury.
- Paul Gallen (glute) – The Galbot is in need of some rear repairs after failing to finish the game, with a 1-3 week stint in recovery looming. At least Fifita’s back now.
- Gehamat Shibasaki (finger) and Sean O’Sullivan (hamstring) also couldn’t make it to the full time siren for the Broncos. Shibasaki could see 4-8 weeks on the sideline while SOS might need 2-4.
- Peta Hiku (HIA) was knocked senseless attempting a tackle on Jesse Ramien that ultimately saw him out of the defensive line and led to a Knights’ try. May be a reprieve coming for Patrick Herbert who was dropped pre-game due to a minor hamstring strain if they decide to give Hiku a break.
- Karl Lawton (shoulder) left the field early and did not look in a good way, allowing Isaac Luke to take the reins off the bench and goalkick.
- Jazz Tevaga (ankle) had a very unusual night. First, he gave away a stack of penalties (4 by the end of the game), left the field around 25 minutes in for a HIA, returned, then left the field with an ankle problem. And still managed 50 points somehow. He played through a little after the initial ankle injury but previously sat out 2 weeks last month for the same issue.
- Lachlan Fitzgibbon (elbow) has been ruled out for 4-5 weeks after having his arm trapped in a scrap for the loose ball gone wrong. Amazingly he played the game out and managed to set a try up and score one of his own after doing the damage early.
- Joseph Manu (HIA) was taken from the game after copping a stray Esan Marsters elbow to the face while Marsters scored his controversial try.
- Albert Vete (shoulder disclocation) looks set for around a month on the sidelines.
In Origin-land, Matt Gillett (groin – 1 to 3 weeks) and Nathan Cleary (ankle – 1 to 3 weeks) have been scratched from the teams for Wednesday night’s blockbuster.