We’re done with the multi-bye headaches and now on the home stretch of the NRL season. Plenty of games each round will hugely impact finals and seedings so there’s plenty left to play for and plenty of hidden gems for SuperCoaches.
That being said, this week’s Thursday game is pretty much insignificant for the SuperCoach round so you have every opportunity to make a big deal out of skipping the game to spend time with the family. Get your brownie points while you can.
This Weeks Bye Team/s
The Dolphins get their final bye and a valuable two points this week.
St. GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS vs WESTS TIGERS
Thursday, 7.50pm, WIN Stadium, Wollongong
St George-Illawarra Dragons
1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Billy Burns 12. Dan Russell 13. Jack de Belin
Bench: 14. Moses Mbye 15. Michael Molo 16. Toby Couchman 17. Jack Bird
Reserves: 18. Zane Musgrove 19. Sione Finau 20. Ryan Couchman 21. Max Feagai 22. Jaiyden Hunt
This is a huge game for both of these clubs. With just seven weeks to go, the Dragons and the Tigers are essentially both fighting for the opportunity to avoid the NRL’s least desired honours. It’s (un)officically….. SPOONBOWL 2023.
The Dragons will welcome back skipper Ben Hunt ($561.4k – HFB – BE 141) for the crucial matchup, however will be without Jayden Sullivan and Jaydn Su’A due to season ending injuries, and fullbacks Paul Turner, who was hurt in their last match. Tyrell Sloan ($527.3k – FLB/CTW – BE 26) returns at the back.
Jack Bird ($536.4k – 2RF/CTW – BE 97) returns from injury on the bench after playing in the NSW Cup last week.
1. Jahream Bula 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Starford To’a 4. Tommy Talau 5. Junior Tupou 6. Daine Laurie 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. John Bateman 13. Shawn Blore
Bench: 14. Tallyn Da Silva 15. Fonua Pole 16. Alex Seyfarth 17. Alex Twal
Reserves: 18. Aitasi James 19. Jake Simpkin 20. Will Smith 21. Asu Kepaoa 22. Justin Matamua
No major changes for the Tiges who have now been outscored 144-30 in their past three encounters. But maybe Daine Laurie ($404.2k – FLB – BE 99) is the answer. He’s back at five-eighth.
Shawn Blore ($512.7k – 2RF – BE 53) has been promoted to starting lock after a huge couple of weeks.
THE WARRIORS vs CANBERRA RAIDERS
Friday, 6.00pm, Go Media Stadium, Auckland
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris
Bench: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Mitchell Barnett 16. Tom Ale 17. Freddy Lussick
Reserves: 18. Bayley Sironen 20. Josh Curran 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Taine Tuaupiki 23. Viliami Vailea
It’s 4 vs 5 in this clash with the winner sitting pretty in the top 4 with only six rounds to play.
The Warriors got through their clash with the Sharks relatively unscathed, with only Shaun Johnson ($731.1k – HFB – BE 34) under a cloud after failing to see out the game. It was said to be a precautionary move though and he should be fine to play.
Bunty Afoa ($277.1k – FRF – BE 15) returns on the bench from his concussion layoff and is joined on the edge by Marata Niukore ($487.4k – 2RF – BE 88). Josh Curran gets omitted.
It’s the second chance for Charnze Nichol-Klokstad ($704.7k – FLB/CTW – BE 82) to exact some revenge on his former teammates. The first game between these clubs came in round 15, which saw the Dubs pump Canberra 36-14 and CNK drop 84 points. He’ll be looking for another huge game but the Raiders have allowed just 32, 54 and 4 (yes, 4 total) points to fullbacks in their past three games.
1. Sebastian Kris 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh
Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Ata Mariota
Reserves: 18. Matt Frawley 19. Nick Cotric 20. Trey Mooney 21. Hohepa Puru 22. Ethan Strange
The Raiders fight to remain in the top 4 gets boosted by the returns of Josh Papali’i ($548k – FRF – BE 85) from injury, and of Corey Horburgh ($651.8k – FRF/2RF – BE 59) who was rested after Origin. With that, the one week experiment of playing Jack Wighton ($466.6k – 5/8 – BE 68) at lock is over and he’s been named in the #6 again.
Joe Tapine ($639.1k – FRF/2RF – BE 39) has taken his game to another level of late. His recent scores of 71, 80, 94 and then last weeks captain (thanks KP!) have been very much appreciated in my side.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS vs BRISBANE BRONCOS
Friday 8:00pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Hame Sele 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray
Bench: 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Siliva Havili 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Jacob Host
Reserves: 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Tallis Duncan 20. Peter Mamouzelos 21. Davvy Moale 22. Dean Hawkins
The Bunnies need to get back in the winners circle to ensure they stay in the top eight and their quest is aided by the return of Latrell Mitchell ($813.6k – FLB – BE 139) at the back. The star fullback has been missing the entire Origin period which has seen Souths drop from 2nd on the ladder to where they currently sit in 8th place. And while Brisbane have been strong on the field, fullbacks have been having some luck against them. Going back to round 8, they allowed 80.1 PPG to the position including 70 to Averillo last week.
In addition to Trell, Souths welcome back their Origin stars in Cody Walker ($730.1k – 5/8 – BE 128), Cam Murray ($482.7k – 2RF – BE 19), Keaon Koloamatangi ($594.7k – 2RF – BE 89) and Damien Cook ($628.6k – HOK – BE 109), as well as Campbell Graham ($667.2k – CTW – BE 62) who’s back after taking time off to rehab his sternum injury and Jai Arrow ($516.3k – FRF/2RF – BE 86), Hame Sele ($468.6k – 2RF/FRF – BE 69) and Jacob Host ($372.3k – 2RF – BE 35) as well.
Can you imagine getting eight regular starters back into the side all at the one time? They’re like a whole new team.
1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Brendan Piakura 13. Patrick Carrigan
Bench: 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Corey Jensen 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Martin Taupau
Reserves: 18. Deine Mariner 19. Jock Madden 20. Xavier Willison 21. Tristan Sailor 22. Delouise Hoeter
Reece Walsh ($630.8k – FLB – BE 72) is a big inclusion for the Broncos after serving his recent suspension. He could become an option for the run home again (if he can keep his mouth shut) due to a seasonal average of 74 PPG however buyers may want to wait until the latest 22 point game is out of his rolling average. However, with games coming up against the Rabbits, Roosters, Cowboys, Eels, Raiders and Storm to end the year, plus another bye week, things may not be so rosy for the fullback.
Joining him in returning, much to many SuperCoach’s relief, is Payne Haas ($694.8k – FRF – BE 88). He’ll provide plenty of FRF firepower for the run home and the tougher draw shouldn’t affect him as much.
Pat Carrigan ($622.5k – 2RF – BE 84) is also back for the Broncos this week, and Adam Reynolds ($553.1k – HFB – BE 27), like SJ, had a precautionary early mark last weekend but is good to go in a revenge game for the ex-Souths #7.
GOLD COAST TITANS vs SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Saturday, 3.00pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Gold Coast Titans
1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Jojo Fifita 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Sam Verrills 10. Isaac Liu 11. David Fifita 12. Klese Haas 13. Erin Clark
Bench: 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Chris Randall 16. Joe Stimson 17. Jacob Alick
Reserves: 18. Iszac Fa’asumaleaui 19. Aaron Schoupp 20. Ken Maumalo 21. Kruise Leeming 22. Thomas Mikaele
The Titans task of a late season charge has just got WAY harder with Monday’s news that Tino Fa’asuamalaeui was handed a three game suspension after the game was reviewed. The Titans have a very winnable game this week but then the skipper misses games against the Cowboys and Warriors before returning for the Sharks, Panthers and Storm. Brutal.
However, the Titans will welcome the returns of AJ Brimson ($557.1k – FLB/5/8 – BE 71) and Joe Stimson ($318.7k – 2RF – BE 43), and to be completely honest, David Fifita ($838.3k – 2RF – BE 112) as well who will be much better off after a full week’s rest as opposed to the two games he played last week.
And I’m here for it. Left side second rowers have scored more against the Chooks than any other side this year, at 65.7 PPG. Fifita could have a field day.
1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sandon Smith 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Turpin 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Victor Radley 12. Nat Butcher 13. Nathan Brown
Bench: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Egan Butcher 16. Siua Wong 17. Terrell May
Reserves: 18. Corey Allan 19. Dylan Napa 20. Drew Hutchison 21. Fetalaiga Pauga 22. Fletcher Baker
Is the Roosters season over? They were already languishing outside the 8 and then rested James Tedesco ($670.7k – FLB – BE 103) after Origin III in a loss to the Storm. Now they need to win (probably) six of their last seven games to fight their way back into finals.
But Teddy is back now which moves Joey Manu ($730.7k – CTW/5/8 – BE 73) to the centres and Joesph Suaalii ($425.7k – CTW – BE 16) onto the wing.
But really, I can’t find anything to get excited about for the Roosters at the moment. The main thing to keep an eye on is Daniel Tupou ($525.7k – CTW – BE 9) breaking their all-time trying scoring record if he can cross this week.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS vs MELBOURNE STORM
Saturday, 5:30pm, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott
Bench: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker
Reserves: 18. Dylan Lucas 19. Enari Tuala 20. Brodie Jones 21. Hymel Hunt 22. Adam Clune
The Knights come into this one off the back off three straight byes so will be eager for the matchup.
The only change to the side from last weekend is that Dane Gagai ($640.4k – CTW – BE 82) is named for Enari Tuala, although this was the case last week too before Gags had to withdraw with his foot injury.
Kalyn Ponga ($852.9k – FLB/5/8 – BE -33) is firing at the moment. He’s averaged 104.7 since being overlooked for Origin and has elevated himself back into superstar territory. It’s good to have you back but the Knights star faces a stern test this weekend against Melbourne, although Joey Manu did have 79 on them in round 20.
1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 13. Josh King
Bench: 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Tariq Sims 17. Alec MacDonald
Reserves: 18. Bronson Garlick 19. Chris Lewis 20. Jayden Nikorima 21. Marion Seve 22. George Jennings
A settled side for Melbourne this week having got through the Roosters game in full health.
Many Coaches will be buying Cam Munster ($661.3k – 5/8 – BE 118) this weekend, and rightly so, but just be wary that left halves have failed to put points on the Knights this year. Newcastle are currently the hardest team to score on from the position. Not a typo. They’ve allowed just 43.5 PPG this season, including 8 points to Will Smith last week and 7 to Matt Burton in round 18. Crazy.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS vs PARRAMATTA EELS
Saturday, 7:35pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Nth Queensland Cowboys
1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Semi Valemei 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter
Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jason Taumalolo 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki
Reserves: 18. Zac Laybutt 19. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Ben Hampton 22. Mitchell Dunn
Huge top 8 implications at play here as the Cowboys and Eels are sitting on the same number of wins, only separated by points differential. The Cows are currently in 9th and hoping to crack into finals contention for the first time this season, while the Eels are sitting in 7th and could drop out if results don’t go their way this week.
They’ve named the same 17 as last week too and will continue to build chemistry as they push for finals. And the way they’re going, you want a piece of it somewhere. The trouble is picking the right player. There’s so many.
1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Bailey Simonsson 5. Sean Russell 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Brendan Hands 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. J’maine Hopgood
Bench: 14. Luca Moretti 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Andrew Davey 17. Ryan Matterson
Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster 19. Makahesi Makatoa 20. Waqa Blake 21. Ky Rodwell 22. Jack Murchie
Like Tino (above), both Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Maika Sivo ($321.9k – CTW – BE 90) were given suspensions from Sundays game. Sivo is fighting his charge at the judiciary tonight, and if unsuccessful, faces a four game ban, while RCG was given four for his knee challenge on Chris Randall. Sivo has been named on the wing for now and Ofahiki Ogden ($330.2k – FRF – BE 50) is in at prop.
PENRITH PANTHERS vs CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Sunday 2.00pm, BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo
Bench: 14. Soni Luke 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Luke Garner
Reserves: 18. Jack Cogger 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. Jaeman Salmon 21. Thomas Jenkins 22. Tyrone Peachey
There’s a couple of HUGE returns this in this game. Firstly, halfback gun Nathan Cleary ($857.4k – HFB – BE 129) has been named back in the starting side after a full start last weekend from the extended reserves. Turns out they didn’t need him anyway.
The Origin reps, being Brian To’o ($628.2k – CTW – BE 88), Stephen Crichton ($563.6k – CTW – BE 14), Isaah Yeo ($689k – 2RF – BE 100) and Liam Martin ($496.8k – 2RF – BE 27), are all back in after being rested for last weeks clash.
But the most impressive Panther in recent weeks has been Izack Tago ($723.1k – CTW – BE 15). He’s on a tear right now, averaging 96.5 over the past month, and his solo try on the wing was a thing of beauty. Congratulations if you’ve been on for the ride. However, it was pointed out (I believe in the comments of this site and I apologise that I cannot remember who to credit) the Tago’s “only” averaged 60 points with Nathan Cleary in the side this year, from eight games. One of those was a 142 explosion on Canberra, which could be argued has bumped that average up a bit. I’m not saying he’s a bad pick. Just pointing out the facts.
1. Jake Averillo 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Jeral Skelton 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 11. Jackson Topine 12. Jacob Preston 13. Corey Waddell
Bench: 14. Harrison Edwards 15. Kurtis Morrin 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Jayden Okunbor
Reserves: 19. Samuel Hughes 20. Hayze Perham 21. Chris Patolo 22. Josh Addo-Carr 23. Viliame Kikau
The second part of the “HUGE returns” comes in the way of new Bulldogs recruit Viliame Kikau ($581.7k – 2RF – BE 92). Big Billy Kiks hasn’t played since round 4 due to a pec injury suffered at training but gets a potential comeback and revenge game if called up from the #23 to take on his old side for the first time since exiting over the off-season. It’s a similar wait-and-watch to what we had with Cleary last week.
Elsewhere, Toby Sexton got hit with a Selwyn Cobbo finishing move combination and is in concussion protocols. Kyle Flanagan ($375.4k – HFB – BE 93) gets the start after taking over from Sexton last game.
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS vs MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
Sunday, 4.05pm, PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Connor Tracey 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Toby Rudolf 11. Briton Nikora 12. Jesse Colquhoun 13. Dale Finucane
Bench: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Siosifa Talakai 16. Jack Williams 17. Thomas Hazelton
Reserves: 18. Kayal Iro 19. Mawene Hiroti 20. Royce Hunt 21. Daniel Atkinson 22. Tuku Hau Tapuha
Soooooo, here’s what I said about the Sharks last week.
When it comes to the Sharks, I’m starting to feel a bit like Stilesy with his 1-17 calls. They’ve been KOTD with injuries this year and I’m just waiting for the day when I jinx them. It’s sure to happen.
Five days after this, Teig Wilton copped a bad knee injury and will be sidelined indefinitely, with further scans needed to determine the full extent of the injury. I’m good aren’t I?
Jesse Colquhoun ($216.1k – 2RF/FRF – BE 29) moves to the edge to cover Wilton, Dale Finucane ($394.1k – 2RF – BE 26) returns from suspension at lock.
But coach Fitz has had enough of the Sharks dropping out of contests against top eight sides and as such, dropped Matt Moylan and Siosifa Talakai ($631.5k – CTW – BE 82) has been relegated to the bench. They’ve been replaced by Brayden Trindall ($338.1k – HFB – BE 102) and Connor Tracey ($529.6k – CTW – BE 69) respectively.
Honestly though, I wish they’d dropped Ronaldo Mulitalo ($524.5k – CTW – BE 147) instead so I didn’t have to deal with his terrible scoring any more.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Josh Aloiai 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jake Trbojevic
Bench: 14. Dean Matterson 15. Aaron Woods 16. Sean Keppie 17. Matthew Lodge
Reserves: 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 22. Gordon Chan Kum Tong
Nothing major of note for SuperCoaches in this one, with the only changes being a recall for Sean Keppie ($403k – FRF/2RF – BE 41) and the club debut of Matt Lodge ($420.9k – FRF – BE 62).