SC Position: Hooker
SC Price: $361,900
Bye Round: 13
2017 Average: 41
2017 Average Minutes: 61
Stats taken from http://www.nrlsupercoachstats.
Hooker is a funny position. On the one hand, it’s the easiest position there is. Like Roger Federer, Smith is an ageless wonder and should be good for an average of over 70. So, pick Cam Smith and the year’s rookie hooker (Brailey last year, Havali/Garvey this year) and leave it.
On the other hand, Smith is expensive, salary caps are tight, and there are tempting cheaper options that can go well for periods (Andrew McCullough and Jake Friend in recent years) or 2018’s potential breakout, Damien Cook. Plus, we Supercoaches can be fussy and prone to overthinking.
After some research, I thought I’d throw Michael Lichaa a bone.
The Bulldogs rake is currently priced at an average of 41. In 2015 and 2016, he averaged approximately 53 with over 70 minutes average per game. Looking at his 2017 stats, his SC output was negatively impacted by games where he played 26 minutes, 30 minutes, 6 minutes, and two games of 8 minutes.
In games where he played over 70 minutes, his average was around 54. There is no reason to think he can’t average in that bracket again.
Lichaa is still young (24) and showed in the last couple of games last year he can attack. Obviously, this is an extremely small sample size, but the hope is that under Pay he will branch out.
- Minimum down side. Based on previous season averages (53ppg), he would rise to around 470,000k for 100k profit.
- If he gets closer to 58-60ppg, which I feel he is capable of, he could get to around 520,000-530,000 for 160k gain.
- Most “experts” predict a more attacking structure from the Dogs. The new game plans could/should suit his style.
- Lichaa recently signed for 2018 and 2019 seasons. Pay appears to like him (although this is what they all say). “Dean Pay was delighted that the club had been able to retain Lichaa: ‘Having worked with Michael at junior representative level, I know what a talented footballer he is.’”
- Aged 24. Coming into his prime.
- If Lichaa averages 55+, he would be a useful player in the 17 early on when SuperCoaches have to play Rookie-Roulette.
- He could be a dreaded mid-ranger and needlessly tie up 180k extra from Havali/Garvey who could make more profit, from less coin.
- The bench is unknown. He needs 70+ minutes to have upside.
- The opportunity cost in a tight position – Smith should be good for an average of over 70. Cook could be a good smokey, and as above, the low priced Raider option could make more money and take up less salary cap space.
- The Dogs draw isn’t overly conducive to attacking stats – In the first 8 rounds, the Dogs have Melbourne, Roosters (twice), Cowboys away, and the unpredictable Raiders (away) and Penrith (twice).
As always, the first TLT will be key, but Lichaa is a potential mid-ranger alternative in the event Farah pops up to ruin Cook, or Smith 2.0 is on the interchange to scare people from the great man, CS9.
Free from the shackles of Hasler’s game plan, Lichaa to average 56-58, for 130,000 profit.