Cameron Murray ($458,900, 2RF) an Australian Schoolboy and Junior Kangaroo, who has captained both the under 20’s and 18’s NSW teams is in for a big 2019 season. Recently re-signing with the South Sydney Rabbitohs until the end of 2021, Murray has been earmarked as a future leader of the team.
2018 – Games: 22, Average: 49, MPG: 48
2017 – Games: 9, Average: 44, MPG: 51
Mega Guide Rating – A
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Heavily talked up during the 2018 preseason to claim the number 13 position from Sam Burgess, only to be hampered by a leg injury which saw him only start in the 13 from Rounds 2, 3, 4 and 5 before moving back to the bench.
All that may change in 2019.
The loss of star second row forward Angus Crichton, another year of experience in first grade, the arrival of new head coach Wayne Bennett (“who loves a ball playing lock” as well as FLB, more on that later) and a full pre season.
First I’ll explain why I feel Murray is a must have at his price leading into the 2019 season.
- In 2018 from the 7 games Murray started at 13 he scored a 62.7ppg average from 58mpg. However, if you take out the one game that skews his average (thanks to the Aesthetics crew), a 40ppg game in 49mpg against the Broncos (his only score under 60 at 13 in 2018), his average would actually sit around 67ppgfrom 60min a game in the number 13.
- In the 3 games he started at 13 in 2017 he averaged 67ppg a game from an average of 76mpg. Showing he can still score great given extra minutes.
- NRL site shows that Murray has a 92% tackle rate and makes an average 9.2 metres per carry.
- South Sydney have lost a strong ball running edge back rower in Angus Crichton and while Murray could fill that void, I see him as more of a defensive middle man, and feel Sam Burgess will move to an edge for 2019. Also Bennett has used Burgess on an edge previously for England.
Now just some other information I found while looking into middle forwards under Bennett. Bennett “loves a ball playing lock”, I feel McGuire’s transition to the 13 wasn’t as effective as planned. Hence calls for Bird to play 13 or even the initial signing of Bird.
- JMcGuire played 13 in 2018 and 2017 averaging 66mpg and 59mpg respectively. McGuire has played a number of games at 9 when the position was needed to be filled and for Samoa, however his ball playing skills needed more development then what I feel Bennett was after when he moved Josh from Prop to Lock. While playing lock McGuire accrued 1 last touch, 15 effective offloads, 1 in-effective offload, 1 Try assist, 1 line break assist and 1 line break.
- Corey Parker played 13 for the Broncos before retiring in 2016. Averaged 61, 63 and 65 mpg, 2016, 2015 and 2014. During 2016 and 2015 (When Bennett coached Broncos after returning from Knights) Parker collected 53 effective offloads, 17 in-effective offloads, 6 line break assists, 12 line breaks and 1 try assist.
- That is nearly 4 times the amount of effective offloads and in-effective offloads.
- In Murray’s 7 games at 13 in 2018 he scored 7 effective offloads, 1 in-effective offload and 2 line breaks.
So why is he a must have?
If Murray can lock down that lock position and Sam moves to an edge for 2019, I can see Murray playing at least 60min in the middle. Bennett has shown for at least the past four years at the Broncos that he will play his lock for a minimum of 60 minutes a game. In Murray’s favour he is smaller than Burgess (116kg), McGuire (104kg) and Parker (102kg), weighing 90kg. Now this may mean he has less impact with his runs but I see it as allowing him more game time, he has already shown he can play 80min when required and I feel throughout the season this 60min should increase.
So what you get is pretty much a 65ppg average player with upside at $450k, who you can lock in for the entire year. Start to finish, he is highly unlikely to be called up for State of Origin in 2019, plays rd 12 and will consistently score you 60-65 pts a game if given the minutes. Anything above 60 minutes is an added bonus.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope this year I am correct about Cameron Murray.
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