Joseph Manu (CTW, $410.5k) is only 22 years old, but he now boasts as many premierships as kicks to the head from Cameron Munster. He is also one of the most exciting up-and-coming centres in the NRL. But does he merit a spot in your Round 1 side?
2018: Games played (23), average (44), minutes per game (78), PPM (0.56)
2017: Games played (16), average (41), minutes per game (80), PPM (0.51)
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The New Zealand born Manu debuted for the Roosters in 2016, scoring 34 SuperCoach points on the wing against the Warriors in round 15. Manu would feature another two times for the Roosters that season for a solid but unspectacular average of 33PPG. He did, however, star in the Holden Cup final against the Panthers, scoring two tries in the comeback victory and was named on the wing in the 2016 NYC Team of the Year. Manu featured in top grade more frequently in 2017, playing 16 games split between centres and the wing while raising his average to 41PPG and scoring five tries along the way.
2018 saw Manu finally cement a full-time role in the premiership-winning Roosters outfit. He would finish with an average of 44PPG, which is only a marginal improvement on 2017 and on paper does not scream ‘buy me’. However, his SuperCoach scoring was a tale of two seasons. Manu switched between both centre spots and the wing in the opening 13 rounds, which saw him average an underwhelming 32PPG (including an injury-affected 16 in round 5) with but two tries to his name. From round 14, he became permanently entrenched in the #4 jersey inside Blake Ferguson, which saw him average 58.8PPG (and notch four tries) for the rest of the season with a remarkable 62PPG across the final two months.
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Below is what we wrote about Manu in this year’s Mega Guide to provide you with a flavour of the content included:
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So, which Manu will we get this season? First starters, he should be in the #4 jersey from the outset which is a positive for his SuperCoach output. Blake Ferguson has signed with the Eels, however, Manu should now be playing inside noted finisher Brett Morris, who is more than capable of capitalising on any attacking opportunities that Manu creates with his elusiveness and ability to draw in opposition defenders. Additionally, unlike Ferguson who is a freak workhorse for a winger and would actively seek hit-ups, Morris will be more averse to shouldering big loads out of his own half. Given opposition tendencies to keep their kicks away from Tedesco, this could see Manu increase his hit-ups for a more stable base without having Ferguson to compete with. Everything about these scenarios points to Manu being able to raise his average into the 50s (or even higher depending on his natural progression as a young player), which will provide valuable points in the early rounds along with a decent price increase. Catfish has gone so far as to label him the Smokey of 2019 in his Fearless Predictions and even 2018 winner Guy Feeney has tagged him as one to watch.
The caveat would be that this selection is based purely off the potential of his fire finish to last season. With so many cheapies and CTW eligible edge backrowers, it might be prudent to keep Manu at the top of your watchlist and jump on before round 3 if he bursts out of the gates. However, if you want to take a punt on potential there are far worse options than Joseph Manu who offers 55PPG+ upside at a 44PPG price.
Will he come into your considerations?
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