After a strong start to the 2017 season, the Raiders faded miserably to finish in 10th place on the ladder, and miss the finals in a season in which most thought they would easily qualify. Leading into 2018 they have signed a bunch of fringe players and lost a bunch of fringe players, so it is hard to see them having a huge impact on the comp this year. The injury to Hodgson (likely return in June) will be a huge loss for the Raiders, as he was probably their best player last year. I am predicting another missed finals season this year, sorry Raiders fans.
Ins: Brad Abbey (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2019), Cooper Bambling (2018), Erin Clark (New Zealand Warriors, 2018), Craig Garvey (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2018), Kalani Going (2018), Charlie Gubb (New Zealand Warriors, 2019), Stefano Hala (2019), Siliva Havili (St George Illawarra Dragons, 2018), Corey Horsburgh (2018), Liam Knight (Sydney Roosters, 2019), Sebastian Kris (2018), Michael Oldfield (Penrith Panthers, 2018), Sam Williams (Wakefield Trinity, 2019)
Outs: Kurt Baptiste (Leigh Centurions), Adam Clydsdale (retired), Lachlan Croker (Manly Sea Eagles), Brent Naden (Newcastle Knights), Kato Ottio (Widnes Vikings), Clay Priest (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Zac Santo (New Zealand Warriors), Scott Sorensen (Cronulla Sharks), Dave Taylor (Toronto Wolfpack), Jordan Turner (Huddersfield Giants)
(All per Zero Tackle)
Likely 17 (Rd 1)
1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Siliva Havili 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Elliott Whitehead. Interchange: 14. Sam Williams 15. Sia Soliola 16. Luke Bateman 17. Charlie Gubb
Who’s left: Craig Garvey, Liam Knight, Michael Oldfield, Brad Abbey, Sitiveni Moceidreke, Dunamis Lui, Bill Cullen, Jack Murchie, Makahesi Makatoa, Royce Hunt.
(per Daily Telegraph)
Not a huge amount of changes from last year. In the forward, Raiders fans will be hoping that Tapine can take the leap this year and play to his full potential, whilst Gubb has come over from the Warriors and could give some strong impact off the bench. The backline is identical to the best backline from 2017, with Austin set to “run more” as stated by himself, which doesn’t bode well for the outside backs – not sure if he can run more to be honest!
- Only have to face the Broncos, Storm and Roosters once.
- They start the season against the Titans, Knights and Warriors.
- Only have four games against teams who finished in the top four in 2017.
- Only one Thursday night game.
- They have four away trips mid-season against the Broncos, Bulldogs and Sharks.
(per Fox Sports)
Their first 6 weeks are: Titans, Knights, Warriors, Manly, Bulldogs, Eels. Very nice and they could actually get off to a flyer this year – 4-2 or 5-1 could be realistic after 6 rounds.
Jordan Rapana ($630,900)
Ahh Rapana, so good when you have him and he goes off 3 weeks in a row, so bad when you have him and he scores sub-30 3 weeks in a row!! Coming off a 71 avg season in 2017 he is priced accordingly, which is big bucks to pay for a CTW. Averaged 65 in 2016 so his last 2 years have been very good and consistent, but you need to commit to him for the full season if you are going to start with him – 5 scores under 40 last year but also 5 scores over 100. You know his price is going to move around during the year, so do you start with him or do you wait until he drops – knowing that you might miss some big scores before that happens? Look at those first 6 opponents as above – pretty easy run to start the year!
Josh Papalii ($585,300)
A solid but not a sexy pick – averaged 63 in 2016 and 66 in 2017 playing basically 80 minutes every week. Interestingly his % of games over 60 increased from 45% in 2016 to 60% in 2017, which shows a lot more consistency in his game last year. Probably better options with more upside at this price or even lower, but if you are looking for a POD he has under 5% ownership.
Jarrod Croker ($490,900)
Owned by over 28% of teams and I can not fathom why. The Raiders are not going to be any better this year (on paper at least) then they were last year, where he averaged 55. His average of 72 in 2016 is the outlier, having averaged 60 and 61 in 2014 and 2015 respectively. For me 2016 is the outlier and not 2017, and as such I think he is priced right around what he will average this year – maybe $20-30k underpriced, but not $100k like I think people are hoping for. Probably won’t lose value though with the goal-kicking.
BJ Leilua ($413,800)
Only 6.2% ownership at the time of writing this, so most people are on BJ as a bust this year it would seem. 2016 average of 72 is way out of character compared to his other recent years (57 in 2014, 43 in 2015 and 47 in 2017), and as a guess I would say a 45-55 average is on the cards again this year. Not going to lose value at this price I will admit, but not going to get back to the 70+ average that some may be hoping for.
Joseph Tapine ($421,600)
2.6% ownership with huge upside – averaged only 54 minutes last year, and with Priest gone and the Raiders likely to run a utility off the bench (at least until Hodgson returns), this should increase to at least 65+ in 2018 I would hope. His PPM did drop from 1.03 to 0.88 with the increase in minutes from 2016 to 2017 (39 to 54), but coming off a 48 average I can see him easily averaging 55 this year, and maybe even 60 if his development continues as it has the last few years. Risky pick but could be a good POD.
Siliva Havili ($177,600) / Craig Garvey ($177,300)
Whoever gets the starting job just lock them in alongside Smith in your HOK position and move on – looking like Havili at this stage, with Garvey and Williams battling it out for the bench utility spot.
Liam Knight ($164,600)
Has been highly rated for a few years now, but some off-field troubles have resulted in him playing only the 1 game in 2016, and none in 2017. One to watch should injury strike and minutes come his way, but not for your Round 1 side.