Canberra Raiders

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.

Team Changes

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!

Draw Analysis

Positives

  • 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.

Negatives

  • 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.

SuperCoach Analysis

Guns

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.

Busts

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.

Sleepers

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.

Rookies

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.

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nick1085

Site co-founder and all round SC tragic, Nick no longer writes too much these days but hosts the SC Report each week and looks after most of the site administration.

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Guns-NRookies
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Guns-NRookies

Nice article Nick. The pick n stick approach to Rapana certainty is the way I’m looking now.

CoG
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CoG

Thanks Nick, covered most of it. BJ and mrs welcomed a new bub to the world the day before the trial apparently. So probs need to cut him some slack there but i doubt it’s enough for me to pick him without another trial. One of those Lime green backs should explode but i will wait.

uncledami
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uncledami

Nice one Nick. Im still undecided on Croker but with that opening draw and the disappointment of last year sourring him on he looks decent value. My boy Rapana is locked in and Whitehead is a bit of a sleeper if he starts at lock

Dieharder
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I wouldn’t trust Stuart with his forward pack in the opening rounds. Last year he swapped locks 3 times in the first 9 rounds before going back to his rd1 lock. Lack of genuine depth in the forwards might give a little more stability, but who knows. Rapana, BJ, Cotric, and Croker can all score points. I do think Rapana is to expensive to start with. Had a huge year last year, so could drop a little. The other 3 could go either way (up or down in price). I’ve got Croker in my team because I think he’s at… Read more »

hoof hearted
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Nice article

They looked disorganised without Hodgson in the trial last week but the softness of the opening rounds can’t be ignored .
Have Rapana & Whitehead locked in at the moment .

Moondog
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Moondog

I’ve got Whitehead and Rapana too at the moment. Whitehead has been in and out of my team but Rapana has been a constant.

getemonsideref
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getemonsideref

Thanks Nick looking at that predicted 17 i think Papalii will be firmly entrenched in the 60/60 club again and that will be good enough for me to start the season with him.

Hitro Okesene
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Hitro Okesene

Call me crazy, but I think BJ is due for a bounce back. Rapana looked like he was playing with niggles towards the back of last year, and he looked unfit in the world up. I’ve not seen anything yet to suggest that he’ll come through on that massive price tag. I think he’ll take a few weeks to find his rhythm again. Anyway, if the Raiders do start scoring points in the early rounds, I reckon BJ won’t be too far from the action. And at that price, I’m willing to take a punt.

BT
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BT

Cheers Nick. Rapana for me to start the year. I think that draw sells it, regardless of their hooker issues.

Tommy Smurf Sangsta
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Tommy Smurf Sangsta

— Back and forth on Rapana. That draw is so enticing, but the price is so high! — Big BJ. Who knows. That game against the Dogs showed he wasn’t really involved, but then again the Canberra halves were pretty woeful. The price and the draw is enticing, but again, those halves, no Hodgson and BJ’s mental state all have to be considered. — Whitehead. I’m interesting in him at Lock. Haven’t looked into the stats but he seems cheap for a lock that might be in for 70+ (minutes depending on the make up of the bench). — I… Read more »

Jed's Juggernaut
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Jed's Juggernaut

cant fathom why people have croker? He is up there with the all time supercoach greats in CTW and got injured in preseason last year which severely hampered his season. He was first picked in CTW for me….