Sydney Roosters

Nothing short of a top four or even top two finish will be the expectation for the Roosters following the addition of superstars, Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco during the offseason. Their backs in particular look extremely dangerous with representative stars such Cronk, Tedesco, Blake Fergusson, Daniel Tupou and future Origin player, Latrell Mitchell featuring. The loss of Mitchell Pearce will hurt, but Cronk is a more than handy replacement.

Team Changes

Gains: James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Reece Robinson (NSW rugby)

Losses: Kane Evans (Eels), Mitchell Pearce, Connor Watson & Aidan Guerra (Knights), Michael Gordon (Titans), Liam Knight (Raiders), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Knights), Dale Copley(Titans), Paul Carter (released)

Likely Starting 17

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Daniel Tupou
  3. Latrell Mitchell
  4. Joseph Manu
  5. Blake Ferguson
  6. Luke Keary
  7. Cooper Cronk
  8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  9. Jake Friend
  10. Dylan Napa
  11. Boyd Cordner
  12. Mitch Aubusson
  13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho
  14. Ryan Matterson
  15. Issac Liu
  16. Zane Tetevano
  17. Victor Radley

Draw Analysis

The Roosters have won of the more favourable draws going around with just four games outside of NSW all year. Their opening two months is very appealing with games against the Tigers, Bulldogs (twice), Knights, Warriors (home) and the Bunnies. It could be a smart move to load up on their outside backs at least early on.

SuperCoach

Guns

James Tedesco ($599,700, FB)

You’d be a brave coach to start the season without the Roosters star recruit. Having averaged 68. 70, 75 and 68 in the past four seasons there is plenty to be excited about given he joins, what looks on paper, a far better side. At over 40% ownership he certainly hasn’t been missed and owners will be hoping that he can return to his 2014-2016 form where he scored over 60 points in 60% of all games played, making him a legitimate captain option. 27 points from base statistics puts him in the elite from a backs perspective, but it is his average of 41 PPG from evasive and create stats that separates him from the other options. Lock him into your side with a huge amount of confidence.

Busts

Boyd Cordner ($559,700, SRF)

With an average of 70 and 63 in his two most recent season the “bust” tag may seem a tad unfair for Cordner; however, collectively he has played a total of just 28 games out of a possible 48 across the period. In addition to the durability concerns, when compared to other SRF options his ceiling is just not that high considering that he scored over 60 PPG in just 50% of his games last year.

Jake Friend ($526,300, HOK)

If there’s an injury to Cameron Smith then Friend is likely to be one of the first replacement options considered. Whilst he’s been relatively consistent over the past five seasons with averages hovering around 60, Trent Robinson seems certain to stick with the strategy of running with a utility on the bench and this limits Friend’s ceiling particularly given that he averaged 76 and 72 MPG across the past two seasons for a PMM of around 0.8. In addition to this, Friend really shone last year without Pearce including Rounds 12 and 13 (scores of 109 and 97), so whilst the loss of Pearce may suggest upside this has been nullified by the recruitment of Cronk.

Cooper Cronk ($444,700, HB)

Cronk is your classic “great at football, but not great at SuperCoach” kinda’ guy. With recent season averages of 50, 59, 49  and 58, he is not SuperCoch relevant in a position with so much depth.

Luke Keary ($521,400, 5/8)

2017 was a breakout year for Keary, coinciding with his first year at the Roosters, finishing with a season average of 59. The start to the season was particularly outstanding with a 65 PPG average in the first ten matches including scores of 126, 82 and 96 against the Titans, Souths and Eels, seeing his price surge by $100k from a starting price of $270k. However, jump 12 months forward and at $521k he is certainly no longer a cheap option and given you’d be selecting over a genuine keeper such Anthony Milford, Shaun Johnson, Cameron Munster and Cody Walker, your decision would be based on further progression that I simply cannot see translating. He’s got low ownership for a good reason.

Mitchell Aubusson ($416,400, 2RF & CTW)

An 80 minute edge forward available in the CTW position? Yes please! Unfortunately, Aubusson has trap written all over him given his abysmal historic PPM and the fact that he is the Roosters “Mr Fix It” man that sees him spend time in the backs as injury cover (hence his DPF). With average MPG of 76 and 77 in the past two seasons there is little to no reason to get excited about Aubusson’s SuperCoach prospects this season.

Sleepers

Daniel Tupou ($506,300, CTW)

A self-confessed member of the Daniel Tupou fan club, his inclusion here may be a tad biased, but it I’ll prove below that it’s justified.

Tupou broke out in SuperCoach terms last year with his season average increasing from 50 to 57. What I loved about his 2017 season was that his improvement didn’t come from increased tries (with year-on-year reduction of 5), but rather from incremental increases in both base and evade statistics. He also improved his consistently dramatically, scoring over 60 PPG in 42% of his games compared to just 24% the year below. I am certainly buoyed with optimism given that the Roosters should be very strong once again in 2018, and this may result in Tupou crossing for more than just the 11 tries. They certainly look like scoring more points this year! The addition of Cronk nullifies the loss of Pearce, whilst the continued development of Latrell Mitchell should only help Tupou’s output.

What is alarming however is that Tupou does have a history of being a slow starter, with an improvement noted over the second half of his season including last year where he averaged 66 PPG in his final six games of the season, compared to just 53 up to that point. There is also that annoying starting price, but it’s not that bad if you consider him undervalued, which I do.

With ownership at less than 2%, he is certainly a solid POD option for your CTW given the Roosters opening draw.

Latrell Mitchell ($483,100, CTW)

The cat is certainly out of the bag here given that Mitchell is owned in 22% of all SuperCoach teams. In racing terms, Mitchell is a “genuine progressive type” with season averages of 43 and 54 in his first two season; is he set to take the next step in his third full season? Having a closer look at his output I was mildly surprised with the breakdown of his output (refer below) with just 19 of his average PPG coming from base compared to that of Tupou’s 27.

From nrlsupercoachstats.com

Mitchell also goes “big” a little bit less than Tupou with scores over 60 PPG at 38% compared to Tupou’s 42%. He scored 13 tries in 2017 compared to 14 in his debut season, but played three less games so he also relies a little bit more on tries than Tupou (which is evident in his output breakdown above). So why is he so popular? Partially, I think it’s because he’s the flavour of the month on forums, blogs and podcasts, but probably the main explanation is the talent. He has been hyped as the second coming of Greg Inglis for a while and having two full seasons now under his belt the masses are tipping him to go to that next level in 2018, particularly in a stronger Roosters outfit. However, on face value I am struggling to understand the popularity of him over Tupou (but happy for this to continue…).

Sio Siua Taukiaho ($423,000, 2RF)

“TKO” looks likely to start the year on the Edge, which may see him improve on his MPG of just 44 last year. Should this be the case then he has a huge amount of upside given his 2017 PPM of 1.09 and the fact that 90% of his output was generated from base statistics. He also looks to have secured the clubs goal kicking role (a goal kicking 2RF, now where have we seen this work well before..?). So should we all run out and grab him? Well, it’s not quite that straight forward unfortunately. The Roosters have strong back-row depth with the likes of other big minute forwards such as Cordner and Aubusson, whilst Issac Liu and Ryan Matterson are likely to steal minutes from the bench.

There is probably too much risk in picking him from Round 1, but if there’s an injury to Cordner or Aubusson (or a Roosters back, refer to Aubusson analysis above) then I am all over him.

Rookies

I am honestly struggling to find a Roosters rookie worth writing about here. Zane Tetevano is basically as close as we are going to get for Round 1, but he starts the season priced at $272k and is likely to see limited minutes off the bench. Nat Butcher ($193k) has been included in the Roosters 17 for this weekend’s trial match, but that side did not include Boyd Cordner.

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WeninRome

Wenin is one of the founding fathers of the NRLSCTalk website who's Tuesday Teams Analysis has been a feature post on the site for close to a decade. He also loves a good steak bet!

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hoof hearted
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Great article .

I like the shout out for Tupou . Just made room for him . There’s definite gold in the roosters backline .

Keen on Matterson & Robinson if they get a starting spot thru the year .

Madrooster
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Madrooster

Sydney City Roosters….

Souffs
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Souffs

I reckon that if SST is the preferred goal kicker then they will definitely increase his minutes. I’m not sure how he goes at prop where he has been named in the trial though.

Madrooster
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Madrooster

As a Roosters fan it worries me we haven’t strengthened our middle. JWH best prop in the world is a long long distance memory and Napa is operating on hype and one game against Souths a few years ago. I heard someone call Friend a poor mans Cam Smith the other day. There’s poor man, then there’s poverty and then there’s Jake Friends reference to Cam Smith. Our top 15 is good and then there is a massive void for mine. I want to pick SST on back of his World Cup and possible goal kicking, but who knows how… Read more »

Hitro Okesene
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Hitro Okesene

Are you actually complaining about your team’s roster? I’ll swap you for the Warriors one if you like.

grande212
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grande212

I reckon his complaints are pretty valid. The way Robo runs his team his very unique and frustrating at times.
I bloody loved how he played 4 edge rowers last year, its a team structure I’ve thought about for a few years

Spitty
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Spitty

So many potential SC value players, but not being able to see them play a trial game is disappointing. Making it very hard for me to pick Teddy.

Dieharder
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There will be so much pressure on this playing group this year.
It will be interesting to see how far up the ladder they finish. Surely anything outside the top 4 would be considered somewhat of a failure, and really add pressure to their finals campaign.
Personally think they’re a top 2 team, but pressure is a funny thing in our game, and some players don’t handle it well over a long period.

uncledami
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uncledami

Nice article Wenin. What are your thoughts on Joesph Manu? A year older/stronger, another pre season with the top liners. It could be his time

Dieharder
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I have him in my centres Uncle, just on the point scoring potential that the Roosters possess. Hopefully some of those points fall his way.

uncledami
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uncledami

If he starts at centre for the chooks that will probably lock him in for me

Hitro Okesene
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Hitro Okesene

Can anyone else remember an NRL prop who was the team’s lead goal kicker?

snogard
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snogard

Henry Tatana

Squirtle Squad
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Squirtle Squad

Furner?

BT
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BT

Thanks Wenin. Man, it’s hard picking the right Chooks. Tupou, Mitchell and Manu have all been in and out of my side multiple times. Currently have Teddy, TKO and Manu.

Monty Burns
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Monty Burns

based on their draw, i’m comfortable going with Teddy, TKO, Manu and Mitchell