It’s the final position preview, this time the much-maligned centre/wing.

Some might say that I’ve drawn the short straw having to focus on a position that will be dominated by rookies, but more astute observers would understand that I’m sacrificing myself for the team and have taken on one of the toughest positions for our SIX IN SIX series. I even let everyone else take all the noteworthy dual position CTW options, leaving me with the two less than optimal cheapie choices below. I’m nothing if not selfless. And modest.

But enough about me. You’ll also notice that the base price players aren’t in this list. They’ve been endlessly analysed and you don’t need another 500 words from myself to convince you pick a $168k player who is starting in round 1. Some of you will possibly have 4-7 of them in your team and really don’t need much help. Instead I’ve focused on a couple of players who could be useful in the right circumstances but carry massive degrees of risk.

In a slight aside as it is relevant to a number of players in this article, the average SuperCoach points added for the goal kicker was +11.95ppg across the NRL in 2018. If you look at it team by team though you get a different story. Brisbane and Souths were the top two with 15ppg and 14.3ppg from goal kicks respectively (keep this in mind for later). The Eels were the worst with just 7.4ppg from goal kicks (keep this in mind for later, part 2), then the Knights 7.8ppg and Tigers the only other team under 10ppg with 9.1ppg.

Here’s the breakdown of total goal kicks by try conversion (lighter shading) and penalty (darker shading) attempts for the past five years

The Premiums

Esan Marsters

$568,500, CTW, Games: 24, PPG: 60.8, MPG: 80.3, PPM: 0.76

The combination of exceptionally strong base stats for his position, excellent offloading ability plus goal kicking make Esan Marsters one of the top choices as a premium CTW in SuperCoach.

His overall base of 32.6ppg last year ranked him sixth at this position, although three players ahead of him rotated through the second row (Ryan Matterson, Michael Chee-Kam, Marata Niukore and Jack Williams).

Only Blake Ferguson and Will Hopoate were ahead of him in base stats if you only consider true outside backs, and if you add in his power base stats (offloads & tackle busts) he was only behind Matterson, Mahe Fonua and Hopoate in total base at 44.5ppg.

One of Marsters best SuperCoach weapons last year was his offload. His 6.5ppg from offloads ranked second among centres (only behind Mahe Fonua) and sixth among all NRL players. However, there could be some concern that this aspect of his game might be toned back in 2019.

New coach Michael McGuire has only once had a team average more than 10 offloads per game, and the NRL average over the last five years is 9.7. His 2014 & 2015 Souths sides were dead last in offloads per game. If you look at the last five years, McGuire ranked 29th out of 35 NRL coaches during this time period in team offloads per game. Marsters previous coach, Ivan Cleary ranked 5th over the same span. Will McGuire continue this trend with the Tigers? Prospective owners will hope not.

As his team’s first choice kicker, Marsters added 7.8ppg from goals in 2018. Unfortunately, as shown above, the Tigers were only ahead of the Eels in goals attempted (Eels had just 76 attempts at goal, Tigers at 86 were equal with the Knights for second fewest goals attempted.) Even worse, the Tigers scored fewer tries than Eels (61 vs 66).

If the Tigers are able to cross the line with McGuire playing a more open attacking style than Cleary, Marsters could easily add a few more points per game from goal kicking to his high base.

Even with a possible drop in offloads, the combination of high base and goal kicking makes him the top premium pick. He scored over 60 points in half of his games, but even more impressively he scored over 50 in three quarters of them. That’s the sort of consistency you dream of from a centre wing and usually only get from a backrower who was lucky enough to snag a CTW dual status.

Marsters is also currently only in 13% of teams, making somewhat of a POD as most coaches are looking heavily at rookies and mid-pricers, or Latrell Mitchell as their sole gun at this position.

Jamayne Isaako

$521,300, CTW|FLB, PPG: 55.7, MPG: 80.3, PPM: 0.69

With little being said about him this pre-season, Jamyne Isaako feels like a point of difference until you see he’s owned by 19% of teams.

After looking at back at his numbers for 2018 – 9th overall for CTW with 55.7ppg, equal with Ryan Matterson – that high ownership starts to make sense. Not bad for a rookie.

If you were paying attention above, you’d have remembered that the Broncos had the best per game average in SuperCoach for goal kickers in the NRL. And the man that kicked 94 of their 101 goals was Isaako at an impressive 84%. The additional 14.2ppg more than makes up for his lower base stats (28 per game) from playing on the wing, giving him a total of 42 per game without any other attacking stats. Only Gareth Widdop averaged more SuperCoach points from kicking (14.8ppg) in 2018.

Isaako also crashed over for 11 tries in 2018. If he ends up playing in the #1 jersey at any point during the season and increases his involvement in attack then he could smash through the 60ppg barrier – he averaged 60.7ppg in three games at fullback last season. And if you saw his first touch at fullback with the ball in their trial against the Gold Coast last weekend, you’ll be hoping to see plenty more of that this season.

He’s also available at that fullback as well as centre, so if you do end up with a dual cheapie like Corey Allan in your fullback spot you can rotate Isaako down if your top #1 is out with an injury.

Latrell Mitchell

$595,000, CTW, Games: 22, PPG: 63.6, MPG: 77.4, PPM: 0.82

Probably slightly overpriced compared to the other premium choices on this list, but given his ability cross the line and that he’s kicking goals for one of the best attacking teams in the competition he’s well worth his $595k price tag.

Like Isaako his base isn’t that impressive (just 30.5 per game), but when you add in his kicking you end up with nearly 44 points a game before other attacking stats are factored in. His best weapon was his tackle busts, where on a per game basis, he ranked second among centres and sixth overall in the NRL at 8.7ppg.

When you sprinkle in those tries and line breaks, it’s not hard to see why nearly half his scores were over 60 points (45%). Unfortunately, he does have the tendency to put in some real stinkers, with a quarter of his games sitting in the 20-39 point range. It’s a price most would be willing to pay if the huge games become more frequent.

Mitchell is the only full price CTW over 20% ownership – currently at 35% – meaning you’re running with the rest of the pack. If he continues his 2018 form into 2019 then it could be worth it, but there’s always a concern about picking someone after a career year. However, in Latrell’s case being only 21, it could be the case of a SuperCoach gun just starting to take off.

It’s probably best to avoid…

Blake Ferguson ($611,700, CTW, Games: 24, PPG: 65.4, MPG: 80.0, PPM: 0.82) starts 2019 overpriced and unlikely to repeat his 2018. He did see an incredible amount of the ball in 2018 as teams kicked away from James Tedesco, averaging nearly 20 runs a game, topping the NRL. His overall workload was high too, averaging the most one pass runs in the NRL at nearly 14 a game – to put that in perspective the next nearest was David Klemmer at 12 a game. His 2017 numbers were still high for a winger but substantially lower – 15.5 runs and 10.7 one pass runs.

Can you trust post Contract Year Blake? Below are some scatter charts illustrating how of an outlier Fergo’s 2018 was compared to 2017 (different colours represent different positions).

If you’re going to pay top dollar for a CTW then I’d want them to be kicking goals and would pick one of the premium choices listed above. As noted earlier, the Eels scored the fewest amount of tries which means his attacking stats will probably take a hit as well. NRL Other SuperCoaches seem to be thinking the same thing, with just 4.8% ownership for 2018’s top scoring (returning) centre.

He’s worth a revisit closer to $500k.

The Mid Rangers

Clint Gutherson

$439,300, CTW|FLB, Games: 19, PPG: 46.9, MPG: 80.0, PPM: 0.59

With the Eels #1 jersey secured for the start of the season, Clint Gutherson becomes very interesting at 439k playing in the position where he was spectacular in 2017 (a nice 69.1ppg in 9 games at the back). Having a full season back from a torn ACL is also a positive sign, and his dangerous support play was wasted in the centres. With some additions to beef up the Eels pack he could have a resurgence that returns him to keeper status.

The difference between 2017 and 2018 was attacking stats – 15 combined line breaks and line break assists from 9 games in 2017 compared to just seven from 11 games in 2018. In his defense, it’s not like the Eels were an attacking juggernaut and it’s hard to score tries when you’re standing in your own in goal watching your opponent take a conversion.

Those paying close attention will note that Gutherson isn’t the first choice kicker for the Eels and somewhat contradicts the points I’d made previously for Isaako and Mitchell. That’s correct, but even during his peak in 2017, the goal kicking was only adding 8ppg when he played fullback which would place his average still above 60. The kicking was just the icing on the cake.

The other issue is that the Eels had the second fewest goal attempts in the NRL (resulting in+7.42ppg, about half of the Broncos) meaning having the kicking duties isn’t as important for Gutherson as it would be for someone like Isaako or Mitchell.

If Gutherson can get anywhere near back to his devastating 2017 form and a 60 average, he’d return to keeper status and would be about $130k under-priced. At the time of writing, he’s currently owned by 10.4% of coaches, representing a decent POD if everything clicks and is unlikely to factor in Origin making him available for the first bye round.

Jesse Ramien

$492,800, CTW, Games: 18, PPG: 52.7, MPG: 76.7, PPM: 0.69

After an impressive 2018 campaign with the Sharks, Ramien has taken his game to Newcastle. He ranked 15th last season for all CTW, averaging nearly 53 a game before his season ended abruptly through injury.

The fascinating thing for me about Ramien is that when you look through his stats, nothing really stands out. His base isn’t high at 29ppg, and doesn’t rank highly for other important centre stats either like tackle busts, offloads, tries or line breaks. He sits outside the top 20 for almost all of these stats in his position.

Jack of all trades or master of none? Either way his scoring is quite consistent and has a pretty high floor. During his strong in the middle of last season, Ramien only had two games under 40, one of which was a 39. This also included seven games over 50, and 39% of his games were 60 or higher.

Currently owned by 8.9% of coaches and represents an interesting POD choice if the Knights fire early, but is probably too pricey for most to take a serious look. If his price was closer to the $422,600 he finished 2018 with that number would certainly be higher. At less than $30k cheaper than someone like Isaako it’s a tougher choice.

Kerrod Holland

$428,600, CTW|HOK, Games: 20, PPG: 45.8, MPG: 53.7, PPM: 0.86

The addition of the hooking position to his SuperCoach resume has resulted in Kerrod Holland being considered where he would normally be ignored. An awkwardly priced $400k CTW on a bad team after a strong finish to the prior season. Like the players above him on this list, there is an advantage running with Holland at backup hooker as he kicks goals at a decent clip. And with Rhyse Martin on the outer at the Bulldogs he’s likely to be kicking goals for a while.

His numbers for the season look pretty pedestrian but the 10 games off the bench as a utility dragged his score down. His 10 games at centre yielded an eye watering average of 71.8 which is appears completely unsustainable from someone who has never averaged 50 across a full season.

Or is it? You could possibly talk yourself into it continuing. In just three of those 10 games did he score tries, and produced a score of 112 in Round 24 without a single try (he did kick seven goals though). Either side of that was an 87 and a 75 without tries or goals. He was also one of the better offloading centres, with 24 offloads during this stretch.

Ultimately with the Dogs looking like an also ran before the season has even begun (sorry Joe), the only reason to consider him is his availability at hooker where anything below $500k is practically a wasteland and that is that he’s in just 4.9% of teams. If you’re looking at him as a CTW POD, there’s likely to be better and cheaper choices.

Nick Cotric

$451,100, CTW|FLB, Games 24, PPG: 48.2, MPG: 80.0, PPM: 0.60

Nick Cotric had a red hot run of form in the middle of 2018, peaking the week before I traded him in. In theory, it sounds like he could be a great choice if named in the #1, but his performances at fullback in 2018 were worse than his starts on the wing.

In the five games he played at fullback in 2018, Cotric only averaged 43. In the remaining 18 games on the wing he averaged 49.6. Why the big discrepancy? Attacking stats mainly. In those five games, Cotric scored zero tries and had just two line breaks. In the 18 games on the wing, he scored 12 tries and broke the line 20 times.

Luckily it looks like Cotric will be lining up for Round 1 on the wing outside Jarrod Croker and he should continue to be a tackle-busting beast – 10.8ppg from tackle busts which puts him first among centres and equal second overall with Kalyn Ponga, only trailing the TB King James Tedesco.

He’s owned by 7.4% of coaches, and another who is available also at fullback giving you some extra flexibility if injuries hit. If he can get back to his mid-season form and pick up a few early season pies he could be a shrewd choice at only $450k (he peaked at $578k in 2018), and he’ll cover the first bye round.

The 2019 Mega Guide has just been updated for the third and final time. We’ve made over 30 player changes, updated all casual lists and likely 17’s. It’s the bible that you need to make sure that you’re prepared for the upcoming SuperCoach season.
You can get your copy now via this link.

The Cheapies

Jordan Kahu

$278,700, CTW, Games: 14, PPG: 29.8, MPG: 73.7, PPM: 0.40

A starting fullback for under $300k and available in the centres is pretty tempting, especially with it looking like he’ll be kicking goals ahead of Kyle Feldt. Kahu kicked just seven of ten attempts last year for the Broncos, but if you go back at his 2017 season, he kicked 69/87 (80%) for 11ppg, when his average was 39.4.

Could he get up to 40ppg for the Cowboys? It looks possible as he averaged that 39 on the wing, and he’s priced at a 29 average. Pushing that up to 40 could see his price over $370k. But is that enough of a rise to start with him?

Kahu does represent a safer option than the crop of rookies in terms of job security than some of the base price players. If he does get back to his 2017 scoring he will make $100k, but that won’t be until Round 4-5 at the earliest and again that $100k is wasted on the bench if you’re not playing him in your 17. If you go with a rookie price CTW you unlock that $100k from the start and could possibly upgrade another mid-ranger to keeper or gun.

Additionally, he’s only available at CTW which further limits his appeal, although he will play Round 12. I understand why he’s a part of some teams, but his ownership of 17.6% seems incredibly high even with the kicking duties. He just might be a placeholder in a lot of teams until the rookies are revealed on Tuesday.

Tyrell Fuimaono

$231,600, CTW|2RF, Games: 4, PPG: 27.5, MPG: 49.8, PPM: 0.44

This one all depends on how the Panthers line up next week and how big of an appetite for risk you have. Right now it doesn’t look likely that Fuimaono will get Villiame Kikau’s starting spot with the walking suspension Jack Hetherington given first crack at it during the trials.

In the unlikely event he is named to start in week one then he might be worth a look, but the spectre of Kikau returning early (currently targeting round 4) or Cleary changing his line-up weighs heavily on him. There’s also no guarantee he even nabs a bench spot for Round 1. Phil Gould has indicated the club sees him more as a backrower/centre rather than the reverse.

Again, one for the risk takers only as you’d be looking at the one or two price rises at best and a probably auto emergency issue if he is named. I told you it was slim pickings here.

Jaemon Salmon

$210,600, 5/8|CTW. Games: 5, PPG: 25.0, MPG: 54.0, PPM: 0.46

Jaemon Salmon would have been in almost every SuperCoach team if it wasn’t for Dylan Brown owning the Eels #6 jersey. He should still be on your watch list if Brown underperforms or the Eels struggle again early.

His overall 2018 average was brought down by two single figure games off the interchange bench. From rounds 22-24 when starting at 5/8, Salmon averaged 37 whilst playing the full 80 minutes. He’s priced at about a 22ppg average, if he ends up starting there’s some cash to be made and could become available right when we need to cash someone out.

The other option is to use Bear’s non-playing reserve strategy (if you’re not listening to the @NRLSC_Champions Podcast you’re missing some excellent and unique SuperCoach analysis) and hope that Salmon gets a gig at some point. You’ll have a vice captain loop option from the outset, and you can pick both him and Brown if you want to hedge your bets.

That’s it for the 2019 CTW preview!

I’ll be writing the weekly Buys Sell Hold article for the website and if you want to catch me on Twitter then go do so via my handle @carlosthedwarf_

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OnTheBus (@samardo)
1 year ago

Well Done , not bad for a short straw .
Isaako is one who could get better

Canary Yellow
Canary Yellow (@canary-yellow)
1 year ago

CTWs..? Pfft, who needs them.

In all seriousness though, great write up!

TurkeySnow (@turkeysnow)
1 year ago

Great write up. I am willing to Run the risk of POD Holland.

WeninRome (@weninrome)
1 year ago

Huge effort, Carlos! Great read.

AJW (@ajw)
1 year ago

Very sensible analysis Carlos. An interesting read indeed. Was actually pinning my hopes on Ramien in CTW, but will have to get him in at a later date, due to reshuffling to accomodate Damien Cook. Thanks for all your hard work! The final countdown to TLT! See yah! 🙂

TurkeySnow (@turkeysnow)
1 year ago

Regarding Isakoo at flb, if for any reason Boyd goes down long term, I will move heaven and earth to get Isakoo in.

LOTE (@oscar-stgeorge)
Reply to  TurkeySnow
1 year ago

Can’t wait to buy Isaako in 2020

Stilesy (@stilesy)
Reply to  carlosthedwarf
1 year ago

Hopefully in round 13

Bethany_B (@bethany_b)
1 year ago

No mention of Ben Hampton?

Pablo Bill
Pablo Bill (@pdbigfish)
1 year ago

Great job as always, interesting thoughts on Fui, thought he was busy at the bunnies, any thoughts all or interest in last years most popular player bust with the double A in Taane, heard he was ‘training the house down’

perrin_07 (@perrin_07)
1 year ago

Great read and analysis

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