SIX IN SIX – 2RF

I’ve tried to focus on some players that are in a number of SuperCoach teams, however, haven’t been analysed or written about as much on the site this pre-season.

Therefore, there’s no Jake Trbojevic, Angus Crichton and Jai Arrow on the list – you all know plenty about them by now.

So let’s take a look at some other options. These are not POD’s as such but just some different names that you may not have considered, yet.

Let’s get into it!

The Premiums

Lachlan Fitzgibbon

($576,100, 2018 stats: PPG 62, PPM 0.81, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.56)

Lachlan Fitzgibbon went through patches of supreme form last year, and then stages where he was off the boil for 3-4 weeks at a time – I suppose that is what happens when you rely on a larger portion of attacking stats than most other 2RF’s to make up your overall Supercoach output.

Let’s take a look at his BPPM (0.56) vs. that of similarly priced players to start the 2019 season:

  • Nathan Brown $582k – 0.80
  • Sam Burgess $560k – 0.70
  • Jai Arrow $598k – 0.94
  • Joseph Tapine $590k – 0.55

As you can see a lot of the similarly priced players have a higher BPPM than Fitzgibbon does and as such could come with a higher floor. Fitzy will be reliant on Ponga settling into his new 5/8th role quickly in order to get the #Pongibbon combination rolling.

Currently, he is in 10% of teams so he is not a huge POD, but one that could fire if Ponga can find his feed early on in the year.

Ryan Matterson

($521,500, 2018 stats: PPG 56, PPM 0.81, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.63)

The play here for Matterson is simple – does he get increased minutes over and over the 69 MPG that he averaged in 2018?

In 2018, there were five games in which he played less than 60 minutes (i.e. injury or return from injury affected games). When fit early on in the year he was a beast, averaging 69 PPG through the first 10 rounds, before injuring himself in Round 11. The back half of the year was marred by injury and concussion-like symptoms which resulted in an average for his last eight games of only 42 PPG.

In the third trial game just gone, Matterson played well on the right edge, scoring a try and getting through a large chunk of the game before being subbed off for Chris McQueen in the second half.

With consideration of his BPPM of 0.63 from last year, if he averaged say 75 MPG, there’s 47 PPG straight up, and then you basically need 15-18 PPG in offloads, tackle busts, line breaks/assists and tries/assists to bring him up to that 60-65 PPG average, which would then make him a viable 2RF keeper option.

He is definitely one to consider, and not just because he is a bit of a POD but because there could easily be 5-10 PPG of upside in him this year.

Jason Taumalolo

($657,400, 2018 stats: PPG 70, PPM 1.1, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.86)

Jason Taumalolo was the one gun that I did want to cover in detail here, as there has been a fair bit of chat around him during the pre-season.

Will he start slow due to the games in the heat of Queensland early on? Will the increased time playing on an edge lead to more, or less, SuperCoach points?

To answer the latter question, here’s the latest from the Week Three Trial Roundup courtesy of our Cowboys specialist, JT:

Closer to the Edge: Jason Taumalolo started on the right edge for the Cowboys for the first time since 2014, and took no time to warm into the role. He was always going to be dangerous running against smaller defenders out here and was his usual self, but importantly moved back to the middle of the field mid-game to play at lock when Gavin Cooper came onto the field. Assistant Coach Josh Hannay came out before the game and mentioned that this is likely going to be Lolo’s role to start the year, which is crucial. What Lolo may lose in base points not defending in the middle for the entire time, he should be able to make up in an increased ability to bust tackles, offload and score tries out wide. The talk out of Camp Cowboy is that this is all designed to fit McGuire in and give Lolo the same or even more minutes on the park. Absolute gold.

The Draw:

the Cowboys play four of the first five games at home, with the other game being in Brisbane – so they won’t leave QLD until Round 6. Let’s take it next level – here’s the long term forecast for those four home games, on the exact days and times:

  • Round 1 – 16 March, 6:30pm – 29 degrees, showers
  • Round 3 – 30 March, 4:30pm – 29 degrees, humid
  • Round 4 – 6 April, 4:30pm – 30 degrees, sunny
  • Round 5 – 12 April, 8:00pm – 30 degrees, sunny

That’s hot, by any standards. This could mean less minutes for Lolo early on in the season – potentially. His average last year after the first five rounds – only 51 PPG.

Food for thought.

It would be rude of me not to mention…..

Paul Gallen ($539,000, 2018 stats: PPG 58, PPM 0.98, BPPM 0.86) – don’t laugh, seriously, take a look at him. Wade Graham is gone until mid-season and Luke Lewis is retired so I think that Gallen is going to have to shoulder more of the load especially in the first half of the year as he is going to have a lot of younger players rotating through the back row beside him. Just don’t write him off, he starts the year at a much better price this year.

Shaun Lane ($508,000, 2018 stats: PPG 54, PPM 1.00, BPPM 0.73) is a player that I’ve been keen on all pre-season, despite the spectre of Manu Ma’u and Nathan Brown (and their minutes) looming large. Presuming the Eels run with a utility off the bench then he is worth consideration. However, should the Eels run Reed Mahoney as an 80-minute hooker then the upside of Lane would decrease.

Update: Ma’u is out until Round 6-8 with an MCL injury. This is huge positive news for Lane, he is really worth consideration now

The Mid-Pricers

Cam Murray

($458,900, 2018 stats: PPG 49, PPM 1.02, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.89)

Murray has been in and out of most of our teams already in 2019, but after his strong performance in the Charity Shield on the weekend he has come back into contention for a few us I’m sure.

The loss of Angus Chricton to the Roosters is what initially excited us about Murray this year, however a few flat trial performances left us wanting more, and re-assessing his spot. He played big minutes in the Charity Shield and looked very strong through the middle – if he can average around the 60-65 MPG mark this year and maintain the same strong BPPM from 2018 that should give him at least 53 PPG in solely base, with more on top of that from tackle busts, offloads etc…

The arrival of Ethan Lowe from the Cowboys was not ideal, however he rotated through the left-edge on Saturday night, working in tandem with John Sutton who looks to be the one who’s minutes might decrease in 2019. I’d like to see a bit more in the media about exactly what Murray’s role is expected to be this year, but at 24% ownership currently it’s fair to say that a lot of people are seeing significant upside in him in 2019. He may not make it to the 60-65+ keeper PPG range, but he should make some good cash and could be a soli 16th/17th man for the entire year.

David Fifita

($456,600, 2018 stats: PPG 49, PPM 1.03, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.75)

David Fifita was looking so good…and then the third trial happened, with the edge forward costing the Broncos two tries. Alex Glenn went on to score a hat-trick of tries. It all doesn’t bode well for him getting a starting spot in Round, but more on that below…

With Josh McGuire leaving the Broncos in 2019 there are a bunch of minutes up for grabs in the back row, and Fifita will be in the mix along with Glenn, Matt Gillett, Jayden Su’a and Tevita Pangai Junior (“TPJ”), and to a lesser extent Kotoni Staggs. Here’s the latest on the battle straight form JT’s week 3 trials wrap:

Trouble for Fifita: Starry-eyed pre season owners of David Fifita had to rein themselves in on Saturday night. The young gun turned in a relatively poor performance while being completely outshone by veteran Alex Glenn on the other side of the field, who was admittedly the beneficiary of some more-than-questionable passes from Kodi Nikorima to stroll over for two of his three tries. It wasn’t the mistakes Fifita made that is the worry, as he’s entitled to do as a youngster, but the fact that the hold on the starting second row spot looks very shaky with TPJ to come back into the fold shortly and Seibold declaring Glenn the winner of the starting second row spot on this performance, as well as praising Su’a’s effort on the right edge to close out the game. 

With TPJ looking like now being fit for round 1, and Glenn and Gillett slated to start on the edges, Fifita will most likely be playing off the bench. That’s 240 minutes to go around between the five of them – 48 per player if shared evenly. The three starters will probably play around 165 MPG between the three of them (55 avg.) which leaves only 37.5 MPG each for Su’a and Fifita. Fifita really needs to be playing 55+ MPG to have some upside on his starting price – which was looking likely when TPJ went down and Glenn looked like he was on the outs but is not looking as likely now.

Curtis Sironen

($398,600, 2018 stats: PPG 53, PPM 0.73, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.45)

Curtis Sironen only played the four games in 2018 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. He has, however, come roaring back to form in the Sea Eagles first two trials of 2019 after an innovative recovery regime which has him back firing and “looking to play every game this year” (his words, not mine!).

The injury risk here is very real, having also suffered a torn pec in 2017 and having only averaged a total of 12 games per season since his debut in 2012. Most pundits though have him starting in the back row come Round 1 alongside Jake Trbojevic and Joel Thompson. With Shaun Lane departed the 2RF bench depth at Manly is not huge, and with the Sea Eagles likely to carry Manase Fainu as a utility on the bench, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Sironen’s average 65+ MPG early on in the year, potentially even closer to 80 MPG.

With a 20% discount on his 2018 average due to the limited games played in 2018, he only needs to average 43 PPG+ to increase in value – the full 80 minutes at the same PPM of 0.73 from 2018 would give him an average of 58 PPG – $140k of additional value. At only 3% ownership he would be a significant, and risky, POD, however don’t rule him out without taking a detailed look first.  

But what about my Kiwi mate?

Isaiah Papali’i ($462,400, 2018 stats: PPG 49, PPM 0.75, BPPM 0.61) averaged 66 MPG in 2018, and there is the possibility that he could be set to take on more responsibility this year given the retirement of Mannering. However, with Tohu Harris and Adam Blair as the big minute forwards in the Warriors pack any real increase in minutes is arguably capped at his 2018 level. He needs to increase his PPM to make him truly relevant for SuperCoach and with a potential shift to the middle on the cards then this could very well eventuate.

Joe Stimson ($352,900, 2018 stats: PPG 38, PPM 0.72, BPPM 0.62) is unlikely to get enough minutes as it looks, based on the most recent trial, that he might be behind Kenny Bromwich. However, there are reports that he had a sore back in the lead up to the game, which could explain why he started from the bench. As per usual, TLT will be crucial.

The Cheapies

Briton Nikora

($168,100, 2018: nil)

Briton Nikora started for the Sharks in the third trial, ahead of Jayson Bukuya, Jack Williams and Scott Sorensen, and as such looks to be right in the mix for a spot in the 13, and worst case the 17, for Round 1.

The Sharks were at close to, if not at, full strength, and towelled up the Knights 30-6. With Wade Graham gone until mid-season and Luke Lewis having retired in the off-season, there are spots up for grabs here. Most pundits had Sorensen starting alongside Kurt Capewell and Gallen in the back-row, however, it would be great news for us SuperCoaches if Nikora got the nod instead.

Again, some gold here from JT from this week’s trials:

In the second row, Nikora and Capewell look likely to be the starting 11 and 12 for Round 1 with Jayson Bukuya coming off the bench (and Wade Graham still months away with his knee injury). Nikora got the points decision between the two here as he was very handy in defence and warmed into the game with some strong line running.

At bargain basement price he is worth a spot in your side come Round 1, especially as he is dual CTW/2RF. Select him in the 2RF so you can fill your CTW with all the other CTW cheapies.

Luke Garner

($265,100, 2018 stats: PPG 28, PPM 0.78, Base PPM (BPPM) 0.68)

The broken jaw suffered by Chris Lawrence has opened the door for Garner to come into the Round 1 side, and he is looking to barge through it after a strong showing in the third trial. He started in the back-row alongside Matterson and Matt Eisenhuth, and ahead of Chris McQueen and Michael Chee-Kam, however it must be noted that Elijah Taylor was a late withdrawal and is expected to be fit for Round 1. Garner may get pushed out of the starting side, however worst case it looks like he will be at least in the 17 for Round 1.

There is no opening price discount here so at that PPM he will need to play at least 51 MPG to average 40 PPG to get some upside on his starting price, which is not at basement cheapie level due to the six games he played last year. If he’s in the starting 13 come Round 1 then he’s worth a look, but it is a bit riskier if he’s coming off the bench, especially as Matterson, Taylor and Eisenhuth are all big minute players.

Lachlan Burr

($196,900, 2018: nil)

Lachlan Burr will likely be coming off the bench come Round 1, and I am projecting that he will actually be a part of the FRF rotation as opposed to the back-row rotation. He did start at lock in the third trial however that was only to cover the absence of Adam Blair, and working him through the middle, along with comments made by Kearney earlier in the pre-season, lead me to believe he will play 35-40 MPG in the front row in 2019.

I’m estimating that he will be a $300k player (32 PPG) and given that he starts priced at a 21 PPG there is about $100k of upside there. He is not going to be a huge cash cow who hits $400k+, however, I do believe he is worth a look as he could be one of the better FRF/2RF cheapies in 2019.

Josh Kerr

($168,100, 2018: nil)

Josh Kerr is potentially outside of the top 17 to start the year, however, there is an outside chance that he could snag a bench spot.

There’s no Jack de Belin (suspended indefinitely) and Lesson Ah Mau is gone this year also. Korbin Sims has arrived but there are some minutes to be had in the Dragons pack, and it looks like it is between Jacob Host and Kerr for a bench spot.

TLT will again be critical here.

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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    Stilesy
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    Gun

    Cracking read as always mate, great stuff!

    Rex Bannercurse
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    Rex Bannercurse

    Top stuff. With Drinky out I’m going to have to reassess my all star back row.
    Any love for Eisenhuth if he can get a certain starting role. He’s such a worker, really seems like the sort of player Madge would like

    Hitro Okesene
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    Hitro Okesene

    Great observations. Got me thinking about a few things for sure.

    RabbitohInTheShire
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    RabbitohInTheShire

    Any love for Tapine as a POD with 2% ownership?