SuperCoach 2023 – The Backs

The work never stops at NRL SuperCoach Talk. As this season officially finishes, we simply turn our sights onto the 2023 season. Alex, in particular, has done the hard yards in collaborating an in-depth list of potential 2023 starting players and better yet, he’s sharing it with the world. Over the next few weeks, we will be putting out this three part series of the “ones to watch”, as co-founder Nick would say.

In this final part, Alex looks into the backs: the Centres, Wings and Fullbacks.

You can find parts 1 and 2 here:
https://www.nrlsupercoachtalk.com/supercoach-2023-the-pig-pen/
https://www.nrlsupercoachtalk.com/supercoach-2023-playmakers/

Another successful year in the books for my SuperCoach squad. A final finish of 192nd overall which makes it 3/3 for top 600 finishes. That run has made that so excited for next season that I’ve gone ahead and completed my “Way Too Early” 2023 shortlist. There are a few disclaimers that I’d like to make before starting: 

  • This shortlist is based on opinion only
  • The prices are a rough projection and definitely not accurate
  • Duals are based on opinion also and potentially not accurate
  • Byes/strength of schedules will change a lot of things come 2023

At the end of the series, I’ll be stating the players that I’m most excited for and at this stage will be in my 2023 squad. 

PREMIUM = $520k and over

MID = $350k-$519k

CHEAPIE = $349k and under

CENTRE / WING:

PREMIUM

Joseph Manu – FLB/CTW – 76.2 – $670,500
At the beginning of the season, if someone had told me that Manu would have the 9th highest average out of all players I would’ve laughed them out of the room. Yet, here we are with Manu as the 9th highest average with 76.2. The reason he was able to average so high mainly was because he was given his license to ball hog and roam. Besides the last game where he got injured, he only had 2 games under 150 running metres from round 12 onwards. He had two games out of position this year, one at fullback and one at 5/8. In those games he got 130 and 191. Next year with Tedesco out of action for State of Origin, Manu will have even more opportunities to step into those positions and run for 1000 metres. He will be an expensive player to start with but he would be an easy hold for the entire season.

Alex Johnston – CTW – 67.8 – $596,600
A winger that relies on only tries yet is matchup proof? Unheard of. AJ has now gone back to back seasons averaging over 67 points per game and he’s breaking try scoring records seemingly every game. In 2021 he scored 27 tries in 19 games and in 2022 he had 28 tries in 23 games. The Rabbitohs team run most of their attack down the left and look to be motivated to get AJ to finish his career as the top try scorer in NRL history (currently 5th and only 47 tries away from breaking the record). He will be at a premium price again next year but if the South’s team improve, he will reap the rewards.

Brian To’o – CTW – 59.3 – $521,800
Mr To’o, a fall from grace this year. He did suffer an injury in round 2 that saw him sit out 6 games around the time Penrith got Cleary back and were playing some of their best footy. Even without the injury game he still only averaged just over 60 points per game compared to his 2021 average of 84 points per game. The switch to the right seems to have been the main cause of his massive regression but if To’o can find even a slither of his 2021 form, he will be massive unders going into next season.

MID-PRICED

Joseph Suaalii – CTW – 56.1 – $493,700
Suaalii has been one of the most impressive teenagers to play in the NRL in quite some time. Despite what his mentor says, he won’t be playing fullback next season and definitely shouldn’t be pushing Teddy out the door. However as the Roosters have clicked towards the second half of the season, Suaalii’s SuperCoach saw a noticeable increase. Going from a 48.4 average from round 1-13 to averaging 62.3 for his last 10 games. With a full year under his belt and the Roosters finally working out their team setup, Suaalii could be in for a huge 2023.

Selwyn Cobbo – CTW – 55.8 – $491,000
Selwyn Cobbo is in the same mould as Suaalii, one of the best youngsters in the game and already playing representative football as a teenager. Despite only playing wing and not the fullback position he wants (like Suaalii), he still churned out a tremendous SuperCoach average. Owning Cobbo comes with its highs and lows, in his 18 games this season he has six under 40 SuperCoach points and six over 75 SuperCoach points. He will continue to grow next season and I expect the Broncos to be pushing for a top 6 spot assuming they stay healthy, Cobbo has the potential to be a decent pod pick if the Broncos fire early.

Greg Marzhew – CTW – 55.2 – $485,800
Beastly. That’s all that needs to be said. In all seriousness, if Marzhew can hold down the starting wing spot next year and the Titans are fighting for the top 8 as they should be he could end up averaging close to 10 more points per game than 2022 in my opinion. A pod play but could be great value, he’s capable of crossing the line as evidenced by his 9 tries in sixteen 80 minute games and averages 13 points per game in just tackle busts.

Xavier Coates – CTW – 44.4 – $390,700
I can see a lot of people disagreeing with this, understandably. I was very big on Coates when he moved to Melbourne and I told everyone from round 1 onwards not to sell him unless he had 3 bad scores in a row.  After his scores of 15 and 18 in rounds 5 and 6, almost 13% of all SuperCoachers had sold him. He then got 123 and 116 immediately after. Coates is at fantastic value for next season after the whole squad had an injury riddled 2022. If the Storm can stay healthy, Coates could be your ticket into getting the big scores from them if you don’t own Grant/Munster/Papi/Hughes.

Luke Garner – 2RF/CTW – 41.4 – $364,300
AS SEEN IN SECOND ROW ANALYSIS
Here’s my early call that isn’t controversial in my opinion: if Luke Garner starts for Penrith, he’ll be the 2nd most owned player in SuperCoach to begin the season. In 80 minute games on the edge, Garner has an average of 58.9. He’s a well-known try scorer and playing in this atrocious Tigers side hasn’t give him as many try scoring opportunities as he should be getting. Playing inside Luai would open up many scoring chances for him and the sky is the limit for 2023.

CHEAPIES

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow – FLB/CTW – 31.4 – $276,300
The hammer is someone that I’m not absolutely crazy about but if he’s starting, he can definitely make some money. Similar to Isaako, he’s only a buy if he’s starting somewhere in the Cowboys side and even then he’s not a strong buy. One to watch! 

Jamayne Isaako – FLB/CTW – 36.4 – $320,300
I do not see Isaako being a SuperCoach gun by any means, but if he’s starting fullback for The Dolphins and is goalkicking then he’s hard not to have in your side for that price. BUT ONLY GET IF HE’S FULLBACK AND GOALKICKING!

Ben Trbojevic – 2RF/CTW – 27.2 – $239,400
AS SEEN IN SECOND ROW ANALYSIS
Burbo has made his way into plenty of SuperCoach teams over the past couple of years. As a dual-nuff option for people to loop, as a cheapie last season and this season and now potentially an actual top 17 player. If he snags a starting spot next season whether it’s in the centres or on the edge, he’s for sure worth a consideration for your sides. In the four 80 minute games he had in 2022, he has a 52 point average. However one of those games he had a 96 and the other 3 were all below 50. Consistency may not be key with him but he’ll start off cheap and should make money regardless.

Valynce Te Whare – CTW – 0 – BOTTOM PRICE
This kid is a Rugby League freak of nature. Only just turning 22, he’s 110kg who will hopefully feature in the centres for The Dolphins. Joining them from Rugby Union this season, in their QLD cup side he has made 13 appearances with 12 of them being 70+ minutes. In those 12 games he had 12 tries, 2 try assists, 17 linebreaks, 6.8 tackle busts per game and almost 160 running metres per game. Another one who I’d suggest chucking their name into YouTube and seeing what devastating runs he can produce with your own eyes.

Paul Alamoti – CTW – 0 – BOTTOM PRICE
The start of the 2022 season had 3 cheapie CTW that everyone seemed eager for. Tolutau Koula, Isaiah Tass and Paul Alamoti were the 3. The first two got their opportunity and held onto it with both hands becoming a consistent part of their teams top 13. Alamoti is the one we haven’t seen yet in the top grade. While he doesn’t have the strike rate of a Te Whare, it’s the big moments under pressure where Alamoti stands out. Scoring in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the finals for the Bulldogs NSW Cup side, he also racks up base + base power as he consistently gets away offloads and tackle busts. He’s been touted as a future star for some time now and he’ll be 19 in January so the odds of him starting next year most likely aren’t amazing but if he cracks that side, he could be the 2023 Koula/Tass if not even better.

Jeral Skelton – CTW – 0 – BOTTOM PRICE
Jeral Skelton is someone currently flying under the radar but I have mentioned him on the podcast previously. I may come for bias towards Jeral because we went to school together and since I can remember he’s always been one of the nicest blokes you can come across. Recruited by the bulldogs from the Melbourne Rebels in Rugby Union (also a member of the Australian 7’s team for a number of years), Skelton was quick to show his impact playing in the centres in NSW Cup. Phil Gould has stated that he has the athletic ability and power to play centre, wing or even second row. Only playing four 80 minute games until he suffered an injury. In those four games, he scored 3 tries, 3 linebreaks, almost 9 tackle busts per game, 1.2 offloads per game and only 2 missed tackles. I’ve mentioned this for a few players now but this one I’m really hyped about, check out his highlights from his time in the Australian 7’s team on YouTube, it displays the power and athleticism that even the great Phil Gould seems to like.

FULLBACK:

PREMIUM

Ryan Papenhuyzen – FLB – 90.3 – $794,600
The highest averaging player in SuperCoach and is starting the 2023 season under value, how good! Papi has always had big injury issues and can’t play a full season, however when he’s on and at his best he is impossible not to own. If you take his two low minute games due to injury, his season average was 97.4. His ability to find the try line as well as goal kick means he is potentially the best option not just for fullback but number one picked overall.

Latrell Mitchell – FLB – 84.5 – $743,600
Latrell Mitchell, a true American hero. Well, a hero since his return from America more like. Before his time out of the game due to a hamstring injury, he had scores of 71, 53, 65 and 22. Those games were against Melbourne, Roosters, Penrith and 14 minutes against the Dragons. His return in round 16 saw him perform tigers above the rest of the comp and from round 16-25 he averaged 97.2. Almost identical to what Ryan Papenhuyzen would’ve averaged without injury games. Trellmit has proven that he can hang with the best of them and I see the Rabbitohs improving next year. 

James Tedesco – FLB – 79.5 – $699,600
Tedesco has been the dog in SuperCoach for years now. 2022 is the first time since 2018 (his first year at the Roosters) that he has averaged under 80 SuperCoach points. With the Roosters have a somewhat up and down year, the attacking stats just weren’t there for him as they had been in previous years where they dominated. As they found form at the back end of the year his scores trended upwards. With the new additions coming in 2023 and if they continue that late 2022 form, Tedesco’s average surely increases back to the 80’s and he can almost be considered a POD play to start among the other fullback options.

Tom Trbojevic – FLB – 61.0 – $536,800
I’m crossing all fingers and toes and praying that SuperCoach use his full 2022 average to price Turbo next season. If so he will be one of the most owned players in SuperCoach. Pretty simple this one, he’s debatably the best player in the league and if he stays healthy in 2023 then we can expect big scores from him. Not his 2021 average of 140+ but probably around the 80-90 mark.

Joseph Manu – FLB/CTW – 76.2 – $670,500
AS SEEN IN CENTRE / WING ANALYSIS ABOVE

MID-PRICED

I’d like to start off this section with a bit of a disclaimer: I am completely and utterly in favour of starting with 2 premium fullbacks. It’s the highest scoring position and I will always start with 2 of the best but I have written this section for the few people that will use one or more of their fullback slots a mid ranger/cheapie.

Reece Walsh – FLB – 52.7 – $463,700
2022 was not the greatest season for one of the games best youngsters. Then again, it wasn’t the best year for the Warriors as a whole. Walsh is coming back to Brisbane for 2023 and will be the starting fullback in a better side than he’s played in before. He does lose the goalkicking to Adam Reynolds but the opportunity for attack is far higher than he’s ever had. Much to my disappointment I do believe the Broncos will be a top 8 side next season and Walsh could average 60+ SuperCoach points.

Kalyn Ponga – FLB – 50.4 – $443,500
Ponga is my very early pick for highest average increase for next season. He’s screwed me the last 2 seasons (2021 picked him over Turbo for Turbos first game and picked Ponga over Tedesco round 19 when he got 6 and Tedesco went 150+) but I do see the value in him next season. The knights are likely to improve and Ponga will be goal kicking for them, his run of games around origin and after he was putting up very solid scores. From round 9-19 he only scored under 50 twice and he got injured within 20 minutes in both of those games. His average could easily go 65+ next year if he stays healthy.

Xavier Savage – FLB – 46.1 – $405,700
Since taking over CNKs fullback role in round 13, Savage was on a mission to make it his own and I believe he did so successfully. He averaged 60 points a game from round 13 onwards and this was his rookie year. Now having the confidence of a finals run and a full preseason training at fullback under his belt, he could make a fair bit of money in 2023 SuperCoach.

CHEAPIES

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow – FLB/CTW – 31.4 – $276,300
Jamayne Isaako – FLB/CTW – 36.4 – $320,300
AS SEEN IN CENTRE / WING ANALYSIS ABOVE

Thanks for reading this series. We’ll be back soon with more 2023 content.