Before we kick off Teams Analysis for this week, I want to start with this little nugget from last week’s article:
“Also, if someone in one of your leagues does accidentally select the wrong Sione Katoa, please post screenshots in the comments. That will never not be funny.”
Whether it be karma, stupidity or something else entirely, I managed to end up with the Panthers’ Sione Katoa in MY team.
I won’t bore you too much with the details, however it involved Kikau being relegated to the bench before kick-off, me looking to see if there were any viable replacements, laying down on the couch with my daughter watching “Oggy and the Cockroaches” and being distracted, and accidentally bringing Katoa in instead of Kikau.
A facepalm doesn’t do it justice. But, as I said last week, it will never not be funny – even if it did happen to me.
Onto the analysis.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v St George Illawarra Dragons
Thursday March 15, 8.05pm AEDT, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Sharks 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Aaron Gray, 6 Matthew Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matthew Prior, 11 Jayson Bukuya, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c) Interchange: 14 Kurt Capewell, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Avagalu Seumanufagai, 17 Joseph Paulo
Reserves: 18 Kurt Dillon, 19 Trent Hodkinson, 20 Jesse Ramien, 21 Jack Williams
Dragons 1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin Interchange: 14 Luciano Leilua, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Hame Sele
Reserves: 18 Jeremy Latimore, 19 Zachary Lomax, 20 Reece Robson, 21 Blake Lawrie
Gallen is named to start (and he better!) and Aaron Gray comes in for Katoa. Fifita continued his pattern of slow starts to the season, with just 57 in 58 minutes. Val Holmes (33) was embarrassing at the back but gets another chance – I think anyone who rolled the dice with him should be concerned. So too Gallen (40 in just 45 minutes) owners. The lack of fitness excuses the low minutes, not the complete lack of impact while he was on.
The Dragons were impressive against the Broncos and they’re largely unchanged. Jack DeBelin’s try (and 79 points) obscures that he only played 59 minutes, which should be a huge concern for owners hoping for 70. Leilua’s 13 in just 21 minutes was as unimpressive as it looks – he’s bordering on 3-Palavi territory. And it’s probably time to take Gareth Widdop (106) seriously – he’s a bona fide premium gun.
- Luciano Leilua ($177,000)
- Hame Sele ($212,400)
Sydney Roosters v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Friday March 16, 6pm AEDT, Allianz Stadium
Roosters 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 (c), 10 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Mitchell Aubusson, 13 Isaac Liu Interchange: 14 Dylan Napa, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Ryan Matterson, 17 Victor Radley
Reserves: 18 Reece Robinson, 19 Mitchell Cornish, 20 Nat Butcher, 21 Lindsay Collins
Bulldogs 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Matthew Frawley, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Joshua Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Danny Fualalo Interchange: 14 Adam Elliott, 15 Aiden Tolman, 16 Greg Eastwood, 17 Jeremy Marshall-King
Reserves: 19 Asipeli Fine, 20 Kerrod Holland, 21 Renouf Toomaga, 23 John Olive
Keary’s back and Cordner starts for what was a bit of a rabble last week. Tedesco (35), Mitchell (32) and Tupou (29) owners have no choice but to stick tight and hope they turn it around but TKO (38) is a real worry, having apparently lost the goalkicking and playing only 49 minutes.
The Bulldogs punched above their weight last week but ultimately the lack of talent showed. Brett Morris (54) remains heavily try dependent and Lichaa’s (38 in 64 minutes) comeback was highly overstated. Faitala-Mariner (79) looks the goods though.
- Jeremy Marshall-King ($204,100)
Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys
Friday March 16, 7.05pm AEST (8.05pm AEDT), Suncorp Stadium
Broncos 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Jordan Kahu, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Tevita Pangai Jnr, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Josh McGuire Interchange: 14 Sam Thaiday, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Korbin Sims, 17 Tom Opacic
Reserves: 18 Todd Murphy, 19 Sam Tagataese, 20 Jonus Pearson, 21 George Fai
Cowboys 1 Ben Hampton, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Javid Bowen, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 14 Te Maire Martin, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Jordan McLean, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Ethan Lowe, 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14 John Asiata, 15 Coen Hess, 16 Scott Bolton, 18 Corey Jensen
TPJ (57 in 46 minutes) remains in the starting lineup and is looking like a gem midpricer, while McCullough is named to start. Milford (18) has some explaining to do, while Lodge’s 45 points in 57 minutes wasn’t the PPM we were all looking for.
The Cowboys mildly disappointed on the field and in SuperCoach with mostly sub-par performances. Taumalolo (66) played 53 minutes but that should be expected moving forward and JT (54) kept getting overruled by TeMarie Martin in the red zone! What’s that all about!?!
Anyone getting on Winterstein (24) because he was cheap got exactly what they paid for.
- Jamayne Issako ($192,800)
- Matt Lodge ($208,900)
- Ben Hampton ($199,700)
Warriors v Gold Coast Titans
Saturday March 17, 5.05pm NZ (3.05pm AEDT), Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitua, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Ligi Sao Interchange: 14 Sam Cook, 15 Leivaha Pulu, 16 Sam Lisone, 17 Bunty Afoa
Reserves: 18 Jazz Tevaga, 20 Anthony Gelling, 21 Agnatius Paasi, 22 Mason Lino
Titans 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jai Arrow, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Leilani Latu, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Ryan James (c), 13 Bryce Cartwright Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 16 Will Matthews, 17 Morgan Boyle
Reserves: 18 Keegan Hipgrave, 19 Joe Greenwood, 20 Jai Whitbread, 21 AJ Brimson
Ligi Sao (46) keeps his starting spot, which automatically makes him better than John Palavi, given that Palavi only lasted one game in the 13 jumper. Does that make him a buy? I’d wait one more week to be sure. Papali’i (58) played 80 but needed a try for his 58, so his workrate is a big concern, as is Mannering’s return in a couple of weeks. Otherwise, the Warriors were impressive, with their guns firing – looks like another year of sucking us into the hype. Let’s hope they keep it going.
No changes for the Titans, who came back impressively against the Raiders. Is it just me or does every team play better after Jarryd Hayne leaves? Phillip Sami (64) crossed for a try and seems secure on the wing, while Cartwright’s 43 in 52 minutes is probably about what we can expect (ie: pretty mediocre cow). Leilani Latu (24 in 40 minutes) is off my Christmas card list and he should be off yours too.
- Sam Cook ($164,600)
- Isaiah Papalii ($225,400)
- Ligi Sao ($192,800)
- Will Matthews ($229,000)
- Kane Elgey ($260,200)
- Phillip Sami ($234,300)
- Bryce Cartwright ($260,300)
Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday March 17, 5.30pm AEDT, Panthers Stadium
Panthers 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Tyrone Peachey, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin Interchange: 14 Corey Harawira-Naera, 15 Sam McKendry, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Fisher-Harris
Reserves: 18 Sione Katoa, 19 Tim Browne, 20 Dean Whare, 21 Christian Crichton
Rabbitohs 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Greg Inglis (c), 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Doueihi, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Sam Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Cameron Murray Interchange: 14 Tyrell Fuimaono, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 George Burgess, 17 Tevita Tatola
Reserves: 18 Robbie Farah, Jason Clark, 20 Hymel Hunt, Vincent Leuluai
Kikau (87) was close to best on ground last week, so being named to start is fantastic news for those concerned that he left the field injured last week. Merrin (73) was excellent but only getting 50 minutes should have any non-owners holding off for now. Nathan Cleary (83) showed he is the most consistent gun halfback in SuperCoach – what a talent this kid is. Mansour (40) was mediocre and it really wasn’t Peachey’s fault, so owners may well be a bit nervous.
Adam Reynolds’ injury offers Adam Douehi a chance in the side and another cash cow option. It is believed to be about a four-week one, but despite being very injury prone Reynolds has a track record of coming back quickly, so buyer beware. Kennar (80) was excellent and crossed for a double, while Nicholls (27 in 41 minutes) was a bit of a plodder and is likely to be a very slow burning cow.
Cody Walker (80) got some of the junkiest junk points you’ll ever see but it all counts, while Damien Cook (67) owners chose wisely.
- Adam Doueihi ($164,600)
- Mark Nicholls ($192,800)
- Tavita Tatola ($164,600)
- Richie Kennar ($239,600)
- Sam McKendry ($192,800)
- Viliame Kikau ($192,800)
Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers
Saturday March 17, 7.35pm AEDT, AAMI Park
Storm 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Dale Finucane Interchange: 14 Tim Glasby, 15 Kenny Bromwich, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano
Reserves: 18 Young Tonumaipea, 19 Joe Stimson, 20 Billy Walters, 21 Brandon Smith
Tigers 1 Tuimoala Lolohea, 2 Corey Thompson, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 14 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russell Packer, 9 Pita Godinet, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Robbie Rochow, 13 Elijah Taylor Interchange: 14 Matt McIlwrick 15 Alex Twal, 16 Michael Chee Kam, 17 Matthew Eisenhuth
Reserves: 18 Josh Aloiai, 19 David Nofoaluma, 20 Tim Grant, 21 Tyson Gamble
The Storm eventually rolled over the Bulldogs last week, largely thanks to Cameron Munster’s brilliance (101). Slater’s return shouldn’t impact too much on his output. NAS scoring 58 in just 34 in both cause for celebration and concern, while Jesse Bromwich (45 in 48 minutes) is playing like he’s 38, not 28.
The Tigers’ upset win means the likes of Nofoaluma, McQueen and Milne are still on the outside looking in, for now. Robbie Rochow (61) playing 80 was a surprise and catapults him into serious consideration as a buy and there’s not much else of SuperCoach relevance, really.
- Robbie Rochow ($242,600)
- Pita Godinet ($216,500)
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels
Sunday March 18, 4.10pm AEDT, Lottoland
Sea Eagles 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Brad Parker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14 Jackson Hastings, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Kelepi Tanginoa
Reserves: 18 Matthew Wright, 19 Lewis Brown, 20 Jack Gosiewski, 21 Frank Winterstein
Eels 1 Bevan French, 2 Josh Hoffman, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 Kirisome Auva’a, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Nathan Brown Interchange: 14 Beau Scott (c), 15 Brad Takairangi, 16 Suaia Matagi, 17 Kane Evans.
Reserves: 18 Will Smith, 19 Kenny Edwards, 20 David Gower, 21 Kaysa Pritchard
Parker, Hastings and Perrett in for Wright, Brown and Winterstein isn’t much of a surprise. Tanginoa was better on field than his 43 in 47 minutes indicates but his spot in the 17 is secure, despite Perrett being named. Croker too, was better than his 23 indicates. But he’ll need to show some attacking flair to be much of a cash cow.
Alvaro’s 46 in 39 minutes was promising but owners were hoping for another 10 MPG, similar to Nathan Brown, whose 59 minutes were 5-10 short of expectations. Mitchell Moses (35) had a shocker but isn’t a write-off, given that a sin-bin and HIA in the same game won’t happen too often.
I warned you about Kane Evans last week.
- Kelepi Tanginoa ($177,300)
- Lachlan Croker ($164,600)
- Kane Evans ($240,800)
Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights
Sunday March 18, 6.30pm AEDT, GIO Stadium
Raiders 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Sam Williams, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Luke Batman Interchange: 14 Aiden Sezer, 15 Junior Paulo, 16 Dunamis Lui, 17 Charlie Gubb
Reserves: 18 Craig Garvey, 19 Michael Oldfield, 20 Royce Hunt, 21 Jack Murchie
Knights 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Tautau Moga, 5 Nathan Ross, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Jacob Lillyman, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Mitchell Barnett Interchange: 14 Brock Lamb, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Daniel Saifiti
Reserves: 18 Ken Sio, 19 Jacob Saifiti, 20 Daniel Levi, 21 Luke Yates
Thank god Havili scored a try, because only getting 30 minutes is disastrous for owners – he’s now a 2-Palavi. Elliott Whitehead (67) was mightily impressive at lock but replacing Tapine on the edge makes him less appealing as a buy. The ‘Big Three’ backs, Rapana (50), Leilua (50) and Croker (21) all disappointed. The Raiders do seem like a bit of a disaster waiting to happen, especially after their utter lack of fight against the Titans.
Slade Griffin was one of the Knights’ best in their win against Manly, scoring 82 in 69 minutes. While that’s inflated by the nine minutes of extra time, owners should be happy with the 60 minutes in regulation. Connor Watson (57) owners should be content with his dual five-eighth/hooker role, as it guarantees him 80 minutes.
And get Kalyn Ponga in your team, however you can. He’s a beast.
- Sam Williams ($255, 600)
- Siliva Havili ($177,300)
- Slade Griffin ($250, 100)