Wenin’s Team Reveal

We are finally here folks.

Round 1 kicks off tonight with the Broncos vs. the Storm, how good is that!

Before we get stuck into Lakey’s Captain’s and the Weather Report, we are closing out the Team Reveals with my team.

Finishing a horrific 8,000+ last year (FMD), despite being as high as 700 in Round 17!!! I am ready to make amends this season and return to the top 1,000.

The Non-negotiables

Damien Cook

Now that Matt McIlwrick is on his way to the Eels (well I think), Cook is a “must have” in my humble opinion. His PPM over the past five years has been as follows:

  • 2018 – 0.98
  • 2017 – 0.91
  • 2016 – 0.82
  • 2015 – 1.06
  • 2014 – 0.57

His PPM was actually at its highest in the years in which he played more minutes (2018 and 2015). He’s a freak and will play at least 70 MPG at Souths this year.

In my HOK preview article (here) I outlined that Wayne Bennett is no SuperCoach killer for hookers. No offence to Andrew McCullough, but Cook is a more talented player and if he averaged 72 MPG whilst playing under Bennett, then Cook should at least match this. Based on his 2018 PPM of 0.098 and if he was to play the same amount of game time as McCullough (72 MPG) then his price would drop by $50k. That is nowhere near enough to prevent me from picking him.

I’ll take a week-in-week-out captain option every day of the week over saving a little bit of coin.

Andrew Fifita

He’s clearly the number one FRF option in the game this year with averages of 68, 64, 72, 73 and 77 over the past five seasons. Given the injuries and retirements facing the Sharks pack in 2019, I see no reason why Fifita’s minutes will dip below the 57 MPG that he averaged last year and also no reason why his work-rate would drop either. Set and forget.

Jake Trbojevic and Jai Arrow

Both have effectively not left my side since the game opened.

At 59 BPPG, Trbojevic is a meat pie away from a ton each week. Yes, there is some risk in his scores dropping whilst brother Tom is out, but it’s not enough games to scare me off picking him.

I hope you’re sitting down.

In the 13 games last season where Jai Arrow played over 50 minutes, he averaged a staggering 75 PPG and 59 BPPG. Over these 13 matches, he averaged 62 MPG. Assuming his body is right and he plays at least 65 MPG this season, we are looking at 2RF that could possibly average close to 80 PPG at a 65 PPG starting price. Lock.

Ryan Matterson and Shaun Lane

These two can also be paired together.

Both find themselves at new clubs this year where they are going from being just another number in the pack to arguably the main man (more so for Matterson). Circa 80 MPG is not out of the question given the current injury list at both clubs and in games over 60 MPG last year both of these guys averaged over 63 PPG in 10 and 9 games respectively. For me, their value is far too good to pass up on.

Cameron Murray

Yes, the signing of Ethan Lowe is concerning, but all the signs still point towards Murray exceeding the 48 MPG that he averaged in 2018. Whilst it’s a small sample size, in the three games last year where he played over 60 minutes, he averaged 66 PPG and 54 BPPG. Priced at 49 PPG, he’s a steal.

James Tedesco

I was already not starting with Tom Trbojevic for the reasons outlined in a Player of Interest that I wrote earlier in the pre-season here. So, there was absolutely no way that I was going to start the season without Tedesco.

He has averaged 74, 68, 70, 74 and 68 PPG over the past five seasons. I am yet to find/see a reason why he won’t carry on averaging over 70 in 2019.

Michael Morgan

It’s not often that the SuperCoach gods provide you with a gift, but they have done so with Michael Morgan. With past season averages of 59 PPG in 2016 and 2017, Morgan is available for a tad over $400k thanks to a forgettable season last year. Without JT in North Queensland, Morgan will be the man and with that forward pack making metres up the field, Morgan is sure to be dangerous all year round.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

He’s starting fullback for the Raiders, a side that has depth issues in the outside backs and has a relatively easy draw early on. No need to over think this one.

The Cheapie Locks

Briton Nikora, Adam Keighran and Dylan Brown are very popular players and for good reason. Reuben Garrick and Mr Boombastic himself, Mikaele Ravalawa come with their risks but are the best of the rest.

The Risky Selections


Death-ridding Ponga last year was too much for me to bare again this year. Even if he was picked in the front-row I would probably still talk myself into selecting him…..well, maybe not.

With that being said, I’ve opted to start the season with him and Lachlan Fitzgibbon and am planning to ride the mighty #Pongibbon wave through the early rounds of the season. The Knights play five of their first seven games at home, however, this does include the likes of Cronulla, Penrith and St George. Ponga averaged 71ppg at home in 2018, excluding Round 16 where he played just 15 minutes. If Ponga fires, then so will Fitzy. Let’s go surfing.

Joe O

I’m sure that you are sick to death of me talking about Joe Ofahengaue, but let’s go over it one more time. He’s underpriced and could be set to average close to 65 PPG as long as his PPM remains consistent and he plays over 55 MPG, which is a real possibility. In the 10 games that he played over 50 minutes last year, he averaged 65 PPG and 56 BPPG. These games were at lock, but I don’t see it mattering too much given he will be playing in the middle this year. Why is this a risky selection? The Broncos pack is chock full of young, talented middle forwards and they’ve just added Matt Gillett into the mix now too.

The Moderately Expensive CTW

Who is John Bateman?

That is a very good question.

We know very little about the Englishman, but what we do know is that he has 15 caps for England, has been named at lock for the Canberra Raiders and is available as a dual CTW/2RF.

Ricky Stewart may have his detractors, but what he does seem to get right is the recruitment of English Super League forwards. Think Iosia Soliola and Elliot Whitehead. In their debut seasons for the Raiders they averaged 58 and 61 PPG respectively. I’ll take that from Bateman at just $400k.

While we are on the topic of forwards available in the CTW position. I have opted for the Luke…just kidding… Kurt Capewell as another relatively expensive option in the backs. He should play close to 80 MPG on the edge whilst Wade Graham is out and provide me with a very handy 50 PPG. Don’t undersell the possibility that he could be playing on Shaun Johnson’s edge too, which could be money for jam.

While many teams will be flat picking guys who will score 30 points (I’m looking at you Jordan Kahu and the CTW rookies), I’ll hopefully have two dependable scores each week who will increase in price nicely in time.

The Non-playing Rooks

Damien Cook’s handcuff (i.e. Billy Brittain) has been selected as I’m not overly keen on any of the mid-priced options apart from Friend and Holland, but both of these guys take up a large chunk of my salary cap. Brittain will hopefully cover for Cook during the Origin period (first bye) and, god forbid, should he get injured.

I’ve opted to select Bronson Xerri and Corey Allan despite both looking likely to miss Round 1 over the likes of Bailey Simonsson and Maika Sivo who on the other hand are playing.


I rate Xerri and Allan more highly than the selected duo and this all comes back to my tier strategy for the season. TLT always throws up curveballs, such as the unexpectedly named rookie. Rather than go down this path, which will no doubt ultimately lead to disappointment, I have selected two guys that will get a game soon.

Xerri is one Josh Dugan injury away while Allan was named in the 17 this weekend. It’s also far too early in the season to be concerned about AE issues, so I have no concerns, for now, if Allan plays limited minutes off the bench. It’s a far better outlook than say Sivo who should be back in Reggies next week once George Jennings returns to the Eels and Simonsson is, from reports, still very raw having just joined rugby league from rugby union this year.

The John Palavi Clone?

Lachlan Burr is the best of a very, very bad bunch. I’d much prefer to have Junior Tatola as my forward cheapie, but given I have just $300 left, there’s no room for him. He could very easily fall out of the 17 over the next couple of weeks and then we are left stuck with a $200k NPR. However, on the other hand, and I have taken counsel from my Kiwi mate, Nick, that he’s potentially going to play 30-35 MPG in the middle for the Warriors this season. Let’s hope he bags a try this week to really get that initial price maximised.

The “Fleet-footed Wests Tigers Winger”

Thomas Mikaele is a prop, of course. It’s ok Nick I can understand the confusion with Mikaele Ravalawa.

At $168k, it’s between he or Thomas Flegler at this stage and I could go either way. Flegler should be good for six to eight games in first-grade as I don’t believe that the Broncos will rush Payne Haas straight back into the side. They will make him earn it and Flegler has first crack at making this position his, for now. Mikaele’s place in the side is just a precarious, but perhaps has more chance of staying in first grade, although Matthew Eisenhuth has to come back into the side.

I really don’t know.

Captain Hindsight

Nathan Cleary has been in and out of my side all season. I’ve opted to run with Ponga, but I know that Cleary is going to start the season well given that the Panthers face the Eels, Tigers and Titans in the opening month and then they welcome back Viliame Kikau. However, at over 35% ownership, Ponga is just too highly owned at this stage to not select.

Cameron Munster produced scores of 69, 75 and 98 in 2018 without Billy Slater. If there was another solid forward cheapie option then I would have loved to have fitted Munster into my side, and I still might find a way.

If my salary cap included Greg Inglis’s speedboat allowance, I would…..

Own Cleary or Munster, but I’d also load up completely in the forwards so that I had no cheapies there.

Cheers all – have a great season!


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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    Vicer - GTO SolverAJWJungleWeninRomeGuns-NRookies Recent comment authors
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    Looking good Wenin.

    Hoping Burr can pull off a 2018 Soggy Sao and at least get off to a solid enough start that even if he gets demoted to the bench his price rise will be of some use.

    I like the Matterson pick, especially now with Grand Angus being introduced from the bench it opens up a potential spot in my team to get him him, there’s a few solid options that could fill that spot – just got to play the mid price lottery.


    The Brittain pick is interesting. Surely you could go with Brailey who will actually play some games. Unless you want a VC loop option that’s the only reason I could see.

    Peeking Ducks
    Peeking Ducks

    Gone cold on Taupau?


    Great write up Wenin. Glad to see someone else with bateman and capewell in CTW

    however, i have CNK and Simonsson too, seeing 3 raiders in my ctw makes me feel uneasy. Gone with simonsson after your podcast and the fact that oldfield is very average and could be kept out of the team

    Rex Bannercurse
    Rex Bannercurse

    Really like this side! I’m mostly on board with the Billy Brittain call, but is there not more value in BBrailey?? If cook gets injured long term he’s a straight swap for whoever is killing it (smith, hodgo etc) and if he’s out for a couple of weeks (say rounds 8-10) Brailey has hopefully made some dough and can be sold at a profit to Brittain, who then becomes bye coverage. The issue is if he gets an early two week injury before Brailey has made any cash and then it’s a wasted trade or copping a BBrailey 24point special… Read more »


    what if he gets injured short term? say for 1-2 weeks..

    Canary Yellow
    Canary Yellow

    How recent is this team Wenin? Seems different to the players you were mentioning in the Pod…


    Good luck with your season Wenin. Keep up the great work.


    Thanks Wenin – it’s reassuring to see that even you guys hesitate over certain selections and put in some players over others etc, making sacrifices to make it all fit – lopping off the dead wood, but trying to favour growth as well! That you have your regrets and satisfactions. I’ve just cut Momi & put in B Burns for instance, rearranging some of my cheapie forwards to do it, but I feel strangely satisfied in doing so. Last night I cut out IPap (who was gonna keep) & got in Master B (Bateman) & I dunno whether tis the… Read more »

    Vicer - GTO Solver
    Vicer - GTO Solver

    Cheers Wenin..

    Just tore my team apart based on your Cook/Britton logic.. it’s worked out perfectly with my Core side, I’m calling it early, Top 10 after round 1, haha