Wenin’s Teams Analysis – Round 1

Well, here we go.

It’s good to be back all after a year off. A quick shout out to Surgebuster for doing a tremendous job in 2018.

The Round 1 TLT has hit and it’s brought with the havoc that we predicted. Some boom cheapies haven’t been named, whilst establish gun 2RF’s find themselves on the bench.

No more teasing, let’s get on with the show.

Broncos vs Storm

Thursday, March 14th, 7:50pm at AAMI Park

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. James Roberts, 4. Jack Bird, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Matt Lodge, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Joe Ofahengaue, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Matt Gillett.

Interchange: 14. Kotoni Staggs, 15. David Fifita, 16. Thomas Flegler, 17. Tevita Pangai Junior Reserves: 18. Shaun Fensom, 19. Patrick Carrigan, 20. Sean O’Sullivan, 21. Gehamat Shibasaki

Current injury list: Payne Haas (suspended, round 5)

Teams Analysis: The Broncos haven’t, thankfully, thrown too many surprises our way today given that we effectively knew the line-up over the weekend.

From a SuperCoach perspective, the point of focus should be in the forwards and particularly the make-up of the bench.

From where I am sitting the bench is made up equally of middle and edge forwards. Andrew McCullough, therefore, looks set for an 80-minute game and while this might appear tasty, he did average 73mpg last season. However, if you consider just the 15 games that he actually played the full 80 minutes in 2018 his average bumps up to 60.6ppg, which is 5ppg higher than what his starting price suggests.

It’s been no secret that I’ve been a fan of Joe Ofahengaue and he is currently in my side as my FRF#3. With Matt Gillett returning from such a long lay off and starting at lock, I am expecting him to play between 50-60 minutes with Tevita Pangai Junior to rotate through the middle and Thomas Flegler as a prop forward, but most likely in a limited capacity. With this in mind, nothing has swayed me from believing that Joe O is set for a monster season and particularly whilst Payne Haas is out of the side. In the 10 games that he played over 50 minutes last year, he averaged 65ppg and 56bppg. I am confident that he plays at least 55mpg this year and a similar ppm ratio from 2018 (in the games played > 50mpg) would see him averaging 60-65ppg.

The other player to watch this year for mine is Matthew Lodge. He’s had a well-documented start to his professional career so you may forget that he is just 23 years of age. Last year in the 10 games that he played more than 50mpg he averaged 64ppg and 47bppg.

Storm: 1 Jahrome Hughes, 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, 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Kenneath Bromwich, 13 Dale Finucane

Interchange: 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Christian Welch, 16 Tui Kamikamica, 17 Patrick Kaufusi Reserves: 18 Ryan Papenhuyzen, 19 Tom Eisenhuth, 20 Billy Walters, 21 Marion Seve

Current injury list: Scott Drinkwater (pectoral, round 14), Joe Stimson (back, round 2)

Teams Analysis: The Scott Drinkwater injury in the final weekend of trials robbed us of our rookie fullback that many had been planning to rely on this year. Enter Jahrome Hughes, who is not only available at FLB but at HFB.

Hughes is a proven SuperCoach performer with past season averages of 71ppg (1 game), 64ppg (4 games) and 51 (11 games, including 6 games at halfback where he averaged just 46.7ppg)). However, he is priced very awkwardly at $480k, which means that even if he were to average 55ppg then he would only see an increase of approximately $30k on his starting price. Interestingly, Melbourne Storm fullbacks have averaged no less than 65ppg over the past two seasons (this includes Hughes when playing at fullback).

After reading Wilfred’s fantastic Six in Six position preview on halves (which you can read here), he really got me thinking about Cameron Munster. Just check out his scores without Billy Slater in the side…...

Tui Kamikamica was going to be my one and only FRF cheapie this year, however, the make-up of the Storm bench scares me given that there are three prop forwards there and a utility. He averaged 18mpg last year so will he see much more of an improvement this year?

This, however, potentially opens the door for a real “meat and potatoes” football in Dale Finucane to improve on his output from 2018. He averaged just 54mpg last year compared to 62mpg in both 2017 and 2018. With a ppm hovering around 1, he’s potentially undervalued by between $70-100k should his minutes push past the 60/65 mark. He could be a handy stepping stone to a legitimate gun in a little over six weeks. Keep him in mind for those looking to replace the likes of Isaiah Papali’i.

Knights vs Sharks

Friday, March 15th, 6:00pm at McDonald Jones Stadium

Knights: 1. Connor Watson 2. Edrick Lee 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Kalyn Ponga 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. James Gavet 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Tim Glasby

Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Aidan Guerra 16. Mitchell Barnett 17. Daniel Saifiti Reserves: 18. Jamie Buhrer 19. Herman Ese’ese 20. Josh King 21. Brodie Jones

Current injury list: Slade Griffin (knee, indefinitely), Nathan Ross (finger, round 5), Jacob Saifiti (leg, indefinite), Mason Lino (knee, round 3)

Teams Analysis: The Knights have largely named a 17 that we’ve expected for most of the pre-season with the major surprise (which was uncovered during the trials) being the naming of Tim Glasby at lock and Aiden Guerra to the bench. There’s no doubt that Guerra still sees a solid amount of game time, but Glasby, you would think, should get at least 50 minutes. Based on his ppm of 0.96 in the six games that he played over 50 minutes last season, his average could increase to around 45-50ppg, which would see him undervalued to start the season by approximately $60-75k. Is that enough to warrant selection? Not for me.

The other surprise is the naming of James Gavet at prop, but that’s largely irrelevant for SuperCoach given he is awkwardly priced at $322k and he averaged 38mpg last year.

We’ve known for a long time but its 100% confirmed now. Kalyn Ponga is the new Knights 5/8. There’s no precedent here for us to predict his SuperCoach ability from this position apart from the eye test. I hated death-ridding him last year and I won’t do it again in 2019. 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 does fire then Lachlan Fitzgibbon will likely be the main benefactor. Should the #Pongibbon combination be a success then Fitzgibbon would be a wonderful addition to your team particularly given the naming of Angus Crichton on the Roosters bench (F%^K+MD). In the 19 games last year that Fitzgibbon played over 70 minutes he averaged 65ppg and 44bppg.

Sharks: 1. Matt Moylan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen (c)

Interchange:14. Blayke Brailey, 15. Jayson Bukuya, 16. Aaron Woods, 17. Jack Williams Reserves: 18. Scott Sorenson, 19. Kyle Flanagan, 20. Bronson Xerri, 21. Braden Hamlin-Uele

Current injury list: Wade Graham (knee, round 9-12), Ava Seumanufagai (knee, round 4)

Teams Analysis: The big surprise here for the Sharks is the naming of Blayke Brailey on the bench. At just $168k he could be the cheapie HOK that we’ve been looking for. Even if he was to average just 30ppg he would see an increase in value of approximately $100k.

Shaun Johnson has made the move from the Warriors but has been one of the lesser discussed players this pre-season. So it was fair to say that I was surprised to see his current ownership percentage as high as it currently is at 19%. 2018 was his worst SuperCoach performance in five seasons and yet he still averaged 64ppg. He arguably finds himself in a better position this year with more attacking weapons at his disposal and the combination with Matt Moylan could be a thing of beauty.

Speaking of Moylan, he sits at 13% ownership, which sees him just above the so called 10% POD range. I went back just last night to check over his statistics as a fullback and over the past three seasons he’s averaged close to 60ppg in that position, which would see him start the season undervalued by about 8ppg or $70k.

It wouldn’t be a SuperCoach analysis of the Sharks Round 1 team without making mention of their backrow.

Briton Nikora is an absolute must at just $168k, and it’s a luxury that he is dual positioned this season.

Kurt Capewell (not Luke) is also dual positioned but is priced at $340k. In the 11 games last year where he played over 50 minutes he averaged just 47ppg and 38bppg. Should he produce similar output this year then his price would only increase by approximately $70k. Interestingly, three of these games were at centre for an average of 60ppg.

And then there is Paul Gallen, the once first picked SuperCoach player. Could he be underpriced coming into the season at just $539k? It would be a brave SuperCoach to suggest yes given the age but in the 17 games last year that he played over 50mpg he averaged 64ppg and in the 12 games over 60mpg he averaged 70ppg. Taking a look at the Sharks pack without Graham and Luke Lewis there’s a legitimate possibility that Gallen plays 60mpg this year. You won’t do it….

Roosters vs Rabbitohs

Friday, March 15th, 7:55pm at SCG

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley

Interchange: 14. Isaac Liu 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Lindsay Collins 17. Angus Crichton Reserves: 18. Nat Butcher 19. Matt Ikuvalu 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Poasa Faamausili

Current injury list: Ryan Hall (knee, round 8), Billy Smith (knee, early rounds)

Teams Analysis: What the actual F. Mitchell Aubusson over Angus Crichton. Well, I guess it’s fair to say that none of us saw this coming, unless….

I’m not only gobsmacked that Aubbo has been selected ahead of him, but the Roosters are playing Crichton’s old side. At $647k, he’s out of my side for now, unless there’s a late switch….

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Dane Gagai 3. Greg Inglis 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray

Interchange 14. Liam Knight 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ethan Lowe 17. Corey Allan Reserves: 18. Kyle Turner 19. Connor Tracey 20. Rhys Kennedy 21. Mawene Hiroto

Current injury list: George Burgess (suspension, round 4), Kurt Dillion (achilles, round 3), Adam Doueihi (knee, indefinite)

Teams Analysis: Greg Inglis returns after missing the majority of the pre-season with a knee injury seeing potential cheapie, Corey Allan named on the bench. This provides us with an interesting dilemma given that there is a very strong likelihood that he will play very limited minutes and as such, minimal scoring and price rises. However, it is too early to worry about AE nightmares and Allan is clearly one injury away from walking into the Rabbitohs starting backline. I’ll still pick him as I’m considering it a saved trade down the road.

With no bench utility named (apart from Allan) it does appear almost certain that Damien Cook will be the 80 minute man once again this year. He’s a lock in my side and the captain most weeks, at least initially.

Sam Burgess is a very interesting option this year, but I am struggling to predict what he’s output will be. He’s played as a middle forward in recent years so we are likely to see some reduction in base despite the possible increase in minutes. Priced at a 60ppg average there is potential value there, but how much? I am unsure. The recent signing of Ethan Lowe is concerning.

Cameron Murray, on the other hand, is someone who I am more certain on this year. He played just three games over 60 minutes last year for an average of 66ppg and 54bppg. Assuming he plays at least that this season then he’s an absolute steal this year priced at just a 49ppg average. He was sensational in the Charity Shield.

Warriors vs Bulldogs

Saturday, March 16th, 3:00pm at Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Adam Keighran, 7 Blake Green, 8 Agnatius Paasi, 9 Nathaniel Roache, 10 Bunty Afoa, 11 Adam Blair, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Lachlan Burr.

Interchange: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Blake Ayshford Reserves: 18 Gerard Beale, 20 Ligi Sao, 21 Karl Lawton, 22 Chanel Harris-Tavita.

Current injury list: Issac Luke (shoulder, round 2), Isaiah Papali’i (stood down, round 2)

Teams Analysis: It’s not a good day for the Papali’i fanboys.

He was stood down out of the blue and will now be missing until Round 2. Papali’i is a no go for mine and was before this off-field nonsense (which was apparently known by the Warriors some time ago…). He’s priced very awkwardly at $462k so you’d need him to become that 60/60 middle forward for his selection to be worth it. His ppm in games over 60mpg last year was just 0.77, but these were all played on the edge.

With Papali’i now out, in comes Lachlan Burr to the starting side at lock. He’s going to see significant game time this week, but what about in Round 2 and beyond with Papali’i likely to return and probably to the starting side. If Burr were to average 35ppg (assuming he plays 30-40mpg most weeks) then he is under-priced by about $110k, which is probably just enough to warrant his selection.

With Issac Luke out this weekend, Nathaniel Roache enters the fray as the starting hooker. Whilst he may seem appealing at $246k, he is a trap in my eyes. Unlike Burr, he’s unlikely to see enough of a price rice to make him worthy of selection in your side despite the appealing dual CTW/HOK flexibility.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Christian Crichton 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Reimis Smith 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Corey Harawira-Naera 17. Sauaso Sue Reserves: 19. Jack Cogger 20. Nick Meaney 21. Chris Smith 22. Ofahiki Ogden

Current injury list: Fa’amanu Brown (leg, round 4)

Teams Analysis: The Bulldogs sprung one of the greatest shocks of the pre-season a few weeks ago when it was well known that God 2.0 (Rhyse Martin) would not make the 17.

There was also hype surrounding the positional switch of Will Hopoate to centre to cover for the outgoing Josh Morris, with new recruit Nick Meaney stepping into fullback. However, this has not eventuated so it’s back to the drawing board for the Meaney believers.

There were a few rumours also floating around over the past couple of days that Kerrod Holland would be absent from the Bulldgos backline, however, thankfully these have not proved true.

Holland would ordinarily not be that relevant but the dual position CTW/HOK tag is extremely handy given that we need a bye coverage player for Damien Cook in Round 12. In addition to this, the end to Holland’s 2018 season was, by any standard, unbelievable with a final ten-game average of 72ppg from the centres. Whilst a continuation of output such as this is highly improbable it’s not to be undersold that over this time he also averaged 32bppg.

With Martin out, Holland will be the Bulldogs goal-kicker and given he is priced the season at a 46ppg average he looks to have some value going into the season.

Dylan Napa is currently owned in 17% of teams, but I’d suggest that this increases the closer that we get to lockout. However, buyer beware….

Whilst it’s likely that he will see an increase on the 42mpg that he averaged last year at the Roosters, his ppm is not very good at all for a middle forward and it hasn’t been at an appropriate level for two full seasons now. Even if he were to average 50mpg this year and assuming he produces a similar ppm to 2018 and 2017 then his predicted average is just 38ppg, which would see him undervalued by $60k. This for me does not make him a worthy selection.

Tigers vs Sea Eagles

Saturday, March 16th, 5:30pm at Leichhardt Oval

Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson, 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. Robert Jennings 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Luke Garner 13. Elijah Taylor

Interchange: 14. Russell Packer 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Michael Chee-Kam Reserves: 18. Josh Reynolds 19. Matthew Eisenhuth. 20. Jacob Liddle 21. Chris McQueen

Current injury list: Moses Mbye (knee, round 2), David Nofoaluma (shoulder, round 3), Chris Lawrence (broken jaw, TBC)

Teams analysis: There were some real surprises today in the Wests Tigers team announcement with some notable injuries. Moses Mbye will miss one week with a knee injury, while David Nofoaluma is out until Round 3 with a shoulder injury. They both join Chris Lawrence who will be out for a considerable amount of time due to a broken jaw.

The injuries to the two backs creates some red herrings for me in the backline. Corey Thompson is covering for Mbye at fullback, while Mahe Fonua takes Thompson’s place at wing. Paul Momirovski, who was recruited from the Roosters, probably only holds his place in the side whilst Nofoaluma is out of the side. That means that he may not see a price rise for a while. So, a potential trap on the cards.

The Lawrence injury on the other hand is very interesting for SuperCoach as it opens up some doors for a significantly longer period of time. Luke Garner appears to be the main benefactor of the Lawrence injury as he steps into the starting edge spot. At just $265k there is obviously value to be had there, but how much?

Garner played just the two games last season over 50mpg for an average of 42ppg and 33bppg. Taking a look at the bench it appears that there is only one edge forward in Michael Chee-Kam that will take minutes off Garner. Chee-Kam averaged 43mpg in 12 games off the bench last year, but this included four games over 50mpg. So, assuming that Garner plays 50-55 minutes there’s a predicted average of circa 45ppg, which is a 17ppg increase on last year. It’s probably too good a situation to turn down for your Round 1 side.

I’m a big Ryan Matterson fan this year and I just had to find a spot for him in my side this year. He’s all but guaranteed 80mpg, which would see him increase on last year by 11mpg. In the 10 games in 2018 where he played over 60mpg he averaged 64ppg, but what impressed me most was the fact that he averaged 51bppg.

I’ve heard all the talk about the fact that the Tigers rarely went down his edge last year, but all I see in 2019 is a new coach and effectively a rookie in opposite edge forward roll with Lawrence out.

Sea Eagles: 1 Brendan Elliott, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brad Parker, 5 Reuben Garrick, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (C), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Api Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14 Trent Hodkinson, 15 Jack Gosiewski, 16 Kelepi Tanginoa, 17 Toafofoa Sipley Reserves: 18 Tevita Funa, 19 Cade Cust, 20 Lloyd Perrett, 21 Lachlan Croker

Current injury list: Taniela Paseka (knee, round 2), Tom Trbojevic (hamstring, round 3), Dylan Walker (stood down, indefinitely)

Teams Analysis: Tom Trbojevic leaves a massive hole in the Sea Eagles side with Brendan Elliott stepping in to replace him at fullback. This potentially has seen rookie Reuben Garrick provided with his NRL debut on the wing, however, he is likely ahead of Elliott in the depth charts.

Looking at that bench makes me very happy that I currently own both Martin Taupau and Jake Trbojevic. Both should play big minutes given Hodkinson is effectively filling the utility role in Manase Fainu’s absence. In the first two weeks the Sea Eagles face the Tigers and Roosters. These teams conceded the equal most amount of points to middle forwards last year.

The naming of a bench utility also bodes well for Curtis Sironen, who makes his return to the NRL after an ACL injury saw him play just the four games last year. In the four games last year he had scores of 36, 85, 36 and 56 (in the injury interrupted game.) During 2017 he played 15 games for an average of 56ppg.

As most will acknowledge, coming back from an ACL injury is extremely challenging and I can’t see them pushing Sironen too hard early on. With Joel Thompson and Jake Trbojevic 80 minute men in the back-row, it’s likely that Sironen is eased into the workload with Jack Gosiewski coming off the bench.

With a PPM hovering between 0.70-0.80 and likely minutes around 55-60mpg, I can see him averaging approximately 45ppg, which is unlikely to see him make enough cash early on to be a genuine mid-range option this season.

Cowboys vs Dragons

Saturday, March 16th, 7:30pm at 1300SMILES Stadium

Cowboys: 1. Jordan Kahu 2. Javid Bowen 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Tom Opacic 5. Nene Macdonald 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Michael Morgan 8. Matt Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo

Interchange: 14. John Asiata 15. Josh McGuire 16. Mitchell Dunn 17 Francis Molo Reserves: 18 Ben Hampton, 19 Jake Clifford, 20 Gideon Gela-Mosby, 23 Enari Tuala

Current injury list: Kyle Feldt (goin, TBC), Murray Taulagi (knee, early rounds), Kurt Wiltshire (knee, season), Corey Jensen (ankle, round two), Scott Bolton (suspension, round 6)

Teams Analysis: It lasted just one trial game. Jason Taumalolo is back to lock with Josh McGuire named to start on the bench. This completely changes Lolo’s SuperCoach outlook compared to if he was named on the edge given the additional base statistics that he will produce from the middle. Whilst, I’m still lukewarm on the idea of starting with Lolo this year given the heat factor early on in the season and strength of this pack, he’s now back on my radar.

Kyle Feldt’s injury caught most by surprise today and this sees Javid Bowen replace him on the wing. Bowen may be cheap at $197k, but the job security is not there and we all remember #Bowengate.

Tom Opacic was recruited from the Broncos and has beaten Ben Hampton to the starting centres spot. At $245k he is another potential cheapie and he does have some solid SuperCoach pedigree with a 36bppg average in the three games last year where played 80 minutes in the centres for the Broncos. Again, there are job security issues there, however, this exactly what we said about Hampton last year and he went on to increase in price by to season high of $473k from a starting price of $181k.

Jordan Kahu finds himself in 20% of SuperCoach teams and this will likely increase closer to lockout. Whilst he should average more than 30ppg last year given the permanent role at fullback and goal-kicking duties, owners may be disappointed with his eventual production this year.

He averaged just 35ppg in the 10 games that he started in the centres last year at the Broncos and in 2017 he played three games at fullback for an average of just 32ppg and this included goal-kicking. It’s fair to say that he’s not been that relevant for SuperCoach and will need attacking statistics in addition to the goal-kicking duties to turn him into a solid cow.

Dragons: 1. Gareth Widdop 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jacob Host 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyson Frizell

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Latimore, 15 Matt Dufty 16. Blake Lawrie 17. Luciano Leilua Reserves: 18 Zac Lomax, 20 Josh Kerr, 21 Reece Robson, 22 Jonus Pearson

Current injury list: Jack de Belin (stood down, indefinitely), Korbin Sims (suspension, round 3)

Teams Analysis: The shock was announced before the teams officially dropped with boom rookie Zac Lomax not making the Round 1 side. Euan Aitken is the preferred centre option for now with fellow cheapie Mikaele Ravalawa named on the wing. Despite not being named, Lomax is not the worst NPR given he could overtake Aitken at any stage.

Ravalawa’s place in the side looks fairly secure given how poorly Lomax played on the wing in the trials and he is also ahead of Jonus Peason at this stage. At $168k he’s one of the better cheapie options for your CTW.

The Dragons have provided us with two other cheap options in the forward ranks with Jacob Host and Blake Lawrie.

Host starts this week on the edge with Tyson Frizell covering for JDB at lock, however, it’s likely that Korbin Sims will step into one of these roles from Round 3 onwards. Should this be the case then Host’s potential cash production will be limited, even at $197k, given his horrible ppm.

Lawrie averaged 19mpg last year and is unlikely to see too much more of an increase off the bench. He may possibly lose his place in the 17 all together when Sims does return.

Panthers vs Eels

Sunday, March 17th, 4:05pm at Panthers Stadium

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards , 2. Josh Mansour , 3. Dean Whare, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak , 6. James Maloney , 7. Nathan Cleary , 8. James Tamou , 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11. Jack Hetherington, 12. Isaah Yeo, 13. James Fisher-Harris

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan, 15. Tyrell Fuimaono, 16. Moses Leota, 17. Hame Sele Reserves: 18. Jarome Luai, 19. Tim Grant, 20. Liam Martin, 21. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak

Current injury list: Viliame Kikau (knee, round 4), Tyone May (stood down, indefinite), Sam McKendry (knee, indefinite)

Teams Analysis: There are not too many shocks with this Round 1 Panthers side.

Jack Hetherington replaces the injured Viliame Kikau on the edge, but any serious cash generation is limited given that Kikau will be back in Round 4 and Hetherington is priced at $257k.

Nathan Cleary remains a borderline selection for me at the moment. He’s in 25% of teams, which I’d hazard a guess has taken a hit over the past week with all the off-field dramas surrounding the Panthers. Whilst you can have your doubts about how focused Penrith will be for the start of the season, one thing that you shouldn’t overlook is their early draw. With games against the Eels, Wests Tigers and the Titans in the opening month there’s the real possibility that manage to produce enough points not to hinder Cleary’s SuperCoach output too much.

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson (c), 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitch Moses, 8. Daniel Alvaro, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Tepai Moeroa, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Marata Niukore, 13. Nathan Brown

Interchange: 14. Will Smith, 15. Tim Mannah (c), 16. Kane Evans, 17. David Gower Reserves: 18. Josh Hoffman, 19. Oregon Kaufusi, 20. Bevan French, 21. Junior Paulo

Current injury list: Manu Ma’u (knee, round 6), Kaysa Pritchard (personal leave, indefinite) Jaeman Salmon (suspension, round 2), Peni Terepo (stood down, indefinite) Stefano Utoikamanu (ankle, round 9)

Teams Analysis: The Eels have thoughtfully unveiled another CTW cheapie for us to consider in Maika Sivo. However, Sivo’s continued position on the wing is questionable with the likes of Josh Hoffman, Bevan French, Jaeman Salmon and George Jennings all possible inclusions any week. He’s probably too risky an option for me.

Whilst he doesn’t have the luxury of goal-kicking statistics, Clinton Gutherson’s name continues to be bandied around as a legitimate SuperCoach option. In 2018, he played 11 games at fullback for an average of just 47ppg with 27bppg. However, in 2017 in seven games at fullback, he averaged a whopping 74ppg, but this included an average 21ppg from scoring statistics. This can be partially explained by the goal-kicking duties held during this season, which accounted for 10ppg on average across the year.

Importantly, it needs to be noted that the Eels were a much better side in 2017 than they were in 2018 and likely to be in 2019 with a season finishing position of 4th. Without the goal-kicking duties and in a poor Eels side, I must admit that I’m not a believer at this stage.

Shaun Lane’s stocks certainly spiked following the Ma’u injury. He’s gone from being a likely 60-70mpg edge forward to a possible 80mpg man while Ma’u is out. The sudden news today of Peni Terepo being stood down indefinitely further solidifies Lane’s increased minutes.

During 2018, Lane played nine games over 60mpg for an average of 63ppg and 48bppg. Should he produce similar output this year then he’s potentially a bargain at $508k.

Nathan Brown should also benefit from the injuries and suspensions. With a bppg equaling Jake Trbojevic in the 10 games over 60mpg in 2018 he’s a legitimate heavyweight contender for the 2RF position this season.

Titans vs Raiders

Sunday, March 17th, 6:00pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Brenko Lee 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan James 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Alexander Brimson 15. Moeaki Fotuaika 16. Max King 17. Bryce Cartwright Reserves: 18. Mitch Rein 19. Dale Copley 20. Anthony Don 21: Keegan Hipgrave

Current injury list: Nil

Teams Analysis: It’s a full bill of health for the Titans in Round 1 with Ryan James named to start on the edge. Michael Gordon has beaten Alexander Brimson to the starting fullback spot with Brimson named to come off the bench.

Tyrone Peachey, Brian Kelly, Shannon Boyd and Tyrone Roberts are the newcomers for the Titans in 2019.

Jai Arrow’s current ownership is 21%. This is absolutely absurd – it should be at least double that.

In the eight games last year that Arrow played over 60mpg he averaged 86.5ppg and 63bppg. No, I did not make that up. He’s apparently healthy (we pray) so there’s every chance that could produce something seriously special this year from a fantasy perspective.

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (c) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Jack Wighton 7. Aiden Sezer 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Sia Soliola 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. John Bateman

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Corey Horsburgh Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Jack Murchie 20. Luke Bateman 21. JJ Collins

Current injury list: Jordan Rapana (shoulder, round 8-10)

Teams Analysis: Despite not playing one trial game for the Raiders, John Bateman has been named to start at lock. This shows me just how highly the coaching staff think of him.

We may not know too much of the Englishman, but what we do know is this:

  • He’s been capped for England 15 times.
  • He’s available as a dual CTW/2RF and priced at just $400k.
  • Sia Soliola and Elliot Whitehead produced averages of 58 and 61ppg respectively in their debut season for the Raiders from the Super League.

You can say what you want about Ricky Stewart, but he seems to get the recruitment of Super League forwards right. I’m locking him into my CTW.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has beaten Brad Abbey to the starting fullback position is effectively a lock at $266k.

Bailey Simonsson is in the side due to the injury to Jordan Rapana and has seemingly beaten Michael Oldfield for the starting wing spot. At $168k he is another basement priced CTW that comes with job security risk.


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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    Thinking Roosters to decimate the injury/suspension hit Sea Eagles ,

    Keary,Mitchell,Teddy et al should run amok…..subject to weather , ground conditions etc etc –