We’re back for 2019 and even though it’s Round 1, there is some crazy stuff going on already in the NRL, and affecting SuperCoach! Let’s not beat around the bush and jump straight into the Round 1 minutes analysis.
Thanks as always go to the legend that is Matt Hawker and his website, www.nrlsupercoachstats.com. I borrow the screenshots from his Minutes section, which for this season you can find under the ‘2019’ tab (just under ‘Stats Table’ which is obviously the most used tab for myself). Make sure you consider donating to help him with the running costs, etc. as we SuperCoaches hammer his servers every week.
Jimmy the Jet lasted just five minutes before he became the first injured player to leave the field in 2019, with back spasms causing him incredible pain. So much pain that he still needed assistance with walking as he went through the airport the next day on his return to Brisbane. Staggs (75) replaced him which, according to Seibold, had some flow-on effects on the remainder of the rotation. This may in part explain why Flegler only played 10 minutes despite looking great in his first stint, and why Lodge (59) and JoeO (49) played such unbalanced minutes. The big surprise was Gillett (70) however, and while he made his tackles he didn’t contribute much in runs which is an issue. Fifita (28) was surprisingly low, especially with Su’A (55) looking gassed for the last 10-15 minutes of his stint. TPJ came off the bench, but looked untroubled by his hamstring issue and powered through a strong 49 minutes.
The biggest question mark was how Cameron Smith and Brandon Smith were going to share the minutes at hooker – well, CS9 still played 80 minutes and BS14 got through 39 minutes. CS9 spent a fair bit of time at first receiver but BS14 also played a chunk of his time on field as a middle forward. Still, the question is how Joe Stimson returning to the team (assuming he does) will affect the minutes, given Tom Eisenhuth only played 7 minutes. KBrom (73) was strong on the left edge, while JBrom (52) looked better than he has for the past two years. Kaufusi continues to lock down that right edge for 80 points, and may be forming a nice little combination with Croft. Something to keep an eye on. Finucane (55) had an ok hitout but owners will be hoping he can push his minutes up to 60. Kamikamica played 26 minutes but looked strong on his time on field. Still, he’s a marginal option as a cheapie at best with Stimson sure to take more time than Eisenhuth did.
The biggest talking point here is Klemmer’s 64 minutes, which coupled with his new-found offloading ability could push him up into official premium FRF territory (with his DPP). The question is whether DSaif’s MCL injury (which restricted him to just 23 minutes) meant he was the beneficiary, or whether Guerra (41) and Barnett (36) actually got more of DSaif’s minutes. Levi (55) and Mann (25) shared the 80 minutes at hooker, as expected, as did the two edge backrowers of Fitzgibbon and Sione who locked down 80 minutes each. Finally, Glasby’s minute watch got off to a poor start, playing just 44 minutes. Sure he jagged a try but owners will be hoping he pushes up to 50+ minutes for the long run.
I’m not sure whether SuperCoaches were happier with Fifita’s 73 minutes, or Capewell and Nikora playing 80 minutes each on the edges. Great signs for all three of them. Disappointingly for Gallen POD-hunters, he played just 43 minutes and it wasn’t the old Gallen either. When Matt Prior (48) gets more minutes than you, maybe it’s time to retire eh? The Braileys shared the 80 minutes at hooker, but Blayke owners will have been dismayed to see him get just 17 of the 80 minutes, and to watch Jayden have a strong game too. Woods (39) had minimal minutes off the bench, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number shoot up in the coming weeks. Bukuya (23) and Williams (14) got junk minutes in the middle.
Friend playing 80 minutes was exactly what owners were hoping. Cordner played 66 minutes but he came off in the 61st minute for Crichton (19), and returned to the field when Aubo (75) was taken off. It was kindly pointed out to me by a Rabbitohs fan that Angus being on the field coincided with a certain Burgess brother off the field, and then Angus swapped sides once Sam returned! Radley playing 62 minutes is great too for owners, except his work rate was non-existent which would be concerning. Tough call for owners as the minutes are actually better than expected, but the work wasn’t there. Might be worth giving him another week to see if it improves… although you’d think as Angus’s minutes increase, Radley may lose some. The bench, as expected, will not be relevant again this year as Liu (34), Tetevano (34) and Collins (18) will continue to get minimal time.
Most importantly, Cook played 80 minutes, Murray played 63 minutes and Surgess played 66 minutes although he looked set for 80, but for his HIA (which he passed). Tatola owners would have been disappointed with only 36 minutes despite starting, with Turgess getting 46 minutes. Ethan Lowe played 43 minutes, the majority of it in the middle, while also taking a few minutes off Sutton (75). Knight looked solid in his 38 minutes, while Mark Nicholls is still around and plodded about for 33 minutes. GI came off with 8 minutes to go, letting Allan get a bit of a run around on the field for all of 8 minutes. Talk about AE nightmare hah!
This week was always going to be a bit messy and without Luke and Papali’i I’m not sure if it’s worth worrying too much about. Tohu got his usual 80 minutes, Blair looks set for 80 (but played 73 this week as Ayshford got some of his 10 minutes on the edge). Green (77) got a bit of an early shower. Roache (56) and Burr (53) probably won’t play as many minutes again while Luke and Papali’i are in the squad. Otherwise, Bunty (50), Paasi (35) and Lisone (27) may also find themselves playing less minutes as I can’t see Ah Mau (45) or Tevaga (54) losing their minutes as they were both very strong. The only players I can see challenging for more minutes are Bunty and Burr. Big watch on team lists this week!
Tolman playing just 52 minutes was a little concerning – however his workrate during that time was higher than his usual PPM. It’ll be worth a watch for non-owners to see if this will be standard operating procedure for him this season. Napa (43) got close to his expected minutes but again, his work rate left something to be desired. Elliott (50), RFM (80) and Jackson (80) got their expected minutes in the backrow. Lichaa (59) and JMK (21) also played as expected. CHN (30) is a disappointment given he came across on good money, and Fualalo (30) and Sue (35) are also irrelevant.
Not surprisingly with that bench, Farah played 80 minutes. This is great as we all know what a gun he is when getting 80, but the word is that Maguire plans to rotate his bench from week to week depending on gameplan and his opposition. This means there will be weeks where Liddle or Reynolds will be on the bench, which is a bit of a turn-off for Farah. Matto played 80 as expected, Garner with a solid but not amazing 65. It’s a tough call for Garner punters, as MCK’s 15 minutes seemed pointless and his continued presence on the bench will be a deterrent for prospective owners. Mikaele had a strong debut, playing 30 minutes and scoring at a strong PPM. Twal got a solid 50 minutes as a starter, but his PPM was lower than usual. Perhaps put it down to the conditions…? Owners may want to give him another week. ET playing 51 minutes at lock may be a nod to him slowly being phased out, and the younger guys being given more of a go.
What a mess this game was – it’s hard to read too much into things given the weather conditions but Taupau’s 45 minutes was not inspiring to say the least. Having said that, he played 45 minutes or less in six games last season and still went alright overall. There is a question mark about him leaving quite early into his second stint, clutching his left hand, but he did media yesterday and looked fine, and nothing was said about it. Jake Trbojevic (76) looks like he’ll get through his usual work, even though he was passing before the line a lot. Those minutes and that defensive load should see him in good stead. The big surprises were Fonua-Blake (63) and also Sironen (80) – AFB will miss at least a week but maybe his minutes were inflated due to Taupau leaving the field. It will be worth watching and the good news is that he won’t change price until Round 4 or 5 (depends how many weeks he misses). Siro did very well to play 80 minutes from his first game back, and he was straight into his offloading best – will be worth another look but at his price, looks a bargain! Nothing else of relevance there, although it’ll be interesting to see whether Fainu is named on the bench instead of Hodko (13) as this may impact Koroisau’s minutes (67) a bit more given Fainu is actually a hooker.
The big question was always going to be Taumalolo – he played 62 minutes and started the game on the left edge, playing about 20 minutes before he shifted into the middle once Matt Scott (40) went off and Gavin Cooper (60) came on. Obviously this worked a treat against the Dragons so it’ll be interesting, given his lower base but clear upside with attacking stats. Either way, he looks like he’ll be in the upper tier of 2RF options yet again. Kahu (67) was off the field for HIA, which saw TMM (80) reshuffle to fullback and Asiata (38) play in the halves. McLean (42) got lower minutes than I expected, and Hess (80) continues to hold down an edge. Granville (76) effectively played the whole game and was barely replaced at all by Dunn (17). McGuire (63) started off with a decent game at his new club.
All eyes were on Friz (48) as the lock replacement for JDB, but extremely unfortunately for him, he copped a stray knee and lacerated his nut. I’m cringing as I write this. It’s hard to work out who the major beneficiary was though, as Graham (57), Vaughan (53), and Lawrie (42) all saw bigger than expected minutes. Host (67) got decent minutes and seems set to have a spot for the time being with Friz being out. There still remains a question mark as to what happens once Korbin is back in Round 3. I’d personally wait a week for Host and see how they line up in Round 3. Mary seems set on his crazy rotation, which saw Dufty (13) come on late in the game, Widdop to five eighth, Norman to halfback and Hunt (all 80 minutes) to hooker with McInnes (70) coming off the field. Crazy!
So Sele (18) ended up starting but then he came off the field with a suspected broken arm (since cleared, and a chance to start this week again) which saw JFH play the full 80 minutes, Tamou (60) have a monster of a game, RCG (62 – replaced Sele) be on the field a lot but not do much, and even Leota (44) getting bigger minutes than usual. Throw in Yeo (54) getting knocked out later and the rotations were even more messed up. Both Hetherington (26 – replaced Yeo) and Fuimaono (56) were not that impressive. Egan (61) was a late call-up with Katoa getting hurt at training, and he shared minutes with Luai (19).
Hello darkness my old friend… I could hear it playing in my head as soon as Nathan Brown went down in obvious pain. He’s one of the toughest blokes playing the game now so if he’s in pain, he’s hurt. Unfortunately 18 minutes into the Eels’ season, and I copped my first injury to my SuperCoach team. This undoubtedly had flow-on impact with extended minutes for Alvaro (54), Moeroa (57) and Mannah (52) as well as all but locking in Lane and Niukore for 80 minutes on each edge. Gower (38) and Evans (17) didn’t get much time though, comparatively. As suspected, Mahoney (67) did have to share some minutes with the Fresh Prince himself (17), so owners were saved by the nice try and line break. Jennings was sinbinned so he only played 70 minutes. Next week will be very interesting…
This game was a mess in terms of the weather, the injuries and the rotations. Ash Taylor was a late withdrawal, which saw AJ Brimson (80) starting and obviously playing more than he was expected to. This may mean he doesn’t get eased into the season as was the original plan. Roberts got hurt just 13 minutes into the game, which saw Peachey (80) shift into the halves and Copley (67) take over at left centre. Wallace and Arrow both played 54 minutes (with Arrow’s 54 minutes being in one stint), and the surprise was Carty with 61 minutes and James with 60. James started on the left edge and pushed into the middle once Carty came on, after Boyd (42) left the field following his first stint. Hopes for Fotuaika breaking out this season are not starting well with him only getting 27 minutes. Garth Brennan did state in the presser that the Roberts injury resulted in Arrow not getting back onto the field. We shall see this week, because if that’s the case, there’s a good chance Arrow is getting 65+ minutes if he played 54-55 minutes straight, to get a breather and then maybe another stint after 10-15 or so minutes off the field.
John Bateman you lovable Englishman, I’m so glad you’re already in my CTW. 80 minutes out the blocks for your NRL debut – even if the last 12 minutes were at centre following Simonsson (68) leaving the field due to cramp – is some effort. What was interesting was that he was at left centre in attack, but in defence, Wighton and Croker were at left centre/wing (with Cotric shifting to right wing) and Bateman and Whitehead were defending 2 and 3 in from the left side. This should hopefully mean more tackles regardless of being shifted away from lock. Papalii (47) got restricted minutes playing prop (although he was very good) and Hodgson, Whitehead and Tapine all played the full game. Soliola (45) was the other big minute player, with Lui (25 even though he started), Havili (18), Sutton (12) and Horsburgh (25) being mostly irrelevant.