Part three: Players of Intrigue in 2020

2019 SC runner-up Walson Carlos assesses the Players of Intrigue from the 1st-4th placed clubs.

Expert Analysis Pre Season

Okay, we’ve all heard of POD’s but what about POI’s?

I know it doesn’t really roll off the tongue quite as well. Nonetheless these Players of Intrigue (POI’s) might just make the difference for this Supercoach season.

Maybe they’ve moved to a new club, swapped positions, have a new coach or playing role. These are among a plethora of factors that can affect a player’s output from year-to-year and in turn affect their Supercoach points output.

Below I’m going to work my way through the clubs and touch on the Supercoach players that intrigue me leading into season 2020.

Here’s my take on the top 4 placed teams from last year.

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Canberra Raiders

George Williams – HFB/5-8 – $333,800

How will Williams’ Super League form translate to the NRL? According to our full analysis on the UK import, Williams’ stats would have converted to a SuperCoach average of 74.8PPG. Priced at an average of just 35.9PPG, there’s a suggestion he should make significant cash for owners with serious point-scoring upside to boot.

Jack Wighton – 5-8 – $497,000

If you believe that Jack Wighton has improvement in him in the five-eighth position then you have to believe he is capable of improving his Supercoach scores in 2020.

Last year he averaged 53 points. The top 5-8’s were Cameron Munster (69), Kalyn Ponga (68) and Cody Walker (64).

Whether Wighton can elevate his game to such a level that would see a 10-15PPG improvement is questionable.

It will be interesting to see how the Raiders play this though with George Williams likely to link up with fellow Englishman John Bateman on the right hand side of the field.

A lot of the Raiders play already revolves around Josh Hodgson to which was frustrating at times last year for SuperCoaches who owned Wighton.

If he gets good early clean ball he is one of the most damaging runners in the game. 

South-Sydney Rabbitohs

Latrell Mitchell – CTW/FLB – $653,100

Wow, what an offseason. Latrell clearly wanted out of the Roosters for whatever reason and finally the saga ended when he linked with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The fact that Latrell linked with the Roosters’ arch enemy for a reduced deal instead of taking the nearly $4 million dollars for 4 years offered by the Tigers is a pretty fair indication he wants to play fullback for a top 4 team.

To be fair it’s a dream pick up for the Rabbitohs who’s spine possibly now challenges for the best in the comp.

Latrell, Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker and Damien Cook. That’s real quality there. SuperCoach wise it is very hard to get a read on how Latrell is going to go.

Can he handle the significantly increased load that comes with playing fullback?

He’s as explosive player we have seen in the centres and he is renowned for his unique mix of low involvement and high-quality touches.

Has anyone ever scored 161 SC points and only had 20 base points in a game? Latrell did in 2019 v the Tigers. I tend to believe if he can get himself fit enough and that is a huge if, Latrell could be a SuperCoach revelation playing fullback at the Rabbitohs.

I’m very tempted to try to fit him into my team because I think he will have low ownership early, maybe even less than 10 percent. Only if he gets the goal-kicking over Reynolds though.

Cody Walker – 5/8 – $602,800

In the past you’d have to be a masochist to want to have a SuperCoach team with Latrell and Cody Walker in it. Experienced SuperCoaches will know what I mean.

You’ll be watching a game and Latrell or Walker are on 5 or 6 SC points with 5 minutes to go in the half and then bang. Suddenly they explode and they’re on 55.

But if you put aside how they score their points the reality is Walker has been incredibly consistent overall for SuperCoach.

For the last four years he has been what SuperCoaches refer to as a 60/60 player.

A 60/60 player is one that has averaged over 60 points for the year and has had scores of 60+ in 60% or more of their games. The thing about Walker is you have to ride the good with the bad, not unlike Latrell. 

Braidon Burns – CTW – $454,400

I don’t think anyone would doubt how good Burns looks as a SuperCoach player when he is on the field.

In 2019 for the seven games Burns played 80 minutes uninjured he averaged just over 60. That is elite for any CTW.

But the fact he only played 9/24 games and has had a horrid run with injury has got to make SuperCoaches wary. At his starting price is Burns worth the risk in 2020?

Keep an eye out for PNG prodigy Edene Gebbie who comes in at the lowest price for a cheapie and probably won’t start the season in the team.

Some of the numbers he put up in terms of carries and tackle breaks and kick return metres in Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup last year were phenomenal.

Melbourne Storm

Brandon Smith – HOK/2RF – $431,700

Some intrigue surrounds how Melbourne will play this year in terms of the makeup of their spine. There has been some conjecture that Cam Smith may play halfback with the Storm going into the season without a recognised halfback on their books.

Waiting in the wings in the hooker position they have an embarrassment of riches in Qld Cup Player of the Year Harry Grant and NZ hooker Brandon Smith.

How Bellamy decides to manage this situation could well dictate the Storm’s fortunes in 2020 and also the SuperCoach fortunes of both Cam and Brandon Smith.

Brandon Smith only needs minutes and he becomes Supercoach relevant. Last year he averaged just 42MPG in a lock role and his PPM average was 46. If his minutes get a bump to say 60MPG it is highly conceivable that puts him right in the mix to be a top 10 scoring 2RF.

Cameron Smith – HOK – $684,600

The consistency of this man as an NRL player is unparalleled. Equally that consistency has been also evident in Smith’s SuperCoach scoring.

In the last 12 years Cameron Smith has finished in the top 5 SuperCoach players nine times. Out of those nine times he has finished 1st on four occasions.

The three times he missed the top 5 overall scorers he finished 11th (2010), 13th (2017) and 11th (2018). Phenomenal. And then 2019 when he’s supposed to be in his decline he comes out and scores 1768 supercoach points and finishes 1st overall for points scored.

When will it end? Can he keep going at this prolific pace in 2020? It’d be a brave man to write him off.

Sydney Roosters

Angus Crichton – 2RF – $530,100

Put simply – what role does Trent Robinson have in mind for Angus Crichton?

If he can get a steady 2RF position on the right edge you’d have to think he is under-priced in 2020. However Robinson is a massive fan of Mitch Aubusson and there are some really talented back-rowers coming through at the Roosters including Nat Butcher.

Luke Keary – 5-8 – $569,400

With Kyle Flanagan moving over from the sharks to take over Cooper Cronk’s role it’s fair to assume that Keary finally gets the reins as chief playmaker.

How dominant can he be and will it result in a more consistent and high scoring Supercoach output? Keary is a close watch for sure.

Ryan Hall – CTW – $334,600

The injury to Billy Smith has opened the door for English veteran Ryan Hall.

It may now be that we see Brett Morris in the centres and Hall on the wing. Hall is a class player and one of the best finishers to ever play the game in my opinion.

I know he is 32 now but he is far better than reserve grade standard. If he can now jag a wing spot and start scoring some tries he will become SuperCoach relevant very quickly.

SUPERCOACH TERMINOLOGY KEY

MPG = Minutes per game

PPG = Points per game

PPM= Points per minute

BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)

POD = Point of difference

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