Team announcement: Jarrod Croker

Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker names his SuperCoach squad to start the new season.

Expert Analysis Pre Season

I’m excited to be on board the SC Playbook team for the new season, but I have to admit I’m lacking in the SuperCoach experience department.

I’ve jumped on the advice of the fellow contributors to help put together ‘Croker’s Stockmen’ for Round 1.

The name comes from my hometown club, the Goulburn Stockmen.

To avoid any drama, I’ll be steering clear of any fellow Canberra players throughout the season, so hopefully that doesn’t come back to bite me too hard.

It was tough work fitting players under the cap, but with a bit of luck my cheap players will get a start early in the year to accommodate the stars.

Here’s what I’ve come up with to start the year.

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FULLBACK

Tom Trbojevic || $714,800 || FLB

Trbojevic pretty well picked himself, he’s an absolute star who should be set for another strong season after picking up a few injuries in 2019.

Ryan Papenhuyzen || $508,200 || FLB

The Melbourne fullback is loaded with X-factor and on all reports is a bargain buy in SuperCoach for round 1.

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WING/CENTRE

Latrell Mitchell || $653,100 || CTW-FLB

Bringing in Latrell hurt my bank big time, but he should see plenty more ball at fullback. He’s arguably the most damaging runner in the game, so he could be anything with more touches to his name. He looks a standout as a buy in the centres.

Josh Mansour || $416,700 || CTW

Josh is one of the strongest ball-carriers in the NRL and can hopefully stay fit and healthy in 2020.

Tristan Sailor || $247,200 || CTW-FLB

Sailor looks a really good prospect at the Dragons and should be a chance at winning a wing spot for Round 1.

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Bradman Best || $240,700 || CTW-FLB

Best got a taste of first-grade last season and didn’t look out of place so he’s a fairly straight forward recruit for my side.

Tommy Talau || $208,200 || CTW

Talau looks to have stacks of ability and appears to be in line to play NRL at some point this season.

Xavier Coates || $203,500 || CTW

Brisbane have plenty of backline depth but if injuries strike Coates can step up to the NRL.

Greg Leleisiuao || $171,900 || CTW

Leleisiuao looks a decent pick up by the Titans, hopefully he gets a run early in the year.

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5/8

Cody Walker || $602,800 || 5/8

You can’t switch off when you’re defending Cody at any stage, he’ll make you pay. While he costs plenty, I’m happy to have a player with his strike power in my side.

Michael Morgan || $471,600 || HFB-5/8

Morgan is another guy I was surprised to see so cheap. The Cowboys have a stacked pack that he can thrive behind after a disappointing 2019 for the club. A few key recruits out wide should do wonders for his attacking stats.

HALFBACK

Shaun Johnson || $585,500 || HFB-5/8

Johnson was straight into my team for the new season. He’s an electric ball-player and has really developed his organisational game in recent years, so hopefully that translates to some decent SuperCoach scores.

Jarome Luai || $257,400 || HFB-5/8

Luai looks a gifted playmaking prospect and should relish playing next to Nathan Cleary at Penrith.

HOOKER

Damien Cook || $705,500 || HOK

Cook has asserted himself as an absolute star in recent years and was an easy pick for Croker’s Stockmen. You know his running game is lethal, but if the play-the-ball is quick enough there’s little you can do to stop him through the ruck.

Blayke Brailey || $201,000 || HOK

With brother Jayden moving to Newcastle it looks as though Blayke will be the No.9 for Cronulla. At that price he looks a bargain.

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FRONT-ROW

Payne Haas || $728,200 || FRF

I really wanted big Papa here, but my ban on Raiders players stopped me. I thought about starting without Haas due to his huge price tag, but the more experienced SuperCoach minds have advised me against doing so. I’ve taken that on board for now, unless I need to free up cash before Round 1.

Jesse Bromwich || $454,200 || FRF

I was surprised to see Jesse Bromwich so cheap in comparison to the other props. He’s one of the best middle men in the game and his offload opens up some attacking opportunities around the ruck.

Tom Gilbert || $171,900 || FRF

I don’t know much about Gilbert, but after being named lock and rookie of the year in QLD Cup he must be pressing for a bench spot at the Cowboys, here’s hoping.

Stefano Utoikamanu || $171,900 || FRF

There’s huge wraps on young Utoikamanu at the Eels, with a bit of luck he’ll score a debut early in 2020.

SECOND-ROW

Mitch Barnett || $578,000 || 2RF

Mitch is an old teammate of mine at the Raiders and has flourished since moving to the Knights. The Taree boy is as tough as they come with a big motor, making him a welcome addition to my side.

David Fifita || $501,900 || 2RF

Young Fifita looks to have a huge future in front of him in the NRL. Based on what we saw last season he looks to be a fairly cheap buy.

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Jack Williams || $397,200 || 2RF

Jack came through the Raiders junior system and has excelled since joining the Sharks a few years back. All reports suggest he’s held in strong regard at the club and could be the guy to replace Paul Gallen at lock.

Billy Magoulias || $221,700 || 2RF

Magoulias is the other guy who could nab Gallen’s vacant spot, it just depends what John Morris wants with his lock. Williams will play effectively as another prop, while Magoulias would operate as another ball-playing option in the back-row.

Ben Trbojevic || $171,900 || 2RF-CTW

Ben is another young bloke with big wraps on him. He has some fairly decent genetics and a cheap price tag so he’s in my team for now.

Teig Wilton || $171,900 || 2RF

Hopefully Wilton can benefit from the changeover in forwards at Cronulla and jag a bench spot.

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