80-minute men: Must-have players if time arrives

2019 SC runner-up Walson Carlos identifies players you can't avoid if they're given 80-minute roles this season.

Expert Analysis Pre Season

There’s a host of players we’re hoping are gifted 80-minute roles to begin the year to help ease the strain on our SuperCoach decisions.

I’ve run through a group of players I believe will be must-haves to start the year if they’re given the faith of their coach.

Some look set to go the distance, others need luck to fall their way, here’s the top 10.

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1. HARRY GRANT

Grant dominated the Qld Intrust Super Cup in 2019 and to be honest if the swap deal with the Tigers and Momirovski happens this bloke is a bonafide SuperCoach stud.

Unfortunately, the NRL doesn’t appear too keen on the historic deal at this stage.

However, should it go ahead, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he comes to the Tigers and gets his way to playing 80 minutes in quick time.

Alternatively, Grant may seek a release from his contract should Melbourne allow it.

Jacob Liddle isn’t due back until mid-year from injury, while Josh Reynolds has been cleared to play in Round 1 which will hurt Grant’s minutes should the move proceed.

Have a listen to some of these stats from Harry Grant last year for the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

22 games, 14 tries, 21 try-assists, 22 linebreak assists, 40 tackles per game and 100 running metres per game.

In anyone’s language that translates to a bucketload of SuperCoach points and he’s a bargain basement price.

While Blayke Brailey is one of the most popular players in SuperCoach, I’ll be running a Cook-Grant hooking combination if Grant wins the starting role.

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2. API KOROISAU

I can see Api playing 80 minutes for the Panthers. His only danger is if they carry Mitch Kenny on the bench as a second hooker.

A story came out recently confirming he was playing injured last year and his minutes took a big hit from the rising stocks of Manase Fainu. If Api gets 80 minutes he’ll go big in SuperCoach.

3. JAI ARROW

I’m warming to Arrow big time. The injury to Ryan James means that someone is going to have to pick up the slack, with Arrow and Mo Fotuaika appearing as the two most likely.

With Arrow leaving next year Holbrook may be inclined to use him for bigger minutes rather than preserving his body for down the track.

Depending on his pre-season I think he’s capable of playing 80-minutes. It’s an exciting prospect.

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4. JAKE TURPIN

Remember back when Anthony Seibold made the big call on Robbie Farah at Souths. The year before Michael McGuire had dabbled with a two-hooker rotation system with Farah and Cook sharing.

Could he do it again here with Andrew McCullough and Jake Turpin?

There is no doubt Turpin starts at hooker and don’t be surprised if there is a utility in the 14 jumper instead of McCullough. This would mean big minutes for Turpin!

5. LUCIANO LEILUA

I find myself coming back to Luciano Leilua as I piece together my SC team. An 80-minute role on the edge with a bit of freedom and some early ball from Benji Marshall and I really could see Leilua scoring big SC points this season.

Similar to the way Munster fed the ball early to Kenny Bromwich last year, I think the Tigers can do the same with Leilua.

Add to that he will have his brother outside him and I’m really looking forward to watching the Tigers’ right edge attack. I’m very keen on L.Leilua if he gets 80.

6. NAT BUTCHER

Nat Butcher would be right up the top of the list if he wasn’t behind Radley. Butcher is a SuperCoach player of some pedigree. When he starts and/or gets decent minutes he is an elite SC back-rower.

Unfortunately, probably only an injury to Radley would see his game time improve.

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7. JAMES FISHER-HARRIS

Sure JFH averaged over 70-minutes last year, but if he is established as a week-in week-out 80-minute lock, ala Jake Trbojevic, he moves himself up into the very top echelon of FRF/2RF’s of SuperCoach 2020.

8. BRANDON SMITH

I would have had this guy a lot higher up the list if the rumours of Cam Smith moving to halfback were true.

They appear not to be meaning Brandon Smith will likely play his usual role off the bench.

Should Finucane or Cameron Smith get hurt though and he jags an 80 minute role he is a must.

9. CONNOR WATSON

Reports say it’s unlikely but watch his situation very, very, closely, because if Watson jags an 80-minute role at lock or hooker he is a must-have! I also wouldn’t mind him at 5/8, but at lock or hooker he would be SC gold.

10. RYAN MATTERSON

Matterson is my second player picked behind Papenhuyzen. I see him getting more minutes and more quality touches on the Eels’ right edge, rather than the role he was playing at the Tigers.

He is a must-have in my opinion and appears highly likely to play 80-minutes.

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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