Playmaker’s Insight: Key questions ahead of season opener

Canberra Raiders halfback Sam Williams looks ahead to the 2020 season.

Playmaker's Insights

With the 2020 season kick starting this week, I’ll have a look into a few common questions that I get asked and how that could translate into SuperCoach success or failure.

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How will the Roosters handle the early rounds following the World Club Challenge in England?

I think they will have learnt from last year’s disappointing Round 1 defeat to South Sydney and will have slightly altered how they approach the opener.

It may have been as simple as how they structure their recovery from overseas travel and the amount of time spent on the training paddock.

They may simplify their game plan and play a more percentage-based game plan.

With their strike power and game breakers such as James Tedesco and Luke Keary, they will still find a way to score points, but do it in a more conservative manner.

A new halves combination will take some time to fully gel, so it’ll likely take Flanagan some time to find his feet in a new team.

The NRL draw suits them and I’m sure this was looked at by the NRL with the first five rounds all being in and around Sydney, allowing them to have a simple travel plan and a consistent training base.

This is something that can’t be overlooked and they certainly know how to handle being the hunted.

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Having been unbeaten since 2001 in the season opener, why is Melbourne so dominant in Round 1?

I don’t believe that there is a team that knows there game better than the Storm.

They are very meticulous in their shapes and roles of each individual player.

Something that may take 8-12 weeks to come together in some teams, the Storm seem to have nailed at the time the competition starts.

I’m sure all teams have the same ambitions to start the season fast.

But it’s the knowledge that Cameron Smith has of how to win a game that’s the difference, whether it be Origin, Test or NRL games, it’s second to none and it’s no fluke that the influence he has on any player who comes into the Storm system is passed on.

Without knowing how all clubs train, I believe some teams will structure match fitness and peaking at certain times of the season differently, but the Storm are always rock hard fit and ready to play in Round 1.

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Who will start strong and surprise?

This part of tipping is a nightmare for most tipsters with so much unknown in an extremely even competition.

A team who could start strong on the back of a good early season draw is the Bulldogs.

Although they aren’t up with the favourites for the competition, they have a style that is physical, gritty and certainly a team that works hard for each other.

The early rounds are very much about completions and less about flamboyance, and although they have added some really nice spark, I think if they can complete well they will have some close matches that they will back themselves to come out on top in.

In the opening six rounds, they have four games at ANZ and the other two in Campbelltown and Bankwest.

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As evidenced in the back end of last season, the team is really starting to discover and successfully implement the Dean Pay way, which gives them the perfect grounding to make themselves known early in the year.

Many are rightly jumping on Parramatta stars in SuperCoach due to what appears to be a simple early season draw, including the Bulldogs twice, but it may not be the walkover most are predicting.

I hope this gives some insight into a couple of early season favourites and a team on the up.

I’m as excited for the 2020 season to start as anyone.

Good luck to all SuperCoach players out there, I hope your players do well (unless against the Raiders) and your team is successful.

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