Jacob Liddle // $247,200 // HOK or Jake Simpkins // $173,700 // HOK
Simpkins and Liddle are fighting for the starting hooker role at the Tigers, with one to play off the bench.
It’s early days, but I suspect the victor will play around 50 minutes and the loser to play around 30.
This means that I’d steer away from Liddle if he starts as he’s awkwardly priced with a terrible injury history.
If it’s Simpkins he’d be a lock in even if playing just 50 minutes.
It’s a massive watch in the trial against the Sea Eagles which will hopefully give us a fair idea.
Liddle started at hooker in the trial win over Manly, which isn’t great news for SuperCoach.
Chances: Likely to play together, trial to have a big impact on who starts.
Bailey Simonsson // $205,000 // CTW-FLB
Simonsson played just six games last season due to injury, averaging just 59MPG as a result.
In four 80 minute games he had scores of 26, 53, 19 and 44. It makes for okay reading, but very respectable when you look at his $205k price tag.
In 2019 he played 18 games, averaging 70MPG and 38PPG.
If he’s playing 80MPG on the wing we can expect him to average approximately 40-42PPG, although it’s obviously harder to predict the scoring of wingers, which would have him priced at around $350k for a $140k price rise.
Chances: Expected to start on the wing.
Stefano Utoikamanu // 186,800 // FRF
The former Eel comes with big wraps, but we only saw a glimpse of him last season.
He played three games, averaging 8 points in 14 minutes.
He’ll be pretty hard to pass up at the price, but he looks like a genuine slow-burning cash cow.
The makeup of the Tigers bench will be key, but it’ll likely have a reserve hooker, two props and a back-rower, so he should see some reasonable time.
He won’t make quick cash, but with very few cheapie or mid-range cows in the forwards (hooker aside), I think he’s one of the far better picks.
Chances: Expected to play off the bench in limited time early on.
Pre-season will be a huge watch on the gun forward. If he excels in the trials and jags a bench spot he’s obviously going to warrant strong consideration at just $236k.
However, there’s the competition for minutes which will be an issue.
He averaged 63PPG in 2018, 60PPG in 2017 and 72PPG in 2017, so the SuperCoach pedigree is clearly there.
Outside of 2017 where he scored at a ridiculous 1.23PPM due to a try-scoring bonanza, he traditionally scores at around 0.8-0.9PPM.
I’ll likely avoid unless we are short on cheapies for Round 1, and if he gets decent time in Round 1 and 2 we can jump on before the price rise occurs.
James played decent minutes in the two trials (same day) against North Sydney and the Roosters and looked solid in the process.
Chances: With CHN and Corey Horsburgh missing the first round minimum he should jag a bench role, but it’s unknown whether he will remain once they return. Big watch.
Keaon Koloamatangi // $301,200 // 2RF
Firstly, Koloamatangi is far from locked in for a starting spot at the Rabbitohs, he’s also priced a pinch over genuine cheapie range, but I thought he was worth including anyway.
With Murray set to start at lock, it opens up the left back-row role that could fall to a number of candidates, and I currently have Koloamatangi with his nose in front.
Last season he averaged 33BPG in 35MPG at an output of 0.98PPM.
His work rate is solid, but would also reduce on the edge rather than the middle.
I rate him as a player, but I’m not convinced he’d be the SuperCoach star we’re expecting.
Many will be of the belief he’s extremely capable of jagging attacking stats to bolster his base, but last year’s numbers tell a different story.
In his 11 games he failed to score a try, try-assist (not that it’s expected from a middle), broke just five tackles and had three offloads.
I think he’ll certainly improve on this in 2021 as he’s a player on the up with huge potential, but I’d want to see him locked in for 50-60 minutes minimum before picking.
I do however love the fact he’d be on the left edge running off Cody Walker.
Even if starting I’d be tempted to wait until the initial price rise in Round 3, but it’ll also depend on how the pre-season unfolds and the cheapie stocks in Round 1.
Jai Arrow played on an edge when coming on during the Charity Shield, leading me to think he and Jaydn Su’A wil be the starting edge this season once both fully fit. This makes me feel like Koloamatangi and Jacob Host are both traps.
Chances: Is a strong chance of starting on the left edge, but isn’t assured the role.
Jack Hetherington // $294,500 // FRF
Hetherington just sneaks in as a cheapie, and is a chance at starting for the Bulldogs.
He averaged 33PPG in 45MPG at an output of 0.73PPM last season, so I don’t see him increasing on this too significantly.
He’d need to increase to an absolute minimum of 50+ minutes at that output to warrant buying.
Chances: Is a chance of starting at prop in Round 1.