Team Announcement: Tim Williams drops Round 1 side

Looking to go one better than last season, 2020 NRL SuperCoach runner-up Tim Williams drops his initial team ahead of Round 1.

Pre-season

Like everyone, my SuperCoach side has chopped and changed on countless occasions throughout the pre-season.

Perhaps no more so than in recent days with the injury drama down at Melbourne, following on from the insights we gained from the NRL trial weekend.

I’ve preached a desire all pre-season to solidify my CTW with a few mid-rangers and guns to avoid those single digit scores that can crop up from cheapies in the position.

However, the closer we get to Round 1 I’m finding myself lured into a four cheapie approach at CTW as I don’t think we have the crop of bargain buys and mid-rangers in the forwards that I’d hoped for.

At this stage, it’s cost me Brian To’o and Val Holmes (if goal-kicking at fullback) who I was very keen on to start the year.

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As we all know, team list Tuesday has the capacity to change the entire side completely.

I expect my side to be altered fairly significantly come Tuesday, ideally with a surprise cheapie FRF/2RF that will allow me to stock up the CTW a little more.

I’ve left $108,000 in my cap for adjustments, likely to be utilised at this stage around picking the more secure cheapies when teams drop, even if it means paying $250-$300k.

The squad I’ve picked has a stack of players available for the Round 13 bye week which is reassuring, but there’s plenty to play out between now and then.

I’ve analysed each player in greater detail in my squad breakdown pieces, so follow the link to those if interested in more in-depth analysis.

Here’s how I’m lining up for Round 1 so far.

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FULLBACK

JAMES TEDESCO

I see the desire to start without Teddy to free up cap space, but the thought of him hitting a double ton as someone else’s captain in the opening rounds as a non-owner is terrifying.

The Roosters face Manly and the Tigers in the opening fortnight, yes please..

Roosters analysis

RYAN PAPENHUYZEN

Little Papy was locked into my side the minute he was confirmed as goal-kicker for the Storm.

Add another 10-12 points per game onto his average from kicking and he looks impossible to avoid.

He had five tons in his last 11 games last season once really settling into his role in the top grade.

Storm analysis

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CTW

BLAKE FERGUSON

I see Fergy Ferg as an exceptional mid-ranger to start the year.

He’ll surely score a fair few more tries in 2021, and he has one of the best base output for a CTW in SuperCoach

Playing in a strong Eels outfit he was one of my first selected despite his extremely low ownership.

Eels analysis

CHARLIE STAINES

Staines may have the odd low score in him, and is slightly awkwardly priced at just under $300k, but Penrith’s draw to start the year made it a no-brainer for me, especially when I had to drop To’o from my squad.

They face the Cowboys and Bulldogs in the opening two rounds and there could be some decent scores put on in both games.

Panthers analysis

DAINE LAURIE

Starting fullback for the Tigers, a strong base, cheapie price, Laurie picks himself.

BAILEY SIMONSSON

Simonsson starts very cheapie after an injury impacted 2020 campaign where he also spent time off the bench.

The Raiders face the Tigers, Sharks and Warriors to start the year, making him a reasonable play in 17s considering his price.

Raiders analysis

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JASON SAAB

Saab isn’t locked into a spot for Round 1 at Manly, but at $233k he’s hard to ignore if named.

Without Tommy Turbo feeding him good ball, and games against the Roosters and Rabbitohs to kick off, I’ll avoid playing him in my 17.

TESI NIU

Niu will be in that Broncos backline somewhere and is very cheap, another I’ll try to avoid playing in my 17 unless he finds himself at fullback.

Broncos analysis

GREG MARZHEW

May not jag a Round 1 spot, and if he doesn’t he can easily become the likes of David Fusitu’a or James Roberts.

I like Roberts due to his job security, and while he still may well come in, the Tigers face the Raiders and Roosters in the opening fortnight which scares me off a touch.

Titans analysis

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FIVE-EIGHTH

CODY WALKER

It’s a toss up between Walker and Munster for this spot, but I can’t go past what I’ve seen from the Bunnies playmaker in the past six months.

He and the Bunnies look absolutely electric, and when I saw him playing both sides of the field in the Charity Shield despite Latrell’s return it was enough for me to lock him in.

Rabbitohs analysis

MATT MOYLAN

Yes I’m aware of the risk of Moylan with his injury history, I just know what he’s capable of and will cringe watching him if he carves up at $250k.

I’ll likely avoid playing in my 17 early until I see how he looks.

If Josh Schuster gets named to start for Manly I’ll likely lock him in instead, saving $50k and not panicking that his hammy will go every time he gets out of first gear.

Sharks analysis

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HALFBACK

NATHAN CLEARY

He’s the standout halfback option by a significant margin and I can’t see a case where you leave him out.

Panthers analysis

SAM WALKER

This is very undecided at the moment, I just don’t like anyone else at halfback. There are a few reasonable picks in the $400-500k range, but I want to spend that coin elsewhere.

I don’t like the idea of starting with a non-playing reserve, especially without dual HFB-5/8s in the halves, but Walker does give me an opportunity to utilise the vice-captain loophole.

This is particularly important under the new rules as we saw so many enormous individual scores last season.

The Roosters play on Saturday or later in four of the first five weeks which makes this a far more viable option.

Roosters analysis

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2RF

RYAN MATTERSON

Disregarded one injury impacted game last season, Matto’s lowest score all year was 60.

Thrown in his hefty ceiling for a forward and it’s hard to go past him.

Eels analysis

ANGUS CRICHTON

Crichton was locked into my side with the news Boyd Cordner will miss several months of action.

It should lock him into an 80 minute role, and like Matterson he has exceptional base and a big ceiling for a forward.

He looked devastating in the trial game against Canberra.

Roosters analysis

CAM MURRAY

I’ve never been one to go my heart over my head in SuperCoach, but Murray might be one that slightly fits that category.

I’m such a massive fan of Cam both on and off the field, and I think we’re only scratching the surface of his ability.

I owned all last season and he was within inches of having an extra 10 tries to his name.

I’m backing South Sydney to win the comp off the back of their relentless attack, so hopefully Murray gets in on the scoring action.

Rabbitohs analysis

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TINO FA’ASUAMALEAUI

It was a little tough picking between David Fifita and big Tino, but the latter looks to be more of a value proposition to start the year.

He averaged 46 minutes per game last season and scored at 1.23 points per minute.

I see him lifting to a 60-65 minute role at the Titans which can only mean good things, right?

Titans analysis

JORDAN RIKI

Riki passes the eye test with flying colours. The fact Kev Walters has moved TPJ to the middle suggests he wants Riki starting.

I’ll likely buy even if off the bench, although not without some hesitance if not starting.

No Payne Haas for the opening three rounds helps tremendously.

Broncos analysis

RYAN JAMES

I’m pretty sceptical of James, I’m not sure how his minutes will be once Corey Horsburgh returns.

The Raiders have plenty of depth in the pack, creating a big fight for minutes.

The likelihood of Tom Starling at 14 should help James’ cause though.

He’s a bit of a placeholder for the time being, let’s see how things unfold on Tuesday with teams.

Raiders analysis

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FRF

MATT LODGE

I think Lodge is one of the buys of the pre-season having averaged 63PPG in 2019.

Injury impacted his 2020 campaign, and with Payne Haas out till Round 4 I can see him getting good time in the middle.

I’m also confident in playing him in my starting side at least until Haas returns.

Broncos analysis

CHRISTIAN WELCH

I didn’t have Welch, but when both Harry Grant and more importantly Dale Finucane went down injured it opened up even more minutes in the pack.

I’m not convinced he’ll be everything we’re hoping for from a mid-ranger, but I don’t see anyone getting hurt in SuperCoach by starting with him.

Worst case he holds value, best case he averages 60+ and turns into Payne Haas come Round 6.

This could easily become Sio Siua Taukeiaho before Round 1.

Storm analysis

LEESON AH MAU

While far from locked into my side, Ah Mau is a recent inclusion provided he starts in Round 1.

He played just two games last season hence his cheap starting price.

As a result, he’s priced on an average of just 33 points per game.

In his three seasons prior to last he averaged 51, 48 and 48 points per game.

An average of 46 would see him rise $120k before being turned into a keeper.

The Warriors Round 1 bench make up will be key to this selection.

Warriors analysis

STEFANO UTOIKAMANU

The injury to Shawn Blore should only help the former Eel, while the likely inclusion of Jacob Liddle or Jake Simpkin at 14 should help the minutes in the forwards.

He looks a very nice slow-burning cash cow in a position with few cheapies, but don’t expect the world.

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HOOKER

CONNOR WATSON

Watson was one of my first picked, let’s just hope he keeps himself fit.

I don’t think it matters whether you have him at hooker or five-eighth, just get him in.

Knights analysis

LACHLAN LAM

Lam is awkwardly priced, but he looks pretty enticing with a red-hot Roosters side with that friendly early season draw.

If you can have one of he and Watson at five-eighth and hooker it could be a very valuable positional swing should one go down injured.

Roosters analysis

11 Responses to “Team Announcement: Tim Williams drops Round 1 side”

  1. Alex Favotto

    Hi Tim, just some food for thought for S Walker and using him to loop.

    Whilst you are right in that Roosters play late in the round regularly to start, you also need to consider when Penrith play because you will be taking cleary out of the side to loop. Penrith play on a Thursday or Friday 7/10 times in the first 10 rounds. It makes it impossible to loop if penrith play on a thursday and extremely difficult if they play on a friday because the vc need to come from the first or second game of the round. Although this may not change you picking him because you may just have him in the hope he plays at some point in the season, I think it is false to think of him as a good route to use a vc loop npr.

    Thanks, Alex

    • Hey Alex, yep great shout and I did consider that. Obviously with the Thursday game the loop won’t be possible, but you can bench Cleary other weeks and put the reserve on him. Especially when you’d only be taking it off someone like Riki or Lam which wouldn’t be a worry at all.

  2. John Lusty

    Hi Tim, impressive team.
    I have one question, even though he started slowly last year, I’m suprised you aren’t starting with Cookie. Will you be looking to bring him in before the origin period, or wait until round 18?
    Cheers, John

    • Hey John, at this stage I’ll ideally bring him in Round 5-7 as a direct upgrade from Lam. I just like Lam, Watson, Moylan so I stayed away. I did have him in an earlier draft of my side, but the Charity Shield scared me off with how lethal Cody and Latrell were. I can see the Bunnies playing a lot more lateral and hitting the flanks, meaning Cook will do a lot more distributing rather than running. Just my thoughts, certainly don’t let me talk you out of him.

      • John Lusty

        Thanks Tim, I certainly see your logic, but I think I’ll stick with Cook and save a trade. Though I am tempted by Josh Hodgson, I thought he looked good in the trial. I feel he could make $100k over the first 6 weeks. Any thoughts on Hodgo?

        • Yep back yourself mate, nothing wrong with Cooky! I really wanted Hodgo, I’m just concerned they’ll name Starling on the bench and Hodgo will only play 60 minutes on return from his ACL injury. He relies on attacking stats comparatively to other hookers, base isn’t great, Will reconsider if no Starling.

  3. Damien

    You can’t loop from half back! Are you seriously going to take Cleary out to try this? This is the most rediculous reason to justify nuffing at Half for Rd1!

    • Yes you can… E.g. VC Cody Walker goes big on Thursday night in Round 1 v Storm. Move Walker into starting halfback, Cleary goes to reserves. Then take the reserve off Jordan Riki for example and place it on Cleary. Problem solved…

  4. a_harris85

    Regarding Sam Walker as a NPR in halfback, what happens if Cleary is out for 1 round only? In COVID world there is even a higher chance, not only do you have to worry about a minor injury, suspension, but also an elevated temp game day (like Teddy vs Broncos) or a breach (tik tok anyone).

    While you would obviously trade if Cleary was out long term, but it’s the 1 week out you gotta worry about

    • Yep it’s a really good point mate, the move wouldn’t be without risk of course in that sense. It’ll lead me to want to keep $100k spare early on to be able to make that move to a playing halfback if needed, but great shout.

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