Note when reading the breakdowns that they were based on predicted Round 1 teams, and some were written close to a month ago, although I did try and update as the pre-season unfolded as often as possible.
The Round 1 buy ratings will by the main factor impacted by certain team changes, so take them with a grain of salt. Largely the bios of each player will remain relevant though.
Anyway, let’s get stuck into the first squad analysis piece of the season.
*Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a key on all SuperCoach relevant abbreviations.
Analysis: Brenko Lee is out injured, but is only likely to miss a game or two. As a result, George Jennings is definitely an avoid, while I’m a touch worried about Reimis Smith as a buy, although I do expect him to retain his place as a winger once Brenko returns.
With Harry Grant out for 3-4 rounds, and Dale Finucane out fairly long-term, Brandon Smith looks like a fairly bulletproof buy.
He started at hooker in five games last season, producing scores of: 66 (75 mins), 52 (67), 73 (63), 54 (79), 79 (62).
He averaged 54MPG last season, so you’d think he’ll play anywhere from 65-80 over the next month, potentially until Finucane is out.
The three forward bench is great for Christian Welch. None of NAS, Lewis or Kamikamica will command big minutes in the middle, while Eisenhuth is more of an edge forward anyway.
It should see Welch improve on his 43MPG quite a bit. From Round 9 onwards in 2020 he averaged 59.6PPG which came across a 10 game sample.
NAS has some appeal, but I’ll be avoiding as I think Welch and Smith are better buys, more so Smith.
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Campbell Graham 5. Josh Mansour 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Tevita Tatola 11. Jacob Host 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Cameron Murray
Bench: 14. Benji Marshall 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Keaon Koloamatangi 17. Jai Arrow
Reserves: 18. Patrick Mago 19. Jaxson Paulo 20. Tautau Moga 21. Troy Dargan
Analysis: The backline is named as expected, while there’s plenty of SuperCoach relevance in the pack.
Jacob Host beats out Jai Arrow and Keaon Koloamatangi for a starting edge role, but for how long?
I can’t help but feel Arrow will start in his place once fit and firing. Host only averaged 43MPG last season, scoring at 0.82PPM.
The year prior he averaged 57MPG and his output dropped to just 0.67PPM, pretty ordinary reading.
Obviously if he played a consistent 80 minute role he’d be a huge option, I’m just not convinced he will.
Benji Marshall wins the utility role, what does this mean for Cook?
If the Bunnies do get out to strong leads it may tempt Wayne Bennett to rest his star hooker throughout the year, possibly bringing Benji on for a stint at hooker.
Look, I wouldn’t be too worried as a Cook owner, but certainly worth some thought with so many decent hooking options.
I’ve stated previously my concern with Cook that he may reduce his running game big time in a bid to get the flying Walker and Latrell early ball.
There’s not big minutes between Tom Burgess and Tevita Tatola as starters, so I like that for Cam Murray’s potential game time when you consider Benji is also on the bench.
Reserves: 19. Tuipulotu Katoa 20. Chris Smith 21. Brandon Wakeham 22. Ava Seumanufagai
Analysis: Not a lot to chat about here in terms of SuperCoach relevance.
Jake Averillo is slightly tempting as a dual CTW-5/8, but how many points do the Dogs attack have in them?
I’d need him goal-kicking to consider, this won’t happen unless Kyle Flanagan goes down injured.
Corey Waddell has been named to start on an edge over Raymond Faitala-Mariner which was a big surprise.
Adam Elliott averaged just 58MPG last season, if he plays 80 on the edge he has huge upside, but you’d need to see him get the time before buying.
Jack Hetherington has tempted some at a tick under $300k as a starting prop.
I’m not a fan, he averaged 33PPG in 45MPG at an output of 0.73PPM last season, so I don’t see him increasing on this too significantly.
Josh Jackson starts at lock as expected, he averaged 77MPG last season. He didn’t really have any attacking stats on the edge, so with an improved base in the middle he’d be an option only if he played 80.
I feel as though he’ll play anywhere from 60-65 as a middle, which wouldn’t make him an option.
Bench: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila 16. Leeson Ah Mau 17. Bunty Afoa
Reserves: 18. Adam Pompey 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. Tom Ale 22. Josh Curran
Analysis: Another four forward bench, huge! Not only are there four forwards, but they’re all middles!!!
Ben Murdoch-Masila, who plays on the edge also, was beaten to a starting spot by Bayley Sironen.
I think people have avoided a trap there…
Sironen averaged just 52MPG last season, scoring at a pretty ordinary 0.75PPM.
He’d need to play 80 to warrant selection which looks unlikely with the bench named.
I quite liked Tohu Harris and Addin Fonua-Blake, but I’m not going near either with that bench.
Wade Egan makes an early return from injury, putting a line through Jazz Tevaga who was named at 14.
Chanel Harris-Tavita was handed the 7 jersey for seven of the last eight rounds in 2020, playing the full 80 minutes and goal-kicking.
He scored his points in a variety of ways to finish those seven games with an average of 65.4PPG.
We’re desperate for a backup halfback, could he be the man? I’ll likely avoid, but he looks a decent option.
Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Corey Thompson 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Anthony Don 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
Bench: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Erin Clark
Reserves: 18. Phillip Sami 19. Beau Fermor 20. Herman Ese’ese 21. Sam McIntyre
Analysis: If this bench stays the same come game day, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui looks the big winner.
Justin Holbrook has named a utility in Tyrone Peachey (likely to come on as a middle), a reserve hooker/half in Erin Clark, then the two big men in Sam Lisone and Jaimin Jolliffe who won’t command many minutes.
As such, I see Tino playing 60-65 minutes minimum. Considering he averaged just 46MPG last season I see him as almost impossible to avoid now I’ve seen the bench.
Furthermore, he spent a decent chunk of time on the edge last year, so his base should go up as a middle.
David Fifita will play his 80MPG and is a strong buy.
Plenty are raving about Jamal Fogarty as a reserve halfback option, and while the goal-kicking duties make him enticing, I’m not convinced.
Brian Kelly is a solid option at CTW, I’m very comfortable going a Teddy-Papy combo over Brimson.
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Api Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo
Bench: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Liam Martin
Reserves: 18. J’maine Hopgood 19. Matt Burton 20. Robert Jennings 21. Mitch Kenny
Analysis: With games to open against the Cowboys and Bulldogs,you can makea case for the majority of Penrith’s side.
Charlie Staines is a near must, Paul Momirovski is a tempting POD (Naden’s Round 5 return a concern), Stephen Crichton is a gun, while Brian To’o is my pick of the elite CTWs in the competition for Round 1.
If you don’t own Nathan Cleary, get him, he’s basically the only good option at halfback in my eyes.
He’s also a big captaincy option in Round 1.
Kurt Capewell is the big winner here, named to start in the back-row, while available as a CTW-2RF in SuperCoach.
He’s made his way into my CTW, Isaah Yeo of 2020 anyone?
He’s not locked into an 80 minute role, but with two middle forwards and Liam Martin (edge) on the bench he looks good.
Martin spent time in the middle during the trial win over the Eels which suggests he may play 20-25 on the edge for Kikau, then additional time in the middle rotation.
I don’t think Moses Leota will get the minutes to warrant consideration, likewise James Fisher-Harris.
Will Spencer Leniu improve significantly enough on his 20MPG last season to be a big improver?
Potentially, but I’m likely to watch his game time early on with so much competition for minutes in the pack.
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Esan Marsters 4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Michael Morgan 7. Jake Clifford 8. Francis Molo 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Sebastian Kris 4. Curtis Scott 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine
Bench: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Sia Soliola 17. Ryan James
Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Tom Starling 20. Emre Guler 21. Harley Smith-Shields
Analysis: Another four forward bench that will have big SuperCoach ramifications.
It means several things, firstly that Josh Hodgson becomes a serious buy option.
No Tom Starling suggests to me that Hodgo will try to play 80 on return from injury, and Siliva Havili will deputise for 15-20 if required.
The bench has four middle forwards, meaning Joe Tapine’s minutes are a huge question mark, I’d avoid.
Ditto Josh Papalii who may be eased into the year after a big 2020 season.
Hudson Young however should play 8o on the edge.
With Corey Horsburgh (Round 2) and Corey Harawira-Naera (Round 3) returning soon, I think Ryan James is a trap as a cheapie.
Bailey Simonsson looks one of the safer cheapies in terms of job security to start the year.
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Joseph Leilua 5. AJ Kepaoa 6. Moses Mbye 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal
Bench: 14. Tommy Talau 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Stefano Utoikamanu 17. Russell Packer
Reserves: 18. Jock Madden 19. Michael Chee Kam 20. Tuki Simpkins 21. Alex Seyfarth
Analysis: Daine Laurie wins the starting fullback role, hallelujah! Get him in. He’s also a pretty safe play as a cheapie CTW with his strong base.
James Roberts is a decent cheapie, but with games against the Raiders and Roosters to start the year I would avoid playing in my 17.
As the sole hooker named, Jacob Liddle looks almost a must-have, but I think there’s plenty more to read into it following an in-depth chat on the podcast.
In brief, I expect Moses Mbye to spell him at some point in the game.
Come Round 2, Adam Doueihi returns at 5/8, I suspect Mbye becomes the 14 and again spells Liddle.
I’m not certain of his minutes, but I’d guess at 50-60 on return from so many serious injuries.
Tommy Talau at 14 is such an odd selection, is Jock Madden a game day switch to 5/8 with Mbye to the bench?
Who knows, but there’s plenty to ponder.
I see myself starting with Watson and Lam/Hodgo at hooker, and if Liddle does fire as a big minute hooker it’s an easy downgrade before initial price rises after Round 3.
Three middle forwards on the bench is a worry for Alex Twal owners, but at just over $500k he looks pretty decent value anyway, so I wouldn’t be too concerned.
Analysis: Andrew Fifita was touted as a Round 1 buy following a strong performance in the Indigenous All Stars side, he missed the 17 entirely, so we avoided a huge trap there.
While I’ve owned Matt Moylan all pre-season, I’m wavering. I feel as though Will Kennedy will steal plenty of his try-assists as the sweep runner out the back of play, who the assist is always awarded to.
With three middle forwards on the bench I’m not enticed by anyone in the pack.
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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
POD = Point of difference
3RA = Three round average
5RA = Five round average
BREAKEVEN (B/E) = The score a player must record to earn a price