Stat analysis: Rd 2, vital numbers to beat the best

Statistics wizard Adam Driussi provides invaluable breakdowns to allow you to differ your side from those atop the rankings.

Stat analysis

We are back!  After the shortest off season in history, how good is it to have NRL SuperCoach back?!

For those new to this column, each week (work commitments permitting!) I will dive into the ownership stats around the top 20,000 teams to help SuperCoaches get a better feel for the true ownership of different players. 

Unfortunately, the player ownership stats on the SuperCoach website aren’t particularly useful – but I guess that means that hopefully these stats can give you an edge on other players by truly understanding whether a certain player is a POD or not.

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A word of caution…naturally the ownership stats after round 1 are going to be strongly correlated with round one performance. 

As an example, the highest ranked teams after round one are unlikely to have spent their money on a guy like Jason Taumalolo who bombed out relative to his cost…versus a guy like Mitch Barnett that killed it. 

That doesn’t mean it’s time to switch Taumalolo to Barnett – by all means go for it, but one round is one round and it always takes a few weeks to settle the noise from the reality. 

Personally, I focus my early trades of ensuring I have secured the right cash cows as opposed to using sidewards trades on proven guns due to one or two low scores.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

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Fullback

The table below sets out the proportion of teams in the top 100, top 500, top 1,000, top 5,000, top 10,000 and top 20,000 that own each fullback. 

I have then included the proportion of teams overall that own each player according to the official SuperCoach site, and how that player scored in round 1.

Not surprisingly, fullback is dominated by three players amongst the leading teams – Teddy, Papy and Latrell. 

With all three scoring big tons, if you had anyone else at fullback you’ve started behind the eight ball. 

Anyone familiar with this article knows my views on Teddy…if you don’t own him and captain him every week you are either mad or new to SuperCoach…or a friend from work that just refuses to listen!

CTW

I always find CTW a challenge early in the season and this year is no different. 

I want to differentiate my team, but I personally find it hard to justify outlaying top dollar for a David Nofoaluma if it means having to sacrifice a (more reliable) gun 2RF to do that. 

In saying that, to win overall you probably need to differentiate your team like that.

The result is that most of our teams look the same at CTW – we’ve all saved bucks here and bought a bunch of low cost players that frankly performed poorly in round one. 

The only saving grace was that hardly any CTW’s scored well last week! The three notable exceptions were Brett Morris, Blake Ferguson and Brian To’o. 

As a result, the top ranked teams are much more skewed towards Fergo and To’o – and in contrast, skewed away from teams that spent up on relative non-performers in round 1 like Stephen Crichton and Zac Lomax. Those guys will be back though.

Five-eighth

With way fewer dual position players (DPP) halves this year I thought it would be useful to break out five-eighths and halfbacks separately. 

I’ve included the DPP hookers here too, noting that I suspect most teams have at least one of these guys in their hooker position.

There wasn’t a lot of action at five-eighth in round 1. The highest scoring player of note was Cody Walker with 82, but many of the other expensive five-eighths scored similar, with the main exception being Jack Wighton.

As a result, the ownership by ranking zone is pretty consistent for most players. Interesting to see 3% of people still brave enough to stick with Anthony Milford. You are beyond loyal!

Halfback

Not surprisingly, halfback is dominated by Nathan Cleary. He was the dominant half last year and nothing from round 1 would indicate otherwise this year. 

Unless Nathan picks up an injury, I suspect halfback will be pretty boring this year. Anti-POD him at your own peril.

Equally, the gap between Cleary and the next best halfback is so far that the majority of us are running with Sam Walker as back up despite the fact that he’s not yet selected in the top grade. 

The prices just made it so hard to do otherwise, I guess. If Nathan gets injured or suspended early in the season – even for a week – it is going to cause some chaos!

2RF

It feels like we’re going through a changing of the guard at 2RF.  For so long, Jason Taumalolo has been a must, but suddenly the likes of Angus Crichton, Ryan Matterson and big Tino Fa’asuamaleaui are looking like the top dogs. I’m not giving up on Lolo just yet – he may end up proving a masterful POD!

Anyway, similar to CTW, the stats for 2RF reflect scores relative to cost. An expensive player like Lolo disappointed relative to his premium price – so those who spent their dollars there find themselves down the rankings early – whereas those teams who gambled on a goal-kicking Mitch Barnett are feeling pretty pleased with themselves. 

For those with Angus Crichton, his one week suspension hurts – but as you can see below – you are not alone! 78% of the top 20,000 teams own Angus – despite the SuperCoach site stating his overall ownership level at just 31%.

FRF

Well, hasn’t the early season suspension of Payne Haas made FRF more interesting this year.

For the past two seasons, big Payne has commanded ownership in almost every serious team. 

Suddenly he’s owned by just 2% (and why that many??) so when he comes back, he could prove a handy POD if he delivers to his best. How Kevie uses him of course, remains to be seen.

Similar to 2RF, the main action in the table below relates to a couple of players who under and over performed significantly relative to their cost. 

Josh Papalii owners will be disappointed with a round one return of just 33, whereas owners of Junior Paulo and Daniel Saifiti will be thrilled with their starts. Needless to say, that those guys won’t be scoring tries every week though, so I’d expect a lot of these players to revert back to their long term averages pretty quickly. 

There was actually no standout FRF last year, so it will be interesting to see whether this year provides more action.

HOK

No Cameron Smith – how will the hooker position ever be the same in SuperCoach again?

After a 2020 season dominated by the week to week availability of Cameron Smith, Harry Grant, Api Koroisau and Damien Cook at hooker, it’s interesting to see a new list of names at hooker in 2021.

For mine there are lots of unanswered questions with many of these players. 

Is Connor Watson going to keep coming off the bench – in which case he is difficult to start in your 17? 

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Will Jacob Liddle be impacted by the move of Moses Mbye to the bench? 

Can you justify spending the dollars on Damien Cook? 

How will Brandon Smith be impacted when Harry Grant returns? 

Was Jayden Brailey’s round 1 performance a flash in the pan or is he a must-have? 

I wish I had the answers! I currently own Watson and Lachlan Lam at HOK, and I can’t say I’m thrilled with that. Let’s hope round 2 sheds some more light on what to do here.

Round 1 Captaincy Choices

Not surprisingly, choice of captain had a huge bearing on ranking this week. Only one team in the top 100 didn’t captain Teddy (team 21) and they would have won the week overall if they had captained Teddy instead of Cleary. 

They were just fortunate to have a side with each of Daniel Saifiti, Mitch Barnett, Blake Ferguson and DWZ as PODs – wow!

As regular readers of this article will know by now, the captaincy percentages on the SuperCoach site are about as reliable as a Nigerian bank transfer email. Trust them at your peril. For what it is worth, they don’t even add up to close to 100%.

Round 2 presents an interesting captaincy option. Teddy is always a viable option no matter who he plays, but no doubt lots of people will be eyeing off Nathan Cleary up against the Bulldogs. I suspect those two guys will dominate once again.

Good luck again to everyone in Round 2 – and give my mighty Bulldogs strength against the Panthers this week!  

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