Strategy Playbook: Seven questions for seven positions

We take a deep dive into the relevant weekly strategies to help you with your NRL SuperCoach trade tactics.

Strategy Playbook

I love that SuperCoach is a marathon not a sprint. So, even at this early stage I’m happy to turn my mind to a final 17.

I find that this, combined with consideration of the draw and bye rounds, helps with planning along the way.

Of course, being so early in the season, it can be hard to come to definitive conclusions. So, a bit similar to the pre-season position article, I’m mulling over seven questions. One question for each position.

Many SuperCoaches, including myself, were given a stark reminder of the unfortunate side of SuperCoach over the weekend, when Andrew Davey went off injured in the early minutes of the Souths vs Manly match.

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I took a much-needed break on Saturday night, caught the highlights of a cracking Dragons’ win, then got back into it fresh on Sunday.

This includes looking ahead to next week and looking forward to building the squad I’m aiming for.

I’ve also been mindful of keeping things in perspective. That injury must have been devastating for Andrew. Best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

For this article, I’ve flipped the order around from the pre-season positional analysis.

So, we’ll start with the hooker position.

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  1. Who is the number one option at hooker and when should they be traded in?

Like many SuperCoaches, I’ll be watching Harry Grant ($633.1k) closely when he returns for the Storm.

Damien Cook ($621k) also gave us all a reminder of his prowess. I think the wet conditions suited Cook. So, I still have questions about how prominent his role will be for SC purposes this season.

Both Cook and Grant look likely to be affected by Origin duties this season. Meanwhile, Jayden Brailey ($356.6k) and Reed Mahoney ($478.8k) will likely be suiting up to face-off in the round 13 bye round.

Brailey’s price, combined with two 80-minute performances and sky-high confidence, makes him hard to ignore in my opinion. I was stoked with bringing him in early for his 80+ score this round.

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2. How big is the gap between the best and the rest in the FRF position?

I took a look at this in the pre-season analysis, which led me to question how relevant the FRF position was this year. However, we’ve seen several high-quality and value options stand out early.

There are 11 players in this position averaging over 60PPG. This includes Junior Paulo ($570.1k), Tevita Pangai ($616.2k), Daniel Saifiti ($560.8k), David Klemmer ($592.2k), Lindsay Collins ($411.4k), James Fisher-Harris ($522.2k), Ryan James (236.7k), Taniela Paseka ($420.8k), Martin Taupau ($531k) and Jarrod Wallace ($387.2k).

Generally speaking, FRFs don’t have as high a ceiling as other positions. However, locking in at least two of the above could set your side up for the season. Especially if you can make duals work for bench cover.

For the record, I think it won’t be long before Tino Fa’asuamaleaui ($504.9k) bumps his average up over 60 as well. The minutes and the upside are there for big Tino.

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3. Are we seeing a changing of the guard in the 2RF position?

I’ve been carefully pondering this one on a week when David Fifita ($569.9k) ran rampant over his old side and Mitch Barnett ($543.3k) slotted goals from all over the place.

Barnett looks determined to make a fist of both his roles on the edge and as the Knights’ goal-kicker.

Meanwhile I felt lucky that Fifita missed a few minutes on Friday night. Otherwise, he might have shown us all a massive SuperCoach ceiling.

As such, 2RF is a position I can see myself wanting to stack considering the plethora of other guns available, such as Angus Crichton ($670.5k), Ryan Matterson ($666k), Tohu Harris ($613k), Cameron Murray ($599.7k) and Jason Taumalolo ($641.7k).

Crichton, Barnett and Fifita are three who are red-hot right now and could be the best early targets, whilst many of the guns look set to drop in price.

Crichton’s back row partner Sitili Tupouniua ($410k) has also been firing. He could be a great bridge to one of the fallen guns by the time they bottom out in price.

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4. How about a (backup) halfback rotation strategy?

The SC Spy piqued my interest when he wrote about a fullback rotation strategy last season. Of course, fullback has shown itself to be a much higher ceiling position than halfback.

However, with many of us still trying to fill the backup halfback void, a few options pressed their case in the round just gone.  

First, Ben Hunt ($453.2k) showed vintage form as the Dragons’ opened their account against the Cowboys. Then on Sunday, Luke Keary ($521.2k) dominated the Roosters’ attack, carving up all parts of the field against the Tigers.

Hunt has shown this form before and has a 130+ score to his name as recently as 2019.

Keary’s ceiling has also been on the rise, having registered a 140 against the Knights last season.

I’m not sure I particularly like either’s upcoming draw (although Hunt does play a depleted Manly this round and Keary his former team in the Rabbitohs).

However, I can see merit in targeting them later in the season, particularly if they miss Origin selection. Hunt plays his old side in round 13, whilst Keary plays the Bulldogs in 17.

George Williams ($467.7k) has also quietly averaged over 70 points to the start the season. Unfortunately he’ll likely lose the goal-kicking shortly when Jarrod Croker returns.

This could all be a moot point for the upcoming rounds if Sean O’Sullivan ($231.2k) gets named for the Warriors due to CHT’s long-term injury.

It would be hard to go past O’Sullivan as the best value option. Although Hunt in particular has a reasonable next two (Sea Eagles, then Knights) and then could be cashed in.

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5. Could 5/8 be the new Fullback?

With the quality available, running two gun 5/8s is looking more and more appealing to me. Cody Walker ($656k) and Cameron Munster ($620.1k) look the standouts in the position, with ceilings to match.

Then there’s also the young brigade in Jarome Luai ($551.4k) and Dylan Brown ($564.7k). Luai has picked up where he left off last season. Brown has had a slower start, but his base is still phenomenal for a 5/8. Both of these options could cover the round 13 bye.

So, we can attack the 5/8 position with super ceilings, bye coverage, or a combination of both.

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6. How long should we run the CTW lottery?

Popular cheapies Daine Laurie ($223.2k) and Tesi Niu ($232.5k) have staked claims for regular starting births in our 17s. Meanwhile, Charlie Staines ($297.7k), Jason Saab ($233.2k), Bailey Simonsson ($205k) and David Fusitua ($251.8k) have been underwhelming so far for SC.

I’d be patient with the latter four. Given the volatility of the position, they could go big on any week.

Holding Staines in particular will require plenty of patience, given he plays the Storm in the upcoming round. However, we know what he’s capable of. I’m confident that holding will eventually repay the faith.

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7. Do we have a new addition to the top-tier fullbacks?

Okay, so maybe Teddy requires a tier of his own at this point. Nonetheless, Latrell Mitchell’s ($524.6k) first two performances have me thinking that Trel will be right up there with the top averaging fullbacks come season’s end.

We all know how great Latrell is with the ball. However, it was his base of 30 in round 1 that had me most impressed for SC purposes. This dropped back to 13 in round 12, albeit in 10 less minutes.

I’ll be watching closely again this week, when Latrell plays his former side. If the base stats are there, he could be a very lucrative trade in and potential captain against the Bulldogs in round 4 (following this he plays the Broncos, Tigers then Titans).

The trouble is many of us would need to trade out Ryan Papenhuyzen (plays Broncos round 4, then Bulldogs, Roosters and Warriors) or Teddy (plays Warriors round 4, then Sharks, Storm and Dragons) to bring Latrell in. It could free up plenty of cash though…

Hopefully these questions help your thinking for this week, as well as your planning for the next few rounds. Good luck for Round 3!

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