Year of the Replacement: Why it could decide final standings

2019 champion Dez Creek highlights why this season has been so unique, and why 'the replacements' may decide the overall race.

Champion PODs

It’s turning out the be the year of the replacement, but the final few might be the most important of all.

I think we can all agree that this week has been utter carnage for most of us, so I won’t spend much time dwelling on the obvious. 

The 2021 season certainly has been the ‘year of the replacement’ with a multitude of players coming in as assumed temporary replacements for a lot of the most relevant Supercoach players. 

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This led to some tricky dilemmas for Supercoaches week in week out as we struggled to decide on whether to buy these replacement players or hold off on them, and unfortunately for many coaches we made the wrong decisions or simply got the timing entirely wrong.

Isaiah Papali’i (for Matterson) is the first guy that comes to mind. Not only did I.Pap hold his edge spot even with the return of Matterson, but he has also been far and away the best FRF the entire season. 

Nicho Hynes (for Papenhuyzen) turned into an absolute must-have at fullback (whilst available at CTW) where he averages a ridiculous 100 points per game. 

Brandon Smith (for Harry Grant) has been on an absolute tear in the number 9 jersey. 

Josh Schuster (for Curtis Sironen) showed the world his exceptional talent as an edge back-rower and in the 5/8 position. 

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The list goes on but the point is – replacements are now turning into keepers which is unheard of in Supercoach seasons of the past. 

You may be asking, Dez, I’ve only got a few trades left how does any of this information help me for the last six weeks when my team is half decimated as is? 

Well, obviously I can’t see the state of all your teams but what I can do is outline my final trade thought processes for you.

Brian To’o is obviously the biggest question of the week, anyone playing seriously has him and therefore must get rid of him. 

CTW is a position that has always had the potential to make or break any Supercoach season and as we head into the final six weeks I expect this is the position that most people will attack to make some big POD trade ins, and the injury to To’o opens the door for some absolute shenanigans. 

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I already own Joey Manu who has been on fire over the last three weeks, and now with the injury to Ikuvalu he moves to the right wing which should have Supercoaches salivating. 

Sitting at $538k he is an absolute bargain for those who don’t own him, and despite the Roosters tough draw I think he should score fairly well most weeks and sure up a CTW spot much like his counterpart Daniel Tupou.

Jordan Rapana is the next man on this list, and you guessed it, another replacement who has made the position his own. 

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I was worried about Rapana’s age potentially decreasing his speed and tackle bust ability but the last few weeks he has proven me wrong. 

He has looked right at home playing fullback and has upped his workrate and tacklebusts significantly and looks a juicy play against the Knights and Dragons over the next two fixtures.

Gagai is the last guy I have on this list as a Brian To’o replacement, and admittedly he will probably be the one I personally go with. 

Playing outside Cody walker equals points, it’s as simple as that. Gagai seems to have averaged 67 with ease this season with only two real standout 100+ games, which means his base and base attack have been carrying average more so than the attacking stats – exactly what you want to see from your CTW. 

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Avoids

  1. Jesse Ramien – Cant see him scoring well without SJ.
  2. Campbell Graham – Too reliant on attacking stats + Souths will likely go left way more than right.
  3. David Nofoaluma – Great draw and will probably average 60s but has too many ball hogs inside him to get those 100+ scores you’ll be looking for.
  4. Josh Addo-Carr – Totally reliant on attacking stats and Melbourne running into a tough end of season draw where they might tone it back as they ease into the finals.
  5. Maika Sivo – Terrible Eels draw so I can’t see him scoring any hat-tricks.

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