Squad Breakdown: Team insights, Round 24

2020 NRL SuperCoach runner-up Tim Williams analyses all the key SuperCoach ins and outs following the release of Round 24 teams.

Squad Breakdown

We’ve reached the penultimate round of the NRL SuperCoach season.

Preliminary finals will kick off this weekend, while the race for the overall title is growing tighter.

Hopefully you’re still invested in one way or another, whether it’s a finals clash, or trying to jump into the top 100, 1,000 or 10,000.

The Cooma Stallions had a strong week to score 1,291 points to rise into 496th place overall.

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One note when picking vice-captains this week, whether you have a free shot at the loophole or not, make sure it’s someone with a genuine 150+ ceiling, because you wouldn’t even consider taking anything less than that with Tommy Turbo playing the Bulldogs.

I’d say 160 is the line to loop this week, even then you’d be terrified watching Manly go about their business after Turbo put 208 on them last time around.

I’ll touch on a few sit/starts and trade options, but with most of us likely to be sitting with 17/18 odd players and maybe a trade or two max there’s only so much that’s worth covering.

Let’s take a look at the Round 24 squads, noting that references to overall player stats come from Adam Driussi’s weekly article leading into the prior round.

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Thursday, 7.50pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Kurt Mann 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Jake Clifford 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Sauaso Sue 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Connor Watson

Bench: 14. Brodie Jones 15. Chris Randall 16. Josh King 17. Jirah Momoisea

Reserves: 18. Jack Johns 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Simi Sasagi 21. Phoenix Crossland

Analysis: Kalyn Ponga hasn’t hit the heights expected by owners who jumped on over the past month or so.

A 3RA of 50PPG is underwhelming to say the least, including just 43 points against the Dogs.

Owners will be hoping he finishes the year with big scores against the Titans and Broncos.

However, with the Knights all but assured of a top eight spot and possibly nothing to play for next week, he may get a rest if there’s a genuine injury niggle which appears the case.

A loss for the Knights would be the best result for owners of their SuperCoach contingent (provided they still scored well of course).

Connor Watson repaid very patient owners with 95 on the weekend in a promising 62 minutes.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s injury is to thank for the increase in game time.

Bradman Best managed just 49 points with a try against the Dogs…

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Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Beau Fermor 13. Sam McIntyre

Bench: 14. Erin Clark 15. David Fifita 16. Mo Fotuaika 17. Jaimin Jolliffe

Reserves: 18. Toby Sexton 19. Sam Lisone 20. Esan Marsters 21. Greg Marzhew

Analysis: David Fifita has hit the skids with back-to-back scores of 31 against the Rabbitohs and Storm.

The only silver lining to the weekend was the fact he started and played 73 minutes. However, he will come off the bench again this week and will likely revert to that 60 minute role.

I’m fully expecting him to bounce back from the heavy criticism as the Titans look to hold onto their top eight hopes.

Owned by 99% of the top 100 ranked overall teams and 97% of the top 1,000, it’s pretty irrelevant how he goes anyway.

This should be a very open scoring affair, so the likes of Corey Thompson, Greg Marzhew and Brian Kelly all have bright prospects.

Greg Marzhew has been dropped in place of Phillip Sami in a massive dagger to his owners.

Surely Toby Sexton starts in the halves over Tyrone Peachey?

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Friday, 6pm, BB Print Stadium, Mackay

Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Peta Hiku 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Sean O’Sullivan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Matt Lodge 11. Josh Curran 12. Euan Aitken 13. Bayley Sironen

Bench: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Eliesa Katoa 17. Jazz Tevaga

Reserves: 18. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 20. Rocco Berry 21. Kane Evans 22. Jack Murchie

Analysis: Addin Fonua-Blake has excelled of late in the absence of front-row partner Matt Lodge with back-to-back scores of 81 and 70 in 63 minutes each week.

Hopefully with Lodge back he holds onto the increased minutes, but a small drop is likely.

Josh Curran has been named, but after suffering a pretty ugly head knock he’d have to be a decent chance of missing out due to the five day turnaround.

That’d be awful news for the big number of SuperCoaches who jumped on last week if he isn’t available.

I’m not going to give Euan Aitken any wraps after his late try against the Broncos (that should have been disallowed) as it cost me my head-to-head elimination final against the SC Spy, by one point!!!

But yeah, beast, and still a great buy with insane base stats and attacking upside…

He’s averaged over 50 in base since moving to the second-row.

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Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Seb Kris 4. Matt Timoko 5. Harley Smith-Shields 6. Jack Wighton 7. Matt Frawley 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Joe Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton

Bench: 14. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 15. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Siliva Havili

Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Dunamis Lui 20. Semi Valemei 21. Trey Mooney

Analysis: Ryan James owners were delighted to see the big man make a two week switch to the Bulldogs where he provided an invaluable extra number for many.

He looked terrific, scoring a try for 82 points, funny old game SuperCoach.

Unfortunately his loan ends and he returns to the Raiders but isn’t in the squad at all, bugger.

Not a lot of note elsewhere here.

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Friday, 7.55pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Lachlan Lam 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brad Abbey 6. Drew Hutchinson 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Egan Butcher 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu

Bench: 14. Ben Marschke 15. Naufahu Whyte 16. Fletcher Baker 17. Ben Thomas

Reserves: 18. Moala Graham-Taufa 19. Tuku Hau Tapuha 20. Daniel Suluka-Fifita

Analysis: Oh Teddy, we love you…

The Roosters fullback was pretty well the single difference between significant rank rises or falls last week for those who did and didn’t own.

Especially as non-owners likely had Kalyn Ponga who would have been their captain.

Teddy was sensational and despite a tougher match up this week, should fire again.

He’s been in absolutely everything and doesn’t look hampered by that hip issue he’s carried this season.

Further, with the Roosters fighting for a top four spot it’s nearly impossible to see him getting a rest barring an injury flare up.

Daniel Tupou finally gave his masses of owners the ton we’ve all been waiting for with a second half hat-trick.

My heart sank when I saw Sam Walker benched before kick-off against the Dragons.

It very nearly forced me into using my last trade which would’ve been catastrophic.

I held off, and he delivered 76 points in 37 minutes, what a little gun. What could have been if he played 80!

He’s been named to start this week, hopefully it stays that way and he doesn’t revert to the bench again for Lachlan Lam who has been named at centre.

If he is benched I wouldn’t play him in my 17. I’ll play him provided he starts.

The fact the Roosters couldn’t name a full squad of 21 players suggests the team aren’t in a position to bench Walker.

Adam Keighran’s withdrawal due to injury is good news for Siosiua Taukeiaho owners as he will goal kick, Walker should take over while he’s off.

We did mention it over and over again, but take note for future reference, Joey Manu isn’t particularly SuperCoach relevant at centre.

He’s shifted back to centre the past two weeks for scores of 51 at each outing despite the Roosters putting on 61 points.

It’s certainly not bad by any means, more to emphasize that he’s a stud at fullback or on the wing only.

He did base 38 across those two games at centre which is brilliant.

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Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dane Gagai 4. Campbell Graham 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Mark Nicholls 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cam Murray

Bench: 14. Benji Marshall 15. Jacob Host 16. Tevita Tatola 17. Hame Sele

Reserves: 18. Liam Knight 19. Blake Taaffe 20. Peter Mamouzelos 21. Taane Milne

Analysis: I’d tread a little cautiously with Rabbitohs players in terms of using final trades.

Cody Walker has missed just one game this season, Damien Cook has missed two but played three Origin games, both could get a spell this week or next.

With the Rabbitohs locked into a top three spot it wouldn’t shock me one bit if they are.

While the enticement to play a full strength side against the old rivals the Roosters is obvious for Wayne Bennett, he won’t let that get in the way of his title aspirations.

Do they rest this week to give them a hit out in Round 25 leading into finals? I’m interested to see how the master coach reacts in the next fortnight.

Cam Murray, Dane Gagai and to a lesser degree Alex Johnston, are also at risk of a rest, however let’s hope that the fact they’ve both missed a week recently ensures they play both rounds.

A massive anti-POD play would be to sell Cody Walker this week to Nathan Cleary (as he’d be most people’s only avenue to the Penrith half in one trade).

If Cody goes lowish this week and rests next week it could pay off big time.

That being said, Cody did put 203 on the Roosters in the final round last season…

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Saturday, 3pm, Browne Park, Rockhampton

Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mat Feagai 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Corey Norman 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Jayden Sullivan 10. Josh McGuire 11. Billy Burns 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin

Bench: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Tyrell Fuimaono 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jackson Ford

Reserves: 18. Kaide Ellis 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Gerard Beale 21. Josh Kerr

Analysis: With games against the Cowboys and possibly understrength Rabbitohs to finish the season, Zac Lomax presents some appeal at tiny ownership.

He’s affordable at $426k and smashed out 95 against the Roosters with two excellent try-assists that leaves him with a 3RA of 71PPG.

I don’t trust the Dragons enough to bring him in, but there is appeal there and he has a fairly decent ceiling.

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Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Val Holmes 4. Ben Hampton 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Tom Dearden 8. Jason Taumalolo 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Ben Condon 12. Heilum Luki 13. Reuben Cotter

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Jeremiah Nanai 16. Mitch Dunn 17. Griffin Neame

Reserves: 18. Tom Gilbert 19. Daejarn Asi 20. Francis Molo 21. Laitia Moceidreke

Analysis: The return of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow sends Val Holmes back to the wing as per the late change last week.

It’s cruel for Val’s owners as he was so dangerous at fullback, but his SuperCoach scoring is so limited on the sting.

I’d still definitely be playing him in my 17, but it’s not ideal.

Jason Taumalolo has been named to start at prop after falling short of a return from a broken hand last week.

I’d only want him in my 17 if named to start as a return from the bench would be a huge worry. Hopefully the team stays this way.

The return to the middle will be far better for his work rate, hopefully the minutes are decent.

That being said, many owners may well be short of 17 numbers this week so they’ll take anything from the big man.

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Saturday, 5.30pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Connor Tracey 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Mawene Hiroti 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Braydon Trindall 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Siosifa Talakai 13. Jack Williams

Bench: 14. Matt Moylan 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Teig Wilton

Reserves: 18. Kai O’Donnell 19. Billy Magoulias 20. Jenson Taumoepeau 21. Jonaiah Lualua

Analysis: As tipped, Teig Wilton’s return impacted Siosifa Talkai significantly as he only played 53 minutes, that may have even been slightly inflated due to Ronaldo Mulitalo’s injury.

It’s hard to say, but a 50 minute role looks likely for the time being. It makes him very hard to play in 17s.

Braydon Trindall went nuts last week with 130 points to leave him with a healthy 5RA of 78PPG.

If it weren’t for the clash with Melbourne next week he’d be a sneaky POD for the final fortnight.

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Broncos: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Selwyn Cobbo 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Xavier Coates 6. Anthony Milford 7. Albert Kelly 8. Tom Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington

Bench: 14. Danny Levi 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. TC Robati

Reserves: 18. David Mead 19. Brendan Piakura 20. Cory Paix 21. Brodie Croft

Analysis: As per last week, there’s no interest here outside of Payne Haas who most already own.

Albert Kelly has proving a very SuperCoach player this season in limited opportunity and will be one to watch for next season.

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Saturday, 7.30pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Chris Lewis

Bench: 14. Harry Grant 15. Aaron Pene 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nicho Hynes

Reserves: 18. Tui Kamikamica 19. Isaac Lumelume 20. Tepai Moeroa 21. Marion Seve

Analysis: Keep an eye on mail throughout the week on what may happen with this team, but as it stands, Melbourne are at near full-strength.

The penny has finally dropped, with the bad news we’ve waited on for so long, Nicho Hynes has been benched.

I have no idea how many minutes he’ll play, but I’d be very reluctant to play him in my 17 this week.

Restings could also be on the cards big time next week, although most stars have had a game off at some stage in the past month. Bellyache may want to get his full side in motion before finals.

Ryan Papenhuzyen is unlikely to get a rest due to the massive amounts of footy he’s missed this season.

I expect him to start and play 80 minutes over the next fortnight.

It didn’t take long for Lil Papy to remind us of his lethal SuperCoach output, with 101 points in his first full game back from injury.

He’s a bargain price at just $426k with games against the confidence shot Eels followed by the Sharks.

Kalyn Ponga owners will be tempted to make the move, but KP will probably go nuts the second you trade him out. It’s a tough decision to make.

Lil Papy is owned by just 1% of the top 100 ranked teams all the way through to the top 10,000.

This would have lifted slightly last week which will be reflected in Adam Driussi’s updated stats article later this week.

Quite simply Papenhuyzen could easily punch out massive back-to-back tons to end the year, and as stated last week, he’s probably the super POD of the century.

Harry Grant got his first 80 minute game of the season and delivered with 97 points.

Brandon Smith returns which pushes Grant to the bench where he’ll likely play that 55-60 minute role.

As good as he is, I don’t think he’s a vice-captaincy option this week unless he started come game day as that 150+ needed to loop and avoid Tommy is near impossible from the bench.

Jahrome Hughes returns from his concussion.

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Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Haze Dunster 3. Will Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitch Moses 8. Isaiah Papali’i 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Nathan Brown

Bench: 14. Ray Stone 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Makahesi Makatoa 17. Keegan Hipgrave

Reserves: 18. Will Smith 19. Oregan Kaufusi 20. Sean Russell 21. Jakob Arthur

Analysis: With games upcoming against the Storm and Panthers and with the Eels current form you wouldn’t go near them.

I’m bemused as to why Isaiah Papali’i played just 43 minutes as a middle forward on the weekend.

He’s been the Eels best all season and he can’t get more than a half of game time?

Surely he shifts back to the edge…

Anyway, that’s an NRL gripe, SuperCoach-wise everyone owns him so it’s pretty irrelevant. 

Sitting him this week against the Storm is a decent anti-POD play for anyone with the luxury of actually picking a 17.

If you own King Gutho and have a trade up your sleeve you may as well burn it and bring in Papenhuzyen, unless you’re really stuck for depth and need that trade elsewhere which will be the case for many.

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Sunday, 1.50pm, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Toa Sipley 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Marty Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Josh Schuster 13. Jake Trbojevic

Bench: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Curtis Sironen 17. Josh Aloiai

Reserves: 18. Moses Suli 19. Cade Cust 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Kurt De Luis

Analysis: Tommy Turbo returns and is paying about $1.01 to break the SuperCoach record. Captain him, or never play SuperCoach again.

When Tommy gets 200, that normally means Reuben Garrick gets 150.

They’re both owned by everyone so it’s irrelevant.

Owned by just 32% of the top 100 and 24% of the top 1,000, Daly Cherry-Evans could prove a huge differential this week.

With a ceiling of 150+ he could easily decide many head-to-head match ups.

Relatively affordable at just over $700k, he’s a terrific cut-priced alternative to Nathan Cleary.

Jason Saab is an obvious play in 17s this week. He’s scored 20 tries this season. 

Remarkably, he’s scored just one try in eight games this season without Tom Trbojevic. 

That means it’s 19 tries in 14 games with the star fullback on deck, my word…

Speaking of future lessons, Marty Taupau always seems to come back into SuperCoach contention but ultimately fails to deliver.

He has a 5RA of 49PPG and hasn’t scored over 60 since Round 14.

This game could be 70-0…

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Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Corey Allan 3. Will Hopoate 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Ava Seumanufagai 9. Bailey Biondi-Odo 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Matt Doorey 12. Joe Stimson 13. Josh Jackson

Bench: 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Ofahiki Ogden 16. Chris Patolo 17. Sione Katoa

Reserves: 19. Falakiko Manu 20. Jackson Topine 21. Jake Averillo 22. Watson Heleta

Analysis: Luke Thompson returns from suspension, and gets suspended again… Ouch.

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Sunday, 4.05pm, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Stephen Crichton 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Matt Burton 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. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Tevita Pangai Jnr 17. Liam Martin

Reserves: 18. Izack Tago 19. Taylan May 20. Tyrone May 21. Charlie Staines

Analysis: Penrith finally have a near full-strength team back on deck, meaning the Tigers are in for a very long afternoon.

It also means they boast a few POD options for the final two weeks against the Tigers and Eels.

Brian To’o is back!!! It’s a game earlier than expected, and those who held will be absolutely thrilled, what a match up to return for…

He’s a serious trade in target for this one, although if there’s any doubt over the return it’s awkward that he plays the final game of the round.

Nathan Cleary has returned in terrific fashion and anyone with a viable option to get him in should do so.

He’s $950k so it’ll more than likely take two trades to get him back into your side.

Don’t tear your team apart to get him, but if it can be done it could pay off enormously. 

200+ is on the cards this week, and he’s owned by just 8% of the top 100 ranked teams overall and the 13% of the top 1,000.

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It feels like the first time since pre-Origin the Panthers have a semi full-strength side back on deck, and they’ll be out to make a statement to the competition by putting a cricket score on the Tigers.

Jarome Luai could easily tonne up here, but it still wouldn’t be close to repaying the patience of owners through a horror second half of the season (SuperCoach-wise).

Matty Burton looks a terrific play in 17s and has big upside even at centre.

Tevita Pangai Jnr played just 26 minutes for an impressive 32 points in his first game for the club.

He could easily find some attacking stats on field this week, but with James Fisher-Harris returning it’s hard to see him playing the 40+ minutes we need to make him a viable option in 17s. He had 12 runs during his short stint on field.

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Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tommy Talau 4. Michael Chee-Kam 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Jock Madden 7. Luke Brooks 8. Thomas Mikaele 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Stefano Utoikamanu 11. Shawn Blore 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal

Bench: 14. Joe Ofahengaue 15. Jake Simpkin 16. Tom Amone 17. Alex Seyfarth

Reserves: 18. James Roberts 19. Billy Walters 20. Tui Simpkins 21. Zac Cini

Analysis: The extremely tough match up for Penrith means just about every Tigers player is a sit this week for those with the luxury.

Adam Doueihi had a down week for the first time in months against the Sharks, which may be explained by a reported knee knock that will see him miss out this week, ouch!

David Nofoaluma owners should probably sit him after a horrendous 3RA of 34PPG.

He hasn’t based over 30 since Round 12, and his last three games have returned a base of 14, 28 and 14.

Whether it’s his work ethic that’s gone out the door in the back half of the season or simply the way the Tigers utilise him I’m not sure, but it’s cruelled him of the foundation that’s made him one of the best CTWs of the past five years.

Shawn Blore played 65 minutes for 35 points on the weekend, another player I’d sit.

Luciano Leilua is probably the one player I’d be fairly happy to play in my 17 from the Tigers. 

Stefano Utoikamanu is the gift that keeps on giving for those that reluctantly held. 

He’s playing big minutes and boasts a 5RA of 59PPG.


MPG = Minutes per game

PPG = Points per game

PPM= Points per minute

BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)

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 rise.

*Please note all our stats are taken from the geniuses at nrlsupercoachstats.com

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