Squad Breakdown: Team insights, Round 25

2020 NRL SuperCoach runner-up Tim Williams analyses all the key SuperCoach ins and outs following the release of Round 25 teams.

Squad Breakdown

We’ve arrived at the final round of the NRL SuperCoach season.

Grand finals are locked in, while the overall race will be decided and a new champion crowned.

It’s been a chaotic season to say the least, between rule changes, head contact crackdowns, Covid impact and plenty more.

While it’s been a tough one to navigate, one thing I’ve found extremely enjoyable is the fact teams are so much more unique than previous years.

The back end of the season normally sees most sides boasting extremely similar squads, but for the reasons listed above we have PODs littered throughout our sides.

Anyway, we’ll recap the season in depth later in the week and on next week’s podcasts.

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The Cooma Stallions had a slightly disappointing round with 1,324 points to slip down to 640th overall.

As expected, mass restings will occur this weekend and SuperCoach squads will be struggling to field as many as 15 active players.

I’ve set myself up well with a strong 17 and a trade up the sleeve, so hopefully a final surge is around the corner.

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

Let’s take a look at the Round 25 squads, noting that references to overall player stats come from Adam Driussi’s weekly article leading into the prior round.

Keep in mind there’s likely to be big changes as the week unfolds.

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RAIDERS v ROOSTERS

Thursday, 7.50pm, BB Print Stadium, Mackay

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

Bench: 14. Emre Guler 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Siliva Havili

Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Semi Valemei 20. Elijah Anderson 21. Trey Mooney

Analysis: Jordan Rapana continued his terrific season with 124 points against the Warriors.

That takes his season average to 64PPG, despite having very few owners throughout the year.

While they’re depleted due to injury, the Roosters still have a decent side, so I think there’s better Hail Mary final trades than Rapa, especially with the move back to the wing, although it won’t impact his scoring too much.

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Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Adam Keighran 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Drew Hutchinson 7. Lachlan Lam 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu

Bench: 14. Sam Walker 15. Egan Butcher 16. Ben Marschke 17. Tuku Hau Tapuha

Reserves: 18. Moala Graham-Taufa 19. Brad Abbey 20. Naufahu Whyte 21. Daniel Suluka-Fifita

Analysis: Thankfully the Roosters play before the Sea Eagles as they’ll have slim top four hopes still alive.

This should mean they field a full-strength team this week and don’t rest anyone. 

Although due to their masses of injuries I don’t think they have enough players available to rest anyone anyway.

This should give James Tedesco and Daniel Tupou the chance to bounce back from poor scores in the heavy loss to the Rabbitohs.

Matt Ikuvalu has been named to make a surprise return from injury. That’s huge for not only the injury riddled Roosters themselves, but also the 3% of the top 100 ranked SuperCoaches and 2% of the top 1,000 that still own him.

While unconvincing, the Raiders are playing for a top 8 spot so again I wouldn’t be looking at Roosters for my final trades.

Angus Crichton is a very welcome inclusion for the 63% of the top 100 and 69% of the top 1,000 that held onto him during his three match suspension.

Following the hit from Latrell Mitchell, Joey Manu is out in yet another blow for his owners.

In a massive blow for owners, Sam Walker has been demoted to the bench, with Lachlan Lam to start in the halves.

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SHARKS v STORM

Friday, 6pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

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

Bench: 14. Luke Metcalf 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Siosifa Talakai

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

Analysis: The Storm’s decision to rest a swagger of stars is outstanding news for owners of Cronulla’s SuperCoach contingent.

There aren’t many relevant players to be fair, however Jesse Ramien is popular and should benefit enormously as a result of Bellamy’s decision.

While facing a weakened Storm outfit, I still wouldn’t be game to recruit Cronulla players as a final hurrah to the year.

Braydon Trindall continued his outstanding form with 80 points against the Broncos, leaving him with a 3RA of 87PPG.

He’ll be a cheeky Round 1 option next season if he finds himself in the team.

Teig Wilton starts, Siosifa Talakai moves to the bench.

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Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Dean Ieremia 6. Nicho Hynes 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Brandon Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Aaron Pene 12. Chris Lewis 13. Dale Finucane

Bench: 14. Harry Grant 15. Tepai Moeroa 16. Jordan Grant 17. Ryley Jacks

Reserves: 18. Cooper Johns 19. Daniel Atkinson 20. Trent Loiero 21. Isaac Lumelume

Analysis: Craig Bellamy has rested a stacked of stars, but not all. When you’ve got about 20 stars in your squad it’s pretty hard to rest them all…

Cam Munster, Christian Welch, Josh Addo-Carr and Reimis Smith are the SuperCoach relevant outs.

The winners include Nicho Hynes (5/8), Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Brandon Smith, Harry Grant and Justin Olam who have been named.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this change come game day, however Bellamy obviously has one eye on the minor premiership still.

What an interesting encounter this will be for both NRL and SuperCoach purposes.

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EELS v PANTHERS

Friday, 8.05pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

Eels: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Haze Dunster 3. Tom Opacic 4. Michael Oldfield 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Will Smith 7. Jakob Arthur 8. Oregan Kaufusi 9. Joey Lussick 10. Makahesi Makatoa 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Ray Stone

Bench: 14. Samuel Loizou 15. Ky Rodwell 16. Shaun Lane 17. Sean Russell

Reserves: 18. Will Penisini 19. Isaiah Papali’i 20. Nathan Brown 21. Dylan Brown

Analysis: Brad Arthur has rested a host of stars, including key SuperCoach players in Isaiah Papali’i and Clint Gutherson.

While I think they’d have been hesitant plays in 17s against a full-strength Panthers outfit following a gut-busting win over Melbourne, it’s obviously a cruel blow for the depth of squads.

If you do own any Eels, it’s worth sitting them outside your 17 if you’re afforded that luxury.

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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. Tyrone May 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Tevita Pangai Jnr 17. Liam Martin

Reserves: 18. Spencer Leniu 19. Izack Tago 20. Taylan May 21. Mitch Kenny

Analysis: Penrith have fielded a full-strength outfit, against a weakened Eels outfit, and are all great options for Hail Mary final trades.

Further, they present excellent vice-captaincy options for the many SuperCoaches who should have a free shot at the VC loophole.

Number one on the list is Nathan Cleary who has returned from injury in excellent SuperCoach touch.

Penrith will be out to make an early finals statement after an interrupted back half of the season, and Cleary will be in the thick of it.

Since returning from injury, he has scores of 82, 86 and 100. None were heavy enough to hurt non-owners, but this week could be the big tonne that makes a dent.

At $890k I think you basically just lock him in if you can get him. 

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While this number would have jumped a decent amount over the week, prior to Round 24 he was owned by 15% of the top 100 and 16% of the top 1,000 ranked overall SuperCoach teams. This would have jumped a bit since and will be reflected in Adam’s Round 25 article.

Brian To’o returned in typical style as if he hadn’t missed a beat. A late try pushed his score to 94 points, which included 26 runs and five tacklebreaks, animal…

He’s relatively affordable at $633,900 and could also finish on a high.

While this number would have jumped a decent amount over the weekend, prior to Round 24 he was owned by 19% of the top 100 and top 1,000 ranked overall SuperCoach teams.

He’s a great option this week and should be high on the list of many people with a trade in hand.

Tevita Pangai Jnr impressed in just 32 minutes of time, scoring 73 points made up of a try, linebreak, 11 runs (10 over 8m for two points), four tacklebusts and an offload, not bad!

He’s an okay play in 17s, but in minimal game time he’s fine to sit outside 17s for anyone in the position to do so.

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BRONCOS v KNIGHTS

Saturday, 3pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

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

Bench: 14. Cory Paix 15. David Mead 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. TC Robati

Reserves: 18. Danny Levi 19. Brodie Croft 20. Jesse Arthars 21. Jamayne Isaako

Analysis: Once again, very little interest here outside of the ultra-consistent Payne Haas.

Tom Flegler has been suspended and will miss the match.

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Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Kurt Mann 4. Bradman Best 5. Starford To’a 6. Jake Clifford 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Sauaso Sue 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Connor Watson

Bench: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jirah Momoisea 16. Josh King 17. Jack Johns

Reserves: 18. Dom Young 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Tex Hoy 21. Simi Sasagi

Analysis: Coach Adam O’Brien has rested a few stars, but named most.

It wouldn’t shock to see this line up change come game day should he decide to rest any others.

Jayden Brailey and Mitch Barnett are the major SuperCoach relevant omissions.

The relatively strong team named is good news for the likes of Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best who shouldn’t be playing behind a second string pack.

I’d avoid investing in any Knights players this week with a weakend line up.

Ponga owners will be hoping he repays the faith with a monster finish to the SuperCoach season. I do fear he may get an early spell though.

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COWBOYS v SEA EAGLES

Saturday, 5.30pm, QCB Stadium, Townsville

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

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 16. Mitch Dunn 17. Griffin Neame

Reserves: 18. Tom Gilbert 19. Daejarn Asi 20. Lachlan Burr 21. Connelly Lemuelu

Analysis: It’d be a major luxury this week, but I’d be very reluctant to play Val Holmes in my 17 while at centre.

Despite putting plenty of points on the Dragons last week, Val scored just 34 points made up of 20 points in goals, nine runs, eight tackles and seven missed tackles.

Against a full-strength Sea Eagles side he’ll need a major attacking stat to break 40 points.

Jason Taumalolo returned from injury reasonably well with 58 points in an encouraging 59 minutes in the middle.

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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. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Marty Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Josh Schuster 13. Jake Trbojevic

Bench: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka

Reserves: 18. Toa Sipley 19. Moses Suli 20. Curtis Sironen 21. Kurt De Luis

Analysis: Playing for a top four spot, Manly will be up for this and could put on a score.

It makes plenty of their players very serious trade in options this week.

Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans should go large, but I also suspect they’ll be off after 50-60 minutes if Manly get a decent lead up.

What that means is that for people with a free crack at the vice-captaincy loophole, it may mean putting the VC on Turbo is the play, then backing a captain later in the round.

If Tommy does score 80 odd before getting an early shower, it could pay off big time.

Obviously owners of Nathan Cleary who play earlier in the round will likely VC him and C Turbo.

Jason Saab’s crazy record with and without Turbo grew another leg against the Bulldogs.

To alter last week’s stats, he’s scored 22 tries this season. 

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

That means it’s 21 tries in 15 games with the star fullback on deck, the Turbo effect…

He averages a tick under 70 with Turbo in the team, and just 19.88 without him.

It again makes him a very enticing option this week while owned by just 12% of the top 100 ranked teams overall and 15% of the top 1,000.

Morgan Harper is a sneaky one round super POD at next to no ownership.

With a base of just 36BPG, Haumole Olakau’atu is pretty attack reliant to score well, however he’s so dynamic with ball in hand that he jags major stats more often than not. He’s not unlike David Fifita Super-Coach wise in that regard.

He’s another major one week play this round at 7% ownership in the top 100 and 6% in the top 1,000, however I do fear he gets an early shower having played 80 minutes in eight straight games. I’d probably avoid Josh Schuster for that same reason.

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RABBITOHS v DRAGONS

Saturday, 7.35pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium

Rabbitohs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Taane Milne 3. Braidon Burns 4. Campbell Graham 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Benji Marshall 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Peter Mamouzelos 10. Pat Mago 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Jacob Host 13. Mark Nicholls

Bench: 14. Dean Hawkins 15. Tautau Moga 16. Jed Cartwright 17. Davvy Moale

Reserves: 18. Jai Arrow 19. Cam Murray 20. Alex Johnston 21. Cody Walker

Analysis: More mass restings, with the big SuperCoach relevant losers being Alex Johnston, Dane Gagai, Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds, Damien Cook, Latrell Mitchell (suspended) and Cam Murray.

The silver lining is that Taane Milne gets a reprieve and will be a handy number for some.

Avoid Bunnies players this week with a depleted line up.

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Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mat Feagai 3. Jack Bird 4. Gerard Beale 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. Poasa Faamausili

Reserves: 18. Jackson Ford 19. Adam Clune 20. Cody Ramsey 21. Kaide Ellis

Analysis: With Zac Lomax injured, the Dragons again lack any relevance, despite the soft match up.

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TITANS v WARRIORS

Sunday, 2pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

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. Mo Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

Bench: 14. Erin Clark 15. David Fifita 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Sam McIntyre

Reserves: 18. Greg Marzhew 19. Sam Lisone 20. Toby Sexton 21. Anthony Don

Analysis: The Titans are slightly hard to assess as by the time they kick off on Sunday they’ll know if they’re still in the hunt for the top eight.

If they aren’t, there’s always some risk of players with injury niggles getting rested, or younger players getting bigger minutes.

Due to this reason I’d be hesitant to invest in any Titans despite a fairly nice match up with the Warriors.

If they are playing for a top eight spot, expect David Fifita to go nuts.

At $483k, Jamal Fogarty is a cheeky super-POD alternative for those who can’t afford Nathan Cleary or Daly Cherry-Evans.

He has two tons in his last five games including 150 against the Roosters.

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

Bench: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Eliesa Katoa 16. Kane Evans 17. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown

Reserves: 18. Jazz Tevaga 20. Adam Pompey 21. Jack Murchie 22. Edward Kosi

Analysis: Josh Curran owners will be hoping he bounces back from a rare low week, while Matt Lodge must beat a charge at the judiciary to take his place in the game.

What a frustrating back end to the season it’s been for his owners.

If he does miss out, Addin Fonua-Blake should get increased minutes.

However, with the Warriors top eight hopes now finished it’s hard to know what Nathan Brown will do with his side.

It seems a great opportunity to try a few things for next season, while getting extra minutes into a few rookies.

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TIGERS v BULLDOGS

Sunday, 4.05pm, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe

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

Bench: 14. Joe Ofahengaue 15. Jake Simpkin 16. Tom Amone 17. Kelma Tuilagi

Reserves: 18. James Roberts 19. Reece Hoffman 20. Zac Cini 21. Tui Simpkins

Analysis: With the Tigers very slim hopes of a top eight berth over you’d think Michael Maguire may take the opportunity to play around with his squad a little.

There’s plenty of inexperienced forwards who he may give a few extra minutes to.

For that reason it’s extremely hard to go near any of the Tigers players despite the potentially enticing match up with the Bulldogs.

With relevant players such as David Nofoaluma, Luciano Leilua, Shawn Blore and Stefano Utoikamanu, owners will be hoping the Tigers show up for the fight and put a score on.

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Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Corey Allan 3. Will Hopoate 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Brandon Wakeham 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Ava Seumanufagai 9. Sione Katoa 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Corey Waddell 12. Joe Stimson 13. Josh Jackson

Bench: 14. Bailey Biondi-Odo 15. Ofahiki Ogden 16. Chris Patolo 17. Jackson Topine

Reserves: 19. Falakiko Manu 20. Dylan Napa 21. Jake Averillo 22. Watson Heleta

Analysis: Pass.

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 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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