How the SuperCoach title was won in 2021

Actuary Adam Driussi compares his 2021 side to overall champion Tim Moodie's, to provide us with some strategic lessons on chasing success.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

With a new NRL season approaching, it’s that great time of year where we all still hold hopes of our favourite NRL team stepping up (that’s you Bulldogs…) and achieving personal glory in winning NRL Supercoach.

So whilst your NRL team’s success might be out of your control, what can you do to maximise your chances of taking out the NRL Supercoach title – or at least maximising your position on the ladder?

To help answer this question, I’ve gone back through the data and analysed the strategy of last year’s winner Tim Moodie (coach of the Villi Army) and my own team throughout the year.  As the season wore on I got to know Tim pretty well so was delighted to see him win – and he didn’t just win, he blew the rest of us away.

So how did he do it?  Did he just nail his starting side?  Did he make huge POD moves throughout the season that no one else made?  Did he make better captaincy choices than everyone else?  Did he just get lucky?

Without writing a ridiculously lengthy week by week analysis which would just be too long for most readers, I’ve tried to share data which can help us get some insights. 

There’s a lot of data, so if tables and numbers aren’t your thing, stop reading now!

The charts that follow throughout show the key players in each position for each round of the season.  Where a player was dual position, they are generally included in both positions since it was possible that Tim or I owned the player in either position in any given week.

The percentages next to each player represent what % of the top 20,000 and 1,000 teams at the end of that round owned each player – so they jump around a bit at the start of the year but then stabilise as the season progresses.  So before even getting to Tim’s (or my) strategy, the tables give you a feel for what the best 1,000 teams looked like versus the top 20,000 teams throughout the year.

I’ve then highlighted Tim’s team and my own team against the top 1,000 teams each week to try and demonstrate the moves and mistakes that we each made.  At the end I’ll try and turn that into some key conclusions.  Bear in mind that after a frustrating year, I finished 2,456th – so not disgraceful – but we should be able to find some key differences between our moves. 

Let’s go.


Fullback was seen as a key position in 2021.  Many of the highest scoring players in Supercoach were listed at FLB and I think we all expected that choices at FLB would be key to overall success.  Was that correct though?

Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s team:

My team:

Looking at the tables above, the dominance of Tom Trbojevic meant that FLB became less of a differentiator than it otherwise might have been.  Put simply, all of the leading teams at the end of the year had Turbo – and the vast majority of those brought Turbo in Round 7 as a direct swap for Ryan Papenhuyzen who went down injured in Round 6.  Tim and I both made that move and both held Turbo throughout.

Bringing Turbo in as early as possible and holding him (and frankly captaining him almost every week towards the end) was critical to winning – but hardly a POD move.  Most teams did the same.

Similarly, a large proportion of teams started with James Tedesco and Ryan Papenhuyzen.  Those that didn’t trade Papenhuyzen to Turbo after Round 6 made a mistake and likely don’t need reminding.

In fact, FLB almost played itself in terms of strategy up to the end of Round 15.  Tim and I had the exact same strategy to that point as did most of the top 1,000 teams and a high proportion of the top 20,000.  We traded Teddy to Clint Gutherson after round 12 and were immediately rewarded with scores of 121, 95 and 93 in rounds 13-15.

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At that point, Tim and I deviated.  I held Gutho, whilst Tim moved Alex Johnston to FLB for 5 weeks prior to making some moves with Kalyn Ponga and James Tedesco at the end.  Ignoring those moves (which I understand were defensive plays to offset what the chasing teams might have done), moving on Gutho after 3 weeks was a masterstroke from Tim.  Gutho went on to average 54 over the remaining games that I held him, and it hurt.

So in general the top 1,000 teams moved Gutho on quicker than the rest of the teams and Tim nailed the timing.  Plenty of other teams did too though, so I wouldn’t describe it as a key reason for Tim winning – but getting stuck with Gutho towards the end definitely hurt me.

So in summary at FLB…despite many of us thinking it would be the most important position each week, in the end, the dominance of Turbo and timing of injuries (Papenhuyzen) and origin duties and byes (Teddy and Gutho) meant that it was the not the difference between finishing in the top 1,000 and winning. 


The sheer number of players at CTW makes the tables below more time consuming to read, but there is some data gold in there.

Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s team:

My Team:

The first key insight I draw from these tables, is how fundamentally different the final top 4-5 CTWs looked versus what we started with.  By season’s end, Rueben Garrick was a must own…yet almost no team owned him through the first half of the season.  In fact, even after Round 14 only 6% of teams owned Garrick and Tim wasn’t one of them.

Most teams started with a bunch of cheapies at CTW, and Tim and I were no different.  We might have started with slightly different cheapies but the starting CTWs did not determine our overall rankings.

Bringing in Brian To’o early was a common move that Tim got right a week before me – not a huge factor in the overall scheme of things but he did post 121 that week so I lost 70 points as I played Kurt Capewell instead.

Tim did have a starting POD in Reimis Smith – but looking at his scores through that period I’m not sure he even started him.  He sold him for a small profit later in the season, but this was not a key factor in winning at all.

Whilst starting selections at CTW didn’t have much impact on overall result, getting trades right at CTW during the year proved to be one of the most critical factors in overall success.  Personally I’d say CTW was the position that destroyed my overall ranking.  To demonstrate, let’s contrast myself and Tim.

The first great move that Tim made was moving early on Nicho Hynes.  Tim traded in Hynes after round 7, a move made by only 8% of the top 1,000 teams.  In contrast, I waited three weeks and brought Hynes in in round 10.  Hynes posted scores of 98, 69 and 182 in those 3 weeks, so that was a huge difference between our teams (and between Tim and most teams) in those weeks.  Beyond round 10, all teams seriously playing owned Hynes.  Aside from the points, it also saved Tim almost $300k relative to other teams.

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When Tim traded in Hynes, I made the mistake of trading in David Nofoaluma.  Having been burnt by not owning Nofo the year before, I probably let that influence my strategy as I convinced myself he would come good in 2021.  At the end of the day he didn’t – and that was my bad.  In hindsight the new rules and general attacking form of the Tigers just made him less effective versus other CTWs.

I also made another stupid mistake around the same time, trading in Zachary Cini after one game thinking he would play the bye week.  This was a basic Supercoach error and one that Tim didn’t make.  Instead Tim held onto Jason Saab who proved to be a handy fifth or sixth CTW – especially when the Sea Eagles had juicy match ups against the Bulldogs.  In Round 16, Tim played Jason Saab as a huge POD against the Bulldogs, picking up 134 points on me with that one move alone as I instead started Gutho (who Tim had traded out) and Saab scored a massive 162 versus Gutho’s 28.

My biggest clanger at CTW, however, was not bringing in Alex Johnston.  Trading in AJ after round 13 was a common move – with 50% of the top 1,000 teams making that trade – including Tim.  I, on the other hand, outsmarted myself.  I looked at AJ’s game by game performance in seasons prior and just didn’t see any consistency.  This anti-POD move to not bring him in killed me, as AJ went on to post scores of 124, 80, 107, 130 and 69 in the following 5 weeks.  In hindsight, I failed to adjust for both AJ’s form but also the importance of high scoring CTWs under the new rules. 

I made another mistake in round 15 when I brought in Siosifa Talakai – tempted by the potential of a starting 2RF available at CTW.  Two words…never again.  Once again, Tim avoided a silly mistake like this – instead he targeted high ceiling attacking players.

In round 17, around 40% of the top 1,000 teams traded in Daniel Tupou.  Instead, Tim traded in Joseph Manu.  With a game starting at FLB against the Bulldogs I recall the temptation with Manu, but once again I convinced myself he wasn’t a reliable Supercoach player at centre over the years.  Manu went on to average 80 over the next 8 weeks whilst Tupou averaged 59.  In the corresponding period I averaged just 46 with Talakai (round 17) and Nofoaluma (rounds 18-24).  So there’s another 250 points between Tim and I just there.

Tim also made a POD move in trading in Matt Ikuvalu in Round 11.  To be honest, I’m not sure how this turned out for Tim.  Ikuvalu did have scores of 107, 83 and 123 over the following 8 weeks – but he also had 4 scores under 31.  So depending on when Tim played Ikuvalu this could have been a nice move or break even at best.

So to summarise at CTW:

  • Most teams started with a similar cheapie strategy including Tim
  • Tim avoided rookie mistakes of bringing in guys like Cini and Talakai before they had proven themselves.  He also avoided mistakes that many other teams made such as bringing in Bradman Best (in round 9 or 21)
  • Tim nailed a couple of other big moves – going early on Hynes and bringing in Joseph Manu in round 17 instead of Daniel Tupou (or even worse options like Nofoaluma)
  • Tim also did well to retain a guy like Jason Saab which helped with valuable player numbers in later rounds as many other teams were stuck with non-playing CTWs such as Suaalii, Burbo and Jarred Anderson
  • Ultimately, Tim did well to buy attacking CTWs in sides winning games – whereas I bought players like Nofo and Talakai with lower ceilings in losing sides. 
  • On the other hand, CTW killed my season – and I suspect many people’s seasons.  I failed to adjust to the new rules enough and missed out on guys like AJ and Manu whilst instead sticking with Nofoaluma and being stuck with too many NPRs on my bench at the end of the year.


Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s Team:

My Team:

Plenty more interesting stuff happened at five eighth during the year.  Bear in mind when looking at the tables above that some key players (e.g. Matt Burton, Connor Watson) were also available at HFB or HOK so might have been owned by Tim or me elsewhere.

The first thing that jumps out at five-eighth to me is how much Tim traded versus me.  Whilst I held Cody throughout, Tim started with Cody but then switched him in round 5 to a combination of Cameron Munster, Jarome Luai and Kodi Nikorima before bringing Cody back in in Round 14.

At first glance I thought this was one of the few decisions I got right.  As it turns out, Tim’s selections outscored mine through this period so whilst holding Cody wasn’t a disaster (and I saved trades), Tim actually picked up points via Munster and the crazy Luai/Nikorima combo during this period. 

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Another great example of within season trading being more important than your starting side.  Tim started with a season ending keeper in Cody – but wasn’t afraid to move him out and back in for in form PODs.

Another huge differentiator between our teams at five-eighth was Adam Doueihi.  Tim traded him in early in Round 18 at which point he proceeded to post scores of 154, 80, 97, 86, 99 and 34.  Wow.  Another miss that killed me.  On the flipside I brought in Brandon Smith at HOK and shifted Connor Watson to five-eighth and the Cheese did very well – but just not as well as Doueihi.  Along wide Hynes and DCE, Doueihi is one of the key reasons Tim won Supercoach.


Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s Team:

My Team:

After a boring start, halfback ended up being a key position for Tim.  For the first 11 rounds, almost every leading team was running with the Nathan Cleary and Sam Walker combination – it picked itself as a combo.

As seen in the tables above, like many teams, Tim and I made two trades at HFB all season – but our results couldn’t have been more different.

In round 12, I traded Sam Walker to Matt Burton whilst Tim brought in Jahrome Hughes.  Whilst Burton was great, Jahrome Hughes was even better.  Burton went on to average 67 after round 11 whereas Hughes averaged 73.  Burton however was $220k cheaper at the time so in hindsight I probably got this call right.

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In round 15, I traded Nathan Cleary to Shaun Johnson (along with 80% of the top 1,000 teams) whereas Tim brought in Daly Cherry Evans (a move made by just 5% of the top 1,000).   At the time DCE averaged 62 for the season – not bad, but hardly stellar.  Perhaps Tim saw something he liked in DCE’s round 14 score of 148 against the Cowboys.  There was certainly a trend of Tim bringing in guys after they’ve posted big scores (Hynes, Papali’I, AJ and Doueihi) versus me thinking they were one-off performances.

Either way, the move proved to be an absolute master stroke.  DCE went on to average 104 over his last 9 games whilst SJ averaged 53 and missed the last 6 games through injury.  So in aggregate, DCE outscored SJ by a massive 677 points during this period.  Like many teams, I was stuck with SJ on my bench in the final rounds as trades were low whilst DCE was tearing it up.

In summary, what started as a fairly boring position proved to be one of the decisive factors in Tim winning Supercoach.  One simple trade had a massive impact.


Historically 2RF was where many of the best Supercoach players played.  Think CP13, PG13 and Jason Taumalolo.  There is no doubt, however, that 2RF had less of an impact in 2021, as the stability of big 2RF scores was blown away by the attacking stats of outside backs and halves.

In fact, one could argue that Tim won despite running a relatively weak and risky 2RF.

The two exceptions were Isaiah Papali’i (where did he come from?!) and David Fifita.  Fifita in particular offered massive upside, but even his impact was diluted somewhat in the second half of the season as he kept starting games on the bench.  I guess the results of 2021 must give pause for thought as to how much of your precious budget you should allocate to high work rate 2RFs (such as Cameron McInnes) at the start of the year versus players with higher ceilings.

Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s Team:

My Team:

Tim’s starting side at 2RF is a good example of how mistakes in your starting side can be fixed quickly and overcome.  Within 4 weeks, Tim had traded out 3 of his 6 original 2RFs and one of the players he retained was Jack Gosiewski who never played a game all season.  I can only assume he was a popular player in the sheds :).

In another example of adjusting quickly to players in form, Tim moved relatively early on Isaiah Papali’i, bringing him in after Round 6 for Jordan Riki (along with 37% of the top 1,000 teams) having come off scores of 93 and 109.  In contrast, I waited until after Round 9.  During that three week period, Papali’i scored 129, 83 and 125 and his price increased by $226k.  

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In Round 6 I traded Riki in for Tohu Harris who was a late withdrawal in Round 7 and then scored 76 and 104.  As a result, Tim outscored me by 434 points in that three week period.  Note that I actually rose up the rankings during that period…but Tim bringing in Papali’i early combined with his early acquisition of Nicho Hynes saw him climb from 1,774th to 108th place in 3 weeks.

In contrast, Tim brought in David Fifita relatively late after Round 4 – at which point 91% of teams owned the big fella.  I delayed a further week, only to watch Fifita score 147 that week. 

So Tim going early on Papali’i and one week earlier than me on Fifita probably cost me about 200 points. 


Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s Team:

My Team:

What jumps at me at FRF is how few trades Tim made.  Tim bought and held 2 FRFs all season – Spencer Leniu and Stefano Utoikamanu.  Whilst many cashed Stefano in, Tim held on, and he proved to be a valid starter towards the end of the season.  That kid can play.

Tim also brought in Ryan James in round 2 and held him until the end of the year.  This provided valuable dual position flexibility to be able to move another DPP starter from 2RF such as Papali’i as required.

The only other changes Tim made was to trade Junior Paulo to Tevita Pangai and then AFB.  One of those was injury enforced and the other was a must as Paulo started posting disappointing scores. 

On balance, Tim did well to save trades in a position where ultimately no player showed sufficient scoring upside to damage him.


Top 20,000 teams:

Top 1,000 teams:

Tim’s Team:

My Team:

HOK was arguably the least impactful position in 2021.  Between injuries to attacking players such as Harry Grant and Reed Mahoney and Damien Cook never getting going, there was little reason for teams to change from their round 3 combination of Jayden Brailey and Connor Watson.  Most of us had bigger issues to deal with!

Brandon Smith was actually the highest scoring HOK in 2021 but Tim managed to win without ever owning him and despite scoring 11 tries, he actually only managed to score above 90 twice all year.

Let’s hope we get some more attacking options in 2022 to make HOK more interesting!

Captaincy Selections

In a year with so many high scores, it felt like captaincy selections were crucial in 2021.  In terms of week-to-week performance that is true, but it was also interesting how many times several of the captaincy contenders all posted huge scores.

The table below shows the captaincy choices of the top 1,000 teams each week, with Tim’s choices highlighted.

The first thing that jumps at me is how many POD captaincy selections Tim made – he had 7 rounds where his captain was selected by 7% or less of the top 1,000 teams.  I was way more conventional with my captaincy choices.

Interestingly, however, these POD moves actually cost Tim 62 points across the season versus if he had simply selected the most popular captaincy choice each week amongst the top 1,000 teams.  Sure there were some weeks where he smashed it – most notably round 18 where Nicho Hynes (7% of teams) scored 166 and the most popular captain (Cody Walker) only scored 79.  That was huge and helped Tim post the 5th highest overall score in Round 18…having posted the 7th highest overall score in Round 16 thanks to Jason Saab and DCE.  There were other weeks, however, where it cost Tim – most notably Round 15 where Turbo posted 208 (with 66% of teams captaining him) and Tim was one of the only teams in the top 1,000 to captain David Fifita who scored 83.

In contrast, Tim’s captaincy selections scored 209 points higher than mine.  123 of these were since I didn’t have James Tedesco in my side in Round 23 when he was a clear captaincy candidate and scored 182.  That cost me a lot but it wasn’t a mistake – I couldn’t afford Tedesco at the time.

Rank by Week

The chart below shows each of Tim’s and my season rank throughout the year.  I was happy with my performance through to the bye period, only to see my mistakes around squad depth cost me badly in the last 6-7 weeks.

Tim on the other hand dominated.  After nailing those early season decisions and hitting the lead in Round 18 he was never headed – eventually winning by a huge margin.

The chart below then shows the cumulative points differential between Tim and I as the season progressed.

As you can see, by Round 15 I had actually closed the gap to 580 points.  By season’s end however, the margin was 2,313.  So Tim put 1,733 points on me in the final 10 weeks!

If I was to broadly summarise the key factors that contributed to our final points difference it largely boiled down:

  • Tim’s early moves on Hynes (Round 8), Papali’i (Round 7) and my late moves on To’o (Round 4) and Fifita (Round 6) = 500 points (plus a stack of cash)
  • My mistake not to bring in Alex Johnston in Round 14 = 300 points
  • Tim’s move to bring in DCE instead of SJ in Round 16 = 500 points
  • Tim’s move to bring in Manu instead of my move to bring in Nofo in Round 17 = 250 points
  • Tim’s move to bring in Adam Doueihi in Round 18 = 200 points
  • My mistake of bringing in guys like Cini, Talakai and Topine resulting in lack of depth towards the end – meaning I need to start Talakai and Topine in some weeks and was stuck with Gutho (versus Tim retaining a guy like Jason Saab since he didn’t need the cash as much) = 300 points
  • Captaincy = 210 points

To me this shows how a relatively small number of in season decisions can make a huge difference to your final ranking.

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With so many ways of cutting the data it’s not easy to know where to start here.  Here are my top 12 conclusions working through the data and what it means going forward:

  • Getting your starting side right helps but is not critical to winning Supercoach.  Don’t get me wrong, an amateur picking a silly side is no chance, but most people reading this article likely have reasonably similar sides at the start of the year and that’s fine.  Whilst Tim scored well in round one (ranked 190th), he was 2,126th overall after three rounds which is when we first ensure we have the right cash cows etc.  I was 249 points behind in 20,973rd place – but the 249 points is more than possible to make up with smart decisions throughout the year.  Interestingly, there were only 4 players who Tim held throughout the entire season – none of whom would have been defined as ‘keepers’:  Jason Saab, Jack Gosiewski, Stefano Utoikamanu and Spencer Leniu!  There were 3 other players who Tim owned at the start and end (but traded in and out during the year):  James Tedesco, Cody Walker and Sitili Tupouniua.  Similarly, Tim had similar enough cash cows to everyone else – it wasn’t like he won because he found cash cows in the first three rounds that no one else found.

Note throughout each of the tables above, how few players who ended the year as the most popular starting players in their position started the year there…the only three were James Tedesco, Cody Walker, Angus Crichton.  That surprised me and again showed how in season trading is more important than your starting side.

  • Attacking PODs were critical to winning in 2021.  The new rules changed the game in Supercoach and as detailed through this article, Tim adjusted to the new rules much better than I did and made some great decisions.  All leading teams had guys like Cleary (pre injury), Turbo and Teddy, but a number of other players emerged in 2021 who crushed it.  Who would have ever predicted that Rueben Garrick would be the second highest scoring SC player in 2021?  In fact, 12 of the top 14 SC players in 2021 were backs (the exceptions being Papali’i and Fifita). 

Tim made several great POD moves with attacking players that ultimately helped him win:

  • Trading in Nicho Hynes in Round 8 for $296k.  Hynes went on to score 69, 96 and 182 in the next 3 weeks.  Less than 10% of the top 20,000 teams owned Hynes during that period.  After Round 10, almost all leading teams brought Hynes in but his price had increased to $582k.  So Tim picked up a stack of points and almost $300k on the field.
  • Trading in DCE in Round 16 for $296k.  In rounds 16 and 19, DCE posted scores of 119 and 172 (with less than 10% ownership) – 155 more than SJ scored in the same rounds.  As an added bonus for Tim, in rounds 17 and 18 DCE didn’t play but SJ only posted 68 points, further hurting Tim’s opponents.  Even by the time DCE scored 454 points over the last 4 weeks he was still a POD for Tim – less than 40% of the top teams owned DCE. 
  • Trading in Adam Doueihi in Round 18.  Only 3% of the top 20,000 teams made this move and it proved huge for Tim as Doueihi went on to post 154 in Round 18 and 516 points over 5 weeks.
  • Conversely – not moving on emerging attacking players quick enough would have hurt many teams.  Tim wasn’t first to act on every attacking POD.  He brought in Rueben Garrick, Brian To’o, Alex Johnston and Jahrome Hughes at a similar time as most leading teams.  But those teams (including me) who didn’t bring in one or more of these guys paid the price.  As an example, not bringing in AJ cost me around 300 points.
  • Don’t buy high risk players early for bye rounds.  Another big mistake I made (which Tim did not) was to trade in guys like Talakai, Topine and Cini for bye rounds early – only for them to end up costing me badly.  They felt like big risks at the time and they each cost me.  Not early did I go early on all three, but none had big attacking upside, none played in dominant winning teams, and none benefited from the rule changes.  Contrast this with Tim bringing in a Joseph Manu and retaining Jason Saab who each tick all three of those boxes.
  • Don’t let previous seasons cloud your judgement on what is happening this season.  Several of my mistakes were a result of looking at scores from previous years and convincing myself to make a move…whether it was to trade in Nofo or to not trade in AJ and Manu.  These are just examples of me not adjusting to the change in rules, team form and player form.  On a similar basis, none of us would have brought in Rueben Garrick or Isaiah Papali’i…or we would have brought in guys like Josh Papalii, Damien Cook and Jason Taumalolo.  There are lots of reasons why players perform differently from season to season and those Supercoaches who can adjust quicker (like Tim did) will be rewarded.
  • Having the best attacking players was more important than having the right forwards.  Whilst Tim made some masterful moves in attacking positions, I felt like he was more fortunate in the forwards.  In particular, Tim “got away with” owning Sitili Tupouniua, Viliame Kikau and Stefano Utoikamanu as opposed to arguably more credentialed players such as Brandon Smith, Payne Haas, Angus Crichton and Cameron Murray.  Tim certainly didn’t win due to these PODs – I’d more say that he managed to win despite running the risk of holding those guys.  In particular, Kikau had the 19th highest average score amongst all 2RFs and Tupouniua had just the 32nd highest average.  But who am I to question our winner?!

The exceptions of course were Papali’i and Fifita.  Tim’s early move on Papali’i and my delay in bringing in Fifita cost me about 200 points relative to Tim. 

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  • The bye rounds are crucial to your overall ranking.  This won’t be news to seasoned Supercoaches, but it would be remiss not to include as an important conclusion.  If you look at Round 13 (the first bye round), I improved my rank from around 3,000 to around 1,400 – purely by planning for the bye better than many of the teams around me.  Tim improved from 43rd to 31st.  Not surprisingly, the top teams tend to prepare for the byes better as they start thinking of winning overall, but if you find yourself down the rankings the bye week can be your friend.
  • FRF is a great position to save trades.  The lack of upside for FRF means that the range of scores from the top FRF to say the 10th is pretty small.  It’s tempting to think Payne Haas is critical in FRF as the standout guy and most teams felt the same way last year and used a trade to bring him in between rounds 18 and 20.  I’ll admit it – I thought Tim was exposed not doing that.  As it turns out, Haas only outscored Stefano Utoikamanu (who Tim held) by 66 points over the last 8 weeks.
  • HOK was largely irrelevant in 2021.  In a year where attacking players in key positions were so important, it was a strange year at hooker.  Injuries to Harry Grant, Reed Mahoney and Api Koroisau and the lacklustre performance of Damien Cook meant that most teams were content to ride out Jayden Brailey, Connor Watson and then Brandon Smith for most of the year.
  • Squad depth is invaluable towards the end of the season – save trades and avoid nuffing players!  One area where Tim excelled relative to many of the other top teams last year was squad depth.  As players dropped like flies (especially in Round 25) many teams were out of trades and found themselves playing short.  I know I got stuck having to start Talakai and Jackson Topine at one point.  In contrast, Tim had close to a full squad of 25 active players.  By not “nuffing” players out, he retained the option to play guys that many others moved on for cash.  I’ve never been a fan of nuffing players to try and loop, and nothing last season convinced me I’m wrong there.  Covid craziness in 2022 will just add to the need for extra depth.

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  • Captaincy choices are obviously critical…especially with the new rules creating so many attacking stats.  I was surprised to see that Tim went for so many POD captaincy options throughout the season – he had 7 rounds where his captain was selected by 7% or less of the top 1,000 teams.  In saying that, if he had simply selected the most popular captain each week throughout the season, he would have scored an extra 62 points.  Tim’s captaincy choices scored 136 on average, versus the most popular selection in the top 1,000 teams averaging 139.  In contrast, my captaincy choices resulted in me scoring 271 points less than the most popular option each week.  This was largely a result of not having James Tedesco available to captain in my side in Round 23.   So captaincy choices have a big impact – but were not the reason Tim won last year.
  • You don’t need to be perfect to win Supercoach.  As outlined throughout, Tim made some awesome decisions throughout the season – but he obviously wasn’t perfect.  He got away with a pretty dodgy second row at times and had 3 players who he traded out within one week of buying them (Shawn Blore, Greg Marzhew and Tohu Harris).  His starting side was very solid but it’s not like he started with To’o, Papali’i and Garrick.  His captaincy shenanigans cost him 60 points too – including costing himself 115 in Round 15 when he strangely captained David Fifita instead of Turbo.  But Tim still won by a mile…and obviously would have won even without getting quite as many things right as he did.  The lesson for me there is that if you make a mistake, move on quickly and that’s ok.  The season is not over.   

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