The Rookie Commandments – Fullbacks, and the Big Three

Sixth overall in 2021, our newest contributor Clementine Cassidy investigates the fullback position, including a look into the Big Three.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

Dear Tommy’s Hamstrings

How are you?

I mean, really, how are you holding up? Was the festive season good to you? Any spontaneous races up the Corso?

Any…ahem…run(in)s with a man named Harry?

Undoubtedly, the big question on many a SuperCoacher’s mind right now is Tommy, his record-breaking SuperCoach price, and his (in)famous hammys.

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Is he on track to repeat last year’s SuperCoach breaking record – playing with graceful abandon, skittling teams as if they were your local under 12s, and rewarding SuperCoachers with record breaking points week in and week out?

Or is he a big fat 1.25-million-dollar trap, just waiting to take a big fat chunk of your precious salary cap, before throwing it back in your face with a race up the Corso…or an untimely slip in the shower.

Okay, jokes aside – Tommy’s hamstrings are reportedly doing quite well thank you (plus I’m teetering on the brink of starting a “staff writer” worthy rumour here) – the bottom line is this:

Tommy is going to cost you $1.25 million big ones my friend – and that’s only $200K less than the solid pairing of a goal-kicking, fit Lil Papi AND a Teddy in a full-strength team.

AND, if 2021 is anything to go by, a decent second fullback is a basic need for any decent SuperCoach team.

The point-scoring potential of two firing fullbacks is just phenomenal, and starting the season with the right set of fullbacks will set you on the road to glory.

And at the end of the road to glory is a glorious keyring AND a great big bucket of KFC.

So, in the spirit of helping rookies create their dream team, or just have a good old laugh in between swapping up their team – let’s look at four possible fullback pairings I’ve seen float around featuring the Big 3, which have the potential to be as iconic as bacon and eggs, or, as dry as Sex and the City without the sex…

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The Bacon and Eggs – aka The Teddy x Lil’ Papi Collaboration

Bacon…good. Eggs…good. Bacon AND eggs smashed between a brioche bun with a big dollop of tomato (or BBQ I’m not picky) sauce? Bloody marvellous!

God-level even.

Especially if you’ve been out all night punching darts and breaking hearts and drinking about a thousand beers and you’ve got a God-level hangover.

Quite simply, your most solid (pending no pre-season injuries) fullback duo is Teddy and Lil’ Papi.

They’re literally the most secure duo you can start with to ensure you’re tallying up those points nice and early, without breaking your 10-million-dollar bank.

And at time of writing, the majority of SuperCoachers seem to agree.

And personally, I think paying $1.45 mil for the two of them is, if not a deadset bargain, still a decent price if they soar to the heights we know they’re capable of.

Teddy and Lil’ Papi boast 2021 averages of 87PPG and 70PPG respectively. And Lil’ Papi actually raises that average to 116PPG over the seven games he played 80 mins in.

This, coming from a year when both were affected by injury – Teddy deftly leading a team full of injured soldiers that refused to give up, and Lil’ Papi suffering a concussion that saw him out of the competition for 10 weeks.

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But now the gang’s all back together at the Roosters, and that means Teddy’ll hopefully be getting more of those lovely attacking points we love him to rack up for us.

And a fit Lil Papi is a SC points scoring excitement machine. Who else remembers his delightful dream game against the Broncos in Melbourne last year, when he scored about 1000 tries and rewarded us Lil’ Papi faithfuls with approximately 10,000 Captain Sir Lil’ Papi SC points?

Also, think of that glorious depth. Barring both going down, you won’t have to spend your time early in the season partaking in the big ol’ trade out and in fiasco, covered as a big ol’ do not in my trading article right here.

The Storm and Roosters also have slightly easier draws than Manly in the first few rounds, making the pair of them just that much more tantilising than Tommy to me. Read more about the importance of draws in this most excellent draw analysis by the SC Spy.

This is my preferred pairing. I love it. I love them. And, this is how I’m starting the season.

Don’t go here if:

  • You consider yourself a POD hunting God.
  • Uncle Nick’s slipped you a brown paper bag and you can somehow fit Tommy and another gun fullback into your team.
  • You’ve put yourself on some sort of special SuperCoach handicap, where you’re going to let everyone get ahead of you then make a late run from behind.
  • You’re a vegan.

Anyway, I may eat my words – but right now I’ll just enjoy this delicious bacon and egg roll instead…

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The Batman and Robin – aka Tommy and the other player who’s actually playing

“Holy Switch-a-roo! The spicy cough monster’s taken over Gotham and he’s got Batman! Don’t worry guys – Robin’s here to save the day!”

So, just like that iconic duo of Batman and his side-kick Robin, who’s always got Batman’s back – I am quite okay with the pairing of Tommy and a cheaper fullback to back him up when needed to save the day.

Please note though, that by ‘cheaper’ I mean players under the $450k mark.

Otherwise your team is going to be as unbalanced as the books of that MP trying to pass off his visit to the local massage parlour as a community meet and greet.

This is the way to get in Tommy, have a decentish back-up to save the day, generate some cash on the side, maybe a few nice points – and keep some semblance of balance in the rest of your team.

And look, with an incredible 2021 season average of 143PPG, and at less than 10% ownership right now, Tommy is shaping up to be to be the ultimate POD-hunter’s dream.

Side note: Does the term ‘POD-hunter’ remind anybody else of those two Pokémon Go-playing cops from LA who got fired, because instead of responding to a robbery, they went and caught a rare Snorlax, and then got caught on the in-car footage boasting “the guys are going to be so jealous”.

Like okay sirs. Calm down. You could have at least caught a Melmetal instead…

Only in America kids.

So, am I scared that the 10% of owners are going to captain Tommy? (Lol. Of course they are). Am I scared he’s going to run amuck and score 200 points in 40 minutes? You bet I am.

I’m still sticking to my (two) guns though (for now). I just can’t see past Manly’s first two games and the fact that Melbourne found a way to curb him in last year’s semi-final, so surely every other coach in the off-season spent hours on ‘curbing Tommy T’ tactics too.

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So then, the big question. Who to match the great Tommy with?

Well, it’s tough, because Tommy’s astronomical price has made things hard for SuperCoachers who want him in.

You have to be pretty certain your Tommy and your other fullback are going to get as many points as other fullback duo collaborations. Or at the very least, your second fullback will make a wad of cash so you can perform a sweet switch-a-roo to a bonafide fullback gun.

But one combo I’m somewhat warming to is the Tommy/Cobbo combo:

And okay, so normally you shouldn’t be taking up a valuable FLB spot with a guy who can so easily slot into your CTW, but Tommy’s price has just made 2022 weird like that.

And look, if a firing Cobbo starts, and lives up to all the expectations and buzz (including this week’s Chapter 6 of Wayne’s Great Poaching Spree) – there’s a chance of a swap to a gunnish fullback after a few weeks if Cobbo or one of your other cheapie CTWs makes some decent cash and peaks, and at the same time a fullback you’ve got your eye on drops cash too.

One duo I’ve seen getting around that I’m not quite vibing with just yet, is the Tommy/Taaffe combo.

Yes, he’s cheap at $210,400, and we know he’ll play fullback the first two rounds. But are you going to be left with a conundrum on Latrell’s return? Ilias is looking to have first dibs on Reynold’s halfback role, and so there’s a chance you’re going to be left with a Taaffe who hasn’t quite got the price rises you’re after, whose minutes and points have dropped too.

Don’t go here if:

  • You see more value in the Teddy/Lil’ Papi pairing .
  • You’re randomly picking that back-up fullback without doing any research, because they fit the cap you’ve got left over.
  • You had no idea who was talking when you heard me say “Holy Switch-a-roo!”.
  • You’re walking around the backyard right now desperately trying to find a Melmetal to join your team.

The Sex and the City – aka Tommy and whatever bottom dollar NPR cheapie you’re going to throw in there to make up numbers.

So. If you haven’t watched Sex and the City and its terrible sequel, And Just Like That, just go ask any woman over the age of 30 to explain how our iconic best friend has morphed into an unrecognisable desert – barren of the wit, humour, and life that made its predecessor so famous.

If you sit through their explanation, you then have permission to explain to them (again) why the 2006 State of Origin decider is an absolute classic, and the heart-wrenching pain you felt when they awarded a 4-pointer off that knock-on by Hodgson and how everyone with eyes could see that it was a knock-on; but then how deliciously redeemed you felt when Lockyer scored that try in the 74th minute off that loose pass by Hodgson to win the game…

…I will blink twice if I need help…

Look. Everyone knows fan fave Samantha Jones WAS the sex in the city, but now she’s not in the sequel and the whole things gone to shit.


Because…what’re you left with when the sex goes out of the city?

Absolutely nothing…

But a player who can’t score.

And just like that…

You’re screwed.

And that is exactly what’s going to happen to you, if your one gun fullback – the sex – the great Sir Tommy T – the man who cost you your soul and the soul of your firstborn – goes down in the first few weeks and loses a big wad of cash too.

And all you’ve got left waiting in the wings is some bloke with a mullet and a development contract, who’s not even a chance of a sniff at the ball this season let alone saving the whole goddam show.

Don’t go here if:

  • Well for any reason really, but especially:
  • You haven’t pre-planned what to do if Tommy goes down in any way (cash-drop, COVID, slip in the shower…).
  • You randomly chose the NPR fullback off the list in the app because he had a fun name and when you googled him you liked his hair.
  • Your sister’s husband’s best friend’s Uber driver said to take a risk on that bloke because his mechanic told him he once saw him go alright in his local Under 16s.
  • You like the sex in the city.
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The Peanut Butter and Jam – aka the poddy combos featuring the Big 3

When I was a kid, I hated peanut butter so much that my brother and sister used to chase me around the house with a glob of it on a knife.

(Being a child in the 80s and 90s without an iPad and a TikTok was such a time to be alive…)

So basically, peanut butter and jam is that polarising pair that some people hate together, some people love together, and most people like one or the other…

But if you go this route at least you’re trying something different from the masses.

And kudos to you. I’m not that brave.

The fullback position is an absolute goldmine this year, and whilst I’d encourage you to at least consider carrying one of the Big 3 in your team – there are clearly other contenders to consider to bring in as your second fullback.

I’ve seen some fun Big 3 poddy pairings get around, like a beautifully nostalgic collaboration of a Lil’ Papi/Hynes (although I’d want to see more of how he goes at halfback before I committed to this as his points frenzy last year came off him playing fullback); a gorgeous pairing featuring a Teddy/Latrell (who btw scored an impressive average of 82PPG in 2022 – just keep in mind he’s not back til’ R3); and a Teddy/Ponga (who didn’t quite make our expectations last year with a disrupted season and an average of 68PPG, but who may just be the dark horse this year stepping up to run the show in the departure of Pearce).

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And honestly, I think you could put forward an argument for starting with any of these wonderful collaborations and many many more, and there are indeed some very fine fullbacks and poddy duos to be had.

Just make sure you do the research on them, and know the value they’re going to add to your team, and that you’re getting the very best bang for your very finite bucks.

But lastly, I’ve even seen super poddy pairings of a Tommy/Lil’ Papi or a Tommy/Teddy.

And okay sir. Wow. But that is like literally a fifth of your salary cap, and I was just kidding earlier when I said Uncle Nick was slipping players brown paper bags…

Well…ummm…ahem…not us SuperCoach players anyway.

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Don’t go here if:

  • You’re randomly picking second fullbacks you know nothing about just to be different from the masses.
  • You’re choosing your second fullback with your heart not your head, because you once had a poster of them on your wall and now, they’re your screensaver.
  • The rest of your team is horribly unbalanced because you’ve gone Tommy and another gun.
  • You’re going to go completely left field and fill your FLB spots with wingacoasters instead because you love uncertainty.
  • You hate peanut butter.

Okay, I’ve run out of words. Again. So, in the spirt of the Rookie Commandments, let’s come to an abrupt conclusion and boil this whole investigative piece down to eight words to sum up:

Bacon and egg rolls are great for hangovers.

Until next time, when I actually finish my article on choosing a team with your head and not your heart…

I did start it but then I felt sad that Jakey T’s wholesome thumb wasn’t going to be a part of my first team this year…so I stopped writing and went on Insta and looked at pictures of it instead…

Clementine x

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