The $1.25m question: Is Tommy Turbo worth the big bucks?

2019 NRL SuperCoach champion Dez Creek takes a deeper look into the dilemma of whether to start with or without Tom Trbojevic this season.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

So I thought I’d start the 2022 pre-season with a brief look at the effects of player price inflation on NRL supercoach and its possible ramifications on how coaches choose to distribute their starting $10m cap.

Where to start? No better place than Tom Trbojevic right? At a whopping $1.25m Turbo starts the season miles higher than any other player in history due to the stunning 143 point average which he managed to maintain last season.

We all know he has the talent to do it again this season, but are we really going to sacrifice 12.5% of a $10m salary cap to start with him? Let’s break it down from an economics standpoint.

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The Supercoach market is a closed ecosystem where you don’t have to interact with any other market participants to perform a trade, I.e. you don’t need to buy a bag of Tommy Turbo or Nathan Cleary from someone else, which makes Supercoach price a static and measurable statistic for point scoring inflation – the underlying concept that Supercoaches need to analyse pre-season every year.

Will we see the same amount of points this season?

If so, then we can talk about starting with Turbo and Cleary at their monster price tags.

If not, then you’ll have to distribute your $10m funds in a much more measured way to get coverage and money making utility in all positions.

What makes the pre-season and building an initial team so interesting is that it’s still all speculation (disregarding trial matches) as to whether a player will perform the same as last season, or improve/regress. 

I’m of the opinion that last season was perhaps an anomaly point scoring wise due to the six again rule changes that probably caught a  lot of teams off guard and allowed for some massive score lines.

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This year I believe that teams (and coaching staff) will be more adjusted to the faster pace which means we should see less blow out games as a whole. Now does this mean we shouldn’t pay $1.2m for Turbo? Yes and no.

Turbo’s price means 12.5% of your salary cap is gone from just one player out of a necessary 25 players – so the question begs, will he score 12.5% of your points?

Let’s say Turbo averages 120 this season (a slight drop off, but still outstanding enough to be a set and forget captain). 240 points out of 1250-1300pts per week on average is a whopping 20% of your total points from one player. It’s a no-brainer right?

Well, let’s say you choose to run James Tedesco instead and save yourself $500k (5% of your salary).

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Teddy averages 90 for the season and you get 180 pts each week from him as captain which is still a whopping 15% of your total pts.

Now is it worth saving 5% of your salary cap for 5% less points to begin with? The answer, of course, depends on how well you redistribute the 5% extra cash across the rest of your team.

Depth in your reserves is likely going to be more important than ever this season with covid ever-looming as a threat to players and coaching staff.

Normally you can get away with starting two or three nuffs, however this season is shaping up to be a zero nuff affair.

Money making mid-rangers look likely to be the crucial differentiator between teams as they race to make money and bring in premium players, whilst maintaining the overall structure of their 25.

In years gone by you could get away with mostly disregarding the scores of your eight non-playing reserves (32% of your team!), however, this year it’s likely going to be much tougher to manage this part of the game which in essence is the real flow on effect of price inflation to Supercoaches without raising the salary cap.

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