NRL SuperCoach trials review – Part 1

2019 NRL SuperCoach runner-up Walson Carlos reflects on the key SC talking points from every trial game thus far.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

With the NRL pre-season in full swing, let’s take a look back on each trial played thus far to identify the major SuperCoach talking points to come from the clashes.

Broncos v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

It’s always hard to gauge NRL v QLD Cup because the gap in standard is significant and can really flatter the NRL team and players.

Billy Walters was very sharp in this game with his work out of dummy-half in particular.

I expect Walters will push for a starting 6 or 14 spot. Corey Paix was also impressive out of dummy-half and may push for a spot in in the Round 1 team.

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Tyson Gamble was strong also. Jordan Pereira produced a solid effort with two tries and strong carries and tackle busts galore.

If he gets the start on the wing I think he will be a great Supercoach proposition and will be good for the Broncos.

Isaako was strong at fullback, but that’s to be expected against this level. Brenko Lee was solid at CTW and provides great depth for the Broncos behind Staggs and Farnworth.

Ben Te Kura, Deine Mariner, Brendan Piakura and Ezra Mam look to be promising players of the future for the Broncos. Possible cheapies if injuries were to hit the squad.

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Indigenous All-Stars v Maori All-Stars

Rain affected the Supercoach scoring output in this game somewhat. David Fifita was typical Fifita from last year. He did the magnificent high SC scoring play in attack, didn’t play the full 80 mins and picked up an injury. Sound familiar to 2021? Still very brave if you’re a Supercoach prepared to start Round 1 without him in your team.

The Trindall-Nikora combo is food for thought. Nikora is a former SC gun and has relevancy if he starts 2RF for Sharks and by all appearances Trindall has the goal-kicking edge over Hynes if they are both on the field.

I will be following further Sharks trials closely to see if Trindall is likely to be in starting 7 jersey come Round 1, as the fight between he and Moylan to join Hynes heats up.

Sloan, TC Robati and Cobbo are three players I could confidently say will increase SC scoring output in 2022. They’re players to watch as value propositions, albeit somewhat PODish.

Josh Curran may not have had the stats in the game, but he certainly passed the eye test. I believe he is a SC gun and he will be in my team if he is fit and firing come Rd 1.

Kodi Nikorima looked very sharp and may benefit from the dual threat of SJ on the other side of the field. Off-contract and looking to impress other clubs, Nikorima is in for a big year if he can jag the no.6 jersey ahead of Ash Taylor and CHT.

Ricky …… just let the lad play please! Tapine showed us all how good his footwork and tackle breaks are and how potent he can be in SC scoring when given minutes. Unfortunately the Raiders have forward depth for days which might hurt his minutes and in turn his SC output.

Reuben Cotter is a wait and see for me – there’s been plenty of hype in the SC circles in the off-season and I’m not prepared to say he won’t be in my team based on the All-Stars game. We need to wait and see Todd Payton’s plans for Cotter and Taumalolo in 2022.

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Raiders v Roosters

I can’t dismiss Tapine or Horsburgh as Supercoach options yet in the forwards, but it is hard to see how minutes get split favourably for any forward at the Raiders with the depth they have in 2022. It’s a wait and see.

CNK looks fit and sharp. Xavier Savage is an exciting prospect. Is he a chance to start at fullback? With the sort of form he showed in this trial you’d think so.

He’s available at fullback only but is cheap and a serious value proposition if you have the guts to buck the trend of picking Teddy and Papi. Maybe Savage is your answer to getting Turbo in the side?

Brad Sneider (Raiders) and Tukupa Hau Tapuha (Roosters) look players of future.

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Sea Eagles v Tigers

Signs didn’t look great for Tigers fans. The Sea Eagles will probably start off where they left last season, even though that would buck the trend of Manly normally being slow starters.

Turbo’s NRL and Supercoach dominance and scoring is not going anywhere. Turbo is the Supercoach GOAT, but does he start in your team at that price? The biggest question of 2022 Supercoach to start the year!

Is there any chance Kelma Tuilagi jags a 2RF spot for the Tigers? He looked good and posted solid stats. It might not have translated to big SC points, but Olakau’atu looked awesome.

He’s definitely a left field POD option at 2RF to start the year.

Utoikamanu was a bit underwhelming, but I’m still considering for FRF because he looms as a solid value proposition.

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Storm v Warriors

The Storm in this trial had a grossly understrength forward pack so that must be noted.

Munster, Grant and Brandon Smith looked fit and dangerous but all are out Round 1, so it will take a patient Supercoach with a long-term approach to start with 1 or 2 of them.

I’ve locked in Xavier Coates now – he looks a serious value proposition in CTW that could go on some massive scoring tears.

Lock in Jack Howarth as a definite cheapie. His ability to play CTW and 2RF will see him get games in 2022 for sure.

The Warriors pack rolled well, but so they should’ve against reserve grade forwards except for Brandon Smith.

I have some interest in Rocco Berry and Aitken. Berry does a lot right and is at a good price and will definitely be a POD. AFB and Lodge (suspended Rd-1) are both solid FRF picks.

Again, I think although suspended Round 1 Lodge is a value proposition in FRF.

Cowboys v Rabbitohs

The most irrelevant trial of the whole weekend. Be lucky to have three players out of both teams that start in the top 17 for Round 1 and I didn’t see anyone remotely SC relevant.

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Broncos v Titans

Both teams have questionable spines going into the season and that may also affect their SC point-scoring potential for their players.

I counted the Titans played maybe four of their top-17 players and the Broncos played 11.

I think the Gold Coast Titans are developing a real identity for exciting, open attacking rugby league and to be fair it’s frenetic, but it is certainly great to watch.

They strike me as the type of team that can put on points really quickly and give them up just as easily in quick time.

Cory Paix was good again and may push for the nine spot off Turpin who has been unsighted thus far in pre-season.

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Other than that, there wasn’t a huge amount of SC relevance in the game. I mean Staggs is a CTW option but not for me at this stage.

I fully understand Supercoaches going with Staggs though, but for me I want some sort of indication he’s going to get good ball out on the right edge.

Capewell piques some interest, but I’m not overly optimistic on the Broncos season so will he outscore the SC points he got at the Panthers? Hard to say, maybe a more prominent role but less SC point-scoring opportunity.  

Lot of big minute forwards at the Broncos puts me off anyone in their forward pack a bit.

I think Haas will give you what you pay for and if Flegler and TC Robati were to jag big minutes they must also be considered.

TC Robati is a serious player and I think he’ll push for an edge 2RF spot against Jordan Riki.

Pereira a lock if he gets the start Round 1. I doubt Marzhew will get a start which is a shame for Supercoaches because he is a tackle bust beast.

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Sharks v Panthers

Not a lot to take from this due to the lack of NRL relevant players that took part in the game.

The three key takeaways I had from the game was:

⁃ Sean O’Sullivan will be a solid back up for in the Panthers halves in the absence of Cleary and/or Luai. O’Sullivan was solid at the Warriors but looked even better with a strong team around him at Panthers. The level of opposition wasn’t great though, so I’m not getting too carried away.

⁃ The Panthers have depth for days. There’s lots of good young kids coming through that not only provide depth, but will apply pressure to the top squad to keep up their form. Mark Geyer’s son Mavrik looks the goods and in terms of SC options if Izaak Tago can jag the starting CTW spot he’s in my team.

⁃ Braydon Trindall went from the penthouse to the outhouse in the space of a week. I thought he was very solid for the Indigenous All Stars last week, but the fact he was even playing in this game surrounded by reserve graders sounded some alarm bells for me. Then on top of that his defence got exposed badly and with the lesser standard players around him he was pretty poor in attack. If that’s not enough I’d say he’s a massive chance of a 1-2 week suspension for a hit he got sin binned for. Ugly, ugly trial for Trindall.

UPDATE – Trindall is facing 2-3 weeks on the sideline after charges came out from NRL judiciary.

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Eels v Dragons

This probably close to the best quality trial of the weekend. Mahoney looked very sharp and scheming around the ruck, particularly attacking the try line.

The presence of Mitch Rein and where he fits in gives me reason to pause and think hard and long about Mahoney.

The young development player Jaiden Hunt is a player to watch. He was outstanding in everything he did in attack and defence.

Talatau Amone is an SC play if he gets the start next to Ben Hunt which I think he probably will.

The Dragons are in for a big season and I think they will have some Supercoach relevant players to watch out for, most notably Zac Lomax.

The Eels looked really sharp in their playing style. With a favourable starting draw I’ll be looking closely at their trial next week including players like Paulo, D Brown, Penisini, Matterson, Moses and whoever plays on the wing with Sivo (indefinite) and Dunster (season) out. Whoever jags those two spots is a close watch for me.

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Knights v Bulldogs

The Knights had pretty close to a full-strength starting 13. The Bulldogs were missing some pretty big name recruits in Addo-Carr, Naden and most importantly Matt Burton. I think we were looking at two bottom eight teams. Okunbor had a shocker.

TPJ’s performance is food for thought. I imagine he’ll get basically free rein on that left edge and he has a VERY supercoach friendly game.

He will also be running off burton who is going to be getting a LOT of ball based on what I saw from the other two Bulldogs halves who were pretty ordinary creatively. Bulldogs youngster Creedence Toia is one to watch.

My biggest problem with the Knights last year was how they set up a lot and always seemed to go the alternate option to getting Ponga the ball.

It was so frustrating but nothing I saw in the trial suggested this will change, albeit it was only one half of footy in a trial game.

Kurt Mann at 13 looked good in defence and also made a decent run or two and I’m somewhat interested, but I would need some indication that he will get decent minutes. Coach Adam O’Brien is hard to trust.

Onto next week’s trials where we should see a lot of teams running close to full strength 17s.

As a side note, how good would this weekend have been for Wayne Bennett and Peter O’Sullivan (Dolphins Recruitment Manager). They had a great look at upcoming talent at every club in the comp. Stay tuned for The Ultimate Supercoach NRL Trials Review – Part 2.

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