Bargain Buys: Assessing the 2022 cheapie crop

We take a dive into the all-important bargain buys to begin the 2022 season, identifying the key cheapies to keep an eye on.

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

We all know the most vital aspect in nailing your Round 1 teams is getting your bargain priced players right.

Not only do they provide you with all-important cash generation, and allow you to splash cash elsewhere, but getting them right from the opener means you aren’t burning trades to get them in later.

Throughout the pre-season I’ve analysed each club, and have taken the looming cheapies out and provided a ranking on them as a Round 1 purchase.

One thing I will advise, over and over again, is that it’s worth paying an extra $50-100k for a cheapie with greater potential.

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You may be able to squeeze a better starting 17 in with a stack of players worth $180k, but it’ll hurt you in the long run, so don’t be a tight arse.

Of course team list Tuesday will have the final say on cheapies based on where they are (or aren’t) named, so let this be a guide for the time being as the order will change next week.

I’ve considered a cheapie anyone at under $300k.

*UPDATE: Please note that while still very relevant, this was written prior to teams being announced.

  1. Izack Tago // $287,900 // CTW-2RF // 2021 Ave: 32.8

In the all-important left edge spot at Penrith that was a gold mine for Matt Burton last season.

Tago looks the package at centre, he’s hard-running, offloads, busts tackles and will score/assist plenty of tries in that role.

Add in dual CTW-2RF status and we’re onto a winner.

Lock him in, and play him in 17s.

2. Lachlan Ilias // $205,200 // 5/8-HFB // 2021 Ave: 39

Ilias looks locked into the Rabbitohs halfback role, but will face pressure from Blake Taaffe if he doesn’t perform.

The tough draw isn’t ideal, but hopefully he can do enough to present a nice Round 6/7 upgrade to a gun halfback.

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3. Chris Randall // $245,000 // HOK // 2021 average: 38.8

Randall looks set to replace the injured Jayden Brailey, hopefully in an 80 minute role for SuperCoach purposes.

There’s decent cheapies around, but he’s certainly among the pick of them.

He played five games last season, but three were under 20 minutes of game time.

He played 73 minutes in another for just 30 points, with 32 in base.

The other, he played 77 minutes, for 81 points, with 54 in base and a try, yes please lad!

Even if he played 60 minutes he’s a must-have to start the season and will be a reliable play in 17s early on.

If he plays 60 and punches out 40s we can reconsider starting him and just watch the money flow in.

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4. Will Penisini // $255,700 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 42

Penisini has plenty of potential in a strong side, and his job security is fairly well assured.

He boasts a strong running game and is classy prospect. His base looks reasonable in the limited sample we’ve seen.

Lock him into your sides at a nice price.

5. Kevin Naiqama $306,900 // Billy Smith $294,600 // Joseph Suaalii $259,500

All on my watch list, I’ll basically pick any or all if they get picked in Round 1.

All could arguably be higher up the list give the Roosters ability to rack up points. An early hat trick for whoever gets the nod would be a gold mine!

6. Kelma Tuilagi // $253,900 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 36

The injury to Shawn Blore and uncertainty over Luke Garner’s fitness has presented an opportunity for Tuilagi to start on the edge for the Tigers.

While job security is an issue, he looks a talent with a SuperCoach friendly game.

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7. Sean Russell // $285,400 // CTW-FLB // 2021 Ave: 47

Russell isn’t assured of the wing role at the Eels, but he looks the front-runner.

He’s very awkwardly priced, but with the Eels looking impressive during the trials, and Gutho/Moses feeding him, he’ll be hard to ignore.

The fact that he’s playing on the end of a high quality backline and could find bags of tries give him a load of upside.

8. Brad Schneider // $188,700 // HFB // 2021 Ave: 6.0

With Fogarty injured, Schneider gets first crack in the halves. At bottom dollar, kicking goals (if Croker isn’t selected), and a soft opening draw he’s a genuine cheapie prospect.

The only issue will be job security as he’s very unproven, however the role looks good and kicking duties (TBC) should hopefully ease concerns of sub 20 point scores. He is a big body as well so should run the ball a bit and make tackles.

He could easily be higher up this list, but the risk of being extremely untested and the potential to be gone a few rounds in is why he’s a bit lower than many may have expected.

9. Robert Jennings // $229,100 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 33

Jennings averaged 33 points in 66 minutes last year.

If he lands a Round 1 spot in a red-hot Penrith outfit he’ll be very hard to pass up.

10. Ethan Bullemore // $280,000 // 2RF-FRF // 2021 Ave: 25

Bullemore burst into relevance at Manly with the injuries to Josh Schuster and Haumole Olakau’atu.

He averaged a healthy 30 points in 25 minutes last season at 1.21 points per minute.

His spot looks fairly assured for a month, however there’s always a risk of an early return to the injured back-rowers which concerns me.

If he lands a big minute role, which is likely, he could make decent coin in that time and be playable in 17s.

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11. Talatau Amone // $284,500 // 5/8-CTW // 2021 Ave: 32.5

Most of Amone’s stats are misleading due to playing several positions in mixed minutes last season.

Let’s focus on the final three games of 2021, where he played 80 minutes in the halves.

He had scores of 42, 41 and 76, with 25 base per game which is okay for a half.

He’s shown enough to suggest he’s probably be worth the $284k, again, another slightly awkward price tag.

The dual CTW-5/8 positioning is very handy too.

I think it’ll be tough to leave him out early on, but if there is a decent grouping of cheapies come Round 1 it’ll make the decision a hard one.

12. Brendan Piakura // $188,700 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 2

Missing round 1 due to suspension makes Piakura hard to assess.

Nonetheless, he’s highly regarded by the club and should play off the bench on return.

Minutes will be an issue, but at the price with his talent there’s definite upside in starting with him.

13. Max King // $188,700 // FRF // 2021 Ave: 24

King impressed in the trials and played decent minutes.

He played off the bench in the first trial and had 14 runs, three tackle busts, four offloads and 23 tackles.

In the second trial he had five runs, one offload and 30 tackles. He missed one tackle in two games.

If he lands a decent place come Tuesday he could be a terrific buy and certainly be higher on this list.

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14. Andrew Fifita $205,100 // FRF // 2021 Ave: 20.7

Not a misread, Andrew Fifita is $205k!

The former SuperCoach gun has been hampered by injuries in recent years, meaning he’s not had SuperCoach relevance for some time.

Originally it looked as though he may not even get picked in Round 1, but injuries to Cam McInnes, Jack Williams and Wade Graham (all approx. one month), have left the Sharks short in the forwards.

In the All Stars clash he played 46 minutes, had eight tacklebusts and 13 runs.

Hopefully this shows he’s in a decent state of fitness and regaining some of the talent we know he boasts.

Even in limited minutes we know he can score well, thanks largely to his offloading ability.

15. Jordan Pereira // $266,500 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 38

Slightly awkwardly priced, but not too bad.

The bigger issue is the Broncos and whether they’ll be good enough to create opportunities for Pereira.

He averaged 50 just a few seasons back, so there’s money to be made, but it’ll really all come down to what the men inside him can do for him.

Hard to leave out at the price, the friendly early season draws helps his case a lot.

The absence of Adam Reynolds won’t help his case.

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16. Cody Ramsey // $268,900 // CTW-FLB // 2021 Ave: 30.7

Ramsey starts cheap, but it’s not at an overly discounted rate…

He averaged 31 points in 72 minutes last season, with a very poor 17 in base.

He scored six tries in 18 games, so you’d hope this can increase this season.

You wouldn’t want to play him in your 17s, and I get the idea we’ll be forced to go to our benches for numbers a lot more this season.

Unless there’s a dearth of cheapies to start the season, I’ll be avoiding.

If the Dragons fire early and he has a negative breakeven before initial price changes occur, we can consider them.

17. Cory Paix // $205,100 // HFB-HOK // 2021 Ave: 25

I’m a little torn on Paix, he appears to have jumped Jake Turpin in the hooking pecking order at the Broncos at this stage.

Job security will be a major issue, particularly if Turpin is named at 14 which is every chance.

But a starting hooker, at $205k, with dual position, is very hard to ignore.

He’s a real hard one to assess and could shoot up the rankings pending the naming of the Broncos Round 1 team.

Another who could easily be higher up this list if given the right role.

18. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown // FRF // $274,700 // 2021 Ave: 31

I’ve seen people keen on JTB, and while I don’t mind, he did average 31 points in 35 minutes last year.

With Matt Lodge and Addin Fonua-Blake playing big minutes at prop, along with Josh Curran at lock, I don’t think he’ll get the time to warrant buying.

19. Oliver Gildart // $280,000 // CTW // 2021 Ave: –

The Englishman comes over and is expected to start at centre for his NRL debut.

He’s awkwardly priced, but cheaply priced if he can bring his UK form over with him.

Historically though, English backs have struggled to emulate their Super League feats Down Under.

For that reason, I’m steering clear early, if he fires in the opening rounds he’s very affordable to snap up.

He’ll be a very close watch early on and his ownership could skyrocket if he produces the goods.

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20. Xavier Savage // $286,400 // FLB // 2021 Ave: 46.7

I think Charnze Nicoll-Klokstadd will get first nod at fullback, meaning Savage likely plays off the bench.

However, he does remain a chance. If named to start at fullback he’ll shoot up this list.

He’s a little awkward in that he’s well above bottom dollar and only available at fullback, so are you really going to forego the likes of Turbo/Teddy/Papy to get him?

For me, unlikely, but the option is very viable, especially if Papenhuzyen misses Round 1 selection due to injury.

In two 80 minute games last season he scored 25 and 114, I suspect he’ll have these highs and lows littered throughout his scoring, making him a risky play in 17s, but with serious upside.

It’s a shame he’s not dual CTW-FLB, but I suspect he will be after Round 6.

21. Billy Walters // $296,300 // 5/8-HOK // 2021 Ave: 32

Walters has very shaky job security concern with a number of halves on the verge of being called up at any stage.

The friendly draw to start the year is tempting.

He’s shown ability in the past in limited big minute opportunities at the Tigers to score well, so there’s certainly potential.

22. Adam Clune // $293,700 // HFB // 2021 ave: 33.5

Clune averaged 33 points last season in 54 minutes per game having come off the bench for the Dragons at stages.

This suggests there’s definite improvement in him, but just how much is there exactly?

$293k is a very awkward price for a bloke not noted as having a SuperCoach relevant skill set.

I’m more than happy to forego him early, then pick him up in round 3 before initial price rises occur if he proves me wrong and starts with a flurry of points.

He was probably more viable before Brad Schneider got his opportunity, also Anthony Milford is lingering.

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23. Blake Taaffe // $210,400 // FLB-HFB // 2021 Ave: 30

I’m not overly keen on Taaffe at all.

Latrell Mitchell returns in Round 2, meaning Taaffe will more than likely shift to the bench utility spot.

From there he’d likely be in a 15-20 minute role and potentially lose money.

He’ll be a must-have and make great coin at some stage, but we may have to be patient.

24. Erin Clark // $300,000 // HOK // 2021 Ave: 34.2

Will Smith will likely get named on the bench and would suggest he deputises at hooker, so how many minutes will Clark get?

I’d say 60 at a guess, which is only a slight increase on his 44 last season.

The way I see it, if he comes out and plays 80 and kills it, he’s only a $60k upgrade from Chris Randall.

25. Corey Allan // $264,500 // CTW-FLB // 2021 Ave: 30.2

Allan starts in genuine cheapie range, but it’s not as a result of any discounts.

He averaged 30 last season across 18 games, scoring three tries with 30 in base.

He can definitely be an improver as the Bulldogs evolve their attack, but he’s not overly SuperCoach relevant even then.

There’d have to be a serious dearth of cheapies in Round 1 to consider him, but perhaps down the track if he goes on a try-scoring run in a hot Dogs outfit.

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26. Andrew Davey // $266,500 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 20.5

Davey is a class footballer and will benefit with the injury to Josh Schuster and Haumole Olakau’atu.

He didn’t feature in the trials which is the concern.

He may play off the bench, that being said, he’s coming back from an ACL injury so it’ll all depend on his recovery. This makes him a big watch in pre-season trials.

If he’s off the bench, it’ll depend on both the Manly bench make-up and SuperCoach cheapie crop that’ll make the decision.

27. Tepai Moeroa // 205,100 // 2RF-FRF // 2021 Ave: 16.3

I think this is scrapping the barrel a touch.

With the departure of Dale Finucane and uncertain future of Tui Kamikamica there’s minutes available, 20 of which could go straight to Grant if he goes the distance.

Moeroa has competition for a bench spot, even then minutes will be limited, but at just $205k he’ll warrant consideration if named in round 1.

I do believe the cheapie stocks will have to be pretty slim to consider him, but there is certainly a case to be made.

It feels like he’s been around a long time, but he’s just 26-years-old.

Some stats to consider:


Minutes: 16

Points: 16.3

Points per minute: 1.1


Minutes: 33

Points: 30.8

Points per minute: 0.94


Minutes: 62

Points: 47

Points per minute: 0.75


Minutes: 59

Points: 47

Points per minute: 0.79

So what can we ascertain from this? Not heaps, but we can try.

Realistically 30 minutes per game at 1.1 per minute would see him average 33 points, seeing him make approximately $85k.

On this, I’d want to see him playing at an absolute minimum 35 minutes to consider him (barring a dearth of cheapies available) which is relatively unlikely.

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28. Viliami Vailea // $205,100 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 27

On all reports the promising Vailea is pushing very hard for a starting centre spot at the Warriors.

If he gets named in Round 1 he’ll sky-rocket up this list!

29. Taylan May // $252,500 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 48

May is pushing for a starting wing spot with Staines and Jennings, and while he appears slightly behind on the pecking order, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish the season as a starter.

One to monitor should he get a starting spot at any stage.

30. Ben Trbojevic // $188,700 // 2RF-CTW // 2021 Ave: 9.0

If Burbo jags a bench spot on return from injury he’ll be worth consideration at the price.

The dual 2RF-CTW status alongside Izack Tago is extremely handy, and Euan Aitken for anyone nabbing him.

Let’s reassess his credential when back from injury.

31. Paul Alamoti // $175,400 // CTW // 2021 Ave: –

Alamoti is a seriously enticing prospect at the Bulldogs.

The 18-year-old centre is highly regarded at the club and may feature in the top grade this season.

As identified by

“In Alamoti’s six SG Ball matches he scored five tries and set up four, made five line-breaks, had four line-break assists and threw seven offloads, all while averaging 104 run metres and six tackles busts per game.”

An offloading, metre-eating centre is gold for SuperCoach, even if we are only basing on SG Ball footy!

He struggled in the trial and was also injured, so monitor him down the track.

2 Responses to “Bargain Buys: Assessing the 2022 cheapie crop”

  1. Pablo Bill

    Great write up and most of the usual suspects I’ve been considering, looking at FRF, not a lot of great cheapie options, thoughts on JTB and dare I say it, Gorgeous George Burgess? Keep up the great content and bring on TLT

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