The Rookie Commandments: No place for heart in SC selections

Sixth overall in 2021, Clementine Cassidy provides some light-hearted advice for those newbie SuperCoaches (or stubborn veterans).

Key Analysis NRL Pre Season

And we’re back!

After deviating slightly off course with an off-kilter look into the Big Three – where I analysed the best way to cure a hangover and pushed hard for a peanut butter sponsorship – we’re firmly back on course with a nice look at how to make our teams, just in time for the very first TLT (Team List Tuesday) of the year.

Little disclaimer reminder: this is mainly written for SuperCoach newbies, but feel free to read along if you like jokes and tangents.

Personally, I love a tangent. (And lol. As if you don’t know that by now).

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So. Guys. How much fun are we all having swapping up our teams 500 times and playing around with combos and showing off our combos and swapping some more and then forgetting to screenshot our favourite combo and then having to make it again and swearing we had Tommy AND Teddy AND Cleary in our last team…and the app must be broken ‘cos now they won’t all fit?

I swear every time I open the app I destroy my team just that little bit more…

”Hmmm. Maybe I should put Staines in as my second fullback? Okay, yeah let’s just see how that looks…”

Kidding, kidding, kidding. I bear the scars from last year too. RIP the $297k I’ll never get back – and that’s just my betting account…

Okay, so making mock teams and practicing who slots in where and answering the question of how many Roosters players it takes to fill a cap before it becomes a sombrero is all fun and good, but it’s also important to remember when choosing your actual FINAL starting team this year – you must choose with your head and not your heart.

Which is quite sad actually, because if it was with your heart I’d have:

  • All the Warriors
  • Radley, Cheese, and Big Toby performing the post-match interviews
  • Luai, Crichton, and Bizza serenading us with Boys II Men during the training sessions
  • And nicest guy in league – Jakey T – watching over all of us like the glorious God he is, with his Gladiatoresque on-field speeches and his glorious, wholesome thumb

Plus my SC side, Friday Beers, would be coached by the great Wayne Bennett who could also deftly poach us new players using his special poaching binoculars and perform quite a sprightly celebratory dance after the game.

And sometimes Bellamy would pop by the sheds to give all the boys a nice encouraging spray.

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I mean. Can you imagine the vibes…?

But despite the fact that our post-match beers would be a helluva lot of fun, this year we must avoid bringing in players chosen solely because:

  • they’re a bloody good bloke
  • who gives refreshingly honest post-match interviews, in which they:
  • give credit to the boys,
  • give credit to the beers, and also
  • have the kind of thumb that just makes the world A-OK again.

Okay, so let’s get on to making your team

Now firstly. Remember. The whole aim of SuperCoach is…

“Win a glorious keyring and a great big bucket of KFC?”

You know it friend! (Don’t forget those sweet socks, the holy grail mother of all trophies, and that envy-inducing tracksuit too…).

BUT to reach those glorious heights and to reach your league finals you must…

Make the money AND get the points.

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So, on that note – Choose players who are going to do well based on what actually gets the points

In your SuperCoach app, you’ll find a handy little list of everything that gets points and how many points they actually get.

When you look at that list, you’ll quickly realise that attacking plays get the big points. That’s why last season – in the year of blow-out score lines and cricket scores – attacking players in top teams were the SuperCoach glory guys, and if you were relying too heavily on that nice solid FRF who’d knock a nice casual 50 out each week, you fell behind.

This year, aim to get in players who can score those big attacking points for you. The guys who have no ceiling and, even better, the guys who have glorious base AND no ceiling. Like King Brian To’o, arguably the hardest working winger in the game.

Now I know CTW is a cheapie hunting ground this year. And for sure some of those cheapies were salivating to watch in the trials over the last couple of weekends.

BUT I really believe you need to have a couple of under-priced mid-range guys in your CTW to start off with, who can potentially emulate those big ceilingless attacking players from last year, and who’ll make you some sweet cash at the same time to upgrade to bonafide ceilingless guns.

I loved the way the guys explained it on the SC Playbook Podcast Episode 92 so if you missed it, go listen to it now – it is a pure piece of gold.

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As well as attacking stats – think about that base

Looking at a player’s average base is also important, because you’ll want to have guys on your team that you can count on each game to consistently score and keep your points ticking over, even if they play a tough matchup and fail to get attacking stats.

Base is your grunt work – your tackles, your hit-ups, hit-ups over 8 metres – basically the hardest workers on the field are going to have good base, especially if they get good minutes too.

Isaiah Papali`i is a good example of a player with good base. In 2021 he averaged 78PPG, and 55PPG in pure base – what a God.

Avoid players with low base, who rely on attacking stats, but who:

  • Don’t attack as well as other players you could pop in that position,
  • Don’t go looking for the ball,
  • Run around in Siberia for most of the game because the ball never comes out their way, or
  • Are a winger on the outside of a centre with velcro hands.

And Staines is a perfect example of all of the above last year.

We were all excited by Staines and his incredible average of 112PPG off a couple of games played back in 2020. And most of us jumped on the Staines Train only to end up deep in Siberia out on the right wing with him for most of his games.


The man played 80 mins most weeks, but rarely went looking for work, and in a team where the attack often went down the left side, he rarely got the ball. And if it did come out his way, it barely got past Momirovski who would just run for the line instead.

In other words – if you were relying on classic wingercoaster, Staines, to make you points each week, you were in a sad, sad situation friend.

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Balance your team and aim for depth

You have 10 million big ones, to fill your team of 25 places.

That is not a lot of money considering the crazy prices of some of the players out there because of The Great Scoring Bonanza of 2021.

And something I’ve heard around the place is, “I’ll just get Tommy, Teddy, big Dave Fifita, Cleary and then fill the rest of my team with bottom dollar cheapies…she’ll be right!”

And hey, hey Big Spender – look at you over there flashing your cash.

Because pls. She’ll not be right. She’ll be as wrong as a warm beer on a hot summer’s day.

Do not do this unless you have a crystal ball and know your cheapies are more than going to make up all the points you’re going to miss out on by throwing all your hope, dreams, and dollars into the five or six of the most expensive players at the expense of having depth and a balanced team.

What’re you going to do if your big guns drop cash, drop like flies that week, or just don’t emulate the point-scoring sensation from last year that put them in this high-price bracket in the first place?

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Nek minnit, you’re playing that bottom dollar cheapie on your bench who’s getting a 20-minute run at the back end of the game and crying because you just lost your league game to the guy who ran out with the balanced team.

And may I present you with my tiny violin pls sir? I hear it’s as out of tune as your team…

You need to take your 10 million big ones, and fill your 25 positions with a balance of cheapies who are playing to make you the cash (and hopefully some points), decent value mid-rangers who’ll make you points and a wad of cash too, and some key guns (who you can afford without a brown paper bag) to hopefully make you a whole bunch of points.

Because even with trades coming out our ears this season, you STILL need players who’re going to make you money for upgrades, players who’re going to make you points for winning, and a whole lot of DEPTHfor COVID protocols/injuries/suspensions/and players who’ve found the wrong white line.

Important point – With guns so pricey this season, it’s more important than ever to find those value mid-range players who can make a bunch of points and cash and either become must-have guns themselves, or who you can trade out to guns when they peak.

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Avoid players who spend more time on the sidelines than on the field

Injuries happen, but some players are unfortunately more injury prone than others. And it’s best to think twice about putting those players in your SuperCoach team, unless you want to play the old trade in and out game all season long.

Do your research before choosing a player who spent a chunk of last year out injured. It’s all very well if they have an 80-point average, but if that was got over two games against bottom teams because they were injured for the other 23 weeks of the year…

Well, I’m sure you get my drift.

Injury is why I’m not starting with SJ this year. I love the guy – he is a glorious Kiwi and now he’s back repping us at the mighty Warriors. If I was choosing my team with my heart, he’d be my first pick. But his injury history simply scares me.

Not trying to talk you out of him (because if I do, he’ll definitely go injury-free all year AND win the Dally M) but when you consider players, definitely take note of the time they’ve spent off the field in the previous seasons and what injuries they tend to carry.

And your best fountain of knowledge for injuries and how they impact a player, is the incredible NRL Physio, who’s released the most in-depth, game changer of an NRL injury analysis book, which I would HIGHLY recommend you getting your hot little hands on this season to really up your game.

Also have a long think about players who’re prone to a suspension or two, because with a crack-down on high shots and dangerous tackles, it’s important to think before you bring in someone who spent a chunk of last year on the sidelines due to his aggression or his technique.

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Minutes matter too

Another thing to think about here is how many minutes a player is likely to get, because even if a player has a high PPM (Points Per Minute), if they’re not getting the minutes on the field – a player with a slightly lower PPM average who gets more game time could be a better choice.

Tapine impressed immensely in the All Stars game and in the trials too. If he was scoring SuperCoach points in the All Stars game he would’ve been in bonafide gun territory.

BUT, consider this.

The Raiders are blessed with many forwards, and what we saw last year was a bench rotation that saw their forwards get limited minutes.

Tapine played an average of 41 minutes a game last season, and even though he had a fabulous PPM of 1.35, he only scored an average of 55 point per game.

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Real-life guns don’t always equal SuperCoach guns

Now, there are most certainly certain players who do amazing things on the field but unfortunately it just doesn’t translate to SC points or there are simply better players to slot in that position that are going to give you more bang for your very finite bucks.

For example, a player could direct the field so well they’re up against Spielberg for Best Director at the 2022 Oscars, but not actually be a gun in SuperCoach, aka the great Cooper Cronk.


Because you don’t get points for directing and organising my friend, and may I direct you back to the list in your app that shows us exactly what we get points for.

Some other things to consider

Look at the whole team, their draw, who’s gapped the team since last year. All these things will contribute to whether a player earns a spot in your team.

If you’re weighing up a couple of players with similar stats, and one player has the easiest draw for the first five games (aka the Warriors) and the other has the hardest draw for the first five games (aka the Rabbitohs), consider going for the player with the easier draw (especially if he’s an attacking player).

Also look at the team around your player, as this can most definitely affect their SuperCoach scoring.

Taaffe at 210K, is a cheapie quite a few people are jumping on at 19% ownership at time of writing. Yes, he’s going to be playing fullback with Latrell out for Round 1. But when Latrell comes back – where to from there?

If Ilias holds on to the halfback spot, Taaffe’s likely to play off the bench and if he’s not getting the minutes – are you choosing him over a cheapie who would be more beneficial to making cash for your team?

Another example is Jarome Luai. I love Luai. I love his singing voice. I love his enthusiasm. I love his points when Nathan Cleary is on the field.

What I don’t love is his points when Nathan Cleary is not on the field. He becomes an organiser and even if he has a fantastic real-life game, he falls straight off the SuperCoach scoring cliff.

That’s why I’m breaking my own heart and not starting with him this year until I know for sure that Cleary is going to be there with him side by side.

(I apologise to my team in advance, for it will in fact be me serenading our training sessions with my tone deaf renditions of Backstreet Boys and Boys II Men).

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Look for the cheapies who are named in the first TLT to make you the cash

One of the most important parts of building your team are going to be your cheapies – those guys who are bottom dollar, bottom breakeven, and going to get those glorious minutes and make those glorious points and smash their breakevens – therefore making us glorious amounts of cash to upgrade to more glorious guns.

Now, did you watch the trials? Because this is a brill time to start eyeing up some of those cheapie guys who likely will feature in this year’s games.

Seriously, my watchlist on the app right now is so long after the trials, I may as well be a recruiter for the Dolphins.

So far some of my cheapie picks are Tago, Max King, Randall, Amone, Ilias, Talugi, and Penisini.

Oh, and Howarth – Who btw is my lucky charm and team mascot who warmed my bench spot in 2RF as my only NPR in 2021 and who now has every man and his dog jumping on. And excuse me – but there goes my season, because who will be my lucky charm now?

But there’s loads more. And you can find the very best and most comprehensive list of cheapies right here in Tim Williams’ most excellent Cheapie Assessment.

And last but certainly not least – listen to the experts

Something I love about the SuperCoach community is how incredibly willing to help everybody is.

There’s an abundance of expert podcasts, articles, advice, and analysis out there – and one thing that undoubtedly helped me when putting together my team together last year and throughout the year, was listening and learning from the experts – including the guys at SC Playbook and the most excellent insights and analysis they produce.  

Not even a #subtleplug. Just some Sweet. Simple. Facts.

Now, in the ways of The Rookie Commandments, lets sum this all up into 8 little words:

Jakey T has the best thumb in NRL.

Until next time…

Clementine x

P.S – How good’s having the footy back. What an absolute glorious delight…

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