Strategy Playbook: Who to sit/start in Rd 1?

We rank the fringe 17 players in your NRL SuperCoach squad to help you decide who to sit and start in your weekly team.

Key Analysis NRL

Footy’s officially back, how good!

Amongst all the excitement of trades and captains, weekly team selections can often be back-of-mind. I’m here to help!

Here’s a summary of start / consider / sit for fringe players for your 17 in Round 1.

I’ve included the commonly selected fringe players, around $320k or less, then ranked them in priority order.

A general note to keep an eye on the weather leading into the round and across the weekend.

For rain affected matches I’d slightly favour forwards over backs. I haven’t factored this into the rankings, so please adjust accordingly.

Thanks to, who’s awesome stats I’ve utilised for position vs team and various breakdowns.

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1. Billy Smith

I was originally reserving this slot for Kevin Naiqama (who hasn’t been named). I think Billy could be even better. The talented junior will be part of a formidable Roosters’ left edge, comprising Keary, Angus and Tupou.

The speculative part of this pick is that Billy has only played five games of NRL in the last three seasons.

When he did play (80 minute games) he racked up scores of 40, 77, 53 and 72.

He also scored a try in each of those games, but the attacking upside is clear. I’m genuinely excited to own Billy for round 1 and have ranked him accordingly.

2. Will Penisini

The Eels have one of the best spines in the comp and Penisini could cash in. He has a solid floor with base + power average of 36 across three games last season.

He has a decent first up match against the Titans, who conceded the 7th most of all teams to CTWs last season. I expect him to be a very useful starter in the early part of the season.

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3. Izack Tago

Appears to have a SC friendly game due to offload and tackle busting ability. This resulted in an excellent PPM last season of 0.88, albeit that this was coming off the bench.

He’ll have plenty of attacking opportunities in a red-hot Panthers side.

The downside could be coming up against Manly, who were a tough matchup for CTWs last season. I think he’s a great play on the Panthers’ lethal left edge regardless.

4. Chris Randall

Looks solid for a 45+ score, which is handy from a fringe selection at this time of season.

Put simply, his PPM is around 0.9 and he’s shown he can play big minutes when given the opportunity.

Legendary Newcastle reporter Barry Toohey thinks he’ll get 65+ minutes, which will see a mountain of base stats.

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5. Talatau Amone

Amone sizzled in the final four games of last season to average 58 points, including an eye-catching 76 points in just 24 minutes against the Panthers.

This form carried over to pre-season trials, where his fleet footedness continued to rack up plenty of attack & evasion stats.

Unfortunately the Warriors matchup perhaps isn’t as juicy as it looks, as they were 10th hardest to score against for five-eighths in 2021.

Nonetheless, I’m expecting a free flowing game, which will offer plenty of scoring opportunities for the young Dragon.

6. Brad Schneider

A goal-kicking halfback behind one of the best forward packs in the comp, yes please!

The only reason I have him in the consider category is that I expect the Sharks’ to be hard to breakdown defensively this season.

Other than that, he’s another who has a SuperCoach friendly game by all reports and will be looking to take his opportunity with both hands.

7. Blake Taaffe

If you have Taaffe, you could do far worse than roll the dice on him. We haven’t seen his ceiling yet (high score of 49 in five regular season games last season).

He doesn’t have the same explosiveness as Latrell of course, but the matchup vs the Broncos has upside.

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8. Ethan Bullemor

It seems Bullemor will play on the left edge that Schuster capitalised on last season.

He didn’t set the world on fire in the trials, but looks a hard ball runner and has the players to feed him.

He could well be worth a play this week if you decide to start the season with him.

9. Kelma Tuilagi

I originally had Tuilagi in the sit section due to the Storm matchup. However, I have a gut feeling he might put up a decent performance.

It’s speculative against tough opponents, but I think he will carry over his solid trial form.

He should get through some work at least. Interestingly he came through the Storm system.

10. Sean Russell

Russell has a decent matchup vs the Titans and will benefit from scoring opportunities with the Eels, like Penisini.

However, I think his floor is lower than Penisini’s, so I’d be inclined to sit for this week. CTW can be a lottery though, so I see no issue if you need to take a ticket with Russell.

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11. Lachlan Ilias

Ilias can probably be started if need be, but we lack data at this stage to do it with confidence.

Tipped to play a similar role to Adam Reynolds and I think he could have a similar SC output, minus goals.

This would put him around the 40-45 point mark. He has a decent first up match against the Broncos, but I’d still be inclined to at least have a look for a few rounds before playing him if you can.

12. Josh King

Gets the starting lock gig for the Storm, with Cheese covering the suspended Harry Grant. Provided he gets the minutes, looks solid for a 40-50 point score.

13. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown

Another who can be started if need be, but lacks the upside of other options.

Looks to be highly rated by coach Payten, who brought him over from the Warriors.

Even so, I’d be inclined to have a look first to get a gauge on minutes and role.

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14. Selwyn Cobbo

Looks a tackle busting monster, registering six TBs in the All Stars game, three in the first trial and four in the second trial.

Assuming he plays right wing outside Staggs he should see plenty of attacking opportunities. In a Broncos team without Reynolds playing the Rabbitohs first up, he’s a sit for mine.

15. Oliver Gildart

I’d say players vs the Storm will be a regular feature in the sit section this season. If you start the season with Gildart, give him a rest this week. Playing his first game for a new club, there’s just too much risk here.

16. Bench forwards

Players named on the bench for their actual NRL team are too risky for my liking, especially in round one.

Exceptions could be middle forwards in the Kurt Mann type 13 role who can be benched at game time and still get decent minutes.

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