Squad Breakdown: Analysing the Round 18 teams

2020 NRL SuperCoach runner-up Tim Williams analyses every squad dropped on team list Tuesday.


With the bye period over, it’s a weight lifted off the shoulders.

Planning becomes so much simpler, and while we are running low on trades, making each one super vital, the fact it isn’t a trade free for all also makes things a little less complex.

The one thing that does become extremely difficult at this time of season is sit v starts, with plenty of depth across most squads, benching guns for 100+ scores at different stages is near inevitable.

We now turn our attention to locking in the best 17 we can get as quick as possible.

Personally, the recent COVID spike that impacted Origin, the NRL and SuperCoach in the past week has me thinking that depth should be prioritised over bulk nuffs/additional cash for the rest of season.

Surprise, surprise, I’m opting for depth.

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This led me to going Fonua Pole over Jed Cartwright last week, hopefully a handy additional number should things spiral out of control late on in the season, or sooner…

The Cooma Stallions had a successful bye period to sit in 107th overall off the back of 867 points in Round 17.

While there’s still a fair chunk of ground to be made up, my squad is set up very well, with trades (and a boost) in hand, $400k in the bank and a few big PODs to hopefully help me claw in those ahead.

Thank you Maika Sivo, and Kotoni Staggs who I’ve continued my frustrating ongoing relationship with.

With no byes to worry about, and teams likely to change significantly over the weekend due to Origin restings, I’m going to change tune a little this week and just make mention of the players from each side I consider must-haves, some potential sells, and holds, whether they’re named or not.

Do note as always that every SuperCoach side is set up differently, so some verdicts on players below may not apply to your team as such, so keep an open mind.

Let’s take a look at the Round 18 teams, with squads courtesy of ESPN.

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Friday, 6pm, QCB Stadium, Townsville

Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Peta Hiku 5. Brendan Elliot 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Connelly Lemuelu 13. Jason Taumalolo 

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Luciano Leilua 16. Ben Hampton 17. Griffin Neame 

Reserves: 18. Tomas Chester 19. Emry Pere 20. Kane Bradley 21. Ben Condon 22. Riley Price

Analysis: I’m hesitant to invest too much into the Cowboys this week on the short back up from Origin.

There’s no must-haves in this side, however there’s still plenty of interest.

Jason Taumalolo is a definite hold, as is Reece Robson unless he’s your only ticket to Harry Grant.

Scott Drinkwater is a tough call, I haven’t owned this season, but for owners my gut says hold unless he’s your only path to say Teddy/Latrell/Papy.

I’m likely to run a Robson/Grant combo on the run home, although I haven’t ruled out Robson to Cook pending how they perform in coming rounds.

Val Holmes is a serious POD play for the run home with decent upside, and the fact his dual CTW-FLB status is very handy. He hasn’t been named, but anyone keen can jump on next week with the Cowboys having a nice run home.

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Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Connor Tracey 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Teig Wilton 12. Wade Graham 13. Dale Finucane 

Bench: 14. Aiden Tolman 15. Cameron McInnes 16. Braden Hamlin-Uele 17. Andrew Fifita 

Reserves: 18. Braydon Trindall 19. Jesse Colquhoun 20. Kade Dykes 21. Siosifa Talakai 22. Lachlan Miller

Analysis: With a soft run home for Cronulla, Sione Katoa and Ronaldo Mulitalo are season long holds that can be played based on match up.

Nicho Hynes is definitely a hold and also a must-have in my opinion, however some sold last week.

For those who did sell, I don’t mind holding off getting him back for a few weeks with a tough clash in Townsville followed by Penrith in Penrith where he’s a sit outside the 17 candidate anyway.

After that though, get him back!

Siosifa Talakai is a hold for me, with invaluable dual CTW-2RF positioning for the run home, particularly if injuries/COVID hit with limited trades. I think he has another couple of tonnes left in him.

He’s been named on the bench, but could easily start if he plays minimal minutes in Origin.

Cam McInnes is an okay hold for anyone with limited trades, but if you can turn him into say Grant or Cam Murray it looks a great move.

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Friday, 7.55pm, CommBank Stadium, Sydney

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Marata Niukore 

Bench: 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Jakob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Ky Rodwell 

Reserves: 18. Tom Opacic 19. Elie El Zakhem 20. Nathan Brown 21. Ofahiki Ogden 22. Hayze Perham

Analysis: Maika Sivo remains a great POD to be played ONLY on match up, we know he can go low so having invested last week I’ll only play in soft games.

I do think last week was the time to buy though, with the likes of Joey Manu, Reuben Garrick and Val Holmes all better buys.

As good as Mitch Moses was last week, in a tough halfback position (Cleary/Hynes), I like the idea of offloading him next week after the soft Warriors game for a gun fullback.

Dylan Brown is a season-long hold at five-eighth.

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If you were going to sell Ryan Matterson the time was probably last week, but having not been named this week is obviously an issue. While bulk restings elsewhere will see some depth tested this round.

I’m still potentially eyeing him off later on pending how he returns from his rib injury.

Isaiah Papali’i is pretty close to a must-have, he just finds a way to keep churning out big scores. That being said, if you are looking for an anti-POD to chase ranks he’s avoidable.

Shaun Lane remains a great POD at 6% ownership with decent upside, last week was probably the time to buy though with players like Murray and David Fifita emerging in the back-row.

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Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Marcelo Montoya 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Adam Pompey 5. Edward Kosi 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tohu Harris 11. Euan Aitken 12. Josh Curran 13. Jazz Tevaga 

Bench: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Aaron Pene 17. Jack Murchie 

Reserves: 18. Eliesa Katoa 20. Rocco Berry 21. Daejarn Asi 22. Pride Petterson-Robati 23. Jackson Frei

Analysis: No interest in the Warriors for me, if I owned any players like Euan Aitken or Tohu Harris I’d look to move on for genuine keepers with greater upside.

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Saturday, 3pm, Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Joseph Manu 7. Sam Walker 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 

Bench: 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Nat Butcher 17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 

Reserves: 18. Drew Hutchison 19. Matthew Lodge 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Fletcher Baker 22. Kevin Naiqama 23. Adam Keighran 24. Terrell May

Analysis: James Tedesco is a borderline must-have, although with most looking to Ryan Papenhuyzen and then potentially Latrell Mitchell to partner him I can see why you’d avoid.

I wouldn’t however be trading Tedesco to get Latrell.

Joey Manu is also a borderline must-have, however we can’t have everyone in a fairly stacked CTW position. I’m looking to anti-POD him at this stage.

If Tedesco doesn’t back up from Origin, it’ll put Manu at fullback where he probably tonnes up, meaning I may well recruit him back into my team. He’s also scary at five-eighth without Luke Keary again.

Angus Crichton is a hold for me, although pending his Origin minutes I’ll likely sit him outside my 17 this week in the chance he gets reduced game time.

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Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 

Bench: 14. Moses Mbye 15. Josh Kerr 16. Aaron Woods 17. Jaiyden Hunt 

Reserves: 18. Michael Molo 19. Jayden Sullivan 20. Tyrell Sloan 21. Billy Burns 22. Josh Mcguire

Analysis: No interest at the Dragons for me, if I owned Zac Lomax I’d turn him into a gun with higher upside from a stronger team.

If you are scarce on trades though he’s fine to hold.

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Saturday, 5.30pm, 4 Pines Park, Sydney

Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Sean Keppie 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 

Bench: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Taniela Paseka 

Reserves: 18. Josh Aloiai 19. Ben Trbojevic 20. Ethan Bullemor 21. Kurt De Luis 22. Kaeo Weekes

Analysis: Reuben Garrick isn’t quite a must-have, especially with a lingering injury. I’ll be holding off to see how he looks this weekend, although the clash at home against Newcastle is terrifying. Manly have a decent draw, so I’ll be monitoring closely.

Tolutau Koula is a sell in coming weeks when he peaks in price, however if you’re well enough set up financially which plenty will, he can be moved on this week if it means getting in a gun.

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Daly Cherry-Evans is a super POD, not only due to his minimal ownership, but also as it means you’d be foregoing Hynes/Tedesco/Papy, or God forbid Nathan Cleary to get him.

For this reason there’s no way I’d do it, but if you’re desperate enough to chase ranks he’s an option.

Haumole Olakau’atu isn’t quite a must-have in a pretty stacked second-row forward position, but he is punching out big scores with ease and has stacks of attacking upside, so I’d want him if I didn’t own. Like Papali’i, he is a reasonable anti-POD play though.

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Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Kurt Mann 

Bench: 14. Simi Sasagi 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Brodie Jones 

Reserves: 18. Leo Thompson 19. Chris Randall 20. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 21. Hymel Hunt 22. Jake Clifford

Analysis: I’m not keen on him, but like DCE, Kalyn Ponga at 2.6% ownership is pretty tempting due to the fact Newcastle have a great run home, and he may well pick up the goal-kicking duties from this week.

Not for me, but worth a pondr…

David Klemmer and Mitch Barnett are holds indefinitely barring a reduction in minutes which is possible.

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Saturday, 7.35pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Phillip Sami 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tanah Boyd 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Aaron Booth 10. Isaac Liu 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 

Bench: 14. Erin Clark 15. Jaimin Jolliffe 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Paul Turner 

Reserves: 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Jamayne Isaako 20. Greg Marzhew 21. Brian Kelly 22. Kevin Proctor

Analysis: David Fifita is the only one who catches my eye here. In fact, I’m very keen on him in coming weeks due to his massive upside.

At 0% ownership in the top 20,000, he’s a proven gun with tonnes to his name this year. I love him as a POD.

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Broncos: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Delouise Hoeter 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Brenko Lee 5. Jordan Pereira 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Billy Walters 10. Ryan James 11. Zac Hosking 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington 

Bench: 14. Jake Turpin 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Tyson Gamble 

Reserves: 18. Deine Mariner 19. Brendan Piakura 20. Corey Jensen 21. Tyrone Roberts 22. Logan Bayliss-Brow 23. Corey Oates 24. Patrick Carrigan

Analysis: I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy either of Selwyn Cobbo or Kotoni Staggs, however for those that do already own they’re decent fifth/sixth CTWs to play on match up.

Hold Staggs week for a nice Titans matchup, then reassess your team and whether you want to turn them into genuine guns for the run home. Anyone low on trades may have to hold.

Cobbo is a tough one having not been named to back up from Origin.

Payne Haas is the fourth most sold player this week, I feel that if you held through Round 17 you may as well keep him.

He’s likely to play big minutes on the run home and could easily average 75+ once back.

Ezra Mam can go either this week or next to a gun.

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Sunday, 2pm, CommBank Stadium, Sydney

Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Starford To’a 4. James Roberts 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Justin Matamua 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jackson Hastings 

Bench: 14. Fonua Pole 15. James Tamou 16. Luke Garner 17. Jake Simpkin 

Reserves: 18. Austin Dias 19. Jock Madden 20. Junior Tupou 21. Asu Kepaoa 22. Alex Seyfarth

Analysis: Joe Ofahengaue is belting out big numbers and is a hold indefinitely unless his minutes reduce, which is possible if Jackson Hastings stays at lock.

Fonua Pole may prove a handy little back up FRF option later on in the year, better yet we can hopefully upgrade him to a gun after a few price rises.

No real interest elsewhere at the Tigers, although Adam Doueihi will be a close watch on return to the halves as a potential super POD option.

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Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Robert Jennings 5. Charlie Staines 6. Kurt Falls 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Chris Smith 13. Matt Eisenhuth 

Bench: 14. Soni Luke 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 

Reserves: 18. Sunia Turuva 19. J’maine Hopgood 20. Lindsay Smith 21. Thomas Jenkins 22. Christian Crichton

Analysis: As expected, Penrith have mass rested their Origin contingent, here’s how I see them for the rest of the season anyway.

Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, Taylan May are all must-haves for me on the run home.

I’m happily holding Izack Tago, although I can see why some are moving on to a gun CTW or 2RF. I’ll likely be holding and playing based on match up each week.

Api Koroisau is in great form, but with the likes of Harry Grant, Damien Cook and Reece Robson I do think he’s a bit down in the pecking order, so I’d be selling.

Viliame Kikau’s form has been frightening, and while he’s notoriously up and down in his SuperCoach scoring, there’s been far more highs than lows of late.

He’s at 30% ownership in the top 100 ranked teams, and 26% in the top 1,000, so while he’s not a genuine POD, there’s plenty who don’t own him!

With his upside, I’m happily holding onto him for the run home.

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Sunday, 4.05pm, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Nick Meaney 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Dean Ieremia 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King 

Bench: 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Alec MacDonald 17. Jordan Grant

Reserves: 18. Jayden Nikorima 19. Chris Lewis 20. Tom Eisenhuth 21. Young Tonumaipea 22. Bronson Garlick

Analysis: Ryan Papenhuzyen, Harry Grant and Cam Munster are all must-haves, get them in or risk getting left behind.

Brandon Smith is a sell, probably to Grant for anyone who sold off.

While there are plenty of great replacement options for Jahrome Hughes, he’s an elite talent who will benefit with having his star teammates back on deck.

I’d be tempted to hold another week or two as a POD, then sell if he isn’t performing.

However, anyone wanting to move him on this week to another high upside gun is fine.

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Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton

Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. James Schiller 16. Adam Elliott 17. Corey Horsburgh

Reserves: 18. Brad Schneider 19. Ata Mariota 20. Corey Harawira-Naera 21. Emre Guler 22. Albert Hopoate

Analysis: Joe Tapine has hit the SuperCoach form this season we’ve been waiting on for years.

As dual FRF-2RF, with a five round average of 84 points, and only one try all season, he’s fast becoming a must-have.

My issue is that I have Taumalolo and Papali’i in the front-row, and a stacked back-row, so I’m likely to anti-POD him as the masses look to buy.

While I want him badly, I’m looking to chase those high upside backline players instead, while hoping my front-rowers can match him which they’re more than capable of doing.

Adam Elliott is likely to become a sell, but with a three round average of 83 points and five round average of 79 points there’s no reason to trade at this stage. Killing it!

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Sunday, 6.15pm, Accor Stadium, Sydney

Bulldogs: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Waddell 13. Tevita Pangai Junior 

Bench: 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Kurtis Morrin 16. Joe Stimson 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 

Reserves: 19. Matt Dufty 20. Declan Casey 21. Bailey Biondi-Odo 22. Jackson Topine 23. Chris Patolo

Analysis: No real interest here as I think Jacob Kiraz is a sell for a gun CTW with a higher ceiling.

Max King’s dual positioning of FRF-2RF is invaluable. While I think he’s a sell to a forward with greater upside, I can see why people would hold as cover in those positions based on some strong form of late, particularly anyone low on trades.

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Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Isaiah Tass 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 

Bench: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Jed Cartwright 16. Siliva Havili 17. Thomas Burgess 

Reserves: 18. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 19. Richard Kennar 20. Davvy Moale 21. Shaq Mitchell 22. Blake Taaffe 23. Ben Lovett

Analysis: Latrell Mitchell looks a great buy, but will he outscore Tedesco and Papenhuyzen on the run home? Possibly, but I’ll say no.

The main reason being is South Sydney’s upcoming draw against the Storm, Sharks, Warriors, Eels, Panthers, Cowboys and Roosters.

That’s close to as hard as it gets, so I’ll opt for two proven guns with better draws, as much as it’ll terrify me watching Latrell, especially this week.

For the same reason I think Alex Johnston is probably an avoid, especially with the quad concern. Owners can potentially hold, but do you want to play him in many of those match ups?

The draw also scares me off Cody Walker who has turned a corner in recent weeks. I’ll watch him this week, then there’s every chance I move him on down the track, but it’ll be reassessed after this week.

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Owned by just 3% of the top 100 ranked teams and 7% of the top 1,000, Cam Murray excites me and I’m keen to get him in sooner rather than later.

His form has been sublime this year, so at POD ownership he looks a great target.

Koloamatangi is a sell, or borderline hold if low on trades.

Damien Cook is another serious option with a season average of 74 points, in a struggling Rabbitohs outfit. Latrell’s return has sparked the side, and should create quicker ruck speed, so Cook could feast as they look to lock in a top eight spot on the run to the finals.

He’s owned by 27% of the top 100, with very similar numbers among the top 1,000 and beyond.

Jai Arrow is a sell to a number of gun options.

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