Squad Breakdown: Analysing the Round 25 teams

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


Grand finals are done, now it’s time to usher in the final round of the NRL SuperCoach season.

It’s an exciting time as we all try and reach our final goals, whether that be top spot overall, top 100, 1,000, 10,000 and so on.

Some leagues will have head-to-head grand finals set up for this week, so good luck to those people still alive.

I touched on it last week, but just to reiterate, if you are in a tense situation this week, try not to get too worked up.

As great a game as SuperCoach is, always remember it’s just that, a game. Once the players hit the field it’s completely out of your hands as to what happens from there.

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Hopefully it results in a big finish, but if not, at least you got plenty of enjoyment out of it in the process.

While we haven’t quite seen the mass restings of past years, or late season injuries, this week there has been some damage and depth will be tested significantly.

So while the planning for depth long-term hasn’t had the massive benefits as prior years, this weekend should reward those with deep squads.

Depending on results across the weekend, we may yet see further restings if teams can’t change ladder positions once certain games are finalised.

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For that reason, it’s essential you put players in your starting 13 who are active early in the round, and those playing later among your four bench players. If there’s late outs it could spell disaster.

The Cooma Stallions bounced back with a more promising week to score 1,255 points to move up to 795th overall.

Barring disaster, that should lock in a top 1% finish to keep the streak alive, and hopefully a top 1,000 finish, but I won’t go the early crow on that just yet.

The analysis below will be far briefer this week as a large majority of us are out of trades, so I’ll just touch on a few key targets and tactical options.

Let’s take a look at the Round 25 teams, with squads courtesy of Fox Sports.

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Eels v Storm

Thursday, 7.50pm, CommBank Stadium, Sydney

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

Bench: 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Jakob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore

Reserves: 18. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Bailey Simonsson 20. Bryce Cartwright 21. Sean Russell 22. Ky Rodwell

Analysis: An absolute blockbuster game awaits here, with a top four spot and finals lifeline hinging on the result.

For that reason, along with Melbourne’s defensive prowess, I’d be avoiding any players in this game.

With Parramatta’s red-hot form I’d be happy enough to play anyone in my 17, more so their rampaging left edge.

Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 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. Brandon Smith 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Trent Loiero 17. Chris Lewis

Reserves: 18. Young Tonumaipea 19. Cooper Johns 20. Alec MacDonald 21. Jordan Grant 22. Jack Howarth

Analysis: As per above, although Parramatta can dish out a shocker from time to time.

That being said, if the Eels can’t get up for this game they never will.

Commbank Stadium is excellent for SuperCoach scoring, so hopefully the attacking contingent can produce something respectable.

I wouldn’t be buying any Storm players for this clash.

Brandon Smith is probably a reluctant play this week, his minutes haven’t been great, playing just 46 last week.

However with Penrith’s restings, and potentially more to come, it may be the safe move to get a quality player locked in early in the round. Hopefully his minutes get back to 55-60.

He’s been named on the bench but is every chance of starting come game day.

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Bulldogs v Sea Eagles

Friday, 6pm, 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. Corey Waddell 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Josh Jackson

Bench: 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Joe Stimson 16. Chris Patolo 17. Tevita Pangai Junior

Reserves: 19. Declan Casey 20. Bailey Biondi-Odo 21. Jackson Topine 22. Paul Alamoti 23. Luke Thompson

Analysis: No interest here, although Manly’s mediocre defence of late bodes well for the likes of Matt Burton and Jacob Kiraz who are plays.

Max King is a bit like Brandon Smith above, he’s ideally a sit, but locking in a 50 odd score early on might not be the worst play.

The returns of Tevita Pangai Jnr and Luke Thompson aren’t ideal for him.

I wouldn’t invest in any Bulldogs players this week.

Sea Eagles: 1. Kaeo Weekes 2. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Toafofoa Sipley 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Dylan Walker

Bench: 14. Ben Trbojevic 15. Josh Schuster 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Kurt De Luis

Reserves: 18. James Roumanos 19. Zac Fulton 20. Jacob Sykes 21. Jamie Humphreys 22. Gordon Chan Kum Tong

Analysis: While the Bulldogs defence has been improved in recent months, Manly do get a nice fixture here.

Daly Cherry-Evans will be giving everything despite the dismal end to the year, he’s every chance to get amongst the scoring action to end well for patient owners.

While the game didn’t play into his hands much, Haumole Olakau’atu appeared to have an eye on the off-season last week, along with a few teammates, running just five times.

He’s been in poor SuperCoach form, but you’d be in a pretty luxurious position to trade or sit this week.

I’ll be playing and hoping he finishes with a bang, which is every chance against the Bulldogs.

Ben Trbojevic becomes an auto-emergency nightmares on the bench for owners.

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Roosters v Rabbitohs

Friday, 7.55pm, Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Paul Momirovski 3. Drew Hutchison 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Siosiua Taukeiaho

Bench: 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Fletcher Baker 17. Terrell May

Reserves: 18. Adam Keighran 19. Ben Thomas 20. Kevin Naiqama 21. Oliver Gildart 22. Siua Wong

Analysis: We’ve got two red-hot sides playing in arguably the game of the year.

Old rivals battling for a home semi in week one of the finals, at a brand new stadium.

Both have been defending well, and in such a high stakes clash I’d be hesitant to invest in any players or drop any captaincy plays on any players.

South Sydney’s defence has been stronger of late, but still has question marks, so James Tedesco is a reasonable vice-captaincy option, but I think there’s better.

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

Bench: 14. Peter Mamouzelos 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Hame Sele 17. Michael Chee Kam

Reserves: 18. Blake Taaffe 19. Kodi Nikorima 20. Davvy Moale 21. Richard Kennar 22. Josh Mansour

Analysis: As per above, except I think the Roosters are better defensively, so I’d be a little worried about the attacking contingent of South Sydney.

I wouldn’t be investing in any players or giving them the captaincy.

If you’re in a position to do so, I’d also be sitting any players outside of Latrell Mitchell, Alex Johnston and Cam Murray.

Damien Cook is out again in a huge blow for his owners. He’s surprisingly owned by 30% of the top 100 ranked overall coaches.

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Warriors v Titans

Saturday, 3pm, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Rocco Berry 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tohu Harris 11. Euan Aitken 12. Josh Curran 13. Bunty Afoa

Bench: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila 16. Eliesa Katoa 17. Tom Ale

Reserves: 18. Jack Murchie 20. Daejarn Asi 21. Adam Pompey 22. Edward Kosi 23. Jackson Frei

Analysis: The Warriors are every chance of finishing with a bang in front of their home crowd in a daytime fixture that’ll likely feature a stack of points for both sides.

I wouldn’t be overly keen to invest, but you could do worse than a sneaky Reece Walsh flyer here, especially as he may kick goals with Shaun Johnson getting a niggle last week.

Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Greg Marzhew 3. Sosefo Fifita 4. Phillip Sami 5. Corey Thompson 6. AJ Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Sam McIntyre 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu

Bench: 14. Paul Turner 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Klese Haas

Reserves: 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Tony Francis 20. Toby Sexton 21. Jamayne Isaako 22. Sam Lisone

Analysis: As above, there should be plenty of points scored here.

My man AJ Brimson delivered in spades last weekend with 139 points against the Knights, taking his three round average to 111.

It’s a shame I only had one trade left and didn’t invest, but I’m very tempted by him this week. He remains a great buy.

Plenty are loading up on Tino Fa’asuamaleaui following back-to-back socres of 109 and 90, I think there’s far better buys this week.

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Dragons v Broncos

Saturday, 5.30pm, Jubilee Stadium, Sydney

Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Tyrell Sloan 3. Mathew Feagai 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Jack de Belin 9. Jayden Sullivan 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Josh Mcguire 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird

Bench: 14. Tyrell Fuimaono 15. Jaiyden Hunt 16. Jackson Ford 17. Aaron Woods

Reserves: 18. Jack Gosiewski 19. Andrew McCullough 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Joshua Coric 22. Josh Kerr

Analysis: As abysmal as Brisbane have been the past fortnight, they’re still playing for a top eight spot, so they’ll have to show some sort of improvement.

I may be wrong, but regardless I wouldn’t be investing in any Dragons players this week.

Any players you do own look great plays though.

I’m absolutely stunned that Ben Hunt managed just 11 points last weekend against the Tigers, he also scored 4 points against Melbourne in Round 9, and 9 points against the Rabbitohs in Round 5. Wow…

Broncos: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Delouise Hoeter 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan

Bench: 14. Billy Walters 15. Keenan Palasia 16. Corey Jensen 17. Zac Hosking

Reserves: 18. Tesi Niu 19. Jordan Pereira 20. Cory Paix 21. Ezra Mam 22. Rhys Kennedy

Analysis: You couldn’t touch a Bronco with a fifty-foot pole after what they’ve produced the past two weeks.

Not that I’ve been playing him in my 17 for a long time, but Kotoni Staggs needs to score about 300 for me this week to avoid landing on the ‘never again’ list.

Who am I kidding, he’ll trample six players to score a try in week one of trials next season against the Ipswich Jets and he’ll be back in my Round 1 team at $450k….

Ezra Mam has been dropped in a blow to the depth of squads, with approximately one third of all top ranked coaches owning him.

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Cowboys v Panthers

Saturday, 7,35pm, QCB Stadium, Townsville

Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Tom Gilbert 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame

Reserves: 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Riley Price 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Tom Dearden 22. Ben Condon

Analysis: Alright, here’s a clash to target with your final trades. Imagine saying that about a side facing Penrith…

Well the minor premiers have essentially named their NSW Cup side, and the Cowboys need to win to remain in the hunt for a home semi next week, and more importantly to avoid facing Penrith at full-strength next week (pending Storm result).

I like Scott Drinkwater as a buy playing fullback, although he did play at the back last week despite being named in the halves. He also looks a decent skipper option.

Tom Dearden has been named on the extended bench which will only help should he come into the halves for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

After a mixed month of highs and lows, mainly lows, Val Holmes is every chance to bounce back against the understrength Panthers. I think he can tonne up in this game.

Panthers: 1. Charlie Staines 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Robert Jennings 4. Thomas Jenkins 5. Christian Crichton 6. Kurt Falls 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Lindsay Smith 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Matt Eisenhuth 11. Chris Smith 12. Scott Sorensen 13. J’maine Hopgood

Bench: 14. Soni Luke 15. Eddie Blacker 16. Liam Henry 17. Jack Cole

Reserves: 18. Mavrik Geyer 19. Preston Riki 20. Ativalu Lisati 21. Liam Martin 22. Jaeman Salmon

Analysis: For obvious reasons, there’s no interest here.

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Knights v Sharks

Sunday, 2pm, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Krystian Mapapalangi 5. Dominic Young 6. Phoenix Crossland 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Mathew Croker

Bench: 14. Chris Randall 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Jack Johns

Reserves: 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Ben Talty 20. Enari Tuala 21. Jirah Momoisea 22. Hymel Hunt

Analysis: Nil interest, again.

Sharks: 1. Lachlan Miller 2. Matt Ikuvalu 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Cameron McInnes

Bench: 14. Teig Wilton 15. Braydon Trindall 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Andrew Fifita

Reserves: 18. Luke Metcalf 19. Jesse Colquhoun 20. Mawene Hiroti 21. Kayal Iro 22. Dale Finucane

Analysis: As I type Nicho Hynes just waltzed past me on the Cronulla esplanade alongside a few other Sharkies, if there’s ever been a bloke that’s looked more at home strolling the Shire coastline than I give up…

In the words of Clementine Cassidy, The Prince’s presence must’ve been fate, so I think I’ll have to lock him in as skipper this week. Possibly…

The Sharks get another dream match-up against the struggling Knights who just last weekend conceded 36 points to the Titans!

Such is the quality of their attack across the field, it’s become a bit of a lottery trying to work out which Cronulla backline players will get among the SuperCoach points each week, but all of Ronaldo Mulitalo, Jesse Ramien and Siosifa Talakai look likely to finish in style.

Do note that Mulitalo benefitted significantly switching to the right edge last week, but with Matt Ikuvalu back he may return to the left, which is hardly disaster. Had he played there all season he’d have averaged 80.

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Tigers v Raiders

Sunday, 4.05pm, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. Brent Naden 3. Starford To’a 4. Luke Garner 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Jock Madden 8. James Tamou 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Thomas Freebairn 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Fa’amanu Brown

Bench: 14. Fonua Pole 15. Zane Musgrove 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Austin Dias

Reserves: 18. Jacob Liddle 19. Junior Pauga 20. James Roberts 21. Henry O’Kane 22. Brandon Mansfield

Analysis: Nil interest here, but thankfully Adam Doueihi repaid some faith of owners with 99 points against the Dragons.

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. Adam Elliott

Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Corey Harawira-Naera

Reserves: 18. Albert Hopoate 19. Ata Mariota 20. Matt Frawley 21. Peter Hola 22. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Analysis: Normally I’m not crash hot on Canberra as they’re not an overly high scoring SuperCoach side, but with a finals berth on the line against a depleted Tigers in a day game, this game does appeal.

If Brisbane lose to the Dragons it’ll mean Canberra are locked in the top eight, in which case the complexion of this game changes entirely.

Not only will that ‘must-win’ mentality drop off significantly, but numerous players may either get rested or be taken off early.

Being the last game of the round, this is a bit of a worry. If Brisbane lose, I’d be inclined to play safe and avoid buying any players.

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Despite an injury effected three round average of 51, Joe Tapine will be primed to go large.

He’s one who will be in line for fewer minutes if Canberra are locked into the top eight before kick-off, but if they aren’t, he could go big.

Ditto Hudson Young, what a weapon he is turning out to be. He has three tonnes this season and a five round average of 84 points.

He’s also likely for fewer minutes pending the Brisbane result, but if they need to win I think he’s a good buy.

Jordan Rapana produced a vintage SuperCoach performance with 120 points last weekend against Manly, he could be in line to go similar this week.

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