NRL trials week one: How the Supercoach contingent fared

We recap every game from week one of the NRL trials, with a focus on how the Supercoach prospects performed.


Ah how good it is to have some semi-offical footy under the belt in 2023!

The NRL trials are a key point of focus for us Supercoaches, as we get our first look at roles and output of major contenders for our Round 1 squads.

I could go on for days about each trial, but I’ve done my best to limited the below game-by-game analysis to the Supercoach relevant players from the weekend.

A shout out to my pal the Rugby League Guru who may just be the best recruitment manager in the NRL without a formal gig.

I’m fairly sure he watched every NRL trial game this weekend live at ground, while also attending the SG Ball, Harold Matts and group 16 women’s league tag trials, then studied the family tree of each emerging prospect to see if their genetics had what it takes to survive in the NRL long-term.

I leant on the great man’s wisdom to cover anything I’d missed personally.

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  • Penrith cheapie Preston Riki impressed off the bench, with four runs, two linebreaks, one try, five tacklebreaks and an offload. Unfortunately not in Penrith’s top squad, so still some way away from a run.
  • Hayze Perham ($370,900) was dangerous in attack, and is likely to accumulate attacking stats. Plenty of development left though, job security question marks remain. Genuine upside, but is he ready for the step up to a key NRL role?
  • Selwyn Cobbo ($586,900) rollercoaster in full swing, with three tries in 12 minutes, along with six errors. Early POD?
  • Joe Tapine (699,500) 17 runs, six tacklebreaks, 30 tackles, one offload = elite!
  • Royce Hunt ($417,400) 11 runs, 16 tackles, pass mark, not convinced.
  • Tyrell Sloane ($298,600) five runs on the wing, work-rate question marks. Reassess after fullback stint in Charity Shield.
  • Nicho Hynes ($902,600) one try, 23 runs, one linebreak, one try-assist, three tacklebreaks. Ultra-impressive, terrifying early anti-POD.
  • J’Maine Hopgood ($298,800) 10 runs, four tacklebreaks, four offloads, 45 tackles… Um, yep that’ll do…


  • Stefano Utoikamanu ($319,200) impressed having been handed the Tigers’ captaincy. One try, one linebreak, 11 runs, seven tacklebreaks, 22 tackles. Supercoach stocks have significantly risen, more offloading would have been a benefit, but seven tacklebreaks!
  • Tommy Talau ($301,600) only okay. Centre opposition Brent Naden impressed in All Stars clash. Question marks remain over round one role, will benefit from first hit out back.
  • Justin Matamua ($234,800) could he be the answer to the Tigers’ ball-playing lock conundrum? Unlikely for Round 1, but may not be far off.
  • Viliame Vailea ($388,300) a strong outing from last year’s cheapie. A little awkwardly priced, but strong signs. Would still need to dominate trial week two to be considered.
  • Tom Ale ($256,700) hits the Supercoach radar with a big game, notching up 19 runs for 180m, six tacklebreaks, one offload and 22 tackles!
  • Luke Metcalf ($250,400) may play a big role for the Warriors this season, but still unlikely for a round 1 spot at this stage.


  • Teig Wilton ($493,600) enhanced Supercoach prospects with one try, seven runs, 21 tackles, one offload. Bigger watch once running on full-strength left edge with Matt Moylan feeding him. Needs minimum 65+ minutes round 1.
  • Jack Williams, Oregan Kaufusi, Tom Hazelton showing off Sharks forward depth, minutes in middle a big concern if Fitzgibbon runs with a four forward bench round 1.
  • Daniel Saifiti ($484,000) 9 runs, 15 tackles, 0 offloads, 0 tacklebreaks. Not an ideal start as a mid-range FRF option, but early days, no major concern just yet.


  • Largely an irrelevant Supercoach trial game.
  • Hame Sele ($312,800) suffered a calf injury, extent to be confirmed. Could open up more minutes for Davvy Moale following Siliva Havili injury.
  • Davvy Moale ($234,800) 14 runs, one tacklebreak, 13 tackles.
  • Cooper Johns stars to put pressure on Josh Schuster early, but no major concern for the incoming No.6.


  • Not a lot to mention in this game Supercoach-wise.
  • Zac Hoskings ($458,800) was okay without setting the world alight, unlikely to land a starting edge role in Round 1 at this stage.
  • Josh Hodgson ($385,600) not his greatest outing, but it’s his first game back in a long time, so I’d be hesitant putting a line through the Eels No.9. Does need an improved outing in the second trial though. Minimal time, easing back into it.


  • Zac Lomax ($634,000) playing left edge, likely reverts back to right. Key watch in Charity Shield.
  • Rugby convert Savelio Tamale impresses in limited time. Aged 18, still likely a while away, exciting prospect.
  • Tautau Moga ($493,500) highly unlikely to have any Supercoach relevance, however the former winger made the move to the forwards with some success.
  • Konrad Hurrell please return to the NRL and into our Supercoach sides, beast!
  • Ben Murdoch-Masila ($234,800) with some impressive moments playing on the edge, including one try-assist. Minutes the issue early on, slow burning cash cow perhaps?


  • Sualauvi Faalogo, not even listed in SC, but the fullback looked a young prospect and felt was worth a mention.
  • Justin Olam suffered a suspected forearm fracture. This could open the door for dual position cheapie Jack Howarth ($200,800) at centre. If the injury is as bad as suspected, this also allays any fears around the job security of Reimis Smith ($316,800).
  • Edge back-rower Chris Lewis played lock, despite being named on the edge, likely meaning he’s not in contention for the coveted edge back-row role at the Storm.
  • Eliesa Katoa ($411,100) started in Lewis’ place, he looked extremely fit which was encouraging, impact was only okay though.
  • Joe Chan ($320,600) was the more impressive of the two back-rowers and will be in contention for Round 1, although a starting spot may be a stretch.
  • I’ve been keen on Christian Welch ($464,000) throughout the pre-season, but have been interested to see if he’d been given any licence to offload this season. He let the arm loose twice in limited minutes, an encouraging sign. Hopefully playing both trials should only help match fitness and minutes leading into round 1.
  • If Angus Crichton is unavailable early in the season, Egan Butcher ($482,100) and Siua Wong ($200,800) are expected to fight for his position, with Egan the front-runner. Both impressed and will be extremely SC relevant if named. Butcher is awkwardly priced, but it’s for good reason having averaged a ridiculous 46 points per game in 40 minutes per game with 37 in base last season. If he lands an 80 minute role, he’s starting at serious value.


  • A terrific start by the Bulldogs, and their Supercoach relevant players, but this really was just a trial. The Dogs threw out a strong team, the Raiders were heavily understrength, so keep a lid on a few buys until we see trials in week two.
  • Paul Alamoti ($200,800) enhanced his Round 1 prospect with a strong trial, he also looks to have a game very conducive to Supercoach scoring.
  • Hype back-rower Jacob Preston ($200,800) was also a shining light and looks every chance for a bench role. I suspect Raymond Faitala-Mariner will spend time in the middle this season, opening up time on the edge. I think it’ll go to Andrew Davey, but Preston is pushing his case.
  • Livewire fullback Xavier Savage suffered a broken jaw. The Raiders are light on for genuine back-up fullbacks. It may force Rapana to the back, and elevate Harley Smith-Shields ($300,300) onto the wing on return from a lengthy injury lay-off.


  • Nothing major from Cowboys camp with a QLD Cup side named. Although Taniela Sadrugu ($200,800) was outstanding, comes with big wraps and can play anywhere from the outside backs to second-row and prop. He’s very versatile and may come into the mix by round 1, especially with a vacant edge back-row spot available.
  • Isaiya Katoa ($216,100) had some nice moments, but despite his huge ownership in SC he’s very unlikely to get a spot early in the season barring injury.
  • Ray Stone ($246,900) started at lock, notching 6 runs and 32 tackles. Unless he starts in round 1 I’d be wary as most of his scoring potential is around work-rate, so without minutes he looks a trap.


  • Reece Walsh ($554,800) slotted straight back into the Broncos outfit fairly seamlessly. He scored one, had two linebreaks and a line-assist. Definite smokey fullback option for round 1, although it’s hard to see him unseating the likes of James Tedesco and Tommy Turbo in teams.
  • Alofiano Khan-Pereira ($200,800) starred with a double, looking absolutely lightening in flight. If he start round one, we can lock him in as a bottom dollar cheapie.
  • David Fifita ($689,800) was solid, with 11 runs and two offloads. He only busted one tackle which was a surprise, he didn’t scream pick me from trial one but it’s early days.

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