The Rookie Commandments: Putting together your team

2021 6th overall, Clementine Cassidy, takes a look at the critical do's and don'ts to help you put your team together ahead of Round 1

NRL Pre Season

Ladies and Sirs!

Hello friends.

It is I. The one commonly referred to as the mathematician of our generation. Your official SC Playbook Support Group Coordinator. Your dealer of whisky, manifestation circles, and the occasional bottle of illegal rum. Lover of long wet locks.

Oh, how I have missed you.

But I’m back with my first article of the season – a little dip into the ins and outs of SuperCoach, created for rookies – but perfect for those stubborn veterans whose team currently consists of 13 guns and 12 bottom dollar wishes and prayers.

So, for this first article, let’s talk some tips for putting together our teams.

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And yes, I did do an entire article on this last season, during which we came to the conclusion that my 2022 team sadly could not consist of:

  • 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.

…and then I completely ignored all my own advice and literally let myself be led around the 2022 SuperCoach season by a slightly crumbling block of cheese.

Now 2022 was hard. But 2023 is a whole new sort of exciting evil to enjoy.

We basically have a mathematically unpleasing 17 teams to deal with (but welcome Dolphins!), which means we now have a bye each week to navigate, not to mention three major byes in Rounds 13, 16, and 19 where there’ll be team carnage aplenty.

So, with that happy thought, lets focus on some do’s and dont’s for putting together your team my rookie friend, before we start our 7-month sojourn in the bid to win a glorious tracksuit and a great big bucket of KFC.

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Most Importantly

This season you MUST start with 25 active players

You CANNOT, and I repeat, you literally CANNOT NOT start with 25 active players. You are basically screwing yourself before you even reach the fun part if you do.

Here’s what happens if you just fill your team with 13 guns, a whole bunch of never-going to play NPRs (that’s non-playing reserves if you’re a SuperCoach virgin), and whoever else you dig out of the bottom of the 200k barrel:

Your 13 guns whack you out a sweetish score in the first round. So far so good – you’ve kind of ignored the four random 200k players you chucked in who scored you 10s – who cares, because you have GUNS. You pat yourself on the back and declare on some Facebook group that everyone else should just delete their accounts and try again next year because the season’s over and you’ve already spent the 50k.

Over the next few rounds your NPRs make you 0 dollars, your guns get injured/have a nice rest on their bye/get suspended for stepping on somebody’s shoes…and your 200k guys who were getting a 10-minute stint at the back end of the game their team was losing anyway? Well, they haven’t made the team list for weeks.

Nek minnit it’s the first major bye round. You’ve burnt through all of your trade boosts replacing your injured/bye round guns, you’ve got five players playing, and your team value has dropped lower than a slammed WRX scrapping on a leaf.

Oh, but wait! And who’s that waving as they sail past you in the rankings? Oh, that’s just old mate Captain Sensible – who started his season with 25 active players, balanced his team, made a bunch of cash, and is now making it rain as he buys up guns and massive PODS on his way to overall glory.

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So, choose 25 ACTIVE players and balance your team

What you basically need is:

  • Players who’re going to make you money for upgrades
  • Players who’re going to make you points for winning
  • Players who won’t play you, and
  • a whole lot of DEPTH to cover you for the 5678 byes we have to tackle this season…oh and for the inevitable suspensions and injuries too.

So, take your 11.45 million big ones and fill your 25 positions with a balance of:

  • Glorious cheapies who are actually playing to make you the cash (and hopefully some decent points too)
  • Some undervalued mid-rangers who’ll make you some points and a wad of cash too
  • Some key guns who’ll make you a whole bunch of points (but who you can afford without a brown paper bag – trust me. I’ve already tried all the possible combinations for that cheat code that gets you a spare extra mil…and hand on heart – it does not exist friend).
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One of the most important things to nail in your starting team are your cheapies.

These guys are close to, if not, bottom dollar and enjoy the lowest of breakevens. You must choose your cheapies wisely from the get-go because they’re key to building your team value. This means players who are actually playing and who look like they’re going to lock down a starting spot in the team. You want your cheapies to get the minutes and the points, smash their breakevens, and make glorious abundances of cash so you can eventually upgrade them to those enticing guns.

This weekend we have the first round of the trials, and as well as indulging yourselves in all the excellent Cheapie Bibles out there, the trials are a perfect time to suss out some of the guys who should be in your team round 1.

Come Round 1, if the guys who looked the goods are named in that starting team and look like they’ve scored a full-time spot, whack them into your team, then sit back, crack open a cold one, and watch your team value climb – you ARE SuperCoach friend.

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Oh hey hey big spender, I’m looking at you.

You have a salary cap friend, not a sombrero, so back away from all those guns and take a look at some of the luscious mid-rangers on offer this season instead. Think your Cheese, Gilbert, Garner…

Look for guys who are under-priced due to limited game time last year, or who are playing a more SuperCoach friendly role this year, or who’ve moved to a more SuperCoach friendly team. Ideally your mid-ranger will either reveal themselves as an actual bonafide gun…”ta da!”…or they’ll make you a wad of cash and you’ll turn them into a gun anyway.

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Guns are basically the rock gods of SuperCoach. These are the guys that are generally top dollar and they’re top dollar for a reason – everything going to plan they’re going to whack you out casual tons on the regular, hold their value, and give you the best damn time of your life. Think Cleary, Teddy, Grant, Prince Nicho…

BUT you need to select your guns carefully because you’re not Uncle Nick and you can’t afford them all, and they have byes too, And ohhh yes sir, they most certainly can get injured and/or not perform to the tantalising heights of the year before – and therefore they can drop in value too.

Example? After an epic 2021 and the incredible stat of 143PPG, the glorious Tommy T started the 2022 season at a cool $1.25 million big ones.

And unfortunately for those who chose to splash the cash at the start the season, he just didn’t perform to those 2022 heights – injury, the team around him, teams working out how to clip his beautiful wings…it all contributed to a massive drop in value to the point that he’s starting this season at the cut price deal of just over $577K.

BUT we know what Tommy T can do if fit and firing (he is a living God amongst us), So this discount price makes him an enticing guy to start the season with (if he starts). So despite his Round 2 bye, he’s also a classic example of an under-priced gun you should definitely consider too.

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Choose your team with your head, not your heart

Unfortunately, dear reader, sometimes the heart wants what the heart can’t have.

You have to leave your heart and your team allegiances out of your SuperCoaching. Unless of course, you really want to see what happens when you make your team soley out of Warriors players and let it ride the entire season – I am actually considering doing this one year…

I shall name them Next Year is Our Year…

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But look, let’s give love a chance (at least until Round 1 lockout).

I’m a true romantic…I literally LOVE love…

And it’s almost Valentine’s Day!

So, as a special Valentine’s Day gift from me to you, you have my permission to treat yo’ self and pop one complete heart choice into your team and hold him there for the rest of the pre-season…just remember to give him the flick before he becomes a permanent fixture in your Round 1 team…

Think of it as a pre-season situationship…

… a bit of undefined flirty fun, taking place on the bench of your second row.

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Do players deserve a second chance?

An important question. And oh, what’s this?! Some happy news! Sometimes… sometimes, the heart CAN have what the heart wants.

Repeat after me – “we do not give second chances to that player who does not deserve a second chance…unless, UNLESS he is a reformed player who deserves a second chance!”

A player might not have performed last year, maybe he hurt you, maybe you played the role of supportive bestie when he hurt your friend – but THIS year, something’s changed. He’s in a new team, he looks like he’s going to get more minutes, he’s finally injury free, he’s trained so many houses down he’s a walking, talking bulldozer, he’s got a fresh new haircut, and by god – YES! Give the man a second chance please!

Here’s an example:

I am a girl who loves to give second, thir…ahhhh…chances…

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Big David Fifita. Cheese. Staggs. Did they all hurt me last year? You bet they did. Did I swear they were dead to me and I would never ever consider them ever again. Oh for sure.

Have they been floating in and out of the last 5673 drafts of my 2023 team?

You better believe it.

Will I start the season with two out of the three players I swore off last year? Mathematical probability says there’s an 87% chance that I most certainly, definitely will.

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Why? Because this year that glorious block of potentially under-priced Cheese is looking a robust, strong, long-lasting, punchy block of vintage cheddar – the perfect back-up hooker.

And Big David Fifita – well, a contract year, a decent early round draw, and his mate Boyd by his side…the man is the epitome of “give the guy a second chance!”

(The jury’s still out on Staggs. But copping weeks of his 30s in a row to experience that indescribable feeling of joy and superiority when he finally scores a ton…I’ll tell you…ya’ girl is sorely tempted to hit those highest of highs again).

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Step away from the catfish

A cold, hard truth to face. Real life guns do NOT always equal SuperCoach guns.

Players can do amazing things in real life on the field, but when they’re in your SuperCoach team, if what they’re doing doesn’t translate into what actually gets us the SuperCoach points – well sorry friend – you just got catfished, and the guy running around in your SuperCoach team is basically performing like a version from Wish.

Take Cooper Cronk for example. The master of directing and organising the field – but if you put him in your SuperCoach team when he played, you’d be straight on TikTok the next day racking up likes on your ‘What I ordered vs what I got” video…

Why? Because you don’t get points for organising friend – and that leads me to my very next point:

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Pay attention to what actually gets you the points

In your SuperCoach app, you’ll find a handy 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 huge glorious delicious points and you’ll want a whole lot of that action in your team. 

But looking at a player’s average base is also important, because base gets points too. 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.

You’ll want to have guys on your team that you can count on each game to consistently score good base stats and keep your points ticking over, even if they play a tough matchup and attacking stats are far and few between. The Reliable Isaiah Papali’I is a glorious example of a man who’s all about that base, averaging 52 points in pure base in 2022.

Clearly if a player has excellent base and excellent attacking stats too, they are a God-level angel sent from above and must be considered for your team – Brian To’o I’m looking at you.

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Injuries matter – so do your homework

Do your research before choosing a player who spent a chunk of last year out injured or who is known to be injury-prone. Your fountain of knowledge for injuries and how they impact a player, is the incredible NRL Physio, who’s once again released the most in-depth, game changer of an NRL injury analysis book, click here, which I would HIGHLY recommend you getting your hot little hands on this season to really up your game.

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Team lists, draw, bye rounds, there are so many things to consider…

If you’re weighing up a couple of players with similar stats, and one player has the easiest draw for the first few games (the Cowboys) and the other has the hardest draw for the first few games (the Bunnies) consider going for the player with the easier draw.

We also have the added tricky bit this year of factoring in the byes, so planning ahead is vitally essential. Every team has three byes this season that you have to factor around to ensure in any one round – you’re fielding a firing team. Here’s a completely outlandish example, (I love the outlandish) but if you’re starting with ten Dragons players this season (why!?), you’ve screwed yourself again friend, because they’re on the Round 1 bye…

Try and get a general feeling to how many minutes your 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.

Look at things like the players playing around your player and potential new partnerships too  – how will it affect how they play? David Fifita wore an invisibility cloak for most of last year (I mean he sometimes got the ball when they chucked it in his general direction), but now he’s got his buddy Boyd next to him – could we potentially see a 2021 version of Big David Fifita again?

My heart is in palpitations at the thought…so I will now leave you to go for a small intermission…brb…soon…

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The conclusion bit

Now, because I’ve done my usual tangenting and this article is about 7342 words too long – if you’ve skipped straight to the end hoping for an insightful conclusion, you’re in luck! It is in the very spirit of the Rookie Commandments to offer an insightful 8-word summeryuppery bit at the end for the skim readers!

Reconsider your flirty situationships before lockout Round 1.

So that’s it from me. Next article you’ll find me on my soapbox, soapboxing on about my favourite topic to soapbox on like a big ol’ hypocrite – hoarding those trades…

Until then, I hope you have a spectacular weekend binge watching all the footy games (some freaking GOD ANGEL has gifted us with 11 as an early Valentine’s Day present…ELEVEN! What an absolute time to be alive! Weekend. Sorted!)

And I also hope you have the most beautiful Valentine’s Day too…

Clementine xx

P.S – Have you considered giving the gift of a SuperCoach team to your loved one this Valentine’s Day? A truly bonding experience – guaranteed to give you both months of pleasure…

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