Fixture analysis: Breaking down the 2023 SuperCoach draw

Matt Person takes a deep dive into the 2023 NRL season fixtures to help you target the sides with the easiest and toughest draws.

NRL Pre Season

By Matt Person

Hello Dolphins, goodbye standalone Origin, the 2023 draw is ‘bye’ing’ its way into the hearts of old Supercoaches.

With the 2023 SuperCoach season creeping up fast, the time is nigh to adorn the figurative snorkel and mask, dust of the flippers and take a deep dive into the new season’s draw.

All of us perennial SuperCoach ‘ throffers’ are burstng with excitement, like our offspring at Christmas, as February rolls around, trials arrive and TLT is only sleeps away.

The draw becomes a focal point amidst this eager exuberance and all too often coaches become entrapped by the mirage of a teams seemingly overly juicy draw, based off the previous seasons results.

While the draw is important, casting an overzealous eye over the juicy mirage is like playing Russian roulette with a hand grenade, the consequences disastrous and a season of dreams left in tatters only weeks after it began.

This is why an astute dissection of the upcoming season’s draw is crucial to your team’s hopes and desires in 2023, so before the oxygen tanks are strapped on for this deep dive, here are the key points.

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The Key Points

• There are 3 major bye rounds in 2023, with three minor bye rounds that immediately follow all through the Origin Period.

• One team has a bye every week in 2023, this is not to be taken lightly and must not be underestimated when loading up on players with seemingly juicy draws.

• The Dragons and Manly have byes in the first two rounds and Penrith in round 3, so players from those clubs won’t see a price rise until after round 4.

• Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs, Broncos and Bulldogs don’t have a bye pre-Origin.

• Some teams have been blessed again in 2023 with seemingly unexplainably favourable draws.

• Most of all though, six months is a long time in rugby league, teams fortunes can change dramatically through this period so simply basing a team’s draw off where their opponents finished in the previous season can be a blindsighted approach when assessing a team’s draw.

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 So where does all of that leave us for the deep dive into the draw analysis?

Well, I like to split the season’s draw into thirds.

Pre Origin (round 1 to 12 )

During Origin (round 13 to 19 )

Post Origin (round 20 to 27 )

The purpose of this article is to dissect the pre-Origin draw and help your team get off to an absolute flyer .

So for this I have split the pre-Origin draw in half, assessing teams draws from round 1 to 6, then I will reassess 7 to 12 once the new season form exposes itself, however I have still done a 1 to 12 assessment.

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So how do I rate a team’s draw you ask?

Well for rating purposes I have split the teams into a four tiered ranking system, based off pedigree built over past seasons, last season’s results and player recruitment and retention.

My tiered team rankings are as follows:






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Now obviously tiers 3 and 4 are quite interchangeable pending on personal taste, so feel free to play around and use your own discretion to determine tiered ranking.

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So how does tiered ranking help draw analysis?

I’ve given each tier a points rating, so each team in that tier is worth points.

Tier 1 = 8 Pts

Tier 2 = 5 Pts

Tier 3 = 3 Pts

Tier 4 = 1 Pt

So each team has a points rating based on how they are ranked, so the ease of a team’s draw is determined by the sum of their opponents tier ranking.

The lowest total score is determined as the easiest, the highest as the hardest as depicted below.

This is in order from the team with the easiest draw ranked at 1 and the hardest at 17 .

 To counter the weekly byes, a team’s total points are divided by total games played during that period.

So pre-Origin, the Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs,  Broncos and Bulldogs play all 12 games, everyone else plays 11 games during that period.

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Rounds 1 to 6

1. Dragons

2. Cowboys

3. Knights

4. Tigers

5. Titans

6. Broncos

7. Dolphins

8. Warriors

9. Raiders

10. Sharks

11. Roosters

12. Bulldogs

13. Storm

14. Panthers

15. Sea Eagles

16. Eels

17. Rabbitohs

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Rounds 1 to 12

1. Cowboys

2. Titans

3. Raiders

4. Knights

5. Sharks

6. Bulldogs

7. Dragons

8. Roosters

9. Storm

10. Tigers

11. Panthers

12. Manly

13. Dolphins

14. Broncos

15. Eels

16. Warriors

17. Rabbitohs

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Main Takeaways

 • The only top 8 side from 2022 with a red-hot opening draw for 2023 is the Cowboys, all of the other sides in the top 8 (for easy draw this season) missed the 8 in 2022, or in the Dolphins case didn’t exist.

The Cowboys also don’t have a bye pre-Origin and they have been looked after again, with three home games in the first four rounds, one away game at Suncorp, they travel to Sydney against the dogs in round 5 then back home in round 6. So over this first period they play one game outside of QLD, which is a massive, along with the advantage of the early season heat up north.

• The Sharks have three tougher games early, however they only play one tier 1 side from rounds 4 to 12.

• The Eels have a horrid start to the season from rounds 1 to 5, despite playing four of those games at CommBank Stadium,  playing the Storm, Sharks, Manly, Panthers and Roosters. Their draw opens up from round 6, they don’t play a top tier side until round 12 from this point and they play the first bye round. Eels gun backs could be a real target from round 6 onwards hopefully after a couple of price drops.

The Titans and the Knights have seemingly juicy draws across the whole pre-Origin period, just be wary they are the Titans and the Knights. Don’t load up on these teams, however attacking players could be good options. Look for value with players who aren’t priced at their peak and have attacking upside with these teams 

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 ▪ Try and avoid loading up on players who have an early bye. Let’s use the Roosters as an example, they play the Dolphins and Warriors in the first two rounds, then Souths in round 3, before a bye in round 4. The Chooks will have a plethora of Supercoach options, however outside of cheapies who you wouldn’t play in your 17, you don’t want more than three or four Chooks early on, especially in spine positions.

On the opposite side of the spectrum for the sides that don’t have a bye pre-Origin, this problem doesn’t exist. So if you like four or five players from the Cowboys, Eels, Rabbitohs or Bulldogs this won’t present an awkward issue, with who to play or who to trade out to have a decent 17.

 • The Dragons have the bye first up, personally I wouldn’t be starting with any Dragons that aren’t cheapies that you ordinarily wouldn’t play in your 17 anyway. Similar with Manly who have the bye round 2, outside of Turbo and Schuster. Avoiding Manly players is a smart play. Dragons, Manly and Panthers players won’t see a price change until round 4 so you essentially have an extra week to assess and crunch numbers.

Above all else, don’t out think the room in regards to the weekly byes.

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For the first time in SuperCoach history one team will be on a bye each week.

Be mindful and plan ahead, however don’t become caught into the trap of burning trades and boosts on players that have a week off, particularly guns, trading them in and out for one week byes is a sure-fire way to ruin your SuperCoach season.

Take the early draw with a grain of salt and don’t become too hung up on early match ups as teams often surprise us early.

Reassessment of the draw from round 7 to 12 may well be completely different from how we think rounds 1 to 6 will pan out.

I’ll write another article in round 7 and then include a detailed analysis of the Origin bye period to come.

Good luck Supercoaches, hopefully this article can create movement in the strides and has the SuperCoach juices pumping through the veins and helps your team get off to any early flyer.

– Perso

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