Team lists: Supercoach round 1 squad analysis

2020 NRL Supercoach runner-up Tim Williams analyses the squads dropped for round 1 of the 2023 season.


The greatest day on the Supercoach calendar, nay Gregorian calendar, has arrived in the form of Team List Tuesday for round 1.

The teams have drop for the opening round of the NRL season, and after months of preparation Supercoaches can fine tune their squads for the new season.

Hopes to popular players have been crushed, while opportunities have opened for many others.

Being the NRL nerd that I am, the bench structures for each squad are in front of our eyes which play a huge role in determining the roles of Supercoach players.

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As we speak, myself, the Spy and Adam Driussi will be recording the SC Playbook podcast, aiming to drop on YouTube live around about 7-8PM tonight, with the podcast audio to go live shortly after.

As such, I’ll jump straight into my deep dive of each team named immediately after and update this article throughout the night.

I won’t focus on every key player obviously, I’ve done that in all my squad breakdown articles which are on, so head there for a look if you have questions over a player.

I’ve included links to every team analysis below each squad analysis underneath for easy access.

Rather, I’ll focus on what the team have revealed that we may not have already known, or what they have confirmed.

Teams provided by Fox Sports

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Thursday, 7:50pm, CommBank Stadium, Sydney

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Will Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Matt Doorey 13. J’maine Hopgood

Bench: 14. Jirah Momoisea 15. Jack Murchie 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Makahesi Makatoa

Reserves: 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Ky Rodwell 20. Ofahiki Ogden 21. Mitch Rein 22. Isaac Lumelume

Analysis: Waqa Blake and Bailey Simonsson make early returns from injury, squashing hopes of backline cheapie/mid-rangers such as Haze Dunster, Zac Cini and Sean Russell.

They loomed as traps anyway as job security was poor, along with a tough draw.

Genuine cheapies Matt Doorey and Bryce Cartwright have been named to start as edge back-rowers, but with Shaun Lane returning round 3-6, and edge players Jirah Momoisea and Jack Murchie on the bench are they traps?

Potentially not, but I do think I’m happy to avoid and wait till round 3 to reassess the best option, if any.

Ryan Matterson returns round 4 and could also come straight back onto an edge despite being utilised as a middle last season.

No Mitch Rein on the bench is surprising and could see Josh Hodgson play 80, he would be a great buy if there weren’t so many gun hooking options.


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Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King

Bench: 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Alec Macdonald 16. Chris Lewis 17. Jordan Grant

Reserves: 18. Grant Anderson 19. Bronson Garlick 20. Sualauvi Faalogo 21. Joe Chan 22. Jonah Pezet

Analysis: Lock in cheapie Will Warbrick, he looks a decent play in 17s in softer games.

Trent Loiero and Eliesa Katoa land the second-row edge roles and both look tempting buys, but which one?

Both have poor job security, and minutes are a concern with Chris Lewis and to a lesser degree Alec Macdonald named on the bench.

Loiero is safer I’d say, Katoa has way more upside. I think I’ll wait and watch the roles play out then pounce round 2 or 3 if either look good and get big time.

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While I’m certainly not changing my opinion on starting with Grant (keen!), Tyran Wishart isn’t ideal as he might play a few minutes at hooker, but I think Harry goes the distance.

Three middles on the bench, and Wishart on the bench doesn’t tell us much about minutes of Welch or Nelson Asofa-Solomona, but it’s far better than a four forward bench!


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Friday, 6pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris

Bench: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Josh Curran 17. Tom Ale

Reserves: 18. Viliami Vailea 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Taine Tuaupiki 23. Edward Kosi

Analysis: Brayden Wiliame snuck under the radar as a cheapie at $234k, beating out Viliame Vailea for a position. Job security will be an issue, but he is dual 2RF-CTW, with so many quality CTW cheapies I’ll be looking elsewhere.

Jackson Ford beat out Josh Curran for the starting edge 2RF spot, and at $281k will tempt many, but I see issues.

Last season he averaged 33 points in 26 minutes, having only played five games he’s received a discount on his starting price.

He averaged 47 minutes in 2020 for 41 points, and 64 minutes in 2019 for only 43 points.

On those numbers I’m not overly convinced. I also am not convinced he’ll get enough game time to warrant the trade.

There are so many quality mid-range 2RFs at the $400-500k mark that I’d prefer pay up for, or even a few other 2RF cheapies.

Marata Niukore is on my radar, see my Warriors analysis for greater insight. The bench isn’t ideal for his potential minutes, but I think he’s still good enough to get 65-80.


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Knights: 1. Lachlan Miller 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Kalyn Ponga 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Kurt Mann

Bench: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Adam Elliott 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Leo Thompson

Reserves: 18. Jack Johns 19. Tyson Gamble 20. Brodie Jones 21. Dylan Lucas 22. Bailey Hodgson

Analysis: No Greg Marzhew! I for one was thrilled from a purely Supercoach perspective as I was interested but couldn’t fit him in my team.

No word on why he’s out, but having missed the entire squad one would assume it’s due to injury.

Adam Elliott has been named on the bench, with Kurt Mann at lock. I think Elliott likely starts at lock, but he’s returning from injury so perhaps he’s eased back off the bench.

From a Supercoach perspective this is great as we’ll hopefully get him discounted before he inevitably moves into a big minute role with match fitness.

Not too much else doing here in regards to Supercoach, with Jackson Hastings expected to kick goals over Kalyn Ponga in round 1.


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Friday, 8:05pm, BlueBet Stadium, Penrith

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Luke Garner 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo

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

Reserves: 18. Zac Hosking 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. Tyrone Peachey 21. Jack Cogger 22. Lindsay Smith

Analysis: One of the more relevant team lists, with Sunia Turuva dispelling doubts Jesse McLean had jumped him in the winger pecking order at Penrith.

McLean is unsighted in the squad, so if it is a niggling injury keeping him out Turuva may not be locked in.

That being said, he looks way to hard to pass up and should be a fairly solid play in 17s each week in a gun Penrith outfit.

If McLean were to take his spot next week, surely we all just go down together?

The other big news was Luke Garner winning the vacant edge back-row spot alongside the returning Liam Martin.

More importantly, Zac Hosking missed the 17, named 18th man.

With Luke (hooker), Leniu (middle), Sorensen (both, but utilised as a middle) and Salmon (utility) named, it suggests Garner will go the 80, or at least 60-65 worst case.

Keep a close eye on final teams in case Hosking makes his way in there somewhere.


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Broncos: 1. Selwyn Cobbo 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan

Bench: 14. Cory Paix 15. Keenan Palasia 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Martin Taupau

Reserves: 18. Deine Mariner 19. Brendan Piakura 20. Xavier Willison 21. Jock Madden 22. Delouise Hoeter

Analysis: Not a heap that came as a surprise here, just don’t be sucked in by Selwyn Cobbo as a fullback as he’s only deputising for Reece Walsh who is due back in the next week or two.

By all means pick Cobbo is you’re keen on him, but do so with the knowledge it’s as a winger and a temporary fullback. Ditto Jesse Arthars – who I rate highly – but will drop out when Cobbo goes back to the wing.

It’s a four forward bench, but Cory Paix plays exclusively hooker, so essentially three when we’re considering rotation of the middles.

With Riki and Capewell expected to play 80, Haas and Carrigan are likely to play that 55-60 minute mark, with Carrigan playing a few extra.


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Saturday, 3pm, 4 Pines Park, Sydney

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cooper Johns 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Sean Keppie

Bench: 14. Kaeo Weekes 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Josh Aloiai

Reserves: 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Ben Condon 20. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 21. Morgan Harper 22. Gordon Chan Kum Tong

Analysis: Not a lot to report at Manly, with Tommy Turbo returning as expected.

Jake Trbojevic makes the move to prop where he’s expected to ball-play less this season, will it see him return to a 60+ average as a FRF?

I’ll be keeping a very close eye on him this week.

Sean Keppie starts at lock and will be very popular round one at $275k after impressing in trials.

He looks a fairly safe buy, but with very little upside, so will it be worth it? Firstly, I don’t think you’ll go too far wrong, but I’m not sold.

He starts very cheap having averaged 26 points in 32 minutes last season.

The season prior he averaged 40 points in 47 minutes per game.

He’s scored at just .82 and .86 points per minute the past two seasons which is very ordinary to be honest.

Realistically he needs to be playing 45+ minutes in my opinion to warrant the trade, whether or not he’ll get that I’m not sure, but at the price he’s hard to ignore if starting lock.

Kaeo Weekes on the bench as a utility back certainly helps his case.


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Bulldogs: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Fa’amanu Brown

Bench: 14. Jayden Tanner 15. Corey Waddell 16. Franklin Pele 17. Jacob Preston

Reserves: 19. Braidon Burns 20. Josh Reynolds 21. Andrew Davey 22. Jackson Topine 23. Jayden Okunbor

Analysis: Bigggg talking points out of the Doggies, with Luke Thompson suffering a season-ending ACL injury the morning of TLT.

Devastating for him, and Doggies fans, opportunity arises though for a few rookies and onlooking Supercoaches.

Chris Patolo and Tevita Pangai Jnr are also out for a while, so they’re extremely short on middles.

This is evidenced by the naming of Nu Brown at lock, and Jayden Tanner on the bench!

I think this locks in enough minutes for Franklin Pele to earn some cash at $216k, along with Jacob Preston at $200k.

I now expect Raymond Faitala-Mariner to spend plenty of time in the middle, something he was already going to do for a period, opening up decent minutes for Preston.

I wouldn’t even be shocked if RFM started lock come game day with Preston starting on the edge.


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Saturday, 5:30pm, QCB Stadium, Townsville

Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Coen Hess 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. James Tamou

Reserves: 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Riley Price 20. Tom Chester 21. Gehamat Shibasaki 22. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki

Analysis: There’s nothing here in the starting team that really surprises, or even the bench.

The only thing to note is that there are three middle forwards named on the bench, so does this see Reuben Cotter play lesser time early on with the Cowboys playing most of their games in the opening rounds in Queensland?

Not necessarily, but it is a concern that with their soft draw he may get a few early showers if they get out to any decent sized leads. Regardless, I like him.

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He was solid with a 57 point average in 59 minutes last season, but he was also carrying injuries that limited his output in the back half of last season. He pumped out 54 in base!

Prior to injury, he averaged 64.9 primarily as a bench forward.

He missed the next six games, then returned in less time where he averaged 50.3 points.

While we don’t exactly rely on attacking stats from middle forwards, I do think he’s good enough to improve on his one try and no try-assists last season.


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Raiders: 1. Sebastian Kris 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Pasami Saulo 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Harawira-Naera

Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. Ata Mariota 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Emre Guler

Reserves: 18. Albert Hopoate 19. Matt Frawley 20. Zac Woolford 21. Trey Mooney 22. Peter Hola

Analysis: Proceed with caution at the mighty Green Machine, with Pasami Saulo $243k likely to tempt many as a starting prop.

Josh Papali’i is out which gives Saulo the start, but last season Corey Horsburgh would come on and play 50-55 odd straight as a middle, he’ll likely do similar this year.

There’s that, and Papali’i’s impending return, along with Emre Guler’s big pre-season, so I’m calling trap.

Seb Kris starts at fullback, this doesn’t fill me with confidence and even less so at $513k in Supercoach, no-go.

I actually would have preferred cheapie Harley Smith-Shields on the wing where he’d have had more carries and tries, so I’ll avoid despite the tempting $300k tag.

The absence of Papali’i can only mean good things for the minutes of the popular Joe Tapine, although round 1 in the Townsville heat will be a slog.

Corey Harawira-Naera starts at lock, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was Horsburgh come game day. Regardless, I’d just want to see CHN pump out big minutes as a starter with Big Papa back in the team before considering.


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Saturday, 7:35pm, PointsBet Stadium, Cronulla

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Braydon Trindall 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane

Bench: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Wade Graham 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Jack Williams

Reserves: 18. Connor Tracey 19. Mawene Hiroti 20. Thomas Hazelton 21. Jayden Berrell 22. Niwhai Puru

Analysis: No Nicho, oh dear…

What a spanner in the works this throws to Supercoaches.

I’m pretty disappointed as I felt that decision to start with or without him would have created plenty of diversity in teams, but not to worry.

Not guaranteed for round 2, and returning with a lingering calf injury, you can’t start with him in my opinon.

Teig Wilton starts on the edge, with Wade Graham on the bench. While we did predict it, the four forward bench is a concern for Wilton.

I believe Graham will come on as a middle, while the other three forwards are also middles, so I think Wilton plays 80, or at least 60-65, so I think worst case scenario he’s a safe play that will hold value.

Connor Tracey sneaking onto the bench on game day wouldn’t hurt his cause though….

That four forward bench does make it hard to consider any other forwards though.


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Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray

Bench: 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Michael Chee Kam 16. Davvy Moale 17. Shaq Mitchell

Reserves: 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Terrell Kalo Kalo 20. Ben Lovett 21. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 22. Josiah Karapani

Analysis: I think the big winner here is Davvy Moale at $235k.

With Siliva Havili out for a lengthy period, and Hame Sele also unsighted due to injury, there minute to be won in the middle.

Shaq Mitchell is unlikely to play big time, Michael Chee-Kam is a utility who’s spent more time as an edge, and Blake Taaffe is backline cover.

On this, Moale should get a good crack and make some decent coin.

Izaac Thompson is firmly in my sights, see the Rabbitohs analysis here, however Taane Milne returns from suspension next week which is a worry.

Thompson is well regarded by the staff, so I think they’ll give him. a decent opportunity to win the role.


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Sunday, 4:05pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Brenko Lee 5. Tesi Niu 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Tom Gilbert

Bench: 14. Herman Ese’ese 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Kurt Donoghoe

Reserves: 18. Connelly Lemuelu 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Mason Teague 21. Anthony Milford 22. Robert Jennings

Analysis: Isaiya Katoa gets the start in the halves over Anthony Milford.

Priced at $216k, as a dual 5/8-HFB, he looks pretty hard to pass up.

The Roosters match-up is awful, and he has next to no job security, so do not play him in your 17 this week!

He could have a very small score in this clash, and who knows if and when Milf will leap back above him.

Hopefully he makes us some cash, worst case we flip him to Josh Schuster in round 3 or 4 if he gets dropped.

Shout out to Newcastle junior Kurt Donoghoe who came from the clouds to snare a bench spot.

The four forward bench puts a line through Tom Gilbert and Ray Stone for anyone who was seriously considering them.


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Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph Suaalii 4. Corey Allan 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Brandon Smith 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Egan Butcher 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley

Bench: 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Naufahu Whyte 17. Terrell May

Reserves: 18. Jake Turpin 19. Tuku Hau Tapuha 20. Sandon Smith 21. Siua Wong 22. Junior Pauga

Analysis: No Joey Manu as he recovers from a facial fracture, this should alleviate some risk of the strike centre stealing points from their other attacking weapons, namely Teddy.

Luke Keary has been named despite concussion concerns, this is great news for the entire left edge of Egan Butcher, Joseph Suaalii and Daniel Tupou.

Egan Butcher looks likely to play anywhere from 60-80 minutes, which could very well be the whole distance making him a great buy. Promising rookie Josh Wong missed the 17 entirely.

Jake Turpin was a surprise omission, with Drew Hutchinson preferred on the bench. This can only mean good things for Brandon Smith’s minutes, with Hutcho likely to spend lesser time there than Turpin may have been expected to.


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Sunday, 6:15pm, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Tommy Talau 5. Charlie Staines 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Shawn Blore 13. Joe Ofahengaue

Bench: 14. Jake Simpkin 15. Alex Twal 16. Fonua Pole 17. Asu Kepaoa

Reserves: 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Starford To’a 20. Brandon Wakeham 21. Justin Matamua 22. Junior Tupou

Analysis: Brent Naden $345k and Tommy Talau $300k jag the centre spots and are both cheapie options.

But with so many cheapie CTWs on offer I think there are better picks, especially with job security issues around both, namely Talau.

Shawn Blore will tempt a few at $235k, but John Bateman isn’t expected to miss much action as he acclimatises to conditions, so that looks a trap.

The naming of hooker Jake Simpkin and outside back Asu Kepaoa is very interesting and bodes very well for the minutes of Stefano Utoikamanu who generates more appeal at $316k.


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Titans: 1. Aj Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Phillip Sami 5. Jojo Fifita 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Sam Verrills 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu

Bench: 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Joe Stimson

Reserves: 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Keano Kini 20. Chris Randall 21. Klese Haas 22. Treymain Spry

Analysis: Very few surprises here, lock in Alofiana Khan-Periera as a cheapie, while Tanah Boyd is confirmed to partner David Fifita on the edge.

With Kieran Foran’s direct style of play, and a gun line-runner in Beau Fermor running off him, this should create plenty of space for Khan-Periera out wide as we saw in the trials.

I like him as a round 1 play at CTW, although it’s not without risk.

Jayden Campbell has been named on the bench which helps the likely minutes of Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, although Erin Clark and Mo Fotuaika are likely to get decent time through the middle third of the field.

Joe Stimson can play edge but it’d be a surprise if David Fifita didn’t get his full 80.

The only reason he wouldn’t would be if it were just early season fitness issues in the heat.


5 Responses to “Team lists: Supercoach round 1 squad analysis”

  1. magpies4eva007

    Hi Tim. After visiting this site for over 12 months I just realised your podcast was on YouTube. Whilst I met Adam in Sydney a few years ago it’s great to put faces to the voices of the rest of the team. Keep up the good work. It’s a great site! Cheers! Michael

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