Final word: Strategy, skippers, trades, Round 1

2019 runner-up Walson Carlos has the final say on the major Round 1 plays, including PODs, skippers, trades and more.


Such an exciting year ahead for Supercoach this year with options wide open it makes things very interesting. Supercoach strategy comes into it more so than previous years with so many cheapie CTW options and mid-range gold in the 2RFs. Add on top of that the byes this year and plenty for coaches to think about.

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My strategy or philosophy from year to year doesn’t change a great deal. To put it simply to start the year I want to stack my side with value propositions. Basically a Value Proposition player is one that I feel is underpriced and represents good to great value and will average better than their priced average to start the season (reflected as their Rd-1 breakeven).

In Round One of last year 12 out of the 25 players I chose in my squad scored better than their breakeven and when I looked at the differential with points scored vs breakevens my squad scored +46. That’s not too bad but this year I’m aiming for 17 x players and 150+ differential. Seems a lofty goal but there is significant value out there this year.

Looking back to Round One, 2022 it was a bit of a nightmare start for Supercoaches. Out of the Top 15 priced players in the game who played Round One only 1 of those players scored better than their breakeven. The differential with points scored vs breakevens for those 15 marquee players in Round One, 2022 was -441, an average of 29.4 Supercoach points per player down on their average. Hopefully we don’t see another week like that in 2023!

Good luck to all Supercoaches this week. So much hope at the start of the year which is one of the great things about Round One.  

One game doesn’t make a season but I saw enough to say that the Knights are going to be relevant both in NRL and in SuperCoach this so yeh I got that one wrong!

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PODs & Super-PODs

Here’s the players I’ve identified as PODs (Point of Difference players – less than 10% owned) and SuperPODS (less than 2% owned) that should be on your radar. I’ve listed them in ranking order of who I believe is the best to take the risk on:


  1. Marata Niukore – Great value proposition. Likely to play 20mins on the edge and then move to the middle. Only needs 60 mins to smash his breakeven of 40 out of the ballpark. Get him in!  
  2. Daniel Tupou – Did anyone watch how the left winger went for the Titans in the trial vs the Dolphins? If you didn’t see it they rinsed the Dolphins right-side defence and young Khan-Pereira scored 4 tries. Dolphins have one week to fix it up and coming at them they have Keary, Tedesco, Sua’ali’I and Tupou. Then plays Warriors week-2 in Sydney.      
  3. Tolutau Koula – At 4.5% ownership and sure to rise in Round-3 after the Sea Eagles bye. Was absolutely electric in the pre-season and has massive upside. I generally steer clear of centres unless they are goalkicking or have high volume tackle breaks or offloads. Koula could be the exception to the rule.
  4. Haumole Olakau’atu – probably low ownership for the same reasons as above but again looked outstanding in the pre-season and could really do a job on the Bulldogs this weekend. Solid play.
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  1. JoJo Fifita – I really rate this kid. Lots of hype around the other Titans winger understandably with his bargain basement price. Don’t sleep on JoJoSuper tackle bust ability, finishing and definitely a SuperPOD!
  2. Marcelo Montoya – Looks in the form of his career in the pre-season. Very strong carries and great finisher.
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Close Watch

This segment will list the players to keep a close watch on over the next month for their Supercoach prospects:

Kalyn Ponga – We know how good he is but can he do it at 5-8th. Huge question marks whether he can handle it physically. Huge risk-reward swing with Ponga.  

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Round 14 Match-ups

Tom Trbojevic, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula & Reuben Garrick at home first up with a new attacking mindset against a depleted Bulldogs side. Load up.

David Fifita, JoJo Fifita, Alofiana Khan-Pereira, Tanah Boyd, Alex Brimson get the Tigers first up and despite all the hype I doubt the Tigers will be too resilient defensively. Probably plenty of points in this game. Adam Doueihi is also a great play in what should be an open game.

Daniel Tupou, Jospeh Sua’ali’I, James Tedesco, Sam Walker all get the Dolphins in a 1st round Suncorp Stadium clash. Roosters traditionally start slow but the Dolphins have looked vulnerable in the pre-season. Especially that right side defence.

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Tommy Turboseriously considering kicking off the season with this POD play. I think he’s a great chance to outscore Tedesco but it will take some guts to put the C on him.  

James Tedescolooks to be the safe play coming against the Titans. Roosters didn’t look great in the trials though and are traditional slow starters.

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Betr Bets of the Week

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Round 1 Best Bets (Odds courtesy of BETR) – Total Bets $100

To score a try Multi: Montoya/Garrick/Tedesco @ $5.05 x $40

Multi: Manly-2.5/Cowboys/Rabbitohs/Titans @ $7.65 x $40

First Tryscorer: A Khan-Pereira (Titans) @ $10 x $20

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