Team lists: Supercoach round 18 squad analysis

2020 NRL Supercoach runner-up Tim Williams analyses the squads dropped for round 18 of the 2023 season.


We’re back for Round 18 of the NRL season, a rare full card of games at this time of year to pick a Supercoach squad from.

It’s a reprieve from the recent rigours of trying to scrap together a full side, and actually having some semi-decent sit v start decisions to work with.

In saying that, Parramatta who are a highly popular Supercoach side at the moment are sitting out.

Anyway, our eyes should firmly be focused on the run home to the end of the Supercoach season.

Whether that’s as a head-to-head player for finals, or as an overall player in a bid for glory.

We still have two very tricky bye rounds to come in the next few weeks, so firstly ensure you’re well prepped for that fortnight and that you are on track to have a full allotment of players on field.

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However, with trades beginning to run low for most Supercoaches, it is important that you do make a short list of the gun players you need to get back in post Origin.

This will likely include Nathan Cleary as the No.1 must buy on return, and then players such as David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Harry Grant and perhaps Cameron Munster or Latrell Mitchell.

So do some basic forecasting, how many trades you have remaining, how many guns you need to bring back, and if you have some extra time, how you’ll make this happen.

You might realise you’re not as well placed as perhaps you thought, meaning you might need to save a trade or two extra in coming rounds.

The Cooma Stallions had a decent round scoring 1,171 points, or so I thought.

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No matter how long you play this game for it’s always a battle pre-empting whether you’ll rise or fall. Tricky bye impacted rounds make it tougher.

I thought I might see some minor green arrows, instead I dropped 500 spots to 3,344th overall! Bugger…

Anyway, hardly panic stations dropping a few spots, but I continue to meander around that 2k-3k mark which I can’t seem to shirk.

Any who, onto the Round 18 Supercoach team analysis, with squad lists courtesy of Fox Sports.

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Thursday, 7:50pm, PointsBet Stadium, Sydney

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Thomas Hazelton 16. Jack Williams 17. Wade Graham 18. Connor Tracey 19. Mawene Hiroti 20. Toby Rudolf 21. Braydon Trindall 22. Jesse Colquhoun

Analysis: Cronulla have had all three byes meaning they’re available for the rest of the season.

If you don’t own Nicho Hynes, fix it.

He put 180 on the Dragons in his first game back from injury this season, one of many Supercoach fixtures that keep me up at night as a non-owner at the time.

Don’t be me and make the same mistake.

I do think there’s every chance Nicho plays Origin and misses next week, but regardless, you want him for the run home anyway so lock him in.

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With upcoming games against the Dragons, Tigers, Warriors and Sea Eagles, all Sharks attacking players look solid buys.

Ronaldo Mulitalo is still the top pick for me, Jesse Ramien, Sifa Talakai and to a lesser degree Sione Katoa are all very viable options too.

Ditto Briton Nikora who has had a career Supercoach year, averaging 72 points with an impressive 48 in base.

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Dragons: Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Tautau Moga 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Ben Murdoch-Masila 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Talatau Amone 15. Michael Molo 16. Toby Couchman 17. Jaiyden Hunt 18. Toby Couchman 19. Moses Mbye 20. Zane Musgrove 21. Max Feagai 22. Billy Burns

Analysis: No interest here. Shout out to Jacob Liddle who has been a good pick up for owners with back-to-back 60s.

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Friday, 6pm, Go Media Stadium, Auckland

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Jackson Ford 12. Josh Curran 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Mitchell Barnett 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Tom Ale 18. Freddy Lussick 20. Brayden Wiliame 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Kalani Going 23. Zyon Maiu’u

Analysis: The Warriors are flying!

They play next week in the shortened round, and have just one more bye, but it’s in round 22 which is very reasonable timing.

Upcoming games against the Rabbitohs, Eels, Sharks and Raiders are toughish, but all have had their defensive issues of late.

It’s after that Round 22 bye that their run lights up just in time for head-to-head finals, with games against the Titans, Tigers, Sea Eagles, Dragons and Dolphins.

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Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has exploded of late with a three round average of 111 and a five round average of 94.

He’s now $762k which is very expensive, but if the Warriors continue on their trajectory there’s no reason why he can’t become a season keeper.

The real kicker to CNK is his availability as dual CTW-FLB.

Speaking of exploded, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has a five round average of 93.

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He’s been the beneficiary of a lethal right edge, led by Shaun Johnson.

At $719k I’m prioritising other buys so not for me, but try-scoring form is hard to knock.

Pending trades, I’m more likely to eye him for that final five games post bye.

Not much more to be said about Shaun Johnson who is the man lighting the fuse for all these previously mentioned explosions.

I mentioned last week he’s an awkward buy for anyone with limited trades as Nicho and Cleary are the halfbacks for the run home, but if SJ keeps this up that may not be the case.

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Rabbitohs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Richard Kennar 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Hame Sele 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Michael Chee Kam 13. Cameron Murray 14. Siliva Havili 15. Shaq Mitchell 16. Davvy Moale 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Tyrone Munro 19. Taane Milne 20. Dean Hawkins 21. Peter Mamouzelos 22. Jacob Gagai

Analysis: Out of form, travelling to New Zealand on a five day turnaround, the Bunnies aren’t super appealing at the moment.

That being said, they do play Round 19 next week, but have the bye the following week.

Sit tight on any players you own and reassess next week.

In a well-beaten side last week Richie Kennar scored 54 points for an initial price rise of $64k, sitting now with a breakeven of -5.

He has decent base and busts plenty of tackles. Job security remains a serious concern though.

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You’d be hesitant to buy, but I’m tipping Campbell Graham to play Origin which should help him through next week at least. I’d be reluctant to buy.

Alex Johnston will come good as the Rabbitohs do, but there is an anti-POD opportunity for anyone wanting to sell.

I’ll hold firm, but there’s a case to sit him outside your 17 this week if numbers are strong.

Cam Murray is going to be dirt cheap when South Sydney return from their bye, and despite a poor Supercoach year by his standards, I’m very likely to purchase in Round 21.

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Friday, 8pm, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tariq Sims 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 13. Josh King 14. Bronson Garlick 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Tui Kamikamica 17. Kane Bradley 18. Tyran Wishart 19. Tom Eisenhuth 20. Chris Lewis 21. Sualauvi Faalogo 22. Jonah Pezet

Analysis: The Storm are in raging form, but don’t play next week, so I’m not too keen on their players until after the bye.

Cam Munster may be the exception.

Mentioned above that we need to consider trades long-term, it might be worth going on Munster fresh from a week off.

Ordinarily I’d say wait, as he has the toughest fixture in the game against a freshened Penrith side, and he’ll miss next week.

But the beauty is that he’s affordable at $666k, and we know he is a season-long keeper.

There’s some risk of resting after Origin three also, but missing last week should help his cause to back-up.

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Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 75 minutes on the edge, 90 points, wrecking ball, and just $506k.

He always makes such a tempting case but it never proves fruitful.

One day he’ll going on a tear for a long period and be the Supercoach giant we knew he could be, but history suggests it won’t happen now.

Still no Eli Katoa which should see him stay on the edge.

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Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Jack Cogger 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Soni Luke 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Zac Hosking 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. Luke Garner 21. Tyrone Peachey 22. Thomas Jenkins

Analysis: No Round 19 coverage for Penrith.

Tyrone Peachey, we salute you…

Elevated into the starting team last week for 107 points v Newcastle!

He’s now $557k having averaged 65 in his seven games this season, that’s including a 22 minute game back in round 5.

He’s done a great job, but he and Zac Hosking can be sold at a time that suits having been named on the extended bench with the Origin contingent back.

I’ll be reassessing the Penrith players after their bye next week which is the last of the season for the club.

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Saturday, 3pm, GIO Stadium, Canberra

Raiders: 1. Sebastian Kris 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Pasami Saulo 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Nick Cotric 17. Ata Mariota 18. Brad Schneider 19. Danny Levi 20. Matt Frawley 21. Xavier Savage 22. Peter Hola

Analysis: Corey Horsburgh was tremendous last week picking up a few extra minutes with Josh Papali’i injured early in the win over the Roosters.

Big Red scored 87 points, including 41 tackles, 17 runs, five tacklebreaks and three offloads.

He’s a decent buy, but I’d prefer set sights on Tino Fa’asuamaleaui or Payne Haas post Origin.

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Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Sam Verrills 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Joe Stimson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Chris Randall 18. Iszac Fa’asumaleaui 19. Jojo Fifita 20. Kruise Leeming 21. Klese Haas 22. Jacob Alick

Analysis: Big David Fifita quickly destroyed those who sold, including yours truly, with 121 points against Brisbane.

Disregarding his 16 points in 33 minutes backing up from Origin one, he has five tonnes in a row. Dead set…

He did drop $39k and still has a breakeven of 149, so in theory there should be another decent drop to come, but he could just as easily decimate Canberra and hit close to that score.

Essentially, make the plan to get him back in post Origin if you sold. I’m happy (kind of happy, I think) to wait until after Origin three.

If he were to get benched post Origin and play less than a half there could be plenty of cash dropped. If he starts post Origin, I’ll just buy in Round 20.

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AJ Brimson scored a respectable 61 in that clash, most importantly though, he got through unscathed.

He remains a solid buy with hopeful Round 19 coverage provided he’s not picked for the Maroons.

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Saturday, 5:30pm, QCB Stadium, Townsville

Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Semi Valemei 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki 18. Jason Taumalolo 19. Kyle Feldt 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Jack Gosiewski 22. Zac Laybutt

Analysis: No Round 19 coverage next week for the Cowboys, but boy have they rocketed back onto the Supercoach radar of late.

Namely, Scotty Drinkwater…

Despite the infamous 1 point game against Brisbane in Round 2, he’s averaging 78 for the season!

He’s rocking a five round average of 110 points following a 140 point effort against the Rabbitohs who are one of the best defensive teams in the NRL.

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Well they were up until the Origin period began…

In incredible form, he may elevate into the top two fullback options for the run home, but he’s very expensive at $892k.

We know he has the odd stinker in him, but even if it does come it’ll likely be balanced out by a tonne, so you can deal with it.

In saying that, outside of the 1 point game he has a low score of 44 this season which is rock solid.

Val Holmes is in hot touch and is a strong buy for the run home, with the Cowboys needing wins he’s also every chance to back up from Origin three too.

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Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Starford To’a 5. Junior Tupou 6. Daine Laurie 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Jake Simpkin 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Shawn Blore 13. John Bateman 14. Tallyn Da Silva 15. Fonua Pole 16. Alex Twal 17. Asu Kepaoa 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Will Smith 20. Tommy Talau 21. Justin Matamua 22. Aistasi James

Analysis: Not stacks of interest at the Tigers, Jahream Bula owners who stuck strong through the bye last week will hope he can repay the faith over the next fortnight where he’ll be a vital extra number in round 19 and 20.

Switching edges recently, Isaiah Papali’i looked somewhat back to his old self with 80 points including a tremendous 60 in base.

At $540k he remains a decent option for anyone needing an affordable back-rower.

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Saturday, 7:35pm, The Gabba, Brisbane

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Brendan Piakura 12. Xavier Willison 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Corey Jensen 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Martin Taupau 18. Jesse Arthars 19. Deine Mariner 20. Jock Madden 21. Tristan Sailor 22. Logan Bayliss-Brow

Analysis: No Round 19 coverage for Brisbane.

We’ll reassess them greater after that bye, but both Payne Haas and Reece Walsh (pending outcome on referee case) will both be very affordable around the $600k-$650k mark post Origin.

If Walsh does get cleared, don’t lose faith after a below par 22 points that could have been plenty more if not on the wrong side of some tight decisions.

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Fullback is a very volatile position this year, so I’d be holding strong barring a suspension of any kind.

With Jordan Riki facing eight weeks out injured, Brendan Piakura becomes an interesting option.

He’s $289k with a breakeven of -3, playing in a gun team, with pretty solid job security now.

As an 80-minute man for the Broncos he becomes a fairly viable play in 17s each week, although his base stats in a fairly limited sample size aren’t overly appealing.

He played 80 minutes against the Titans, scoring 48 points with just 36 in base.

If he stays on the same edge, he’ll likely be running at Isaiya Katoa which is a dream match up.

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Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Valynce Te Whare 5. Tesi Niu 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Herman Ese’ese 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Ray Stone 14. Josh Kerr 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Connelly Lemuelu 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Max Plath 19. Harrison Graham 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Brayden Mcgrady 22. Kurt Donoghoe

Analysis: No real interest in the Dolphins as they hit a mid-season slump, despite their coverage next week.

Connelly Lemuelu is a sell before he plummets even more cash after again being named on the bench.

Shout out Jamayne Isaako who tends to relish when his side gets a beating, scoring a strong 66 points in the defeat to the Eels.

Valynce Te Whare’s job security is pretty poor, so I wouldn’t be looking to buy him in.

Jeremy Marshall-King returns from injury and is a hold.

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Sunday, 2pm, Accor Stadium, Sydney

Bulldogs: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Khaled Rajab 7. Matt Burton 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Tevita Pangai Junior 11. Jayden Okunbor 12. Jacob Preston 13. Kurtis Morrin 14. Harrison Edwards 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Franklin Pele 17. Jackson Topine 19. Reece Hoffman 20. Kyle Flanagan 21. Corey Waddell 22. Braidon Burns 23. Raymond Faitala-Mariner

Analysis: No real interest at the Bulldogs for the time being despite playing Round 19 next week.

Jacob Preston is plodding away nicely and remains a hold for at least two more weeks, while Matt Burton will be a POD for the run home, but Origin may be calling next week so I’d wait.

If Jacob Kiraz can show remnants of his early season form he’ll be a steal at around the $450k mark, but we need to see more at this stage.

Khaled Rajab starts in the halves in place of Karl Oloapu.

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Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Dylan Lucas 19. Brodie Jones 20. Lachlan Miller 21. Jack Johns 22. Adam Clune

Analysis: No Round 19 coverage for the Knights and fairly little interest as a result.

They do have nice match-ups either side of the bye against the Bulldogs and Tigers, making Kalyn Ponga and Greg Marzhew definite holds.

Dane Gagai is out.

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Sunday, 4:05pm, 4 Pines Park, Sydney

Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Ben Trbojevic 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Aaron Woods 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Morgan Harper 20. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 21. Karl Lawton 22. Sean Keppie

Analysis: No Round 19 coverage for Manly.

Reuben Garrick has been sold off by a fair few coaches this week, this surprised me a lot.

He made the move to fullback last week in the absence of Tom Trbojevic and scored 62 points, including 20 runs, seven tacklebreaks and two offloads. No major attacking stats in a well-beaten team.

Manly get a stack of players back this week, including Jake Trbojevic, which can only help them and their Supercoach contingent.

If he was at centre still I’d say sell, but at fullback I’ll be sticking strong. Surely he’s not your biggest headache?

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I’m not sure what’s happening with Samuela Fainu, but there’s a bit of chatter around him being on the outer to a new club which may explain his sudden dropping.

Regardless, he was given dual 2RF-FRF position this week which is HUGE!

Even if he doesn’t come back into the mix he becomes a valuable dual FRF-2RF nuff for the rest of the season.

It doesn’t mean you can’t move him on, but if you can’t due to lack of funds at least he can serve a purpose.

I flipped Josh Schuster last week thankfully, but he can now be moved on at any stage.

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Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sandon Smith 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Turpin 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Victor Radley 12. Naufahu Whyte 13. Nathan Brown 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Terrell May 16. Siua Wong 17. Fletcher Baker 18. Junior Pauga 19. Corey Allan 20. Zach Dockar-Clay 21. Nat Butcher 22. Dylan Napa

Analysis: No Round 19 coverage for the Roosters and some pretty ordinary form to boot.

It makes them pretty hard to touch unless something changes.

Joey Manu blasted 91 points back at centre which was encouraging.

Sandon Smith has back-to-back scores of 78 and 55 for a breakeven of -42, with dual HFB-5/8 positioning.

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He’s an okay buy if you need cash generation I suppose, but in that all-important halves slot with poor job security I’m not overly convinced. Sam Walker is due back very soon.

James Tedesco owners have a decision to make as whether to hold or sell at good value at $707k, he is sitting with a breakeven of 138.

Prior to a poor outing against Canberra he did have scores of 66 (v Panthers), 118 and 118, so he’s going well enough Supercoach wise, but the old eye test isn’t convincing for him or the Roosters.

You could sell now, or give him one more week to show improvement. Tough call.

Joseph Suaalii returns on the wing and will likely kick goals. At $394k, he’s a cheeky POD option in the position he’s far more suited to.

Naufahu Whyte ($301k, breakeven -4) starts on the edge with Angus Crichton and Egan Butcher injured. Victor Radley also starts on the edge.

I suspect Nat Butcher will take the role of Radley though having been named on the extended bench.

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