Yearly wrap: 2023 winners, losers, lessons learnt

Clem Cassidy and Nick Moon recap the 2023 NRL SuperCoach season, eyeing their respective best and worst moments


Well, ladies and gentlemen, esteemed readers, The Spy… That’s all they wrote for 2023! And didn’t it end with a bang! Some absolute monster scores to round out the year which took some of the pain off every gun being rested for the final week!

At lunchtime on Thursday, it would have been a miracle to muster anything over 800 with no trades and no one to turn to, and as the week progressed, it seemed everyone was in the same boat. We just didn’t need the constant messages from “KFC NRL Supercoach” advising us of everyone who was not named.

The Philly Hamstrings ended the year on a high, scoring 1120 after bringing in Tolutau Koula as my final trade for the year! He went absolutely ballistic with 188… I wonder what the Manly fullbacks have averaged since the beginning of 2021? It was one of the all-time great fill ups on Friday night as DCE too sent the scorers into a spin with one final message to Mal – “I wear a Large and want the 7 on my back”.

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It didn’t all go to plan as I had DCE as my VC but forgot to take the captaincy off Teddy before kick-off, so I was stuck with Teddy’s 83 as my captain instead of DCE’s 153. I did have an excuse – I landed one of the all-time great multis in SC Playbook history in the Manly v Tigers match. My last leg was needing Asu Kepaoa to score and when he got the ball down, all hell broke loose. I won’t say how much but it was enough to forget about Supercoach for the night; year even.

I’ll let Clem talk about her heroics, but we have decided to forgo wrapping this week’s games because let’s be honest, there wasn’t much to talk about other than DCE, Koula, and Cleary. So, get comfy and pretend to be therapist and listen to all my problems of Supercoach 2023!

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What Went Well?

By Nick Moon

Well, compared to my previous finishes, not much! I did hold onto a fair few trades which allowed me to move a few players on at the back end of the year when no one else could. When everyone else was struggling, I could do what I pleased. I thought it was the play hoarding trades but I found out this year that you can’t find yourself inside the top 10,000 if you don’t move players on when they should be cut.

Bye planning didn’t seem all that tricky to navigate this year, but having too many from one side will inevitably hurt you. The week-to-week byes was actually used as a tactic, and having that knowledge will help us all next year.

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By Clem Cassidy

The final round. Scoring a respectable 1108, I clawed my way back 2,180 places to finish in 6,676 place, after starting the year hundreds of thousands of places lower than that in 45,455 place.

But best of all, in the Spy vs Clementine Ultimate Overall Championship…my royal twosome, in the form of Our Lord and Saviour King Ryan “The Glorious Mullet” Papenhuyzen and Prince Nicho Hynes, came through for me to help me to my third overall victory over Spy in a row!

And Spy, I do believe that’s 2021, 2022 AND 2023…

But 2024 will be your year! The year you don a red one piece, a pair of fake boobs, and a luscious blonde wig and strut your stuff down Caxton Street that is…

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It’s what the people want. 

Everyone…you are very welcome…

But in all seriousness, that was such a close finish to the Overall Competition with Spy! And well played to him! Leading into the final two games of the season we were literally projected to finish ON A TIE of 31369 points…

It’s just that hoarding a trade trumped Spy’s full team in the end, especially after more carnage hit and more players dropped like flies…and Wayne? Well Wayne clearly had his money on me, giving me an unexpected extra player in the form of big V Te Whare. Chur my bro!

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What Didn’t?

By Nick Moon

Holding onto some players on a whim that they will do well! I was too invested in players like Turuva, Mahoney, Ford, Schuster, and Kennedy hoping they would do something when the reality was, five weeks of low scores is a good indication they ain’t cutting it and need to go!

I also had to play an AE more times than I care to realise. Byes will do that to you and it seemed it was either Soni Luke or Mat Croker. I thought I was being clever before Origin bringing Croker in but he did sweet FA and I just couldn’t get rid of him. A good lesson learnt.

Also, being stubborn gets you nowhere in Supercoach! I kept think Isaako would falter and never traded him in, thought Big Tino was a flash in the pan and watched on every week as he tore sides apart, didn’t believe in SJ (I’m sorry), and got rid of Marzhew early and never traded him back. Take the L’s, admit you are wrong, and do what’s right. Even if that means agreeing with the Spy!

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By Clem Cassidy

Everything else…

Haha kidding…just most else. But let’s take NRL SuperCoach 2023 as a character-building exercise with lessons to take into next season. 

Now. Here is something that went very, very wrong. So wrong that when it happened, I literally laughed at the absurbity of it all. Then I may have cried a gentle tear or two…

Here is a tale. A tale of a Captain…

…a 22 point Captain.

AKA: Round 17 or The One with the 22 Point Captain.

Let me set the scene:

I’m at my mates, beer in hand, settled in on the couch for a solid Sunday arvo of footy. I have cleverly and astutely made the decision not to loop Moses’ 105 points, because:

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a. how can I possibly give up Billy Smith’s incoming 30 for the loop, and

b. Reece Walsh hot off a hot Origin performance on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Suncorp vs the Titans? Well, he IS the Sir Captain of the round – double ton incoming for him!

And I, like a good little Reece Walsh disciple, held on to the hope the ENTIRE first 70 minutes of the game, that there would come a point when he would just go “boom!” and whack out a casual 90 points in 10 minutes and all would be right with the world again.

I’m pretty sure even at the 76-minute mark – I turned to my mate and said “SOMETHING’S going to happen. It’s Reece Walsh!”

And then 80 minutes. Full-time. The whistle blew.

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22 points. 22 points that were in tasting distance of being so much more, except every time my heart leapt in elation and I jumped off the couch high-fiving my mate (who also Captained) and celebrated a try assist or a try or JUST AN ACTUAL TOUCH OF THE BALL – the ref and the bunker gleefully sent me crashing back down to earth – with a forward pass, or an obstruction on fastest man in the world, David Fifita, from 2 kilometres left of where the try was scored…

But what can we do but laugh through the tears and move on…

And just because it’s fun looking back on things that went wrong…allow me to present Exhibit B – and I can’t even remember which round this belongs to: but a 3-point Izaak Thompson while a 110-point AKP and an 80-point Will Warbrick laughed at me from my bench…what I would give for a crystal ball…

Oooh and an Exhibit C – Trading out Big David Fifi after he scored all those delightful tons because I thought he was out for a fair whack of time. Except he wasn’t. And he came back and scored a bunch more tons instead. And what I wouldn’t give for two or three more weeks scoring with my SuperCoach shag…

Ahhhh. Good times indeed…

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Best Trade?

By Nick Moon

They came in a flurry late, DCE about five rounds ago has been unreal, KP when he wasn’t $1 million, and Suaalii in his final four weeks!

But, recency bias must play a part here and the trade of Manu to Tolutau Koula for the final round with his 188 takes the win! Shame it took Manly 26 rounds to think playing him at fullback might work out, but it was just glorious watching him link up with Saab and DCE.

Speed will get you a long, long way in Rugby League.

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By Clem Cassidy

This is a tough one! And I officially do not know who my best trade was because I don’t think I jumped on anyone on an absolute tear although I did start with David Fifita and had some delightful times scoring with him…so maybe him?

I’ll also say E Katoa in Round 25 (mainly because I followed Spy chat for that trade and thank you Spy for helping me beat you…). 

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Worst Trade?

By Nick Moon

In the words of Frank Sinatra, “regrets, I’ve had a few”! God, I have made some shockers this year! Luki, Kennedy, Mat Croker, Tyrell Sloan, DWZ. In fact, just writing this opened up bad memories of owning Tyrell Sloan! Remember that? We all jumped on but what a dismal three weeks that was…

But there could only be one… It must be Kotoni. No one else gave me as much grief as this man did. I owned him for 11 rounds and in that time, he scored over 55 three times and those were the three rounds I didn’t play him. I’m currently working on a manifesto that will rival Ted Kaczynski’s on why owning Kotoni is not good for anyone. To top off owning Kotoni, every time he took the field he looked a million bucks, but the scores didn’t translate that way. His 136 in Round 21 against Souths was a real killer as he sat idle on the bench. I’d say never again, but if he crashes over early next year I’ll be begging for his forgiveness. Kotoni come back!

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By Clem Cassidy

Let us start at the beginning…fresh faced, full of hope for the season…a man named Brandon Smith enters my team…and just like the year before…I got played…

But, in a moment that I am proud of, I have rid myself of my most complicated SuperCoach situationship after his 38, 10…and here is a poem I made in honour of that occasion of strength:

‘Tis said that parting is such sweet sorrow

But this is not goodbye until tomorrow, 

This is farewell until the end,

The sweetness comes in trading you friend.

The sorrow comes because I held on

To a dream – “he’s changed, he’ll score a ton”,

Hopeful, I took you back a second year,

But you, you haven’t reached second gear.

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And actually, I’d say a bunch of players I started with were my worst trades (are they trades if you start with them?). Val, Murray…all the high-price players that we thought would go on a tear from the get-go…well, just didn’t. So, there’s all of them.

But my other VERY worst trade – young gun, Bula.

Now. Don’t get me wrong. He is incredible, and he was a delightful cheapie for everyone who traded him in at the RIGHT time. 

But me? Well, I jumped on him ROUNDS after everyone else had scored his delicious points and cash rises and why? Because I am an idiot sandwich who needed a fullback and went Bula over Scotty D. 

Here is an insight into my thought process:

Of course, you could do a Scotty D patch which would give it a more timeless ton look, or you could get a little bit crazy…especially if you might want a 47, bye, 27, cash drop, 16….depending on your taste…and so I’ll opt for a Bula while everyone else is trading him out of their team…

Ohhhh dear…

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Moment of the Year?

By Nick Moon

Was looking back on a few rounds and one jumped out… Round 15 Manly v the Dolphins. Overlord and Guru spruiking that Garrick is no good in the centres and might even be worth benching him. Well, I captained him (via a VC loop but all the same) and he knocked out 169 of the best Friday night Supercoach points and proved to us all that Tim is actually human and does get it wrong every now and then!

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By Clem Cassidy

Up the Wahs! 

It’s not really a moment but more of a collection of moments culminating in the glorious moment that is…a top four finish for the Warriors, the team on a tear, vintage SJ, DWZ’s flying perm, God Charnze…and finals footy baby! 

Up the Wahs…and howwww bloody goood! Or to use my new favourite saying:


Also, the final round. This was my favourite round of the whole season. And there were two games that will stand out to me as two of my favourite games I have watched/listened to:

Storm vs Broncos – Round 27: Why? Well, I used my final trade trading in the glorious mullet and I’ll tell you, the sheer thrill of watching a game with him in my team was totally worth it. He is LITERALLY my equal favourite player to watch whilst in my team, and the levels of elation I reached were so high watching him…well…I’m currently typing this from up on the ceiling days later because I can’t work out how to get down again…I’m just so pleased I had him to finish the season!

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And my second equal favourite player? Well of course, that would be Prince Nicho Hynes and his glorious wet locks, running amuck in that final 40 when my Overall Supremacy over Spy was on the line, and scoring a delicious 127 points, and giving me my happily ever after…

Prince Charming indeed.

Also, this reminds me of another stand-out moment, and that is getting a photo with Prince Nicho after the Manly vs Sharks game, and yes. It was raining. And yes, I am holding a tub of VO5 Wet Look Gel in the photo. 

And that photo and the gel are two of my most treasured possessions (if Timmy could just find where he hid the gel after he saved it from the evil clutches of Spy…because now it seems to be missing…and am I imagining things, or does Timmy’s hair look suspiciously gelled up on the poddy these days…hmmmm…)

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What Will You Do Differently In 2024?

By Nick Moon

I won’t be worrying too much about the byes through Origin. The 13 was a great move and meant that you didn’t lose too much ground from the leading pack, but it was the sleeper rounds, the ones that had three teams on a bye that seemed to do the most damage! So, I’ll be circling those couple weeks as ones that will need some extra planning. And by planning, I mean bringing players in on vibes alone.

Oh, and keep a boost and three trades up my sleeve for Round 27 next year!

Finally, thanks to all that have read, commented, retweeted, liked, or posted about us! It’s great fun to be able to wrap up the games in a light hearted way, and the inclusion of Clem has been brilliant! Probably one of the buys of the year!

The Supercoach community is one I – and I know every contributor of the SC Playbook – is so lucky to be a part of and we cannot wait for season 2024 to roll around! Although, be careful what you wish for… It might mean the Spy in a Baywatch costume!

See you all at Magic Round!

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By Clem Cassidy

Well. I like to think I learnt from 2022…except apparently, I didn’t, because last year I said the exact same thing.

I’d be quicker to jump on players when they looked to be going on a hot streak. 

Case in point, the Bula trade in. Made after everyone gained his points and cash rises and just in time for his bye, low scoring rounds, and cash drop….


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Also, I’d forward plan better for the byes, rather than bye plan on a bunch of yellow post-it notes with such clever forward-planning tactics as “only Cowboys on a bye, sweet as bro, no trades for you!”

The byes. They absolutely decimated me!

And in honour of my terrible bye planning, I’ll leave you with this 90s inspired rap I wrote for the SC Playbook WhatsApp Group, one Friday arvo when I should have been working…

It was all a Jah-Ream, (didn’t have him in my team),

Jus’ Brown, Nath ‘n’ Cody, Big Fifi D, Cook too it’d seem.

Boostin’ before a rankings fall

Top 3k on Johnny B, Mitch ‘n’ Greggy M to stand tall.

I’ll think my trades rock ‘til my trades lock.

Sippin’ whiskey on the rocks, (not Private Stock)

Way back when I had the red KFC track’ 

with the socks to match?

Remember just two byes? Duh-ha, duh-ha

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You never thought that 13 players playin’ would be this hard.

Now bye plannin’ lookin’ light and things are tight

The ones I made blew up don’t know who to trade.

Ikat Phinner to Mitchy M, is this a winner?

Remember when I had players, 

now team’s lookin’ thinner.

Peace to Cleary, Gilbert T, and Cody

Is Cook gone too? There goes Big Davey.

I burnin’ trades never thought I would

Call Mariah, Anytime You Need a Friend she’s in my hood, 

but it’s all good

Uhhh, and if you don’t know, now you know, 


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And I think my rap broke Greggy M, because just like that – he missed the bus…

Another one bites the dust…

Anyway… that’s it from me this season…

Thank you to the SuperCoach community for another incredible season of fun and banter! It really is the very best community full of the best people! And a massive congratulations to the overall and H2H winners! A round of absolute applause to you! 

Here’s to NRL SuperCoach 2024!

Clementine xxx

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