Head-to-head finals strength of schedule

Each club's fixture strength around head-to-head finals is vital to winning your leagues, we analyse the draw of each team.


Note that all the information below is written with an NRL Supercoach Draft mindset, but the finals strength of schedule also translates entirely to NRL Supercoach classic for head-to-head finals.

As such, all the below can be applied for Supercoach Classic player with a head-to-head focus for winning your leagues.

So with that…

A wiseman once said “If you’re not first, you’re last”. 

And as it applies to NRL SuperCoach Draft, while making the finals of your league is an achievement, no one remembers who finished second. 

Serious Draft players know, the true secret to winning your league is your finals strength of schedule. To illustrate the point, let me ask you two questions.

The first question; Who will score more SuperCoach points this season out of Tommy Turbo, Latrell or Scott Drinkwater? Answering this is tough, right? There’s loads of factors to consider around team cohesion, injuries, form.

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The second question; who will score more SuperCoach points in these match-ups – Tommy Turbo vs the Bulldogs, Latrell vs the Panthers or Scott Drinkwater vs the Melbourne Storm? 

Straight away, the additional context makes this a lot clearer to gauge. And surely, even the most devout Souths and Cows fans can agree it’s probably Tommy out on top.

And herein lies the difference between Classic and Draft, and the secret to how to win your league. Because while the overall difference in points over a whole season is crucial in classic, in a H2H format, matchups matter more than anything.

This isn’t just a hypothetical either. Those draws for three similarly skilled fullbacks is a reality for Round 26 this season. 

So if you’re lucky enough to progress to the final of your league in that round, having the match-ups in your favour will give you a major advantage – and it all starts on Draft day in how you prioritise your player rankings.

Your finals will typically run for four rounds and it’s important to check your league settings to know when they start and finish. 

It could be 22-25, 23-26 or 24-27. Good luck if it’s a round 27 final which will mean you’re also factoring in restings.

Now match-ups have a different impact for each position on the field. 

Largely in the forwards, tougher games do not have as big of an impact on scoring. But in the backs and halves, the big scores can have a huge say with major scoring variations. Take a look at some of these scores to understand the point:

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Chooks finishing with a bang

  • Throughout 2023, the top averaging CTW was Jamayne Isaako with a 76.7
  • Throughout the 23-26 Finals Joseph Suaali’i – with a favourable draw for the Chooks and adding goal kicking – produced scores of 84, 75, 108, 128 for an average 98.75. This was nearly 40 points up on his season average
  • Throughout 2023, the top averaging FLB was Kalyn Ponga with a 85.7
  • Throughout the 23-26 Finals, James Tedesco averaged 86.3 with a favourable draw, including a 125 in round 25.
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Manly going mega on the cellar dwellers

  • Throughout 2023, the top averaging HFB was Nicho Hynes with a 95
  • Throughout the 23-26 Finals, Daly Cherry-Evans – with a favourable draw including games against the Dogs – produced scores of 44, 96, 71, 146 for an average of 89.25, which was nearly 13 points above his season average.

Finding players who can play above their value when it matters is one of the critical components of winning your league.

Predicting team performance 23 rounds out isn’t a perfect science, and as you narrow in towards these rounds the data will be clearer but let’s take a look at the good and not so good draws for the various Finals Systems.

Round 22-25 Finals

The Good

  • The Sharks toughest defensive team could be the Rabbits, and a rd25 Grand Final against the Dragons could be a SC Points fest for their usual suspects
  • The Bulldogs play two expected strugglers in the Raiders and Dragons. The Dolphins and Warriors are harder to predict but don’t seem too hard. This could benefit the likes of Matt Burton, Kikau and stocks in Josh Addo-Carr
  • The Warriors might only be up against bottom 8 sides for their four games. This would suit SJ, CNK, DWZ and the other acronyms who could score well if their attack clicks again
  • Despite playing byes, Manly, the Roosters and the Broncos are all pretty friendly

The Bad

  • The Cowboys with a Bye in the Grand Final, plus a tough match-up with the Broncos are a tough team to own heavily from.This devalues guys like Drinkwater probably as low as 7th in most drafts, and significantly impacts where you might take Tom Dearden. Val is slightly more match-up proof however you’d need to consider better options based on draw
  • The Eels, with games against the Panthers, Broncos and Roosters face a tough finish. This hurts the stocks of Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson who do rely on attacking stats to achieve their high averages.
  • The Storm have it moderately tough with games against the Rabbits and Panthers. An easy opening fixture against Dragons however does slightly offset that, plus a nice grand final against the Dolphins.
  • Not that they’re hugely relevant, but the Raiders round 26 against the Panthers would hurt any Coach with stocks in their side.

Round 23-26 Finals

The Good

  • The Warriors draw is pretty tasty with only the Sharks projected to be a top 8 team come the pointy end of the season. This bodes well for their guns like SJ.
  • Despite not being a hugely relevant SC team, the Dragons have some nice games against sides not known for their defence.
  • Outside of the Rabbits, the Knights play sides not exactly known for their defence. This is why the likes of Marzhew are a genuine second round option, and guys like Best, Frizell, Jenkins and Kai Pierce-Paul should be ranked slightly above their averages from last season.
  • Again, not a hugely relevant SC side, but with games against the Dragons, Dolphins, Warriors and Se Eagles, the Bulldogs might have an upward trend at the end of the year.

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  • This is probably the one where I get a little excited. The Sea Eagles won a lot of coaches their leagues last year with a huge round 26 against the Doggies. This season they’ve got three of the projected bottom four sides in the Raiders, Tigers and Dogs to go with a clash against the Warriors. Does it get any better? Guys like Tommy, DCE, Olu, Garrick and co. need to be ranked accordingly, whilst sleeper candidates like Saab and Paulo also become interesting.
  • A mixed, but solid draw for the Storm who start with two tougher games against Rabbits and Panthers, into the Dolphins and Cows.
  • The Sharks play the Titans, Knights, Dragons and Warriors which, for me, is why Nicho has to be pick #1 in this Finals system.
  • Roosters start with a bye, but if you can get past that, they get the chance to take on the Eels, Titans and Raiders – three clubs not famous for defence.
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The Bad

  • The Cowboys have got it tough. The Broncos to start with is brutal. The round 25 bye into the Storm is worse. It hurts the Drinkwater stocks who on numbers, should be the fourth guy off the draft board but now probably drops to 7th.
  • Dolphins start with Warriors and Dragons which is okay. But the Storm and Broncos to finish is as tough as it gets without a game against Penrith.
  • Predicting how the Rabbits fare is always tough. And with games against the Storm and Panthers, it could be some rocks from guys who are attack dependent. This doesn’t hurt Latrell as much for me as it does Cody and AJ, albeit they can still score tries given their brilliance.
  • Eels have to play the Panthers, Roosters and the Broncos.They do have a nice finish against the Dragons, but otherwise it significantly hurts guys like Moses and Gutherson. Brown has great base for his position, but might find attack tough.
  • The Tigers don’t have a heap of relevance but a bye in the Grand Final puts a dampener on the draft value of their cohort.


The Good

  • Penrith start tough against the Storm but then have a great run against the Raiders, Souths, Titans
  • Eels flip the script on the other formats with a lovely finish against the Dragons and Tigers. This finals system is way more appealing for Moses and Gutherson who could go in the second round.
  • Sea Eagles are strong again with the Tigers and Bulldogs in the prelim before a finish against the Sharks.
  • Aside from the Sharks, the Dragons opponents are likely bottom 8 sides in the Titans, Eels and Raiders.
  • The Roosters get to verse the Eels, Titans and Raiders who aren’t known for defence. A grand final against Souths could be an all-out war though.
  • The Sharks have a nice run against the Knights, Dragons, Warriors and Sea Eagles

The Bad

  • The Warriors with a round 27 bye will be hard to select in the first three rounds. There may be value late but that is a hard thing for coaches to swallow to not have a high draft pick in your grand final
  • The Broncos start with a bye and then a grand final against the Storm. Last year they rested players in the same fixture as well.
  • The Cowboys is mixed with a bye and the Storm sandwiched in between soft games against the Raiders and Bulldogs.

So there you have it. Hopefully this in-depth knowledge can help you when assessing your pre-draft board ordering of players. And the confidence to know your stars have great match-ups when it matters will also give you one-up on your mates in the group chat.

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