NRL Supercoach analysis: Round 1 team lists

2020 NRL Supercoach runner-up Tim Williams analyses the round 1 team lists to kick-off the 2024 season.


We’ve arrived at the biggest day on the NRL Supercoach calendar, part two that is.

Team list Tuesday, the second edition of 2024 due to the split round to start the season.

We’ve spent months analysing rosters, monitoring injury news and trial form in order to piece together our NRL Supercoach sides.

Finally, we have the 17 man starting teams from each NRL club to allow us to put the final touches on our Supercoach squads.

As we know, some NRL coaches play silly buggers with their team lists, so it’s imperative to monitor final team lists that will drop an hour before games on the weekend to make sure we’re not caught out.

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Take cheapie Xavier Willison for example who was a popular purchase after being named on the bench for the Broncos in Vegas.

He was cut an hour before kick-off in favour of veteran prop Marty Taupau, leaving plenty of coaches stranded, Guru included.

I was devastated for him…

Let’s get stuck into the Supercoach analysis, with team lists courtesy of Fox Sports.

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Thursday, 7th March, 8pm, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Dylan Lucas 13. Adam Elliott

Bench: 14. Jack Cogger 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Kai Pearce-Paul

Reserves: 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Thomas Jenkins 20. Will Pryce 21. Brodie Jones 22. Thomas Cant

Analysis: Dylan Lucas wins the starting second-row edge role, with Englishman Kai Pearce-Paul named on the bench.

It’s no major surprise, but it does likely rule both out of Supercoach contention for now as they’re likely to share minutes.

Enari Tuala wins the right edge role vacated by Dom Young, while Tyson Gamble beats out some stiff opposition to start at five-eighth.

Popular cheapie Jed Cartwright misses the 17 entirely, which comes as no major surprise.

Phoenix Crossland presents some interest in a tough hooking position.

With Jayden Brailey dealing with a hamstring injury, he could be a short-term option, but I’m not keen.

He averaged 63 minutes last season, had a good amount of attacking stats, and will likely be spelled for 15-20 minutes by Jack Cogger.

I’ve seen people keen on Leo Thompson at $458k as a starting prop, but I don’t see how much he can really improve having already averaged 44 minutes per game last season.

He doesn’t mind a tackle bust, but he offloaded just three times last season. Pass.

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Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Albert Hopoate 5. Xavier Savage 6. Ethan Strange 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Zac Hosking 13. Morgan Smithies

Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Ata Mariota 17. Pasami Saulo

Reserves: 18. Kaeo Weekes 19. Simi Sasagi 20. Zac Woolford 21. James Schiller 22. Trey Mooney

Analysis: Cheapie Ethan Strange gets the nod at five-eighth, with Kaeo Weekes named 18th man.

Xavier Savage wins the wing spot and is value at $355k, alongside fellow cheapie Nic Cotric.

With Seb Kris due back next week at centre there is poor job security there though as my tip would be that Albert Hopoate moves to the wing.

My concern for Raiders outside backs though is the lack of quality ball they’ll see.

Elliott Whitehead is nowhere to be seen due to injury, with Zac Hosking starting on the edge.

Danny Levi starts at hooker and will share minutes with Tom Starling, but he may just be the best of a bad bunch in the cheapie hooker spot.

He was the favoured number nine to start last season before breaking his jaw, playing 40 and 50 minutes for scores of 30 and 56 (try-assist).

It’s far from ideal, but if he can nab 50 minutes at just $238k it does free up a lot of cash to spend elsewhere and you don’t have to play him in your 17.

Englishman Morgan Smithies has been named to start at lock and looks a solid play in 17s.

There’s risk that he moves to the bench when Corey Horsburgh returns, but let’s hope he does enough to hold the spot and push Big Red to the prop rotation.

Jordan Rapana starts at fullback with cheapie Chevy Stewart nowhere to be seen.

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Friday, 8th March, 6pm, Go Media Stadium, Auckland

Warriors: 1. Taine Tuaupiki 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Tohu Harris

Bench: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Tom Ale 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Dylan Walker

Reserves: 18. Adam Pompey 20. Jazz Tevaga 21. Te Maire Martin 22. Ali Leiataua 23. Jacob Laban

Analysis: Taine Tuaupiki starts at fullback in place of the injured Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck staying at centre.

Due to the lack of quality CTW cheapies, Tuaupiki might be among the best of a bad lot.

As a starting fullback until CNK returns he becomes a very viable play in 17s.

CNK has a rugged injury history with numerous concussions last season, so although Tuaupiki likely only gets three or four games before getting dropped, we can only hope he lands extra early in the season to generate some cash.

RTS at fullback would have been a must-have just about at $539k, while at left centre he loses some appeal.

He busted eight tackles in each trial game, and looked elite.

It’s on the less preferred left edge of the Warriors which isn’t ideal, but his workrate should be enough to see him score 40-50 in base and power stats anyway.

Freddy Lussick’s naming on the bench is a concern for anyone keen on Wayde Egan as they’ll likely share the role.

Luke Metcalf wins the race to start at five-eighth, while Rocco Berry beats out rookie Ali Leiataua at right centre.

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Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Cameron McInnes

Bench: 14. Dale Finucane 15. Jack Williams 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Thomas Hazelton

Reserves: 18. Kayal Iro 19. Tuku Hau Tapuha 20. Daniel Atkinson 21. Mawene Hiroti 22. Jayden Berrell

Analysis: Nicho Hynes returns after a minor pre-season injury concern.

Siosifa Talakai beats out rookie Kayal Iro at centre.

Potential cheapie Royce Hunt starts in the front-row, but the four forward bench is a concern for his minutes.

The $333k price tag for Hunt is enticing, but with Braden Hamlin-Uele due back potentially as soon as round 2 I just feel that pack is way too stacked.

He averaged 33 points in 25 minutes last season, but I’m not convinced.

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Friday, 8th March, 8:05pm, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Nick Meaney 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Josh King 11. Joe Chan 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Trent Loiero

Bench: 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Christian Welch 16. Chris Lewis 17. Alec MacDonald

Reserves: 18. Shawn Blore 19. Kane Bradley 20. Jonah Pezet 21. Marion Seve 22. Sualauvi Faalogo

Analysis: Cameron Munster has been named but remains under an injury cloud.

Rookie Joe Chan wins the race for the starting edge role, beating out Shawn Blore and Kane Bradley who both missed the 17.

While job security is a concern, at $238k he looks a decent cheapie prospect in the back-row that will be very hard to ignore.

He had a stack of 80 minute games in the back-row for Easts Tigers in QLD Cup last season which hopefully he emulates this season.

The bench is largely middles (Lewis could potentially spend time on the edge), plus Wishart as the utility who may spend time at hooker, so it bodes well for Chan’s minutes.

Looking at his QLD Cup stats in a relatively small sample size, he can bust a few tackles without any great numbers, rarely offloads and has an okay workrate.

This is more for anyone wanting to play him in 17s, but regardless he looks a great buy to generate some cash.

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

Bench: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Liam Henry 17. Matt Eisenhuth

Reserves: 18. Daine Laurie 19. Soni Luke 20. Brad Schneider 21. Preston Riki 22. Mavrik Geyer

Analysis: Jarome Luai has been named to play despite an injury concern.

Luke Sommerton starts at hooker, but will drop out once Mitch Kenny returns from suspension.

Cheapie Liam Henry has been named on the bench, but with a four forward bench and Scott Sorensen still to return he looks like a trap.

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Saturday, 9th March, 5:30pm, CommBank Stadium, Sydney

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Morgan Harper 5. Sean Russell 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. J’maine Hopgood

Bench: 14. Brendan Hands 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Kelma Tuilagi

Reserves: 18. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Daejarn Asi 20. Luca Moretti 21. Makahesi Makatoa 22. Blaize Talagi

Analysis: Let the carnage ensue…

Joey Lussick has been named to start, with Brendan Hands named on the bench.

This causes huge headaches at hooker for Supercoaches with no sole hooker named as per Brad Arthar’s pre-season suggestion.

At a guess, I’d say they have a 50/30 split in minutes. I’d have no confidence as to which player gets the majority making it very dangerous.

Bailey Simonsson shifts to the wing in place of the suspended Maika Sivo, while Morgan Harper will start at centre.

Shaun Lane starts on the edge, but may lose minutes to Kelma Tuilagi after impressive trial performances.

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Bulldogs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Drew Hutchison 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Poasa Faamausili 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Jacob Preston 13. Jaeman Salmon

Bench: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Samuel Hughes 16. Josh Curran 17. Kurtis Morrin

Reserves: 19. Bronson Xerri 20. Toby Sexton 21. Jake Turpin 22. Connor Tracey 23. Kitione Kautoga

Analysis: Blake Taaffe wins the starting fullback role, with Stephen Crichton preferred at centre alongside Jacob Kiraz.

This may impact Kiraz’s output while not playing on the wing.

As the Spy explained on the SC Playbook podcast on Tuesday night, in a small sample size at centre his workrate was immense so maybe we need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

For me, I much preferred him on the wing for try-scoring output and likely a few more runs.

Both Bronson Xerri and Connor Tracey have missed out on spots.

Borderline cheapie Drew Hutchinson will start at halfback over Toby Sexton and with a lack of quality cheapies becomes a better buy.

Cheapie Poasa Faamausili starts at prop, but how many minutes does this big fella have in the tank?

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Supercoaches are really struggling to fill that fourth FRF spot, so at just $238k with a starting role he might be the best of a bad bunch.

He averaged 25 points in 29 minutes at the Dolphins last season, and received a discount in price having only played four games.

It doesn’t make for great reading, but I must admit he caught my eye in trials.

In a blow to Supercoaches, Josh Curran has missed a starting spot, with Jaeman Salmon preferred.

Salmon also starts at serious value at $313k and is dual CTW-2RF, although workrate and minutes are an issue.

Even if he gets 55-60 minutes, I can see him doing a lot of distributing and not a lot of running so I don’t see great scoring potential in him.

With a four middle forward bench this bodes terribly for both Curran and Salmon as minutes are a bit of a lottery.

As it does cheapie Sam Hughes, who although looks one of the safer FRF buys despite playing off the bench, this makes him a risky starter for anyone wanting to play him in 17s to save cash in the front-row.

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Saturday, 9th March, 7:35pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

Titans: 1. Keano Kini 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. AJ Brimson 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Klese Haas 12. Beau Fermor 13. Keenan Palasia

Bench: 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Erin Clark 17. Jaimin Jolliffe

Reserves: 18. Joe Stimson 19. Jojo Fifita 20. Jacob Alick 21. Harley Smith-Shields 22. Josiah Pahulu

Analysis: No major surprises at the Titans.

Klese Haas will start in the back-row while David Fifita is unavailable.

With Fifita due back in round 3 or 4, potentially sooner, Haas isn’t on my radar at $344k in a stacked 2RF position.

With a hooker and three middle forwards named on the bench he very well could play 80, but as soon as Fifi returns it’ll stunt any cash growth before it even starts.

Former Bronco Keenan Palasia brings some interest after being named to start at lock. He’s dual 2RF-FRF and is priced at just $365,200.

The round 2 bye for the Titans is frustrating for anyone who would be looking to play him, but there is interest regardless.

While it all looks good and well, he did average 41 minutes at the Broncos last season for 36 points, so how many more minutes will he realistically get?

Fa’asuamaleaui and Fotuaika both belt out big minutes at prop, and three middles on the bench will need time, so it’s a worry.

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Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Zac Lomax 3. Moses Suli 4. Jack Bird 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Kyle Flanagan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Tom Eisenhuth 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin

Bench: 14. Connor Muhleisen 15. Michael Molo 16. Viliami Fifita 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner

Reserves: 18. Ben Murdoch-Masila 19. Christian Tuipulotu 20. Jesse Marschke 21. Ryan Couchman 22. Mathew Feagai

Analysis: In no major surprise, Tyrell Sloan will start at fullback with Zac Lomax on the wing as per the pre-season trials.

Potential cheapie Tom Eisenhuth starts on the edge, but Luciano Leilua will likely take this spot on return from suspension.

Popular cheapie Viliame Fifita has won a bench spot for now, but with four forwards named and Leilua to return minutes will be a big concern.

He looks like a big trap and an auto-emergency nightmare to me.

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Sunday, 10th March, 4:05pm, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Tesi Niu 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jack Bostock 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Connelly Lemuelu 13. Ray Stone

Bench: 14. Josh Kerr 15. Max Plath 16. Kenny Bromwich 17. Mark Nicholls

Reserves: 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Jake Averillo 20. Oryn Keeley 21. Euan Aitken 22. Isaiya Katoa

Analysis: While not overly Supercoach relevant, Tesi Niu has beaten out Bulldogs recruit Jake Averillo for the centre spot.

Kodi Nikorima starts at five-eighth over Isaiya Katoa, cheapie Jack Bostock wins the wing role.

Bostock wasn’t someone I’d been keen on all pre-season, but with minimal quality CTW cheapies he might be a decent buy with okay job security.

He played four games last season, averaging 39 points in that time with two tries to his name.

In three of his four games he had scores of just 21, 29 and 17 which is very ordinary.

The right edge of Isaako gets so much of the attacking ball which doesn’t help.

He’s also young though, so perhaps in his second season in the NRL he’ll up his base stats and produce some okay scoring.

With Tom Gilbert out for the season, Ray Stone starts at lock, with Kenny Bromwich on the bench.

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

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki

Reserves: 18. Tomas Chester 19. Thomas Mikaele 20. Semi Valemei 21. Jack Gosiewski 22. Jake Clifford

Analysis: Popular cheapie Thomas Mikaele has missed the 17 entirely, drama!

Sam McIntyre has been named on the bench instead, alongside Kulikefu Finefeuiaki who could steal minutes off Heilum Luki on the edge.

With a utility in Granville on the bench, and an edge in Finefeuiaki (could spend time in middle) and two middles in Griffin Neame and Sam McIntyre there is some serious minutes to be won in the pack.

Jason Taumalolo and Reuben Cotter’s stocks rose when Coen Hess was ruled out long-term, and they’ve gone up again with this bench.

Hess averaged 50 minutes last season, while the departed Luciano Leilua averaged 73 between edge and middle.

Cotter averaged 54 minutes last season which could easily go to 60+, while Taumalolo averaged just 49.

Regarding Taumalolo, we need to try and not compare him to his best self of year’s gone by.

We need to look at him as a mid-range option at just $434k, who is available at FRF, that can bust tackles and offload.

He interests me, although he clearly needs to offer a bit more than we’ve seen in the last year or two.

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