NRL Round 1 SuperCoach Wrap: 10 Things We Learnt

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NRL Weekly Wrap

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Well, what a start 2024 has been! Vegas feels like it was a different season, it was that long ago. We all left Sin City with an air of confidence heading into the weekend after seeing what the likes of Trbojevic, Latrell and Walsh all were capable of.

And thud, we were back to earth on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Hynes, Cleary, Grant, Ponga, Moses (More fool you), Brown all failed to strike a blow, leaving owners reeling and some serious soul searching ahead of round 2.

Turbos Hamstrings kicked off 2024 with a solid start, scoring 944. Captain on Greg Marzhew was a bit left field but proved to be a masterstroke compared to the Cleary and Hynes backers. Currently find myself in the top 20000, at 18015 but need some serious trades to get through the next month!

I’ve decided to do something a little different this year and run through 10 things we (or I) learned from the round that was. If you like it great, if not all good. Leave some comments below whether you like the new format or want to go back to a game by game run down.

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10 Things We Learnt from Round 1 of the NRL

1. The fullback battle is going to be one for the ages

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We saw Turbo, Latrell, Tedesco, and Walsh all put in performances Liberace would be proud of in Vegas a week ago. Tom Trbojevic had a mountain of opportunities but despite the 6 tries, he failed to cross himself despite going within a whisker a couple of times. He looks like an absolute threat and if you decided to start the year without him, I wish you nothing but bad vibes and low scores. 

Latrell Mitchell, and I tip my hat to those who captained the great man, was the pick of them all. He stood tall when his side needed him but couldn’t muster everyone to go with him. He just might need a few extra hours with the kicking tee. He looks set for a big year.

Ryan Papenhuyzen was super busy in a defence-heavy game. The lack of GK will mean he is probably the least favoured, but still one who, like a 16 year old Netflix and chilling with his girlfriend, could go off at any second. 

The Scotty Drinkwater brigade would have a sore neck from shaking their heads on Sunday as on a normal day with that scoreline, could have had 180. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was everywhere and nowhere, yet still scored 79. Exciting to own. Just know that score of 10 will come. 

Getting it right will be tricky, as will nailing the Captaincy choice. Might make or break a few seasons

2. It’s Lomax season. Just admit it

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With all the negative press heading into the season, you would be forgiven for thinking Zac Lomax would sit out on the wing and sulk until he was released.

Well, Zac had other ideas! A massive 108 to set the socials alight, nearly everyone saying “I had him up until, pre-season” Yeah I had nearly all 576 at one point too. 

He was busting tackles, popped up in the middle attacking the line and he and Sloan look like they have spent some time in the off season getting to know one another. Like Isaako of 2023, Lomax looks busy, kicks goals and plays in a plucky team that might just be better than we all think. He knows his way to the line and will want to impress whilst a few teams are looking at him. Lomax may be the set and forget CTW.

3. Captains fall flat

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Flat is an understatement.

Cries rang out loud on Thursday when a Kalyn Ponga-special was denied by the bunker as he streaked away to set up Tyson Gamble. He got checked off the ball by Hudson Young and that’s where his night all but ended. Not literally but he was a shadow after that I thought. He was 22% of captain choices out there, yet could only manage 50. But as the weekend played out it was looking like you may have dodged a bullet.

Nathan Cleary managed 36 despite the Panthers not scoring a point, promising but try telling that to anyone who was riding him. 

And Nicho Hynes was afraid Clem was in the crowd with the hair product and played like he wanted to get on the first plane home for his 26.

Scotty Drinkwater should-have-would-have-could-have 180. If one of those players goes big the gap widens considerably and you may already be playing from behind.

4. FRF Valley of Death

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Maybe it’s time we all forget about the cheapie FRFs and just pay up for a Tino, AFB and Haas. Then at least we would have to suffer through 21 minutes of Taumalolo or Leniu’s trip to the judiciary. Or just Palasia.

Terrell May looks like an option but is priced at an awkward $430K. I hope everyone took Adam Stiles’ advice to keep some money in the bank for a trade. $100k will do it.

Do check the bottom of the article where I have listed some minutes. Some of the FRF options PPM look really good, but getting them more than 40 may mean getting on the coaching staff. Viliami Fifita for example?

I will add though that in the toughest position in Supercoach, only 4 players scored over 70. And one of those was Josh Kerr.

5. HIAs

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Yeah.. We all must deal with them. From Piakura, Tuaupiki, Luki and Smithies they are now as common place as Cleary’s unicorn points.

What can we do about them? Not much.

Maybe Sangster can reply to one of the Spy’s 146 unread messages about it. 

Everyone will deal with them at some stage throughout the year. Likely more often than we will want.

6. Don’t panic… yet

After Round 1 we are always looking for the rest button and wondering what we can do differently. I have always tried to not trade after 1 round, unless of course for injuries or suspensions. 

Round 2 can feel like a long way away, but everyone will be feeling the same and hopefully things go your way in week 2. 

No one out there would have gotten every cheapie, gun and reserve right. Its just the nature of the way we play. Play the long game and don’t waste early trades on spuds!

7. Hookers are hard to come by

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Unless you have cash. Sorry I’ll re-phrase that, unless you are willing to spend up big. Sorry I’ll start again.

The hooking position didn’t get any clearer after round 1 with Jacob Liddle top scoring with 71. Priced at 458K, he played 68 minutes set up a try, made a line break and made 33 tackles. I’m game if you are? 

We haven’t seen Api Koroisau play yet, nor kick goals as was the allure of buying him so there is an outlier, but Harry Grant couldn’t get an attacking stat, Reece Robson was solid setting Nanai up for a try and looked the most promising of the big names.

Oh and Danny Levi’s dive over from dummy half (shock me) had all his owners cheering, as that nearly (won’t want to jinx it) confirms a price rise in 3 weeks.

8. 2RFs explode

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Of all the positions to save come cash on, I decided the 2RF was where the cheapies were. I decided not to pay up big for some of the well credentialed players and boy didn’t that come back to bite me.

Jeremiah Nanai was enormous, Bryce Cartwright, well see below, Ola – wow! Ben Trbojevic shook the haters from last year off his back and Tohu was Tohu. No surprises there. Even Eliesa Katoa got in on the action with 66.

I decided all of 2023 not to attend the Carty Party, despite it going for most of the year, with people coming and going looking like something out of The Hangover. But this year, I might have to swallow my pride and turn up with a box of beer and some Doritos. The Eels edge looked slick and they seem to like hitting him on a crash ball close to the line. Scored 116 and was the round’s highest scorer.

With David Fifita yet to play, maybe this is the area we all need to focus on for some good old fashioned points. Yeah remember what they are?

9. Laybutt looks the goods

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Of all the breakout stars in Round 1, Zac Laybutt was top of the pops! He was running at an edge of the Dolphins that consisted of O’Sullivan and Tesi Niu but he was made to look like Jamie Lyon re-incarnated

He was credited with one of the more bizarre penalty tries, but still manged to score 103. Playing outside Townsend will only help as the “big halfback guy” will look to feed early ball to the young strike centre. Plus, he has Nanai to pull some defenders in.

I would give him another look next week but he has played himself into that position over the off season. The footwork and show-and-go to score that first try was a Supercoach’s wet dream.

10. Are the Cowboys back?

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By the time I settled on my side, it was like a saloon in the wild west, full of Cowboys! But it might just pay off as they look a real threat in 2024.

Admittedly it was against the Dolphins, but they moved up the field easily, found their edges well and were able to put points on at will. Their strike power across the park is just as good as any other side.

Jimmy Maloney has been working with Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend all pre-season and the former may be the five eighth we are looking for not named Brown. He was busy, took the line on well and has an edge in Valentine Holmes and Helium Luki that could so some serious damage.

I took the punt on the Cows 6, and slept quite well last night, chuffed to bits my little POD came off. For round 1 anyway.

Minute Watch:

Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs:
Burbo 71, Ola 80, Arrow 53, Murray 72, 

Roosters v Broncos 
Wong 52, Sitili 43, Brandon Smith 54, Terrell May 54

Knights v Raiders
Lucas 65, KPP 40, Levi 56, Smithies 68

Warriors v Sharks
AFB 56, Tohu 80, Brailey 80

Storm v Panthers
Grant 71, Chan 64, Katoa 80, Sommerton 48, Luke 32, 

Eels v Bulldogs
Lussick 63, Paulo 43, Lane 80, Carty 68, Hopgood 51, Tuilagi 47, King 42, Faamausili 20, Kikau 67, Salmon 80, Hughes 28, Curran 63

Titans v Dragons
Palasia 31, K Haas 80, Tino 58, Liddle 68, V Fifita 14, RFM 74

Dolphins v Cowboys
JMK 74, Flegler 54, Stone 40, Kerr 40, Luki 59, Cotter 51, Lolo 21 Finefeuiaki 34,

4 Responses to “NRL Round 1 SuperCoach Wrap: 10 Things We Learnt”

  1. magpies4eva007

    Cheers Nick. Liked the new format. Have to say the season so far (including leading up to R1) has been one of the most challenging in recent years. My trigger finger is itchy and am trying really hard to refrain from trading. What the hell happened with Lolo? Keep up the good work.

    • Desmond Samuelu

      Thanks for your thoughts in first round. Had a stinker but still remain patient – not the time to panic. Went through top 10 Scoach teams and unsurprisingly, all of them spent their monies on 2rf and centre/ wings and had Mitchell with other fbs. None had the top hbs or first fives nor did they have any of top hookers. Statistically, I think this strategy might work in very short term but by Round 8 we should reasonably expect to see the cream rise to the top. I say Rd 8 because stats apparently show 3/4 of the 8 teams in this round will find their to final top 8. Sorry a bit long but just some things to consider. Keep up the great work.

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