Squad Breakdown: Canterbury Bulldogs top 17 analysed

Last year's NRL SuperCoach runner-up Tim Williams picks his top 17 at the Bulldogs including analysis and buy rating of every player.

Pre-season Squad Breakdown

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs enter the season desperate to break their finals drought under new coach Trent Barrett.

With a new-look roster, they present a few interesting NRL SuperCoach options to begin the year, primarily in the cheapie department.

Leading into the season we’ll take a look at every club’s predicted 17 to start the year, providing SuperCoach analysis on every single player as well as a rating for their round 1 buy credentials.

Here’s how we think the Bulldogs will line up and whether or not it’s worth investing in their squad to kick-off the season.

If there’s a player who may miss the opening round or two, we’ve added them to the 17 with analysis for SuperCoach purposes.

Obviously there’s plenty to play out during the pre-season that’ll alter starting sides and buy ratings, so we’ll update this as frequently as possible as it all unfolds.

The Bulldogs have the bye in Round 13 and play in Round 17.

Click on the player to reveal their analysis and Round 1 buy rating.

*Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a key on all SuperCoach relevant abbreviations.

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BENCH

Brandon Wakeham $236,500 // HFB-5/8 // 2020 ave: 26.7 // Rd 1 buy rating: 1/10

If Wakeham starts at halfback he’d be a very viable option as reserve HFB.

Job security would be an issue, but there’s so few options that he would warrant consideration.

I expect Averillo to start in the halves, but perhaps Wakeham is a chance?

However, even in seven games as a starting half in 2020 he averaged just 32.7PPG, so it doesn’t make for enticing reading.

I’ll consider if named to start, but it’s unlikely.

*Round 1 rating based on a bench role.

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Ofahiki Ogden $243,200 // FRF // 2020 ave: 27.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

With Elliott, RFM and Jackson all playing big minutes it doesn’t allow too much time for bench forwards.

If the Dogs name a utility, two front-rowers and a second-rower it’ll give someone like Ogden some SuperCoach potential.

If they opt for three middles on the bench you would steer very clear.

He did start in the trial without Dylan Napa, so that’d be huge if he kept the spot.

In 2020, Ogden averaged 31MPG, with 27BPG, at a pretty ordinary 0.9PPM.

If playing off the bench it’s hard to see him improving on these minutes too significantly.

However, he did score at 1.19PPM in 2019 in 31MPG, and 1.37PPM in 21MPG in 2018.

If he could reproduce this output with 35-40 minutes he could be a very nice cash cow.

Avoid early, but yet another to monitor in the opening rounds as he could be a sneaky option if the time comes.

Renouf Atoni $275,200 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 31.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

In 2020, Atoni (formely To’omaga) averaged 28MPG at a fairly strong 1.11PPM.

He’s in cheapie range, so much like Ogden, if the minutes increase to 35+ he’d be a sneaky option.

Let’s again just wait and see how his minutes play out in the opening rounds.

Corey Waddell $348,900 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 39.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10

Waddell can spend time in the middle, but he’s primarily an edge player.

He won’t become relevant unless he jags a starting spot if injuries occur.

SUPERCOACH TERMINOLOGY KEY

MPG = Minutes per game

PPG = Points per game

PPM= Points per minute

BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)

POD = Point of difference

BREAKEVEN (B/E) = The score a player must record to earn a price rise.

*Please note all our stats are taken from the geniuses at nrlsupercoachstats.com

Corey Allan

$545,400 // FLB-CTW // 2020 ave: 61.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

It’s incredible to look at Allan’s average of 61.6PPG last season, talk about flying under the radar!

His three games at fullback for South Sydney last season produced scores of 56, 55 and 116.

He averaged 27BPG across those three outings which is okay.

It’s hard to see him getting the same attacking opportunities at the Dogs, making him hard to have for the season opener, but perhaps he can figure at some stage.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

$351,900 // CTW-FLB // 2020 ave: 39.7 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

DWZ has averaged 41PPG or below in four of his past five seasons, while he averaged 47PPG in 2017.

His 27BPG is solid, but that’s inflated a touch due to five games at fullback where he based around 30.

I’m not sure he’ll get the attacking opportunities on the wing to figure.

Nick Cotric

$429,200 // CTW // 2020 ave: 48.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Cotric is an interesting option at a new club in a relatively new position at centre.

He played two games at centre for the Raiders last season, scoring 41 and 50 with a base of just 26 and 18 in those games against the Roosters and Rabbitohs.

In seven games at centre in 2019 he averaged just 43.4PPG (one game of 59 minutes not included).

He busts loads of tackles, so he may figure at some stage of the year, but it appears too big a risk in Round 1.

Will Hopoate

 $398,600 // CTW-FLB // 2020 ave: 45.0 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Hoppa is one guy I think presents value to begin the year and is a sneaky POD option, although the move to centre hurts him.

He played three games in the position last season, scoring 38, 48 and 34 with an immense 34BPG.

Back in 2019 he played 21 of 24 games at centre and averaged a very strong 57PPG, including two tons to his name.

The two seasons prior he averaged 59PPG, so there’s clearly scope for improvement for a very reliable SuperCoach scorer.

The lack of opportunity is likely to hurt him, but it shouldn’t be too different to previous seasons.

I’d like to see the Dogs show a bit in attack early on, and if they do he could be a bargain purchase that would be a nice stepping stone to a gun.

Nick Meaney

$406,400 // FLB-CTW // 2020 ave: 45.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: 1/10

Meaney had low scores of 13 and 12 last season, with just 23BPG.

He also kicked 22 goals last season, with Kyle Flanagan to take over in 2021.

It’s very hard to make any sort of case for him.

Jake Averillo

$331,200 // CTW-5/8 // 2020 ave: 37.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Averillo is fighting to be fit for Round 1, but he shouldn’t be far off.

He’s not assured of the five-eighth role regardless, but he does appear the front-runner to partner Flanagan in the halves.

He’s a decent SuperCoach prospect due to his dual CTW-5/8 positioning.

If selected, CTW looks the likely spot as 5/8 is pretty strongly contested.

Due to a few games off the bench, he only averaged 55MPG last season.

He played two games at 5/8 to finish the 2020 season, scoring 71 and 56 (four conversions).

In those fixtures he had a pretty ordinary base of 22 and 20.

He busts tackles, doesn’t mind an offload, and looks a quality footballer with plenty of attacking spark.

He had 12 conversions last season which inflated his scoring at times.

I’ll be avoiding early, but if he looks the goods in the opening rounds he may be a pick up before initial price rises in Round 3.

Kyle Flanagan

$524,600 // HFB-5/8 // 2020 ave: 59.2 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Flanagan comes from a rampant Roosters outfit to a Dogs side that have struggled in attack for a number of years.

As such, it’s hard to make a case, and he’ll likely get far less conversion attempts which is vital to his scoring.

One major positive is that he’ll steer the ship at the Dogs, so with a greater role he may improve on his scoring.

His 25BPG is okay for a halfback, but it’s hard to see him increasing on his 59PPG average this year.

Dylan Napa

$409,700 // FRF // 2020 ave: 46.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Napa averaged 54MPG in 2020, comfortably his highest game time since 2016.

He scored at 0.86PPM with 44BPG, reflecting his lack of ceiling.

I can’t see him playing many more minutes this season, so there looks to be little value in the purchase.

Jeremy Marshall-King

$459,300 // HOK // 2020 ave: 51.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Marshall-King averaged 67MPG in 2020, scoring at 0.78PPM with 40BPG.

He did play eight 80 minute games last season, so if he does return to that role from Round 1 he can improve on his average.

There’s plenty of good options at hooker though, so I don’t see him figuring.

Jack Hetherington

$294,500 // FRF // 2020 ave: 33.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Hetherington sneaks into cheapie range at his new club and may well earn a starting role.

He averaged 33PPG in 45MPG at an output of 0.73PPM last season, so I don’t see him increasing on this too significantly.

He’d need to increase to an absolute minimum of 50+ minutes at that output to warrant buying.

He had eight offloads and six tackle breaks in eight games last season.

The offloading ability is obviously there, so if he ramps that up he may become SuperCoach relevant, but you’d want to see it before buying.

While we are short on cheapies at FRF, I’m not convinced.

Adam Elliott

$541,500 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 61.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Elliott moves to an edge this season to accommodate Josh Jackson’s move to lock.

It’s a position he’s played plenty of in the past, and I really like his attacking upside there.

His workrate will reduce, but his attacking stats should rise significantly. 

He averaged 58MPG, scoring at 1.05PPM with 45BPG.

There’s every chance he plays an 80 minute role on the edge which makes him very intriguing.

Injury limited him to eight games last season, in that time he had 14 tacklebreaks, 13 offloads, one try and two try-assists.

In two 80 minute games at lock last season he scored 91 and 69 with a base of 65 and 51.

He played 80 minutes on the edge in 2019, scoring 51 points with 49 in base. He played another of 68 minutes with 39 points and 39 in base.

If he’s an 80 minute player he looks undervalued, but I’ll be waiting and assessing in the early rounds as there’s safer picks in a similar price bracket.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner

 $520,000 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 58.7 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

RFM featured in all 20 games for the Bulldogs last season, averaging 69MPG.

The only reason the minutes were reduced was due to injury, but he’ll likely be an 80 minute man in 2020, suggesting he’s undervalued to start the season.

He had six tries in a show of his upside, and his 48BPG is pretty strong for an edge player.

He’s a serious attacking threat on the line and can continue to produce attacking stats.

I think he’s a $550-600k SuperCoach player when fit and firing, so he could be a solid POD to start the year.

Josh Jackson

$439,400 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 49.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Jackson presents some intrigue with his move to lock which is sure to up his base stats.

The big question is around the minutes he’ll play. I think he’ll play around the 60-65 mark as Elliott did in the role last season.

He averaged 77MPG last season, so the likely decrease in time will hurt him, despite the higher base.

If he was to continue on with an 80 minute role he’d be seriously undervalued to start the season and would be a decent mid-ranger.

If he did, he’d be the perfect stepping stone to a genuine 2RF gun, but I’m not convinced he will.

His 47BPG last season was solid, and he had very few attacking stats anyway, so the move to the middle won’t change that much.

I’ll avoid, but there’s a big watch on his minutes in the opening weeks.

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