Squad Breakdown: New Zealand Warriors top 17 analysed

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

Pre-season Squad Breakdown

The New Zealand Warriors have recruited very strongly in their pack, presenting them with plenty of promise for the 2021 season.

With a new-look line up they boast plenty of SuperCoach relevance heading into Round 1, with a stack of POD options available to begin the year.

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 Warriors 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 Warriors 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

Jamayne Taunoa-Brown $366,000 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 41.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10

The minutes are unlikely to be there for JTB to consider picking.

In his rookie year he averaged 39MPG, scoring at 1.07PPM, so based on that you’d want him playing 50+ minutes to consider.

Kane Evans $437,900 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 49.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Evans averaged an astronomic 1.71PPM last season which is hard to fathom.

This was boosted by four tries and a try-assist in his 14 games, serious numbers for a prop, but without those it’s still incredible output.

It was also in just 29MPG, so if he can find himself playing 40+ minutes at any stage of the year he might be worth a look.

He’s unlikely to get that time early on, but if injuries occur and his price drops, he may come into consideration later in the season.

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Bayley Sironen $348,300 // 2RF // 2020 Ave: 39.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 1/10

Sironen may not even get picked for Round 1, but he looks a handy footballer and should go close.

Regardless, he won’t get the minutes to warrant consideration in Round 1.

FINAL SPOT – TBC

With Egan and Lawton injured, the final member of the bench is completely up for grabs.

Tevaga will start at hooker, but with no more apparent hooking depth in the squad who will spell Jazz at hooker? Or does he just try and play 80 with a more limited work load?

It’s a mystery to me as Nathan Brown has an extremely tough decision to make.

OTHER

Wade Egan $336,100 // HOK // 2020 Ave: 37.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: -/10

*UPDATE: Egan was injured in the pre-season trial clash with the Titans and is no longer a Round 1 option.

Egan is sneaky option for Round 1 due to the fact Karl Lawton is out long-term, but we’ll have to wait to see how the trial plays out and how the bench is named for Round 1.

There’s every chance Egan plays 80 minutes which would make him cheap, but does Jazz Tevaga spell him at hooker for 20 minutes?

Even if he does, he’s not that appealing and looms as a possible trap.

In four 80 minute games last season he had scores of 37, 43, 92 and 41 for an average of 53.25PPG.

In his score of 92 he scored with a linebreak, and had a try-assist with a line-assist.

While he’d certainly make money if playing 80, I think there’s better cheapie options at hooker.

Regardless, let’s wait and see how the trial and Round 1 team plays out.

*Rating based on playing 80 minutes.

 

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

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

$520,200 // FLB // 2020 Ave: 58.7 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

With Tommy Turbo out, it certainly makes RTS more viable for Round 1.

He’s as cheap as he’s been in a while, and I suspect he’ll be in for a big season in his final year in the NRL.

Furthermore, I think the Warriors have the side, particularly the pack, to be big improvers this season.

With that quality stock of big men rolling forward it’ll help RTS tremendously.

I find it hard to go past a Teddy-Papenhuyzen fullback combo, but if Papy isn’t kicking I don’t mind looking elsewhere.

In his past four seasons, RTS averaged 59, 71, 57 and 60PPG.

His 35BPG last season was exceptional as usual, while quite remarkably he set up just three tries and scored five himself.

I’m almost certain he’ll improve on this in 2021, particularly the assists column, hence why I see him as an improver and therefore undervalued.

My one issue I’ve always had with RTS is his ceiling. You’d think it’s huge, and I’m definitely not saying he isn’t capable of going large, but history tells a different story.

Last season he had just one ton in 18 games. He had two tons in 23 games in 2019 and one ton in 22 games in 2018.

Contrast this to Teddy who had six alone last season after Round 2 when the new rules were introduced, and Papenhuyzen who had five in his last 11 games.

Ken Maumalo

$481,700 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 54.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 6/10

Big Ken had a breakout SuperCoach season in 2019, averaging 60PPG with 35BPG, enormous.

He had just eight games last season, reducing a little to 54.4PPG and 31BPG, still very strong.

If you’re of the belief the Warriors are in for an improved year, then Maumalo could be the beneficiary.

I won’t be going with him in Round 1, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top 5 CTWs at season’s end.

He’ll be a POD to start the year and may help get you off to a flyer.

Euan Aitken

$476,300 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 53.8 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

I’ve always been a fan of Aitken in SuperCoach, but injury has made him tough to buy in recent years.

That being said, he’s played 64 games in the past three seasons so perhaps he’s overcome his injury troubles as a youngster.

He’s averaged from 49-55PPG in his past five seasons in a show of his consistency.

The consistency comes back to his output, producing a stunning 37BPG in 2020.

He had a healthy 53.8PPG average last season, and that included just four tries in 17 games.

Much like Maumalo, I rate his SuperCoach credentials, but I’ll wait to see how he fits into his new surroundings before considering.

Peta Hiku

$494,600 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 55.8 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Hiku stormed onto the SuperCoach scene last season, averaging a very nice 55.8PPG.

He hadn’t averaged over 49PPG in the four seasons prior.

His 30BPG was very solid, while he had eight tries and eight assists in 18 games.

He had two tons last season, but also two scores under 20 which were both 80 minute games.

I don’t mind him, but I think Maumalo and Aitken are better options in the same side.

David Fusitu'a

$251,800 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 28.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 7/10

An interrupted season saw Fusitu’a play just eight games in 2020.

He averaged a poor 28PPG with just 23BPG.

While traditionally an extremely inconsistent scorer due to his reliance on tries, historically he averages okay (for a bloke priced at $251k).

In his four seasons prior, he averaged 37, 48, 42 and 51PPG.

While I wouldn’t expect the world if investing, he only needs to cross for a few tries in succession to make some reasonable coin.

An average of around 40PPG would see him make over $100k which is very achievable, although it may be a patient ride if it takes him some time to go on a bit of a try-scoring run.

With some very low scores to his name in the past I’d avoid playing in my 17 if buying.

Kodi Nikorima

$463,400 // HFB-5/8 // 2020 Ave: 52.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Nikorima has some SuperCoach credentials due to his halfback availability which is slim pickings for Round 1.

He averaged just 70MPG last season, so immediately you could suggest he’s undervalued on the basis he’ll play 80 minutes.

He had two tons last season in a show of his upside, and he also kicked 17 goals.

That’s 68 points in 19 games at 70 minutes per game, meaning his average bumped up about 3.5-4PPG as a result.

CHT is expected to kick goals, so that’s a bit of a concern.

His 17BPG is very ordinary, so he does rely on attacking stats.

I’ll be avoiding unless he finds himself kicking goals.

Chanel Harris-Tavita

$425,900 // HFB-5/8 // 2020 Ave: 48.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 6/10

CHT looks a very enticing option in the very weak HFB position this season.

The SC Spy has produced a player profile on him, so I’ll pinch some info from that, but read the full article here.

Chanel was handed the 7 jersey for seven of the last eight rounds in 2020, playing the full 80 minutes and goal-kicking.

He scored his SC points in a variety of ways to finish those seven games with an average of 65.4PPG. 

Considering he is priced at a season average based on 48PPG, is he someone that could be a cut-price option in the halves or a backup half / bench player?

He tends to score in a variety of ways which give him a semi decent floor. If he could average 65PPG again over the opening weeks you would be laughing, but of course there is risk here given the small sample size.

He had 22BPG in 73MPG last season, so in the full 80 minutes you can bump this up a few. Not great, but acceptable with the goal-kicking thrown on top.

Like RTS, he’ll benefit from what should be a stronger Warriors forward pack.

I think he’s very viable for Round 1 unless a clearer HFB option emerges prior to Round 1.

Addin Fonua-Blake

$528,000 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 59.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: 7/10

AFB is an elite FRF option in SuperCoach, averaging 59.6PPG in 51MPG last season.

Due to injury, his overall minutes were down a touch from 2020 where he averaged 66PPG in 55MPG.

Last season he had a very strong 49BPG, and his ceiling is higher than most FRF options due to his offload and attacking upside.

He scored at 1.17PPM last season and 1.2PPM the year prior, surprisingly higher despite extra minutes.

In 15 games last season he had 31 tackle breaks and 12 offloads.

The 20 games the year prior he had 56 tackle breaks and 31 offloads.

Hopefully Nathan Brown gives him a bit more of a licence to offload in that true Warriors fashion.

There’s a lot of question marks around how the pack and bench will be named in Round 1 which will impact the SuperCoach credentials of all the forwards.

Regardless, he’s a good buy, but if there’s one less big man on the bench AFB will be even more enticing.

Jazz Tevaga

$552,900 // HOK-2RF // 2020 Ave: 62.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 6/10

*UPDATE: Wayde Egan was injured in the pre-season trial, meaning Tevaga will likely start at hooker in Round 1.

Jazz may well now start in Round 1 at hooker with Egan and Lawton out injured. Nathan Brown has confirmed Tohu Harris will play in the middle this season, which was a greater blow when we thought Tevaga wouldn’t spend much time at hooker, but is now less important early in the year.

The question now is how many minutes does he play and is named as a utility from the bench?

His 1.32PPM in 47MPG is sublime, so if he can bump that to 60+ minutes he has to be a serious consideration.

He averaged 55MPG in 2019 and 2018, and he actually averaged substantially less points than last season.

Unless he gets 60+ minutes I think he’s just a notch below the elite back-rowers.

At hooker I expect his PPM will drop significantly with less runs and offloads, but the extra minutes will be beneficial.

At a pretty hefty price I’ll avoid and monitor his minutes/output in the opening few rounds, but I don’t mind him as a POD option to start the year.

Leeson Ah Mau

$291,000 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 36.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

I’m not convinced Ah Mau will start in Round 1, but he’s a good chance.

He averaged 47MPG last season at just 0.78PPM.

I can’t see him increasing his minutes this season, but interestingly in the season prior he played the same minutes for a 1.08PPM and 51PPG average.

He played just two games last season hence the deflated price.

He had an output of over 1.14PPM in the two seasons prior, so if he can match this in decent time there’s money to be made.

Ben Murdoch-Masila

$330,000 // FRF-2RF // 2020 Ave: NA // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

BMM is the big mystery heading into NRL SuperCoach 2021.

He comes back from the English Super League with big wraps, the elements to be a SuperCoach gun, and is priced at just $330k.

Finding accurate stats from his 2020 season with Warrington has been very difficult, so keep an open mind on the below, but here’s what I’ve found so far.

He played nine games, making 265 tackles (29.4 per game), 82 carries (9 per game), 23 tacklebreaks (2.5 per game), three offloads and two tries.

He’s unlikely to bust as many tackles or have as many general attacking stats per game in the NRL.

It’s a small sample size in a covid affected season, so I’ll try produce a full player profile on him prior to round 1 with a greater range of stats from previous seasons.

On the small snippet, I’d be hesitant to invest initially, but watch this space as there’s more information to uncover.

Eliesa Katoa

$505,600 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 57.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Katoa is fighting to be fit for Round 1 but may miss the start of the season.

Due to this he may even be eased back off the bench.

He played 13 games in his debut year, averaging 69PPM at an output of 0.83PPM.

He reminds me plenty of Viliame Kikau in both NRL and SuperCoach.

His 39BPG was only okay, but his attacking upside is as good as most back-rowers.

With plenty of options in the pack I think he may regress to a 65 minute role this season.

If he does play 80 at any stage I’ll have a good look at him.

Tohu Harris

$613,000 // 2RF // 2020 Ave: 69.2 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

After floating between 57-60PPG in the three years prior, Tohu emerged as a SuperCoach gun in 2020 averaging 69.2PPG in 76MPG.

His 63BPG was among the game’s elite scorers, while he was void of attacking stats with just one try and assist.

To highlight his consistency, his lowest score of the season was 48 and his highest was 87.

With the depth the Warriors have in the middle I’m not sure he’ll improve on his minutes.

He’s an extremely solid option once again, but with the chance of reduced minutes and a ceiling far lower than the likes of Matterson/Crichton/Murray I’ll be looking elsewhere.

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