I’ll start by saying, like everyone else, I’m unsure of how the Cowboys will line up in Round 1.
I’ll even be sceptical when the side is name on team list Tuesday.
However, I feel like Val will be named at fullback, with Drinkwater at 5/8, and Clifford out of the side.
This is far from certain, simply my gut feeling.
As such, my analysis for Val, who I’m very keen on, is based on that information.
If he’s named on the wing, it’d mean Clifford is in the team who would goal-kick, which is two huge daggers to Val and I wouldn’t consider him.
However, if named at fullback we are getting a SuperCoach star in the volatile CTW position which I feel is huge.
While I don’t rate the Cowboys this season, Val has a big ceiling and looks a great SuperCoach pick up at CTW, not so much FLB where there are better options.
In nine 80 minute games at fullback last season he averaged 66.55 points.
His average was brought down by two games on the wing, and an injury affected 27 minute game at fullback.
I think at fullback while goal-kicking he can average 65+ and have a pretty solid base which is very reassuring at CTW.
I know it’s a while back now, but once making the permanent mid-season move to fullback in 2018 at Cronulla he went on to average 88.4PPG across 11 games.
It’s a big if, but if he stays at fullback and kicks goals all season I see him as a set-and-forget CTW for the season.
I have to acknowledge the chance that if it does start this way that there’s no reason why it can’t change dramatically as early as round 2, so that’s the big risk in forking out over $500k for a CTW with question marks.
I can see him keeping the number one jersey once he gets it, but there’s every chance Drinkwater drops out (or isn’t named to start with) meaning Clifford would likely kick goals.
*Buy rating based on him starting Round 1 at fullback, while goal-kicking, with both decisions uncertain.
In an interview with NRL.com, Cowboys coach Todd Payten had the following to say on JT’s minutes:
“Jase is here for another six or seven years so we have to treat him like a long-term investment.
“There are improvements in his game and that’s around his defensive efforts. But Jase has been left on the field for 60-70 minutes at a time, for a big man he’s going to have to cut some corners somewhere to get through the time.
“Our mindset as coaches is we’re going to ask for more quality than quantity for him.
This to me suggests he may be set to regress from his 61MPG in 2020 to around the 55-60MPG in 2021.
It may not have an enormous impact on him as he’s likely to up his workrate in slightly reduced time.
That being said, for a bloke who often takes two hit ups per set I’m not sure how he’d go about doing that.
He’ll be a set-and-forget keeper at some stage, but trying to fit the likes of he, Matterson and Crichton into your Round 1 side is hard to do.
The other two premium 2RF options will play 80 minutes, so can you make a case for a 55 minute Taumalolo in what’s likely to be a far more inferior Cowboys side? I can’t.
Last season he scored at a monster 1.18PPM with 59BPG.
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of his stats because we know how good he is and that he has a high ceiling.
I’m certainly not against anyone starting with him, I just don’t think I’ll be able to fit him in just yet.