Squad Breakdown: South Sydney Rabbitohs top 17 analysed

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

Squad Breakdown

South Sydney boast one of the better looking rosters heading into 2021, with plenty of squad depth putting them in a strong position to contend for the premiership.

They’re an attacking powerhouse which naturally lends itself to high SuperCoach scoring, giving them stacks of relevance heading into the season opener.

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 South Sydney 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 Rabbitohs miss the first bye round and will 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 

Jai Arrow $474,900 // 2RF // 2020 Ave: 53.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: *3/10

Wayne Bennett recently confirmed that Cam Murray will start the season at lock.

It’s a move that I love because we saw how much more effective he is in the middle, and how much better Souths are as a result.

It did surprise me though as it likely means Tatola or Burgess will start from the bench once Arrow is fully fit.

He suffered a hamstring injury in the pre-season, and with his injury history I gather the club will ease him into bigger game time and a starting role.

NRL Physio recently Tweeted: ‘Jai Arrow is back in full training after suffering a hamstring strain earlier in the preseason. Thankfully wasn’t serious and only caused him to miss 2-3 weeks of training. Expect him to be fit for Round 1 provided he avoids re-injury (though usual risk: 10+%)’

It’s a shame because Arrow looked undervalued to begin the year provided he was fit and starting.

Even if he does start, you’d have to be a little hesitant with the recent hamstring injury.

His past three seasons make for interesting reading.

2020: 18 games, 54MPG at 0.99PPM with 15 offloads

2019: 17 games, 57MPG at 1.09PPM with 24 offloads

2018: 21 games, 55MPG at 1.17PPM with 37 offloads

In a similar amount of games and minutes, you can see his PPM and offload count reducing significantly.

As such, I’d want to see him starting and playing a minimum of 60+ minutes before buying, while hopefully Bennett gives him a licence to free the arm a bit more, which is traditionally not the mastercoach’s style.

Hopefully he does start from the bench in limited time and we can grab him after a month or two at around $400k!

*Rating to be reconsidered if starting.

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Liam Knight $403,100 // 2RF-FRF // 2020 Ave: 45.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10

Knight was the hype of last pre-season as a starting lock at a mid-range price.

While he wasn’t bad, it didn’t pan out as we’d hoped.

His PPM is impressive at between 1.1-1.2PPM across the past three seasons, but either he doesn’t have the engine to go longer or it’s not the role Wayne Bennett wants him to play.

Either way, with Murray back to lock and Jai Arrow on deck there’s no SuperCoach relevance at this stage.

Mark Nicholls $358,200 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 40.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 1/10

Big Nicho has job security issues and is basically the same write up as Knight above.

Jed Cartwright $203,100 // CTW-2RF // 2020 Ave: // Rd 1 buy rating: *4/10

At $203k Cartwright would be a must-have if winning the vacant left edge role, which is possible.

We should have a pretty good idea as the pre-season unfolds.

In a massive bonus, he’s dual 2RF-CTW, yes!

The sample size is small so far, in three games last season he averaged 34MPG, scoring at 0.7PPM.

He had five tackle busts and two offloads which is encouraging in such limited time.

If he doesn’t start I think minutes will be hard to come by.

Even so, if we have a shortage of cheapies come Round 1 we may be forced to pick as a slow-burning cow regardless, but there’s plenty to play out before Round 1.

*Rating to be reconsidered if starting.

OTHERS

Hame Sele – $251,000

Sele is another in contention for the edge back-row role or at very least a bench spot.

The write up is the same as Cartwright, so take that on board.

He played nine games last season, averaging 28PPG in 28MPG.

At a slightly higher price than Cartwright you’d probably want him starting to consider seriously.

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

 

Latrell Mitchell

$524,000 // FLB // 2020 Ave: 59.2 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Latrell has lost his dual FLB-CTW positioning this season and looks hard to entertain early on.

He’s a progressive fullback having spent fairly little time in the position, so I’d never put a line through him entirely.

He matured in the role as the year went on and he now has a full pre-season behind him which will help immensely, not to mention the fact he’s had more time to gel with the star-studded Rabbitohs spine.

I’m willing to put a line through his early stages of 2020 as he was adapting to his new role and had a disrupted off-season.

The early stages included scores of 112 and 9, and everything in between.

Let’s instead look at his last five games of 2020 before suffering a season ending injury in Round 16.

In that time he averaged 75.8, although it was inflated by a 141 point score.

More importantly, his lowest score was 43, with the rest being over 57. For a player that has some of the worst base stats in SuperCoach (17BPG in 2020), that’s a bit more reassuring.

He has a major reliance on attacking stats, fortunately he’s in the right team to get them.

An issue I have is that Cody Walker played that sweeping role out the back on both sides of the field last season which resulted in the last pass for tries.

It was while Latrell was out, but it was so effective that he surely continues it in 2021.

We saw his fitness levels weren’t near the standard of an NRL fullback to begin last year, so it may again take a few matches to regain full match fitness, but we should get an idea in the Charity Shield and All Stars clashes.

Latrell is a no for me, but don’t be surprised to see him feature at some stage in the season.

Josh Mansour

$594,500 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 67.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 6/10

After a few years in the SuperCoach wilderness, Mansour returned to his premium scoring again in 2020.

As such, it has him at absolute max price to begin the new season.

He was the beneficiary of a lethal Penrith left edge last season, scoring seven tries in his last six games.

I expect he’ll be forced to shift to the right edge at South Sydney with Alex Johnston being the leading try-scorer in the competition last season on the left.

However, it’s worth keeping a close eye on during the pre-season.

If he’s on the left he could continue where he left off at Penrith. He’d be on Cody Walker’s lethal edge which is a try-scorer’s gold mine, but I suspect he won’t.

His 35BPG is elite for a CTW and he’ll be a major factor again this season.

Furthermore, he had 71 tacklebusts, 16 offloads and four try-assists, beast!

As good as he looks, at the hefty price tag I’m willing to wait for a few low scores before jumping on.

I can’t stomach paying $600k for a winger in Round 1, they have to drop value at some stage, although David Nofoaluma put a dent in that theory last season!

Campbell Graham

$541,800 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 61.2 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Graham snuck under the radar fairly well last season to post a seriously impressive SuperCoach average.

He scored 13 tries in 19 games, including 10 tries in his last seven games, along with 53 tackle breaks.

This try-scoring spree coincided with a permanent move back to the left edge after switching with Dane Gagai at stages.

More impressive though was his 37BPG which is simply outstanding, even ousting the king of CTW base Josh Mansour.

Last season, including the finals, he averaged 14 runs per game and 16 tackles.

Again, he’s very expensive so I’ll be monitoring him very closely in the early stages of the season to see if he maintains that base, along with the Rabbitohs form in general.

I’d prefer to spend up big in key positions than rely on a premium CTW to deliver having taken a huge chunk of my Round 1 cap.

*UPDATE: Graham played on the right edge in the Charity Shield, this takes away plenty of appeal for me. While he can still score well, I’d much prefer him on the left outside Walker.

Dane Gagai

$495,500 // CTW // 2020 Ave: 55.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Gagai moved to the left edge for the Charity Shield, making him more appealing this season.

He scored 10 tries in 16 games in 2020 which is decent, and he had a very impressive 30BPG.

It was his best SuperCoach season in many years and I think it’s close to his peak.

He’s never really been SuperCoach relevant, but he can continue to score well if the Rabbitohs attack fires again.

Based on the Charity Shield, and him now playing on Walker’s edge, he’s a definite POD option for Round 1.

 

Alex Johnston

$495,200 // CTW-FLB // 2020 Ave: 55.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Initially I was going to completely put a line through AJ as he was the NRL’s top try-scorer last season, therefore it’s hard to see him better his year, but on closer inspection there is some case to be made.

He had two games last season off the bench, and had two others where he was injured and played minimal minutes.

In these four games he played a combined 77 minutes.

Disregarding these, he averaged 63.1PPG which is fairly impressive.

Like Latrell, he relies on attacking stats with a horrid output of 19BPG.

However, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to accrue big try-scoring stats on that lethal left edge outside Cody and Graham.

I won’t be starting with him, but it does make for some interesting reading and you could argue he’s undervalued if you’re of the belief the Bunnies are again in for a big year.

Cody Walker

$656,000 // 5/8 // 2020 Ave: 74.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 8/10

Ah Cody, bless ya mate!

His record-breaking 203 points in the final round last season had me within inches of overall glory, so I’ll forever be in debt.

Unfortunately, that same score has really inflated his Round 1 price in 2021!

As such, it’s worth noting that the below is probably written with a degree of bias…

Without it, he’d have averaged 66.4PPG, a whopping 8 points less!

It also would have had his price at around $590k which would’ve been nice, but not to worry.

His 25BPG is okay for a five-eighth, but what is reassuring is the fact he only had two games under 50 last season which were scores of 41 and 31 which are hardly disgraceful.

In 18 games last season he scored nine tries and set up 21 tries making for a stellar season.

In his final three games to end the year he had a ridiculous nine try-assists.

I put a lot of his end of season run down to the way he was utilised, with Wayne Bennett finally giving him the licence to freely roam both edges of the field.

He was the sweeper on the end of the backline play almost every attacking raid, meaning he threw the final pass (or went himself) for so many of the side’s tries.

Latrell will be back, and he isn’t exactly an ‘everywhere man’ when it comes to being on the ball.

As such, I think this can continue for Cody. The Charity Shield will be a big watch.

While there are a few potential cheapie 5/8 options in Matt Moylan and Connor Watson, the only other premium I really like is Cam Munster.

I learned last year the importance of having guys that can go big, really big, on any given week, and Cody is obviously in this group, especially in his form of late last year.

I’m not going to lock him in just yet, but he’s firmly on my radar.

Adam Reynolds

$528,000 // HFB // 2020 Ave: 59.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

A.Rey has been on the fringe of SuperCoach gun status his entire career, but has never quite made it and I don’t see that changing this year.

He’s an ace goal-kicker in an attacking side which makes him a fairly consistent scorer, and he did have high scores of 123 and 133 last season, but I still prefer others in the position.

Prior to last season, he averaged 55, 52 and 55 which is okay.

He did play all 20 games in 2020 which is reassuring for a player who has had his injury issues in the past.

His 16BPG is terrible, but you can add a fair few onto that with his goal-kicking stats.

Junior Tatola

$438,500 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 49.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

When looking at front-rowers for Round 1 it’s all about looking at the guys who are set for increased minutes.

As such, it’s often a prime position for mid-rangers who might be up-and-coming rookies or more senior players who play bigger roles with players leaving clubs.

Tatola averaged 47MPG last and I can’t see him increasing that significantly enough to warrant selection.

His output of 1.06PPM is solid, but even with 50+ minutes it wouldn’t provide much extra appeal.

He had 44BPG which is a large chunk of his 49.5PPG average, so there’s no real upside there.

With Jai Arrow to spend time up front it doesn’t help his case either.

Damien Cook

$621,000 // HOK // 2020 Ave: 70.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 7/10

As per every other squad breakdown, Cam Smith’s decision will impact Cook immensely.

He’s historically been a relatively slow starter, especially last year (55.8 first five rounds in 2020), but I think this has been more to do with the way he approached his game at the time.

In particular last season, leading into the year his focus was game management rather than running the ball which took a back seat for the majority of the year.

Hopefully for SuperCoaches this isn’t the same attitude in 2021, but we’ll likely get a comment on it throughout the pre-season which will be key information.

I just love the ceiling Cook boasts at hooker compared to most others in the position.

He had high scores of 138 and 108 last year, while the season prior he had five tons.

He’s reliable with 50BPG and is the best ball-running hooker in the game.

It is worth noting he did have five scores under 50 last year, but none were overly low with 35 being his poorest performance followed by a 42.

On the basis of them all playing 80 minutes, and their 2021 prices taken into consideration, it’s hard to split Cam Smith, Harry Grant, Api Koroisau, Cam McInnes and Cook.

Smith and Cook are my top two in SuperCoach, and I think Cook is the one with the ceiling and who is slightly underpriced to begin the year.

I’m not locking him for Round 1 just yet, but he’ll come very close.

Tom Burgess

$470,000 // FRF // 2020 Ave: 53.1 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10 

Burgess is pretty much a carbon copy of what was written about Junior Tatola.

He averaged 48MPG last season and it’s unlikely this will increase, pass.

Jaydn Su'A

$429,600 // 2RF // 2020 Ave: 48.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Having spent small doses of time on the bench, mainly early in the year, Su’A averaged 75MPG.

I thought he was one of the NRL’s big improvers last season, culminating in an Origin debut at the end of the year.

At just 23-years-old there’s more improvement in him and with Cam Murray likely to spend time in the middle I think he’s pretty locked in for an 80-minute role.

His 40BPG is okay, and he also had 36 tackle breaks and 16 offloads across 18 regular season games last year.

He only scored two tries and had one try-assist, and I think this can significantly increase in 2021.

I can see him averaging around 55PPG which would lead to a nice little cash rise making him a decent mid-ranger, but is it enough to warrant buying?

 

I don’t think so, but he’ll be a close watch in the first two rounds before initial price rises occur.

Keaon Kolomatangi

$301,200 // 2RF // 2020 Ave: 34 // Rd 1 buy rating: 6/10

Firstly, Kolomatangi is far from locked in for a starting spot.

With Murray set to start at lock, it opens up the left back-row role that could fall to a number of candidates.

I think we’ll have a pretty fair idea come Round 1 who it’ll be once trials are over.

If it does fall to Kolomatangi he’ll be a decent buy pending minutes.

Last season he averaged 33BPG in 35MPG at an output of 0.98PPM.

His work rate is solid, but would also reduce on the edge rather than the middle.

I rate him as a player, but I’m not convinced he’d be the SuperCoach star we’re expecting.

Many will be of the belief he’s extremely capable of jagging attacking stats to bolster his base, but last year’s numbers tell a different story.

In his 11 games he failed to score a try, try-assist (not that it’s expected from a middle), broke just five tackles and had three offloads.

I think he’ll certainly improve on this in 2021 as he’s a player on the up with huge potential, but I’d want to see him locked in for 50-60 minutes minimum before picking.

I do however love the fact he’d be on the left edge running off Cody Walker.

Even if starting I’d be tempted to wait until the initial price rise in Round 3, but it’ll also depend on how the pre-season unfolds and the cheapie stocks in Round 1.

 

Huge pre-season watch…

Cam Murray

$599,700 // 2RF // 2020 Ave: 67.7 // Rd 1 buy rating: 7/10

Wayne Bennett confirmed recently that Murray has won the race to start at lock in Round 1 ahead of Jai Arrow.

It’s a big win for Murray where his base is better, and his ability to find the line is arguably as good as on the edge which is a rarity in any forward.

He has plenty of upside due to his attacking ability, and having been an owner all last year I can say that watching him extremely closely he was so unlucky not to accrue more attacking stats.

He came within inches of scoring tries every single game, and I’m certain he’ll improve on his three tries from 2020. He might even beat it within the opening two months.

His 52BPG in 67MPG was very solid, and whether he plays 80 minutes or 65 doesn’t appear to impact his base very much.

In four 80 minute games last year his actually got through less work, producing 48.7BPG.

My only knock is that it’s vital to look for players who are set to increase in value early in the year, and Murray may not have too much coin to make, but when you’re picking genuine guns this is less of an issue.

At just 23-years-old I think he’s only got improvement in him and I think he can build on his average from last season and surpass 70+PPG quite comfortably.

At this stage I’ll have him in my side for the season opener.

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