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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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.
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.
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.