How your NRL side will line up in 2019
With the launch of NRL SuperCoach 2019 not far off, we've analysed the key players from every squad.
Major movement across clubs has brought many players into SuperCoach calculations, while it's also forced us to put a line through a number of stars from last season.
While there are plenty of positional battles to be decided during the preseason trials, we've also had a crack at selecting every NRL club's best 17 for Round 1.
1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Jack Bird, 4. James Roberts, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Joe Ofahengaue, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Matt Lodge, 11. Matt Gillett, 12. Alex Glenn, 13. Tevita Pangai Junior. Interchange: 14. Kotoni Staggs, 15. Payne Haas, 16. Jaydn Su'A, 17. David Fifita
Analysis: Wayne Bennett out, Anthony Seibold in, hopefully that means increased minutes for Tevita Pangai Jnr ($495,500). Pangai's minutes are likely to jump significantly from the 50 he averaged last season, with an 80-minute role a genuine possibility. Last year's boom rookie Jamayne Isaako ($521,300) is priced out of the game, but will leap into contention should he replace Darius Boyd at fullback with goal-kicking duties in toe.
Jack Bird ($320,900) averaged 58 points in 2015, but he's been on the decline ever since. However a cheap price tag and dual CTW/2RF status makes him an enticing prospect. Awkwardly priced out of cheapie range, Bird's ownership could skyrocket in Round 3 with a strong start to the season.
Payne Haas ($181,100) is already the second most owned player after figuring in just three games in his debut season, before a shoulder injury ended his year. Haas averaged just 12.3 minutes under Bennett, so hopefully the shackles will be released under Seibold.
Currently owned by under six per cent, Anthony Milford ($511,900) looms as a massive POD for Round 1. Many will steer clear after a lacklustre 2018 by his standards, but the livewire five-eighth could be another set to benefit from Seibold. The former South Sydney coach gave Cody Walker a free rein to play off the cuff football, and he could do the same with Milford who plays a similar style. If he does, The Milf could return to levels that saw him average above 65 points every season from 2014-2017.
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Christian Crichton, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Kerrod Holland, 5. Reimis Smith, 6. Lachlan Lewis, 7. Kieran Foran, 8. Dylan Napa, 9. Michael Lichaa, 10. Aiden Tolman, 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Rhyse Martin. Interchange:14. Jeremy Marshall-King, 15. Corey Harawira-Naera, 16. Adam Elliott, 17. Sauaso Sue
Analysis: Canterbury's starting roster is very much up in the air, with the quality of Kieran Foran's return to play a significant role in shaping it. Foran likely starts the year at halfback alongside Lachlan Lewis at five-eighth, however recruit Jack Cogger is waiting in the wings should the veteran's body fail to hold up.
Despite an awkward price based on five games last season, SuperCoaches will be hoping talented recruit Nick Meaney ($281,500) wins the fullback role over Will Hopoate ($556,000). Hopoate flies under the radar every season, finishing 2018 with an average of 59.42. He's again a decent option with a strong base, however much will hinge on whether he's at fullback or centre.
Rhyse Martin ($634,300) is an animal and is worth every cent of his hefty price tag. He could be a lock in sides for the entire season with the rare bonus of being an exceptionally gifted goal-kicking forward. In a Jordan Rapana-like mould, POD option Reimis Smith ($487,400) has gun potential. Unfortunately his spot on the end of a backline lacking precision will likely reduce his attacking stats.
An interesting prospect is former Panther Corey Harawira-Naera ($401,100). In 2017 the edge back-rower averaged 59 points in 72 minutes, then in 2018 he averaged 43 points in 57 minutes. He's a chance at winning a starting role for the Dogs, which would bring him right into SuperCoach calculations with increased game time.
1. Ben Barba, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Ben Hampton, 5. Nene Macdonald, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Michael Morgan, 8. Josh McGuire, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin, 15. John Asiata, 16. Ethan Lowe, 17. Matt Scott
Analysis: Ben Barba ($467,300) is the man of mystery to begin the SuperCoach season. The reigning Super League Man of Steel (player of the year) scored 28 tries for St Helens last season, assisted 24, broke 141 tackles and had 30 linebreaks. In his last season in the NRL with Cronulla in 2016, Barba averaged 62 points per game. Priced over $200k less than Tom Trbojevic and James Tedesco, Barba could have a major impact on early rankings should he ignite or fizzle in Townsville.
Little needs to be said of Jason Taumalolo ($657,400), he's a reliable option but could be worth waiting for a potential price drop. The Cowboys don't leave the heat of Queensland until Round 6, so there's a chance Taumalolo could see reduced minutes as match fitness kicks in.
Jake Clifford ($348,100) is a little awkwardly priced for a rookie, while Michael Morgan ($409,200) is a genuine POD without Johnathan Thurston running the side. Base stat beast Josh McGuire ($473,600) has averaged around 60 points for most of his career, placing him just outside keeper range. Don't expect this to change significantly at the Cowboys.
1. Gareth Widdop, 2. Jordan Pereira, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Zac Lomax, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. James Graham, 9. Cameron McInness, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Tariq Sims, 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jack de Belin. Interchange: 14. Matt Dufty, 15. Korbin Sims, 16. Blake Lawrie, 17. Luciano Leilua
Analysis: Zac Lomax ($196,900) is understandably the most owned player in the game with the exits of Nene Macdonald, Jason Nightingale and Kurt Mann from the club. The Temora junior looks assured of a starting role at centre or wing making him a must-have to start the year.
It's unknown how Gareth Widdop's ($553,400) shift to fullback will impact his SuperCoach output. His enormous ceiling always makes him tempting, but it's a lot of cash to splash on a man with uncertainties. Euan Aitken ($481,300) is always a solid option with a great base, but cheapies are preferred early on. Tim Lafai ($419,500) is a perennial disappointment, while Corey Norman ($448,700) is a wait and watch.
1. Clint Gutherson, 2. George Jennings, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Taikarangi 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Jaeman Salmon, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10.Daniel Alvaro, 11. Manu Ma'u, 12. Shaun Lane, 13. Nathan Brown. Interchange: 14. Peni Terepo, 15. Marata Niukore, 16. Tim Mannah, 17. Will Smith
Analysis: Either Dylan Brown ($168,100) or Jaeman Salmon ($210,500) will be among the most owned players depending on who wins the Round 1 halves role. Blake Ferguson ($611,700) is priced on a 65.4 point average having benefited from playing on the end of the premiership winning Roosters backline. Despite his exceptional base stats, he's an avoid to start the year with a reduction in attacking stats almost certain. That being said, wait for his price to bottom out before picking him up cheap later in the year.
Shaun Lane ($508,000) is a serious buy prospect if given an 80-minute edge role in a pack lacking strike-power. Lane averaged 54 points in 54 minutes with Manly last season, meaning increased game time could lead to a price spike with upside. A fully fit Nathan Brown ($582,000) is a SuperCoach beast and an option for Round 1 if we get word on his likely minutes. You can't afford to stack a side with players heavily reliant on attacking stats, making someone like Brown a great man to balance teams.
Available at CTW/FLB, Clint Gutherson ($439,300) is an option with a season under his belt since rupturing his ACL in 2017. In the same year he averaged 67 points, so he could be under-priced but needs to win the goal-kicking duties over Mitch Moses to be a genuine option.
1. Connor Watson, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Hymel Hunt, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Kalyn Ponga, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Tim Glasby, 9. Kurt Mann, 10. David Klemmer, 11. Sione Mata'utia, 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 13. Aidan Guerra. Interchange: 14. Jamie Buhrer, 15. Daniel Saifiti, 16. Herman Ese'ese, 17. James Gavet
Analysis: Wait on a Kalyn Ponga price drop or hook in early? The latter, the kid nearly won the Dally M Medal in his debut season. While he's sure to get worked over in defence at five-eighth, the additional tackles will boost his base stats. A few poor scores late in the year, including a five point injury hit game, kept him at a reasonable price this season. Ponga's dual position status gives owners the luxury of owning him, Tedesco and Trbojevic, but perhaps not all to begin the year.
A switch to fullback could potentially launch an injury-free Connor Watson ($537,100) into keeper status, but it'd be brave to start the year with him. Lachlan Fitzgibbon ($576,100) is a POD option, but it could be worth waiting to see if he plays on Ponga's edge following their brilliant combination last season.
1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3. Dean Whare, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Josh Mansour, 6. James Maloney, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. James Tamou, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Isaah Yeo, 13. James Fisher-Harris. Interchange: 14. Tyrone May, 15. Kaide Ellis, 16. Jack Hetherington, 17. Moses Leota
Analysis: Nathan Cleary ($577,000) is priced on a respectable average of 62 points per game in 2018. Barring injury, there's no reason the maturing half can't eclipse that in 2019. Cleary averaged 66 points in 2016 and 70 points in 2017. Many coaches have been caught out stacking their halves with expensive playmakers to start the year that rely on attacking stats. Cleary is a more risk-free option with a greater base than the likes of Milford, Johnson and Walker.
After being eased into the top grade last season, Viliame Kikau ($570,400) became an 80-minute edge back-rower for Penrith. Should Ivan Cleary continue this, Kikau's 69 minute average should increase, making him slightly under-priced to start the year. Kikau has one of the largest ceilings of any forward, making him a terrifying player to not own.
1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Michael Oldfield, 6. Aidan Sezer, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Sia Soliola, 11. Elliott Whitehead, 12. Joseph Tapine, 13. John Bateman. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Ryan Sutton, 16. Emre Guler, 17. Luke Bateman
Analysis: The roles of Jarrod Croker ($509,700) and Joey Leilua ($477,200) haven't altered in recent years. They're both reasonable options with strong pedigrees. Josh Papalii ($595,900) somehow stays under the radar every season despite having averaged above 63 for the past three years. He is a strong POD option for those expecting a strong season from the Queensland rep.
Short-listed for the Golden Boot, Englishman John Bateman ($400,000) looks a great prospect according to his Super League stats. Across 27 games, Bateman averaged 23 tackles, 16.4 runs, 2.4 offloads and 4.4 tackle breaks. Factor in his ability to amass attacking stats and we've got what appears, at least on paper, to be a SuperCoach star. If Bateman plays 50+ minutes, which is a reasonably safe assumption, he looms as a terrific buy. If he plays 60+, or potentially 80 minutes, he'll be a must-have for every side to start the year with keeper potential. Furthermore, Bateman's $400k price tag equates to an average of approximately 40 points per game.
Former Wigan teammate Ryan Sutton ($320,000) is one to avoid unless promoted into a starting role. Joe Tapine ($590,100) averaged 63 points last season and is a serious POD option to start the year.
1. Alex Johnston, 2. Campbell Graham, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Robert Jennings, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Tom Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess, 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Adam Doueihi, 15. Dean Britt, 16. Tevita Tatola, 17. Mark Nicholls
Analysis: Cody Walker's ($569,200) expansive game makes him exhilarating to own, however Wayne Bennett could rein in the livewire playmaker. He's probably an avoid to start the year, but let's keep an eye out for any changes to his role under Bennett during preseason.
How will Bennett impact 2018's top scorer Damien Cook ($726,600)? Surely he'll utilise the dummy-half in the identical role that earned him rep honours last season. Like Cameron Smith in his prime, Cook is probably just a set and forget option from Round 1.
Cameron Murray ($458,900) will be hugely popular with his game time set to soar from an average of 48 to 80 minutes. Murray scores at around one point per minute, meaning his 49 point average from last season could easily surpass 60+ making him a lock with keeper potential.
Off-field issues and a likely return to an edge could make Sam Burgess ($560,000) a wait and see in the early stage of the year. Provided he remains in the No.1 jersey, Alex Johnston ($488,800) is a quality option with enormous upside as he continues to develop as a fullback.
1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Brett Morris, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9. Jake Friend, 10. Sio Suia Taukeiaho, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Boyd Cordner, 13. Victor Radley. Interchange: 14. Mitch Aubusson, 15. Zane Tetevano, 16. Lindsay Collins, 17. Isaac Liu
Analysis: It'd take a brave coach to leave James Tedesco ($689,000) out of Round 1 teams. The star fullback averaged 73.64 last season, a number that could easily improve as his combination with the Roosters spine continues to grow. Don't get tricky, lock him in or risk being left behind early.
You could go either way with Latrell Mitchell ($595,000) for all the same reasons as Tedesco. The boom centre is more likely to deliver a few low scores early on, so there's a case to be made on leaving him out to begin the year. You can't start with every gun, so Latrell could be one to bypass before becoming a priority target should his price drop.
Angus Crichton ($646,900) is similar to Latrell in that he looms as a player to avoid early on. While he'll become a must-have at some point, it could take time for the former Rabbit to gel with the men around him.
Ryan Matterson's departure opens up a big minute role for fan favourite Victor Radley ($400,700). Priced on a 43 point average, Radley looks great value with the expectation he'll vastly improve on his 44 minutes per game from 2018. Crichton and skipper Boyd Cordner will play full games on the edge, meaning Radley could be set for 60+ minutes in the middle.
1. Tom Trbojevic, 2. Jorge Taufua, 3. Dylan Walker, 4. Moses Suli, 5. Albert Hopoate, 6. Kane Elgey, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Martin Taupau, 9. Api Koroisau, 10. Addin Fonua-Blake, 11. Joel Thompson, 12. Curtis Sironen, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Trent Hodkinson, 15. Taniela Paseka, 16. Kelepi Tanginoa, 17. Jack Gosiewski
Analysis: Many coaches will start with Tom Trbojevic ($691,200) and James Tedesco at the back. Owning the star duo will take up a major chunk of the salary cap, but they're priced through the roof for good reason. It'd take a brave owner to look for value elsewhere, but SuperCoach is all about taking chances.
Lock in teen star Albert Hopoate ($168,100) who looks set for a wing role with Brian Kelly and Akuila Uate leaving the club. Hopoate's job security could further increase with Dylan Walker's future in the NRL under a cloud.
Martin Taupau ($605,100) averaged 64.67 points last season and is a reliable purchase with upside. While not necessarily renowned for major attacking stats, Taupau failed to score a try in 2018, had one try-assist and one line-assist. If the rampaging prop can notch a few additional attacking stats he can be the elite gun we've expected for many years.
There's little to be said about Jake Trbojevic ($667,600), he's reliable with massive upside and will be a must-have at some point in the season. Curtis Sironen ($398,600) pricks the ears with a reduced price due to playing just four games last season before rupturing his ACL. Sironen is expected to lock in a starting back-row role in a Manly pack lacking serious competition for spots. He's averaged 73 minutes the last two seasons for returns of 53 and 56 points per game. Despite this, he's priced at an average score of around 42 points.
1. Matt Moylan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Chad Townsend, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Kurt Capewell, 12. Scott Sorensen, 13. Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14. Aaron Woods, 15. Jack Williams, 16. Jayson Bukuya. 17. James Segeyaro
Analysis: Matt Moylan's ($483,500) switch to fullback, with dual five-eighth positioning, makes him an intriguing prospect at decent value. He played 10 games at the back for Penrith to begin 2017 and averaged 62.2 points, with his last three scores 87, 103 and 101. He also had two games at the back for Cronulla early last year for returns of 83 and 22. Moylan played full seasons in the position in 2015 and 2016 where he notched impressive averages of 61 and 63 respectively.
It may not be a popular opinion, but Shaun Johnson ($603,000) looks a massive gamble to start the year. He'll likely be a must-have at some stage in 2019, but it's a difficult task for any playmaker to immediately forge combinations with a new side. He's priced towards his peak, so it's not a bad idea to risk him early with an eye on picking him up cheaper at a later stage.
Highly regarded youngster Bronson Xerri ($168,100) is a chance at nabbing a wing spot for Round 1. If he does, he'll be a must-have for every team. Andrew Fifita ($634,300) is probably worth risking early in the season before hopefully being picked up at a discount prior to Origin. Luke Lewis has retired and Wade Graham isn't due back for several months, opening up both back-row roles. Kurt Capewell ($340,100) and Scott Sorensen ($347,800) averaged 55 and 56 minutes respectively last season. Let's wait for preseason mail, but if they lock in 80 minute roles they're decent mid-range options.
1. Jahrome Hughes, 2. Josh Addo-Carr, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Suliasi Vunivalu, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Joe Stimson, 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Kenny Bromwich, 17. Sam Kasiano
Analysis: Cameron Munster's ($548,500) popularity will rest heavily on whether he plays fullback or five-eighth. It's still unknown whether Craig Bellamy wants to play the livewire playmaker at the back or Jahrome Hughes. Munster looks a juicy price should he be shifted to his preferred position, having averaged 69 points per game in the role during Billy Slater's absence in 2016.
Without Slater or Cronk, Cameron Smith ($594,400) is likely to take up greater playmaking responsibilities in 2019. Many will be worried the veteran could be on the slide after dropping to a 64 point average last season, but let's not doubt a man who's yet to break a sweat in his career. A Smith/Cook hooking combination will once again be popular, but there's a reasonable case to be made on whether or not Smith is essential for Round 1.
Averaging 53 minutes last season, Joe Stimson ($352,900) looks set for an 80-minute back-row role in 2019. In eight games as an 80-minute man last season, Stimson averaged a respectable 50.5 points per game. Based on the same numbers, Stimson should make around $130k before being moved on to a keeper.
1. AJ Brimson, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Tyrone Peachey, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ash Taylor, 8. Shannon Boyd, 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Jarrod Wallace, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Ryan James, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein, 15. Keegan Hipgrave, 16. Moeaki Fotuaika, 17. Bryce Cartwright
Analysis: Do we again dare to party with Carty or do we leave that ship in the past where deep down we all know it belongs? Bryce Cartwright's ($238,300) horrendous season has him well entrenched in cheapie range to begin the season. We're talking about a 24-year-old who in 2016 was the second highest scorer in SuperCoach. Should form and minutes permit, he could be the most purchased player prior to Round 3 price rises, or alternatively the most sold.
Jai Arrow ($598,000) looks a genuine set and forget option for the entire year. He's relatively well-priced due to his niggling injuries that limited his game time to 55 minutes last season. Fully fit in a side lacking depth outside the starting pack, Arrow could easily play a 65+ minute role in 2019.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu'a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Blake Green, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Agnatius Paasi, 11. Isaiah Papali'I, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Adam Blair. Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Bunty Afoa, 17. Leivaha Pulu
Analysis: Whoever replaces Shaun Johnson out of Chanel Harris-Tavita ($168,100), Adam Keighran ($168,100) and Hayze Perham ($168,100) will skyrocket in ownership. Tohu Harris ($564,400) will be significantly affected by Johnson's departure. The right edge pair forged a great combination last season, with Harris benefiting enormously from attacking stats. Due to the change of combination, Harris looks an avoid early on.
1. Moses Mbye, 2. Corey Thompson, 3. Mahe Fonua, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. David Nofoaluma, 6. Benji Marshall, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Russell Packer, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Chris Lawrence, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Elijah Taylor. Interchange: 14. Josh Reynolds, 15. Alex Twal, 16. Matt Eisenhuth, 17. Michael Chee-Kam
Analysis: Esan Marsters ($568,500) was the breakout star last season, finishing as arguably the most reliable CTW. He's another set and forget option provided he retains the goal-kicking duties, but if a plethora of backline cheapies emerge the money could be spent elsewhere.
Despite looking likely to increase his regular minutes from 69 per game to 80, sadly Ryan Matterson ($521,500) looks like one to avoid after losing his dual 2RF/CTW status. Mahe Fonua ($483,800) is a beast and has the base stats to warrant selection. Former Rooster Paul Momirovski ($238,600) looks a strong cheapie should he crack the top grade at any stage.