SuperCoach Cheapie Bible Round 1
ROUND one is here!
Each week the Cheapie Bible will take a long look at the money-makers, the players we all grow man crushes on - and even the ones who seriously let us down like being stood up on a blind date.
You get these decisions wrong and you're not winning your SuperCoach league or the overall prize! Simple.
Ultimately, I will sift through who we should be buying, selling and holding of the sub $250k price bracket all season long.
Meaning players such as Connor Watson, Leilani Latu, Peta Hiku and Jai Arrow are all out of the reckoning, but feel free to hit us on twitter @SuperCoachNRL or @copes9 for our thoughts on those guys.
Here we go, a HUGE edition to kick us off… (In order of current ownership %)
Bryce Cartwright 2RF | 5/8 (GCT | $260,300) - 59.5% Owned
So I'm breaking my own rules here and going above the $250k barrier but in all honesty, this guy's ownership should be exceeding 90 per cent. Lose the recent bias (aka absolute STINKER last season) and focus on two things…
1. Carty averaged 74.4PPG in 24 matches across the 2016 season.
2. New club, new opportunities. Going by trials, 70+ mins at lock is that opportunity.
VERDICT: YES! A resounding yes.
Lachlan Croker HFB | 5/8 (MNL | $164,600) - 54% Owned
Croker has been named in the No. 6 jersey in one of the most formidable attacking teams in the NRL, at literally the lowest price possible. You don't need to know any more than that. Lock. Him. In. Dominated in the 2016 pre-season for the Raiders only to rupture his ACL and undergo a second knee reconstruction. Set for a big year now that he's finally got his chance.
VERDICT: YES! You'd be absolutely crazy not to start with Croker, there is zero downside.
Matt Lodge FRF (BRO | $208,900) - 49.6% Owned
Lodge has had a stellar pre-season, with huge performances (and minutes!) in both trials, pumping out 50+ SuperCoach points. In the absence of Adam Blair, who averaged 50 minutes per game last season, Lodge has a huge opportunity in front of him.
VERDICT: Lock him in. Should be a lock to average around 50PPG with solid career PPM of 1.1 and in my starting 17 every week to start the year.
Sione Katoa CTW (SHA | $164,600) - 47% Owned
Remember how good Tautau Moga and Nick Cotric were last season? Priced at bottom dollar, scoring a wing spot in a good side with tackle busting upside… Well, Katoa could well be every bit as good. Making the Holden Cup team of the year, leading the try-scoring list with 23 last season, and most relevantly for SuperCoach, topping the competition with 239 tackle busts and 36 linebreaks.
VERDICT: YES! I'm excited, this kid could be anything. Could well be a top 17 player for the first half of the season and most importantly has his spot on merit - not injury.
Jamayne Isaako CTW (BRO | $192,800) - 40.8% Owned
Isaako has had a fantastic pre-season deputising in the fullback slot vacated by Darius Boyd's interrupted pre-season, and on the back of that form has locked in the right wing spot ahead of Jonus Pearson. The issues start to arise here though when Jack Bird comes back from his shoulder injury. Does that move Isaako out of the team? Or does that allow Oates to move to the back row to make space? Only time will tell.
VERDICT: YES. Isaako is an exciting prospect, and with the dearth of CTW cheapies around I think we have to take the plunge.
Viliame Kikau FRF | 2RF (PTH | $192,800) - 38.7% Owned
Kikau has been my call for buy of the year since his very impressive World Cup campaign, and having impressed throughout the trials, has earned the starting back row spot on the left edge with the likes of Maloney, Peachey, Mansour and Edwards floating about… How good! Harawira-Naera and Fisher-Harris are the dangers to his minutes, but at this stage the upside is too hard to pass up.
VERDICT: YES. With the extremely rare dual 2RF | FRF eligibility, Kikau is one of the few big man prospects that break the 'slow-burn' norm of SuperCoach cheapies.
Siliva Havili HOK (CBR | $177,600) - 31% Owned
Havili has been in almost every serious SuperCoachs' HOK2 slot since the day SuperCoach opened. But in recent times his ownership has dropped due to Damien Cook seemingly being locked in to 80 minutes at the Rabbitohs, and more relevantly, Blake Austin shockingly being named on the Raiders bench. That means Austin comes on, with Sam Williams or Aiden Sezer moving into hooker, capping Havili's minutes at around 45-50.
VERDICT: Still a decent buy, but not what we had hoped. Do you have the $200k to go up to Cook? If not, stick with Havili, just don't play him in your 17.
Taane Milne 2RF | CTW (WST | $192,800) - 25% Owned
Public service announcement: Milne has missed out on selection for the Tigers in round one, being named on an extended bench as he has been in both of the trials so far this pre-season, ruling him out of cheapie contention. The scoring upside if he were to play full games in the centres is ridiculously high, so keep him front of mind throughout the season and pounce if/when the time comes.
VERDICT: No go unfortunately. Thanks Ivan Cleary, thanks a lot...
Luciano Leilua 2RF (STG | $177,300) - 24.3% Owned
Leilua Jnr had a dismal performance in the Dragons' Charity Shield trial and unfortunately that has cost him the chance to grab the vacant Joel Thompson starting edge spot, with Tariq Sims beating the bulking youngster. Leilua has been named in jersey 14 as a sign that he was close. However, in one of the strongest packs in the NRL it will be hard for Leilua to play upwards of 30-40 minutes.
VERDICT: If you need a bottom dollar cheapie, Leilua isn't the worst option but he isn't in the must-have category any longer.
Zac Lomax CTW | FLB (STG | $164,600) - 22.4% Owned
What a talent Lomax is. Absolutely no question there as his trial/pre-season form has been knocking the door down. Lomax will no doubt have been in so many teams as a placeholder in the hope he made the Dragons' 17, but expect this ownership percentage to drop significantly after missing the round one side. However, much like previous seasons where Jack Bird and Kalyn Ponga missed their respective teams to start the season, it's a legitimate option to start with a kid this good as he is likely to debut at some stage.
VERDICT: Personally, I am going to try to have all 25 of my squad members playing in round one, so it's an avoid for me.
Mark Nicholls 2RF | FRF (SOU | $192,800) - 21.3% Owned
With a pedigree including nine matches in a premiership winning Storm outfit last season, and named to start in the front row for Souths, who have a fully healthy squad to pick from, I think he is the pick of the sub-$200k forward cheapies. In terms of what he is capable of, he ran the ball 17 times for 169m in the first trial.
VERDICT: YES. Locked into the Crusaders' outfit as this year's Daniel Saifiti type slow-burner. Dual position will come in very handy also.
Richie Kennar CTW (SOU | $239,600) - 20.1% Owned
Kennar has had an injury-riddled few seasons at the Storm and then last year at the Bulldogs where he didn't register a single game, but now at the Rabbitohs he has impressed new coach Anthony Siebold enough to land the wing spot. Annoyingly priced above bottom dollar, but basically no other options at the price (Lomax, Douehi, Milne etc all missing out) means he will be a popular option.
VERDICT: I'm in. I'm not expecting huge numbers, but as long as he can hold his spot (Campbell Graham is a threat in a couple of weeks) he should be a nice money maker.
Slade Griffin HOK | 2RF (NEW | $250,100) - 12% Owned
Now we are getting into the sub-20 per cent ownership - more speculative or higher priced cheapies that don't present as much initial value. Griffin was one of the biggest winners of #TLT with no Danny Levi in the 17. But, Brock Lamb is on the bench as a utility and don't underestimate the likes of Jamie Buhrer and Connor Watson who can also play there. With a PPM of 0.7 and 0.9 over small minute doses in recent times with the Storm, if he can earn 60 minutes we can expect scores in the high 40s, or hopefully even 50+. Priced at a 28PPG average, that will be a nice earner.
VERDICT: Not for me at this stage, but if you don't buy the Havili hype, Slade could be worth a look.
Lewis Brown 2RF | CTW (MNL | $192,800) - 9.9% Owned
Ben Hampton 5/8 | FLB (NQL | $199,700) - 8.9% Owned
Whaaaaaaat are you doing, SuperCoaches? I get it. They're cheap, you've heard their names before and they help you buy better 'guns' in other places… But, I have to scream WAKE UP people. Hampton is literally filling in for Lachlan Coote's short injury absence then will return to being a bench utility (aka SuperCoach poison) where he averages 21.1PPG. Lewis Brown, you say? Put it this way, when he was an 80-minute regular at the Panthers he managed to average 40.5PPG, so in a bench role with an average of 30.1MPG last season you can almost call him OVERpriced.
VERDICT: Don't do it to yourselves, trust me you'll regret it.
Robbie Rochow FRF | 2RF (WST | $242,600) - 7.9% Owned
Rochow has come from the clouds, being named to start on an edge for the Tigers and presents as a real SuperCoach option as a result. Injuries really have been the only stumbling block to Rochow's success, as when he is on the field his work rate is fantastic, translating to SuperCoach season averages of 50PPG, 49.9PPG, 55.8PPG and 51.3PPG in previous years. The big question mark is Ivan Cleary, who has left out Chris McQueen, Tim Grant, David Nofoaluma amongst others so shake-ups mid-season without warning could happen.
VERDICT: In my team as it currently stands. Risk v reward.
Sam Kasiano FRF (STO | $253,700) - 8% Owned
Kasiano has made the move from the Bulldogs to the Storm and left about half of his bodyweight at Sydney airport in doing so. Trimmed down, under Craig Bellamy's regime in the reigning premiers' lineup… I can see the allure. But, named in the extended squad for round one (easing back from injury) at $253k, I just can't justify it.
VERDICT: Pass. Could make a late season run after some slow building up to match fitness, but certainly not for right now.
Kelepi Tanginoa FRF | 2RF (MNL| $177,300) - 7.5% Owned
Speaking of big men, Tanginoa is a huge, huge individual. Does that mean he will score well? No, but what it does mean is that Trent Barrett will use him in short, sharp bursts allowing him to be at his tackle busting best. As the only middle forward on the Sea Eagles bench it bodes well for minutes, at least until Darcy Lussick is back in a few weeks from injury.
VERDICT: At pretty much base-price and dual position Tanginoa is worth considering. Certainly not a must, however. Don't expect more than 30-35 points per game.
Phillip Sami CTW (GCT | $234,300) - 7.2% Owned
Unfortunately for SuperCoaches, Sami played so well in the Holden Cup that not only did he make the team of the year, he made his NRL debut late in the season and played four total matches (averaging 33PPG), bumping his starting price up above bottom dollar. Anthony Don looms as a possible stickler to his spot, but ultimately Sami has earned the spot outside Konrad Hurrell on the right edge - normally a fruitful one for SuperCoach.
VERDICT: Will the Titans score enough points to make Sami SuperCoach relevant? I think they do. The kid has tackle busting/base stat potential so I'm backing him in.
Ligia Sao FRF (NZL | $192,800) - 5.6% Owned
Is it a trap? Do the names John Palavi or Isaiah Papalii ring a bell? Yes he's been named to start at lock this weekend, but savvy SuperCoaches will know that Simon Mannering is only a few weeks away and will command the 80 minutes he always does… So, does Mannering start on the edge like he did in the final trial, leaving Sao to continue playing at lock? We shall see, but by way of reference, Sao's PPM has hovered at 1.0, 1.1 and 1.0 in the past three seasons, so anywhere around 40 minutes or more would be a huge win.
Side note, I'm not referencing Isaiah Papalii who's been named to start on an edge for the Warriors, if you're unsure as to why, see 2017…
VERDICT: Lots will be on due to the green light next to his name alone, but the smart play is to watch how he goes the first two weeks and then jump on once you're sure. It's a reluctant avoid for me.
James Fisher-Harris FRF | 2RF (PTH | $258,100) - 4.6% Owned
Fisher-Harris is an exceptional talent, there's no question about it, and all reports from the foot of the mountains are that he's "training the house down" (never heard that one before!). But the fact remains that the Panthers have one of the strongest packs in the NRL. How is JFH, as he's affectionately known, finding enough minutes to be relevant amongst Merrin, Tamou, Campbell-Gillard, Kikau, Yeo, Harawira-Naera, McKendry and Leota? It remains to be seen.
VERDICT: It's a NO from me, although I'm a big fan in the event of an injury opening up a bigger role.
Kane Evans FRF (PAR | $240,800) - 4.4% Owned
Boy, wasn't Evans a letdown last season when many expected him to make a real impact for the Roosters, averaging a ridiculously low 27.1PPG across 15 matches, but it was at a great PPM of 1.1. The PPM is the enticing thing here at a combined 1.3 over the past three seasons. But named on the bench for the Eels, just how many minutes will he get? Coming off the horrific broken arm in the World Cup, can Evans finally deliver on a SuperCoach level?
VERDICT: My prediction is no. At least not without an injury to either Mannah or Alvaro.
Pita Godinet HOK | HFB (WST | $216,500) - 2.7% Owned
Well then, who can honestly say they saw this one coming? Not a chance, but what we do know is that McIlwrick has been named outside the 17 for this game, and in the two full matches Godinet played back in 2016, he saw scores of 66 and 56 - not bad. But, before you go all kooky and change your whole team… Jacob Liddle is only two weeks (approximately) away from a return. Liddle is very highly regarded by Ivan Cleary and the Tigers' front office.
VERDICT: I think it's a trap! Avoid.
Sam Williams HFB | HOK (CBR | $255,600) - 2.5% Owned
Don't do it to yourself. The merry-go-round of halves/hookers in Ricky Stuart's Raiders outfit attempting to fill the Josh Hodgson sized hole is a big red flag for SuperCoaches. Williams has flashed SuperCoach potential in the past - averaging 45.3PPG in 2015 and 45.3PPG in 2013 - but it's just not going to be 'his' spot for any length of time.
VERDICT: NO. Avoid.
Junior Tatola FRF (STH | $164,600) - 2.3% Owned
Tatola earns his spot on the Rabbitohs bench through sheer weight of performances over the pre-season. The former Junior Kangaroo big man has a serious presence and across the two trials Tatola averaged over 10m per hit up, plenty of tackle busts and post contact metres plus a line break assist.
VERDICT: I'm hearing great things, so the Crusaders have signed Tatola on for 2018. Will struggle to find big minutes, but at literally base price, he could be worth the punt.
Will Matthews 2RF | CTW (GCT | $229,000) - 2% Owned
Matthews moves from the Red V to Cavill Ave in the hope of more game time, and whilst he has been named on the bench for round one, there are still plenty of cavalry to return for the Titans along with the fact that Kevin Proctor, Ryan James, Bryce Cartwright and Jarrod Wallace are all big minute players covering both edges and lock.
VERDICT: PASS. Dual position is handy, but it's just too hard to see a path to minutes.
Hame Sele 2RF (STG | $212,400) - 1.5% Owned
Sele had a barnstorming performance in the Dragons' Charity Shield match, running the ball 11 times for 113 metres to go with his impressive 1.1PPM last season - albeit in just 22.7MPG, but that shows he has room to grow. My concern is how… James Graham takes over Russell Packer's minutes and then some, but hopefully Sele can work his way into the vacant 80 minutes on Joel Thompson's edge.
VERDICT: Watch. But, it's certainly a pass to begin with.
All of these players were in contention, but we can cross these guys off our starting team lists, as they have either not been named, are on an extended bench, are injured or have a diminished role…
Adam Douehi CTW (STH | $177,300) - 8.3% Owned
Isaiah Papalii FRF | 2RF (NZL | $225,400) - 6.5% Owned
Mitch Cornish HFB | 5/8 (SYD | $192,800) - 4.3% Owned
Payne Haas FRF (BRO | $164,600) - 4.3% Owned
Greg Leleisiuao CTW (PAR | $164,600) - 4.2% Owned
Kyle Flanagan HFB | 5/8 (SHA | $164,600) - 4% Owned
Christian Crichton CTW (PTH | $164,600) - 3.6% Owned
Nat Butcher 2RF (SYD | $192,800) - 3.4% Owned
Campbell Graham CTW (STH | $207,700) - 1.4% Owned
Braden Uele FRF (SHA | $177,300) - 1.4% Owned
Jack Gosiewski 2RF (MNL | $192,800) - 1.3% Owned
Sam McKendry FRF (PTH | $192,800) - 1.2% Owned
Kurt Dillon FRF (SHA | $164,600) - 1.1% Owned
Jeremy Marshall-King 5/8 | HFB (BUL | $204,100) - 0.9% Owned
Lindsay Collins FRF (SYD | $177,300) - 0.7% Owned
Moses Leota FRF (PTH | $192,800) - 0.6% Owned
* If players aren't anywhere on the above lists it is because we deem them irrelevant at least for the time being.
Fingers crossed that this huge cheapie edition helps you find your way into round one with all the guns you so desire, and watch the cash come rolling in. Good luck!