SuperCoach NRL carnage as big guns go down
SuperCoaches have their fingers hovering over the trade button following a weekend of trial carnage.
Check out Tom Sangster's take on a sticky situation.
TURBO HIT FOR SIX
A quarter of SuperCoaches are on the hunt for a new No.1 following news the best fullback in SuperCoach last year is out for six weeks with a hamstring injury. He is set to return in Round 3. Options include:
* James Tedesco is clearly the best replacement. However, plenty were already running with a Teddy-Turbo combo and will therefore need to back another fullback.
* Kalyn Ponga is next on the list, obviously. He is a freak of the highest order and while the move to five-eighth isn't ideal from a SuperCoach perspective, he's so talented he will score well in any position (as he showed by setting up two tries in the weekend trial). That said, with the fullback position stacked, Ponga is far more valuable in the SuperCoach halves.
Mid-rangers are often derided in SuperCoach, but perfect for this situation. Turbo won't return until Round 3 and will therefore become a buy in Round 5 (prices don't change until after a player's second game). This is not enough time for a cheapie to mature. Further, if your cheapie fails to fire, the cost of upgrading a bottom dollar player to Turbo is simply too much. A mid-ranger is therefore the safest bet as creating the required cash is a far more manageable task. Options include:
* Matt Moylan ($483,500) - Returns to his best position this year at fullback in place of Valentine Holmes. Moylan has a career average at fullback in the early 60s, yet his price is based on a season average of 51.6 after playing much of the year in the halves.
* Dylan Edwards ($473,700) - returned from a serious shoulder injury over the weekend and immediately impressed. The young Panther is a tackle busting machine and starts the season under-priced due to injury. With an opening draw of Eels (h), Knights (a), Storm (Bathurst), Tigers (h) and Titans (a), there is potential for a fast start.
* Jahrome Hughes ($479,800) - Remains favourite for the Storm fullback spot despite the Scott Drinkwater hype train. He averaged 57 at fullback last year, but his price is based on a season total of 51 after averaging 41 at halfback.
* Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ($265,500) is a contender for Canberra's fullback spot following Jack Wighton's move to five-eighth. Even if the former Warrior misses the fullback spot, he's a huge chance for a wing spot. As a guide to his potential output, CNK averaged 47 in five games as a winger in 2017, which equates to a price of approximately $450,000 and rise of almost $200,000.
* Albert Hopoate ($168,100) - All but assured a Round 1 wing spot at Manly following Turbo's injury. Hopoate was unavailable for last week's trial due to age restrictions, but he turns 18 before next week's pre-season match and is therefore set to make his senior debut. Turbo's injury is also good news for cheapie prospect Reuben Garrick, although he's not available at fullback.
* Corey Allan ($168,100) - Highly rated by Wayne Bennett and a serious chance for the opening round on the wing.
* Scott Drinkwater ($219,400) - Gunning for Billy Slater's vacated fullback spot at the Storm, although Hughes remains the favourite.
Tevita Pangai Jnr's dodgy hamstrings played up again over the weekend, although he has since been cleared of serious injury and is set to play Round 1. However, he's already dropped from third to seventh on the most-owned list and it's hard to argue with the crowd.
While the conservative coaching style of Wayne Bennett was no doubt a factor in TPJ's frustrating season in 2018, the main cause of angst was his hamstrings.
It feels like deja vu and Sangster's Paradise will therefore avoid him for the opening round and go for a more reliable performer. With the money created from downgrading Turbo, many SuperCoaches have cash to splash on a genuine gun. If not, there are a bunch of sneaky mid-range targets worth considering:
* Shaun Lane ($508,000) - Averaged 54 minutes at the Sea Eagles last season but gunning for an 80-minute edge role at the Eels. Possesses a very SuperCoach-friendly game with offloads, tackle busts and tries galore.
* Dale Finucane ($432,900) - Plenty of room for improvement following an injury-affected season. Not only were many of his games cut short due to injury last year, he also played through injury for a fair chunk of the season. Expect his game time to improve from 54 minutes last season to his 2016 and 2017 average of 62.
* Aiden Tolman ($471,400) - Incredibly consistent performer. Averaged 60 over the final 10 rounds last season following the departure of Aaron Woods, with a low score of 51 and high score of 76. However, his price is based on a season average of 50 due to a slow and injury-affected start to the year.
* Joe Stimson ($352,900) - The Storm forward averaged 53 minutes last season but should step up to 80 minutes this year following the retirement of Ryan Hoffman.
* Kurt Capewell ($340,200) - Averaged 55 minutes last year but set to take Luke Lewis's 80 minute edge role at the Sharks. With dual position fexibility between 2RF and CTW, he is the Ryan Matterson of 2019.
* John Bateman ($400,000) - Missed the weekend trial due to a side strain but also has claims as the "Matterson of 2019". Set to play lock and produced impressive stats in Super League last year.
* Cameron Murray ($458,900) - Averaged 48 minutes last year, mainly as a bench player. Expect his game time to increase to 60 minutes as a staring lock.
NO PAYNE, NO GAIN
Yes, Haas is suspended for the first four games. But he's still in my side for Round 1.
He is the best prop prospect in the game and certain to make the 17 on his return.
Young props are almost always eased into game time, often rendering them SuperCoach-irrelevant (only cheapie hookers have a worse record).
This is where Haas stands out on talent alone.
I'd much prefer to back Haas's talent over the remaining cheapie options (with the exception of Canberra freak Corey Horsburgh, who was awesome in the weekend trial but only an outside chance for the opening round).
The following players are also cheapie options in the position but I'm not enthused by any - Josh Kerr, Patrick Carrigan, Thomas Flegler, Emre Guler (game time worries), Taniela Paseka (likely injured), Stefano Utoikamanu and Tom Amone (only outside chances to play).
General consensus around the office has a trade worth $100,000, so there is definite benefit in running with Haas from the get-go.
Even if your team suffers early injuries, he'll be easy to cover with dual 2RF/FRF flexibility.