The 2016 SuperCoach season may be over but at least we were given our weekly fix of quality footy.
Week 1 of the NRL finals supplied us with epic encounters and nail biting moments, especially for those of us at the pub playing our CoachKings Venue Final. The Titans and Bulldogs’ 2016 season fell to the hands of the Broncos and Panthers while the Storm and Sharks have now earned the week off. I think we can all agree that the two match-ups this weekend will be absolute crackers! I have to admit, while I’m looking forward to the Cowboys v Broncos clash on Friday night I’m anxiously waiting on the Raiders v Panthers clash on Saturday. This may have something to do with CoachKings Cup but I’m sure I’d be watching with the same excitement levels regardless.
I’m trying to put any bias aside but I think the Cowboys will be too strong for the Broncos up in Townsville. Yes, their battles are always intense and they usually finish with minimal points between them, but the Broncos have been uncharacteristically scrappy in recent times while the Cowboys showed some excellent discipline and maturity in their game against the Storm last weekend.
INS: Javid Bowen (Cowboys), Tom Opacic (Broncos)
OUTS: Kane Linnett (Cowboys), Jonus Pearson (Broncos, 18th man)
Tip: Cowboys by 10
It seems to be a rare occurrence for me to log into a social media outlet without seeing some sort of debate on the Raiders v Panthers clash. This should be an outstanding battle between two offensively strong teams and it’s likely that a number of tries will be scored. Canberra are the slight favourites in the betting market but don’t be surprised if the odds level out before kick-off. Hodgson is a slim chance of playing and we all know how crucial he is to the Raiders’ attack. I haven’t seen the Panthers play as well as they did last weekend and it’s a scary thought for all opposition that they claim they have a few more gears in them.
INS: Blake Austin (Raiders (in doubt)), Moses Leota (Panthers, 18th man)
OUTS: Sam Williams (Raiders)
Josh Hodgson and Blake Austin are named but aren’t confirmed starters.
Tip: Panthers by 8
2017 SuperCoach Options
The SuperCoach season hasn’t been over for long but a number of us are already contemplating who to throw into our 2017 team. Each week I’ll mention a couple of notable options to discuss which will hopefully help with your important decisions for next season. The prices mentioned for each player may not be their exact 2017 price but at least we’ll have a good estimate to go by. Let’s take a look at a few fullback options:
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (FB, $325k) should be a popular fullback choice considering his very appealing price tag. We’re all aware the RTS can perform at a $500k level when fully fit and he comes with minimal risk and a very high ceiling. He played just seven games during the 2016 season while producing very respectable scores in half of those appearances. Most of the other high scoring fullback options come with dual position status so it shouldn’t be an issue bringing Tuivasa-Sheck into your side.
- Jarryd Hayne (FB/FE, $220k) will more than likely be a dual position player next season which will make it easy for coaches to fit them in to their starting side. He’ll start at such a cheap price due to his 36.6 PPG 2016 average and discount received for minimal games played. He may have had an underwhelming 2016 appearance but he should perform much better with a whole pre-season under his belt; assuming he doesn’t fulfil his dream of joining the Hell’s Angels in the coming weeks of course.
- Tom Trbojevic (FB/CTW, $425k) may not be a cheap option but his scoring potential will be absolutely massive in 2017. He’ll definitely be a very handy buy with his dual position status and proven ability to score well against good defensive sides. Some coaches might prefer to spend the money elsewhere and pray that his price drops in the opening rounds, although they’ll risk missing out on a lot of high scores. I guess his draw in the opening rounds will be a deciding factor for many coaches.
- Lachlan Coote (FB, $265k) won’t even enter the minds of some coaches but could be a good back-up fullback choice if you’re willing to take a risk. Coote is the definition of inconsistency and can even produce woeful scores when the Cowboys score a number of points. If you’re looking for another positive to convince you, he should be handy to have over the bye period.
- Bevan French (FB/CTW, $300k(ish)) will come with a very awkward price tag and may not be a popular choice when the 2017 season kicks off. It’s hard to ignore his lack of base stats as both winger and fullback but we were all impressed with his explosive speed and acceleration that resulted in a number of tries. It’s music to our ears hearing Brad Arthur confirming that French will be the Eels’ fullback in 2017.
- Matt Gillett has signed with the Brisbane Broncos for a further four seasons. This will come as a relief to the club and its fans due to the rumours that the second-rower was looking elsewhere. He may not be considered a SuperCoach ‘Gun’ but he’s a good option for the start of the season if you’re looking for those consistent forwards that can occasionally produce attacking stats.
- Stephen Kearney has signed a three year deal as head coach for the Warriors in 2017 with Andrew McFadden staying at the club as the assistant. It’s no secret that Kearney has a strong passion for the Warriors and hopefully he can bring a fresh culture to the club which will take them to the 2017 finals. He’ll certainly have the roster that is capable of such a feat.
- Expect Kieran Foran to make a decision on his future in the coming days. Some sources have reported that he has already signed a one year deal with the NZ Warriors although we should wait for official confirmation before jumping to any conclusions. They’ll have arguably the best spine and halves combination in the NRL if the move goes ahead.
- Jarryd Hayne continues to hog the NRL spotlight but this time it’s for the wrong reasons. The Titans’ fullback will have some questions to answer after a video on social media showed him partying with Hells Angel bikie Chris Bloomfield. The NRL Integrity Unit will take a look at the video and take appropriate action.
- 2017 Awards – Josh Jackson (Brad Fittler Medal Winner), Aaron Woods (True Blue Award), Tyson Frizell (Daily Telegraph People’s Choice Award), Sam Williams (Intrust Super Premiership NSW Player of the Year).
- The referees have been punished for their poor decisions at the Broncos v Titans game last Friday. Gerard Sutton will now be playing a support role while Gavin Badger won’t be making an appearance this weekend. The outrage from fans was sparked after James Roberts wasn’t penalised for kicking his opponent.