A consistent hooker is about as hard to find as a solid Aussie middle-order.
How many of you have taken a gamble on a cheap hooker (in NRL SuperCoach of course) to later be disappointed by a woeful 20 point performance? I’ve been there before and it’s one of the worst feelings imaginable while playing the cruel beast we call SuperCoach.
Most hookers fall short of hitting a 60 point average and will only crack the 50 point barrier when they jag a couple of attacking stats. You’ll find that most top tier hookers will step up on defence and provide a good number of tackles while supplying the occasional assist through a charging forward or fullback. Let’s be honest though. It’s a bloody monotonous position.
There’s only two common tactics used when looking at the trends. Some coaches like to run with two high averaging hookers, namely Cameron Smith with Jake Friend or Josh Hodgson. Other coaches, like me, will choose Smith and a cheapie with the potential to make a handful of appearances. This season we were lucky to have a cheapie like Matt Parcell to throw on the bench, but we won’t have that luxury every season. It’s best to make your final decision after having a good look at the team lists.
2017 SuperCoach High Averaging Hooker Options
The 2016 SuperCoach season gave us four quality hookers to choose from when looking at a run home option. It’s safe to say that just one of them was considered a ‘must have’.
The prices below are estimates based on the player’s 2016 NRL SuperCoach average.
- Cameron Smith (HOK, $508k) was my starting hooker in 2016 and should be again next season. He may cost you a pretty penny but he offers what no other hooker can, peace of mind and consistency. Smith not only has the goal kicking duties at the Melbourne Storm but he also makes a significant number of tackles which prevents any low SC scores. The obvious issue with selecting him as your main hooker is finding coverage when he misses the two games over the Origin period. I noticed a number of coaches last season ignored finding coverage and opted with an Auto Emergency for the two weeks. It’s an interesting method and one that could save you a trade or two, although I’d much prefer eliminating the risk of having a sub 20 score in my weekly score. He averaged 78.3 PPG in 2016 and we should expect a similar output next season.
- Issac Luke (HOK, $412k) may be an inconsistent hooker option but his scoring potential and enthusiasm are massive. Those that decided to finish the 2016 season with Luke definitely experienced some highs and lows. He missed rounds 22 to 25 through injury but pulled a closing three round average of 77 points. Let’s not forget that Luke should be part of an All-Star spine at the Warriors next year with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Kieran Foran playing key roles. Who knows what attacking plays these stars have in mind but I’m sure we’ll witness RTS charging over the line off a Luke pass on one or two occasions. It’s bloody risky to fork out over $400k for Luke but he’ll definitely be a handy option over the bye period, especially if the Warriors’ draw is favourable.
- Jake Friend (HOK, $408k) can usually be relied on to rack up a solid number of tackles each game, but unfortunately that’s where the appeal ends. He produced game after game of 40 point performances throughout the bye period and finds himself priced so highly due to his pre Origin form. From memory, I brought Friend into my 2016 side after his first bye week in round 12. Boy was that a mistake. He got my hopes up with a score of 95 in round 13 then didn’t crack the 50 point barrier until round 20. I won’t be considering Jake Friend In 2017 unless he steps up his NRL SuperCoach game.
- Josh Hodgson (HOK, $405k) showed glimpses of brilliance this year and I’m expecting him to have a massive season in 2017. I’m quietly hoping the Raiders have a poor opening draw so he can come down a little in price and be ripe for the picking a few rounds prior to the bye round commencing. He’s definitely a quality hooker and one that can give your team a huge boost. He isn’t eligible for Origin selection either so it’ll pay to monitor his progress in the opening ten rounds. How good would it be if the Raiders and Storm have differing bye rounds? We could have both powerhouse hookers coming into Origin period! The negative? He’s no stranger to scoring below 50 points but at least he’ll get you handful of 70+ performances.
Recent SuperCoach relevant signings
- Kalyn Ponga is believed to have signed a five year deal with the Newcastle Knights starting in 2018
- Moses Leota will remain at the Penrith Panthers until the end of the 2019 season
- Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will remain at the Sydney Roosters for a further three seasons
- Kierran Moseley signed with the North Queensland Cowboys on a one year deal
- Brenden Santi will join the Sydney Roosters for the 2017 season
- Waqa Blake has re-signed with the Penrith Panthers for a further two seasons
- Suaia Matagi has signed a two year contract with the Parramatta Eels
- Dunamis Lui has signed a two year deal with the Canberra Raiders
Do you dare leave Cameron Smith out of your starting side?
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