2017 Draw Analysis Part 2
Now that we’ve looked at who has the favourable opening draw and bye coverage, let’s sink our teeth into the pros and cons of the closing rounds of the season.
Many coaches tend to bring the top averaging players into their side once they’ve completed their Origin duties or appear to have hit their cheapest price; but is this the best way to maximize your points through the final seven rounds?
Usually we’ve made a large portion of our final cap/team value by round 18 so we don’t need to put too much reliance on cash cows or ‘bargain buys’ at this stage of the season.
I usually focus on those players who have a proven track record with base stats mixed with who has a favourable closing draw. There seems to be a handful of Centre/Wing and Fullback heavy hitters that we could consider avoiding for our run home sides, simply due to their closing draw.
Jarrod Croker VS Joseph Leilua
The Canberra Raiders have a very tough run home which can’t be ignored. They play the Storm twice, the reigning premiers once and a few other top four contenders (Rabbitohs and Warriors (Both Away) and Penrith (Home)). When comparing Croker to Leilua, the Raiders’ tough run home will affect these two SuperCoach Guns in different ways. Croker usually needs tries, assists and goals to produce monster scores while Leilua has his tackle breaks and offloads to prevent a total failure of a SC performance.
The downside to totally ignoring Croker for the run home is that his scoring potential against the Dragons (Rd 19) and Knights (Rd 25) will be huge, especially considering they’re both home games. I don’t think missing out on these two rounds will be enough to convince me to have him in my run home side though. We’re also faced with the very tough decision whether to have Croker in our 2017 SC team at all! After all, the Raiders have one of the toughest opening draws in the comp so he may only average well through the meat of the season. I’ll be looking more towards Leilua, who is not only more reliable but could be playing with more confidence if he makes his debut Origin appearance in 2017.
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) December 9, 2016
Shaun Johnson/Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
If you asked me which players will I never give up on in 2017, the answer will be Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. This is largely due to three factors:
- The Warriors are the only team to have both a favourable opening and closing draw. The only two sections that concern are me are rounds 7 through 10 and rounds 19 through 21 where they play a small run of tough opponents. There’s no point panic trading either of these guns if they have a poor performance though. You’ll likely want them both in your side for the final five rounds where their scoring potential will be huge (assuming they continue their form from recent years).
- Neither of these two are eligible for State of Origin selection so they’ll make up your Gun numbers throughout the bye period. The downfall here is that the Warriors play just one of the big bye rounds although their fixtures in between these rounds are very favourable. Keep in mind that while it’s good to have high numbers throughout the bye period, it’s a big boost to have a number of Guns by this point too.
- Both SJ and RTS are huge influences in a number of the Warriors’ attacking plays. Not only can they comfortably hold and 60+ average but they’re more than capable of producing a five round average of 80 or more. They may disappoint you from time to time but they’ll usually make up for it in the following rounds.
The Bulldogs have one of the best closing five rounds in the comp but they don’t exactly ooze SuperCoach greatness when it comes to their backs. The boys from Belmore will finish the season playing five of the teams backed for a bottom eight finish (when looking at the betting market) and are also available for the final big bye round (Rd 18).
If you’re looking for a point of difference for the run home, it could be worth taking a look at the prices and break evens of players like Hopoate, Mbye, Reynolds and the Morris brothers once round 15 is over. You won’t want to miss out on their round 18 fixture at home to the Knights and they’ll play just the one top four opponent in the final ten rounds.
Sea Eagles/Knights VS Panthers
The Sea Eagles, Knights and Panthers are the only three teams that finish their two bye weeks by round 15. At this point a lot of us will start bringing in keepers from these teams to not only make up numbers for rounds 18 and 19, but to start getting our team closer to the finished product. We’re basically killing two birds with one stone which is absolute gold in the SuperCoach world.
We need to be careful that we don’t waste too many trades at this stage. The Sea Eagles and Knights don’t exactly have a good closing draw and the only benefit you’ll get from their backs may be in round 18 when they’re making up the numbers. There could be one or two forwards to keep an eye on so don’t ignore their teams completely. The Panthers on the other hand have a much better closing draw and also have a number of high scoring backs. I’ll be leaning towards these guys when looking at PODs and numbers at that point.
Which PODs will you be looking at for your run home side?
Get around the best in the business on Twitter: @CKings_Cowboy