Penrith Panthers first up..
We’ll need to tread carefully when looking at getting Panthers players into our starting side this season. They have a great opening draw although they’ll miss the first two big bye rounds. On a positive note they’ll play just three of the top eight favourites in the closing eleven rounds which makes their backs very appealing in the closing portion of the season. Don’t let their bye coverage discourage you from selecting their cheapies or middies in your starting side; you’ll probably be offloading them for a profit prior to round 12 anyway.
Dylan Edwards and Dean Whare seem to be the front runners to cover injuries on both wings although the Panthers’ outside backs are far from finalised. All we know is that DWZ should return in the first few rounds so be wary that selecting either of these cheapies comes with a little risk.
Matt Moylan and Waqa Blake are both solid choices for your side and should average well in 2017. Moylan has averaged over 60 PPG for the past two seasons and seems to be maturing as each year passes. He isn’t currently in my starting team although he’s someone I’ll want in my run home side with that extremely favourable closing draw. Blake should have POD status once the season begins with many coaches being scared off by his recent season averages of 36 and 42 PPG. $280k is a pretty good price to pay for someone with his scoring potential and you could easily make a decent profit before trading him out for a more bye friendly option or gun.
Nathan Cleary and Te Maire Martin are two risk/reward options that could give you the upper edge on other coaches. Cleary is the more appealing choice with his goal kicking duties and impressive 66 PPG season average last year. ‘Second year syndrome’ may not be an issue with Cleary. He showed maturity beyond his years last season and I’m expecting he’ll produce another 60+ average in 2017. He’s currently owned by 7.4% of coaches and will be a worthy POD for your starting side. Martin played just six games last year but managed to score over 60 points in half of those. Unfortunately we don’t have much to go by when deciding whether he’ll be beneficial although we know he’s capable of scoring very well. He’ll definitely be a POD and his dual position status could come in handy.
The Panthers’ forward pack has a number of excellent options for your starting side. Trent Merrin and Bryce Cartwright are two proven SuperCoach weapons that’ll give you solid scores most of the time. Are these two Guns must-haves for your starting side? Definitely not. They both come with a very expensive price tag due to their stand-out seasons last year and could even be a failure when looking at their potential Points Per Dollar figure. Don’t’ get me wrong, they’re both solid SC options but don’t feel you need to make other sacrifices to make room for them in your side.
James Tamou has joined the Panthers after playing eight seasons with the North Queensland Cowboys. He has averaged around 50 PPG for the past three seasons and usually produces a solid PPM figure. What will he bring to your starting side? Well, possibly some steady scores with no significant cash generation. I may be sounding a little negative but I think there are better options in the FRF position. We’ve all heard what positives a new club can do to a player but can this theory really be used on a prop that should play similar minutes? I’m not willing to take that risk.
Panthers Likely Seventeen:
1.Matt Moylan ($421.1k)
2. Dylan Edwards ($143.6k)
3. Waqa Blake ($280.7k)
4. Peta Hiku ($310.5k)
5. Dean Whare ($143.6k)
6. Te Maire Martin ($298.8k)
7. Nathan Cleary ($442.7k)
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard ($263.7k)
9. Peter Wallace ($297.7k)
10. James Tamou (347k)
11. Bryce Cartwright ($497.2k)
12. Isaah Yeo ($339.5k)
13. Trent Merrin ($492.9k)
14. Tyrone Peachey ($387.7k)
15. James Fisher-Harris ($283.6k)
16. Tim Browne ($186.3k)
17. Leilani Latu ($315.4k)
St George Illawarra Dragons
The St George Illawarra Dragons seem to have a season of two halves. They’ll play nine games against top eight favourites prior to the first big bye round which should convince us to steer clear of their CTW options. Their draw after round twelve is easily the most favourable of any team with just three of their opponents being backed for finals footy.
Josh Dugan is usually a good choice for your SC side but he he’ll have to break a certain trend for coaches to take notice. He produced a season average of 72 PPG back in 2013 but has managed to drop each year to a 56 PPG average in 2016. My plan of attack is quite simple. There are much better options in both the FB and CTW positions for your starting side, although he could be beneficial once the Dragons kick off their favourable draw in round thirteen. He doesn’t necessarily need multiple attacking stats to score well; his base stats are fairly good. We may as well give ourselves the best chance possible if we’re going to take a risk on Duges.
The Dragons’ CTWs have a few decent options that won’t be selected by many coaches. Euan Aitken and Taane Milne should both continue to produce respectable base stats but will come with a little risk due to the limited attacking potential against their run of tough opponents. Last season they scored 55 and 54 PPG respectively and will be great additions to your side after the first bye round. Hopefully we can pick them up a little cheaper at that time too but just be wary that they’re not ideal for your run home side so try not to waste trades trying to chase points through that period. Be wary that Tim Lafai played at centre during the Charity Shield on Sunday so we’ll have to wait for TLT to confirm that final centre position. Keep an eye on Nene MacDonald as he could get that ‘new club feeling’ after joining the Dragons from the Titans this season.
Josh McCrone and Jai Field still seem to be fighting it out for the starting halves spot and we’re all hoping the latter will win the battle. Field showed us what he’s capable of at the Nines and he’ll be one of the most selected cheapies in SC if he shows up on Team List Tuesday. Don’t’ forget that Hingano isn’t a viable option now that Foran is due back in round three so Field should be your answer if you’re looking for a cheapie in the halves.
Paul Vaughan will play his debut season at the Dragons and should be a great value pick for your SuperCoach team. He has signed a lucrative three year deal and will slot straight into their starting line-up. What impresses me most about Vaughan is his work rate. He produces a solid PPM figure every year so there’s no reason he won’t average well after earning a starting role in 2017. He’s currently owned by around 16% of coaches which probably won’t change significantly come round one.
Jack DeBelin is a base stats machine who won’t look out of place in your starting side. He played 80 minutes in five of the final seven rounds of last season and scored 60 points in over 60% of his appearances. $424k isn’t a bad price to pay for someone like DeBelin. He’ll provide your team with consistency, plenty of base stats and like Vaughan, a FRF/2RF DPP option which we all know can be extremely valuable at times. It’s good to see the man-bun has been shaven off too.
Dragons Likely Seventeen:
1.Josh Dugan ($372.8k)
2. Nene MacDonald ($282.9k)
3. Euan Aitken ($368.3k)
4. Taane Milne ($325.7k)/Tim Lafai ($281.9k)
5. Jason Nightingale ($360.1k)
6. Gareth Widdop ($334.8k)
7. Josh McCrone ($183.3k) / Jai Field ($122.6k)
8. Paul Vaughan ($341.3k)
9. Cameron McInnes ($369.4k)
10. Leeson Ah Mau ($269.9k)
11. Tyson Frizell ($364.8k)
12. Joel Thompson ($326.5k)
13. Jack DeBelin ($424.6k)
14. Tariq Sims ($333.4k)
15. Jacob Host ($231.5k)
16. Russell Packer ($268.6k)
17. Luciano Leilua ($189.8k)
Are you willing to take a risk on the Dragon’s CTWs come round thirteen?