Reigning NRL SuperCoach champion Guy Feeney.
Reigning NRL SuperCoach champion Guy Feeney.

SuperCoach NRL: Reigning champ reveals team

NRL SuperCoach is back for 2019 and what an eventful off-season it has been.

I can't wait for the action to start. Meanwhile my wife is ecstatic that the footy season is just about back as well……

Anyway my advice when planning your initial side is to stick to the tried and tested method of guns and rookies as best you can. Taking a chance on two or three mid-range players is fine but needs to be backed by some logical reasoning - recovered from injury, taking over a starting position etc.

Many SuperCoach veterans will say it's imperative to start your side with 25 scoring players. I differ on this line of thought and am happy to take a chance on two players who I think will get some time if there are injuries or during the representative period of the season. Making money is important but points are what wins the title.

As you will see with my side, I am a big believer in stacking the second row. This was a strategy I used last year and will definitely be employing this year again. With the centre/wing position the most volatile for scoring, I will again look at going cheap in this position and upgrading later, which I also did last year.

Without further ado, here is Munsters INC 2019 edition.

 

 

Damien Cook was the best player in SuperCoach last year.
Damien Cook was the best player in SuperCoach last year.

HOOKERS

Damien Cook ($726,000)

The most expensive player in the game, but well worth it when you consider he beat Jake Trbojevic (second) by 66 points playing one less game. He averaged 14 points higher than his nearest hooking rival and that disparity in scoring won't be found in any other position.

Whilst Wayne Bennett is a minor concern, he would be crazy to change Cook's game. The main benefit of starting with Cook though is it's easier to downgrade if he fails rather than scramble to upgrade if he kicks off with high scores. He will be in my side barring a second hooker being named in the team.

 

Victor Radley ($400,700)

Radley's minutes should improve from the 44 he averaged in 2018. If he jags the lock spot as predicted, he should play around the 55-60 min mark. With a PPM of 0.97 this is a significant boost to his score. He also benefits from being on the best attacking team in the league.

 

FRONT ROWERS

Tevita Pangai ($495,000)

Watching this bloke last year reminded me a lot of Fifita. He would be on a quiet 15 points and a play later jump to 65. He is strong with great attacking instincts for a forward that should be developed by Seibold. If he moves to lock, I don't see how you can leave him out of your team at this price.

Dale Finucane ($432,900)

Whilst I will rely on Pangai as my attacking FRF, Finucane will be there to get a consistent 50-55 points. Coming back from injury he should improve his 2018 average of 46 points. I don't see him as a keeper, but he should increase his price and be used as a stepping stone to a Taupau/Fifita.

Payne Haas ($181,100)

Has had big raps on him from north of the border for years. Was a weapon in the younger leagues and should carry that into grade. A cheapie in the FRF who should improve his price by $100k at the least.

 

Payne Haas is a serious talent.
Payne Haas is a serious talent.

 

Taniela Paseka ($196,900)

A place holder for the moment. Hopefully another cheapie will emerge. If not and he is named on the bench for the Sea Eagles I will pick him and hopefully he falls over the line for a try…….

 

SECOND ROW FORWARDS

Jake Trbojevic ($667,600)

I despise … nay detest the Eagles. But you have to respect the way this bloke plays football and the attitude and mentality he has to match. He finished the past two seasons second on the overall point scoring list. He is a workaholic and his connection with his brother leads to both creative and attacking stats. The first bloke picked in my side.

Angus Crichton ($646,900)

A 52 base scoring edge second rower, who has also shown he can break the line and score tries. Yes please. Whilst his scoring and evasive stats were down last year in comparison to his 2017 campaign, he remains a dangerous ball runner who will now be running off Cooper Cronk. Go and have a look at what Cronk did for both Tohu Harris and Felise Kaufusi at the Storm.

Don't give me the "he's at a new club it will take time to gel" line. Cronk is arguably a top five halfback to ever play the game. He will have it sorted and Crichton will be humming from Round 1.

Jai Arrow ($598,000)

The bloke was playing busted and still pumped out 60s for fun. Possibly the only player in the league who likes defending more than running the ball. Despite his injuries he still averaged 55 mins per game at a very respectable 1.17PPM.

Arrow only crossed for three tries but he can break a tackle and doesn't mind an offload to go along with his handy base scoring. He should play 55-60 mins and barring injury be a top 10 player by the end of the year.

 

Jai Arrow is coming off a breakout season.
Jai Arrow is coming off a breakout season.

Cam Murray ($458,900)

This pick only stands if he plays lock. Murray demonstrated what he could do last year when he got the minutes with a decent work rate. He even scored well off the bench with limited minutes. He is way undervalued if he starts and I expect him in a lot of starting teams.

Joe Stimson ($352,900)

Stimson should start on the edge for the Storm with the departure of Ryan Hoffman. Craig Bellamy loves his 80 min edge back rowers, so he should get plenty of game time. I am a bit hesitant after some further research as his 80 min games went for scores of 48, 45, 56, 50, 44, 43, 53 and 65. He is dependent on attacking stats to get good scores. He is lightly pencilled in at the moment.

Tui Kamikamica ($196,900)

I did say to stay away from the cheapies at the Storm in my team preview. However, he is cheap and playing so until a better option comes along, he is pencilled in. There are some big wraps on Tui, but Bellamy is renowned for bringing rookies along slowly so I'm not overly happy with the pick. See what Team List Tuesday brings.


 

 

 

HALFBACKS

Michael Morgan ($409,200)

With the return of Jordan McLean from injury last year the Cowboys started to dominate the middle at the back end of the year. Add in Josh McGuire and the Cowboys pack is formidable, which helps Morgan. Experience in the backs has been lost but replaced by much needed speed. Without JT, Morgan shone bright like a diamond and I am thinking he can reproduce. Either way he is under-priced and be used to upgrade to a top end gun.

Chanel Harris-Tavita ($168,100)

This could be any of the three halves whose names have been thrown around over the ditch in place of Shaun Johnson. Obviously will be confirmed team list Tuesday. It seems a rookie will get the nod and generally when a rookie starts you pick him.

 

Chanel Harris-Tavita (right) is in contention for a Warriors’ halves role.
Chanel Harris-Tavita (right) is in contention for a Warriors’ halves role.

 

FIVE-EIGHTHS

Kalyn Ponga ($614,300)

I didn't own him last year and every time he took the field, I had heart palpitations. The kid is an absolute freak. I don't care about his stats I just know they were good and with a year under his belt he is capable of more.

Jaeman Salmon ($210,500)

If he starts for the Eels in place of Corey Norman, he's another automatic selection. Cheap price for a starter. Have to take advantage of that when available.

 

WINGS/CENTRES

The strategy I approach with is to go cheap in this position. I know there is potential not all of these guys will start so some are obviously place holders and Team List Tuesday will determine any changes. Don't be chewing me out in the comments……

Kurt Mann (centre) has joined the Knights.
Kurt Mann (centre) has joined the Knights.

Kurt Mann ($258,900)

News is the Knights are looking to start Mann at No. 9. If this is the case, he is locked in my team. Newcastle have a decent pack with David Klemmer, Tim Glasby, Daniel Saifiti and big Herman Ese'ese providing the go forward. Mann is a good runner of the ball and if he learns when to run, he could be a poor man's version of Damien Cook. A definite money maker……

Tom Opacic ($245,200)

Behind some quality players at the Broncos and looking for an opportunity I believe he definitely has it at the Cowboys, who need to inject some youth in the backline. Impressive stats for Redcliffe Dolphins - 14 appearances, eight tries, three try assists, 37 tackle breaks and seven linebreaks.

Zac Lomax ($196,900)

This kid is quality and will definitely have a spot in the Dragons backline somewhere. His best position is fullback and I can't wait until he finally gets his opportunity there. For now, I will take him in my centre/wing spot for cheap.

Brad Abbey ($203,800)

A place holder until we get a firmer idea of who will make the sides.

Albert Hopoate ($168,100)

Has good family genes for the game and partners with a freak at fullback who can create for anyone on the team. If Hoppa can lock down the wing spot, he should reap the benefits.

Bronson Xerri ($168,100)

 

Bronson Xerri is a serious young talent. Picture: Mark Evans
Bronson Xerri is a serious young talent. Picture: Mark Evans

 

One of the guys I don't mind taking a punt on if I think he will get a spot at some stage through the season. A favourite junior of recently departed coach Shane Flanagan, who said he would have blooded him last year if NRL rules allowed (who knows if this opinion is shared by new coach John Morris). But as a kid who played both 18s and 20s Origin in the same year before scoring a hattrick in his first taste of big boy footy, he is should get a start at some stage. Until then can be used for loop purposes.

Mikaele Ravalawa ($168,100)

Some Dragons fans have informed that this bloke's name is getting spoken louder and louder. I honestly hadn't heard of him, so I went to YouTube. I watched the video titled "MIKA MAGIC! Mikaele Ravalawa's five tries in Intrust Super Premiership NSW" and pencilled him into my side.

 

FULLBACKS

Tom Trbojevic ($691,200)

The third highest scoring player of 2018. Turbo Tom is probably the hardest man to stop when on the move 5m from the try line. He can score himself or set others up. The focal point of Manly's attack, he looks to get his hands on the ball at every opportunity inside the opposing team's 20m line. Like Ponga, a player you hate watching if not in your team.

James Tedesco ($689,000)

The fourth highest scoring player of 2018. There is nowhere on the field he can't score from and he has a nose for sniffing gaps. The fact he is on the best attacking team in the comp helps, though it's not needed as he showed with his time at the Tigers. Tedesco will be near the top of SuperCoach scoring again in the 2019 season

# Authors Note

Side was selected pre-knowledge of the new Try Contribution rule change.