The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - League Central -


Sharks: Paul Gallen’s re­turn to the start­ing side is wel­come news to those who missed his bench­ing. Gallen scored 40 in 45 min­utes and Su­perCoach Stats pre­dicts he will drop by $60,000 over the first six rounds, at which point he’ll be a juicy pick-up. How­ever, those who al­ready own him must ride the down­ward slope for now and wait for the up­ward swing, sav­ing the two trades in­volved in punt­ing him then bring­ing him back. Sione Ka­toa is also a hold given there are no ob­vi­ous re­place­ments (un­less you missed a pop­u­lar cheapie). But that could change next week if Phillip Sami, Will Matthews or Adam Doueihi fire.

Dragons: Don’t pick Gareth Wid­dop af­ter a ca­reer year, they said. He will get less ball along­side Ben Hunt, they said. Well, Wid­dop made a fool of the 94 per cent of Su­perCoaches, in­clud­ing my­self, who agreed with these pre-sea­son pre­dic­tions by notch­ing another ton at Fortress Kog­a­rah and top­ping Su­perCoach scor­ing for the week. Lu­ciano Leilua only man­aged 13 in 24 min­utes and is a sell op­tion. If you have the cash to go to Rob­bie Ro­chow, do it. In wor­ry­ing signs, pop­u­lar play­ers James Gra­ham (43 min­utes) and Jack De Belin (58 min­utes) at­tracted ap­prox­i­mately 10 min­utes less than their sea­son av­er­ages from last year (although De Belin was saved by a try).


Roost­ers: The re­turn of Luke Keary will only im­prove the left-side at­tack and there­fore the ser­vice to pop­u­lar midranger La­trell Mitchell, who flopped last week like most Roost­ers in the shock loss to the Tigers. Sio Siua Taukeiaho notched just 38 in 48 min­utes and, most wor­ry­ingly, didn’t kick goals. He is the third most sold player this week and for good rea­son, par­tic­u­larly for those who missed Ro­chow. James Tedesco is the fourth most sold player, but those peo­ple are crazy. He would have cracked the half ton if he could catch and the com­bi­na­tion with Cooper Cronk will come.

Bull­dogs: Ray­mond Faita­laMariner is the eighth most pur­chased player fol­low­ing his dis­play on the left edge, where he com­bined well with Kieran Fo­ran. RFM scored 76 points, in­clud­ing a try, but the to­tal of 35 in base stats is a worry for an 80-minute stint. He’s a solid buy in the mid-range, but Rob­bie Ro­chow and Slade Grif­fin are far bet­ter pur­chases for $60,000 less and with bet­ter base.


Bron­cos: It’s not of­ten Su­perCoaches praise Wayne Ben­nett, but the vet­eran men­tor has seen the light and benched Sam Thai­day in­stead of Te­vita Pan­gai Jr. TPJ banged out 57 in 46 min­utes and we can ex­pect more of the same this week, es­pe­cially with util­ity Tom Opacic named on the bench. An­thony Mil­ford is the fifth most sold player fol­low­ing his Kog­a­rah shocker. But these Su­perCoaches are jump­ing the gun be­cause he plays at Sun­corp this week (where he av­er­ages 77 over his ca­reer) against the Cow­boys (who he av­er­ages 68 against over his ca­reer). He then has a soft run against the Tigers, Ti­tans (at Sun­corp) and Knights. Matt Lodge had a shocker on his re­turn to NRL but the signs were mostly good for Su­perCoach. He played 57 min­utes and topped the me­tres in a well-beaten Bris­bane pack. He re­mains a start­ing Su­perCoach player, while Ja­mayne Is­sako wouldn’t look out of place in any 17 given his strong base of 35 (in­clud­ing tackle busts).

Cow­boys: As pre­dicted in the pre-sea­son, Ja­son Tau­malolo’s game time dropped by 10 min­utes with Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston back (he played 53 min­utes last week com­pared to an av­er­age of 63 last year). Like Gallen, Lolo should drop to a very juicy price by round six or so.


War­riors: Shaun John­son was huge last week de­spite the long trip to Perth and he is a cap­taincy op­tion this round against the Ti­tans at Mt Smart. Isa­iah Pa­pali’i (58 in 80 min­utes, in­clud­ing a try) and Ligi Sao (40 in 46 min­utes — great work rate) pro­duced as low-own­er­ship cheap­ies. One will be a must have, the other will lose their start­ing spot when Si­mon Man­ner­ing (shoul­der) re­turns as early as next week. Both are too risky for now but stick them at the top of your watch list.

Ti­tans: Leilani Latu’s 24 in 40 min­utes isn’t good enough and he has bid farewell to Sang­ster’s Par­adise, re­placed by Rob­bie Ro­chow. Phillip Sami (64) crossed for a try and will be a se­ri­ous tar­get if he backs up with another good score this week. Keep an eye on Will Matthews (47 in 55 min­utes) as a sneaky cheapie for next week with rare dual flex­i­bil­ity at CTW and 2RF. Bryce Cartwright scored 43 in 52 min­utes, al­most en­tirely in base stats. He’ll be a handy cow but ap­pears highly un­likely to re­turn to the glory days of 2016, when he fin­ished sec­ond in the Su­perCoach rank­ings be­hind Cameron Smith.


Panthers: Cheapie Vil­iame Kikau pro­duced a barn­stormer off the bench and is there­fore the sec­ond most pur­chased player this week. Trent Mer­rin’s 73 was im­pres­sive and he’s look­ing as fit as ever, but the lack of game time (50 min­utes) is a worry.

Rab­bitohs: Richie Ken­nar scored two tries against the War­riors and showed be­ing out­side Dane Ga­gai is a damn fine place to be for a cheapie. Su­perCoaches will be keep­ing a hawk-like watch on cheapie prospect Adam Doueihi, who will play half­back and likely kick goals. He is only avail­able at CTW for Su­perCoach and could be a great re­place­ment for Sione Ka­toa. Pop­u­lar cheapie Mark Ni­cholls (27 in 41 min­utes) was dis­ap­point­ing from a work-rate per­spec­tive. He has been benched this week and looms as a po­ten­tial sell next round for a Ro­chow, Grif­fin, Sao, Pa­pali’i type. Pre­sea­son fancy Cameron Mur­ray scores the lock spot a week too late for Su­perCoaches, but re­mains a player to mon­i­tor. Damien Cook own­ers will be pretty chuffed af­ter he played 80 min­utes for 67 points.


Storm: If Cameron Mun­ster ever be­comes a full-time full­back, he will be owned by more than 50 per cent of Su­perCoaches. Cameron Smith is al­ways an ob­vi­ous cap­tain op­tion, but es­pe­cially this week against the Tigers at AAMI Park in Billy Slater’s 300th game. Jesse Bromwich (48 min­utes) and Nel­son Asofa-Solomona (34 min­utes) will never at­tract the game time re­quired for Su­perCoach in a pack that fea­tures four mid­dle for­wards on the bench.

Tigers: Rob­bie Ro­chow is the safest and best cheapie op­tion for those trad­ing this week. He played 80 min­utes on an edge for 61 points, but the most im­pres­sive part was the 53 points in pure base stats. Ivan Cleary won’t muck around with a win­ning side and Ro­chow there­fore has the job se­cu­rity to en­sure at least one or two rises and prob­a­bly more based purely on form, even with Chris McQueen and Sauaso Sue lurk­ing.


Sea Ea­gles: Kelepi Tangi­noa was in beast mode for his 41 in 47 min­utes and he re­mains a cheapie pur­chase, although it’s best wait to see if he backs it up this week. One thing is sure, Tangi­noa’s spot in the 17 is safe through form alone, even when Darcy Lus­sick (an­kle) re­turns in a few weeks. Tom Tr­bo­je­vic did ba­si­cally noth­ing and still scored 73. Gun. Jake Tr­bo­je­vic’s 59 was a tad dis­ap­point­ing for him, but the good news is he played the full 89 min­utes.

Eels: Mitchell Moses (35) is worth another crack. He had ex­cuses with a HIA and sin­bin­ning. Nathan Brown notched a strong 74, but it’s hard to see the scores con­tin­u­ing given a game-time drop from last year’s av­er­age of 67 min­utes to 59.


Raiders: Siliva Hav­ili only played 30 min­utes. Luck­ily for the 32 per cent who still own him, he was saved by a try. But scores in the 50s are not sus­tain­able in this game time and a trade to Damien Cook or Slade Grif­fin is a must over the next two weeks. Jar­rod Cro­ker (21) was steam­rolled by Kon­rad Hur­rell early and wasn’t the same when he re­turned from a con­cus­sion test. He’s def­i­nitely worth another crack this week.

Knights: Slade Grif­fin is the most pur­chased player in Su­perCoach fol­low­ing a bril­liant 82. His score was in­flated by eight min­utes of ex­tra time and a try, but he still played 60 min­utes of reg­u­lar time. At his work rate, this equates to a floor of 40-ish, more than enough for some handy rises. Ka­lyn Ponga out­played his more ex­pen­sive ri­vals James Tedesco (by 46 points) and Tom Tr­bo­je­vic (by eight). Con­nor Wat­son (57) and Her­man Ese’ese (64 in 52 min­utes) were also im­pres­sive in New­cas­tle’s win.

The Tigers’ Rob­bie Ro­chow is the best cheapie op­tion. Pic­ture: AAP

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