The fullback position alone is set to make-or-break the early stages of the SuperCoach season.
Major changes have resulted in an absolutely stacked position, yet coaches can fit just two stars into their round 1 team.
The logjam is so intense that many well credentialed coaches have superstar playmaker Kalyn Ponga struggling to make their top five.
Val Holmes returns from his NFL venture at a discounted price, Ryan Papenhuyzen is locked into an 80-minute role.
Latrell Mitchell will see plenty more ball in the No.1 jumper, while the likes of James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic face a tough task to match career-high seasons.
But if we take a greater look into Ponga’s numbers, there’s a strong case to suggest he could be a very strong POD to start the year.
Ponga upped his 2018 average of 66PPG to 68PPG last season, with a few additional goal-kicking conversions making up the difference.
As it stands, Ponga is set to take on the fulltime goal-kicking role at the Knights with young gun Phoenix Crossland tipped to edge Mason Lino as the club’s five-eighth.
Lino had 33 conversions last season at 84%, so if we add 30 of these conversions onto Ponga’s overall score – based on his 80% success rate – he would have upped his average to 74PPG.
Further to this, Ponga spent the first three games of the season out of position at five-eighth.
In 17 games at fullback, he averaged 73PPG for the season.
Internal dramas surrounding then coach Nathan Brown tore apart the Knights’ run home, winning just two of their final six games, with the losses coming in emphatic fashion.
It’s easy to pick and choose stats to make a case for buying a player but leading into the final six games, Ponga averaged 76.6PPG prior to the slide.
Ponga is available at a $147k discount to Tedesco ($781,500) and an $80k discount to Trbojevic ($714,800).
He’ll stay in his preferred fullback role, likely as fulltime goal-kicker, in a Newcastle side strongly tipped to improve on their 2019 performance.
It’s also easy to forget Ponga will play in just his third full NRL season.
MPG = Minutes per game
PPG = Points per game
PPM = Points per minute
BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)
POD = Point of difference