All posts by Callum Urquhart

Dean Paying the price for the Bulldogs’ board woes

Canterbury Bulldogs coach Dean Pay

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been in dire straits in 2020.

With just 1 win from 8 games so far this season, something needs to change.

Earlier in the season, it looked like Dean Pay was all but gone.

In round 4 and with both sides winless heading into the clash, the Bulldogs took on the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium.

The match was billed with the losing coach losing their job. Dean Pay vs Paul McGregor. The Bulldogs won and Dean Pay survived.

Even though the men in blue and white won the game easily (22-2), the Dragons have picked up in form and the Doggies now sit dead last.

However, the men on the NRL 360 desk believe the coach is not the problem.

Canterbury Bulldogs half Kieran Foran

Instead, it is the boardroom dramas at Belmore.

The current board, chaired by Lynne Anderson, is just as much of a mess as the club is on field.

The club does not have anything for the future.

They don’t know who their coach is, what their home ground will be, what their main sponsor will be.

The current board came in on the promise that they would fix everything and that has not happened well.

Phil Rothfield said on NRL 360, “There was some impatient people on the edges, and I’m talking lobbying power brokers who got rid of Ray Dibb last time and put this new board in have now turned on them”.

Canterbury Bulldogs veteran prop Aiden Tolman

Rothfield also believed they will bring in a new board and will attempt to bring Wayne Bennett over from Redfern.

As well, they want Mick Ennis to come in and learn coaching from Wayne Bennett to become an NRL coach.

Paul Kent said, “this is where I feel bad for a bloke like Dean Pay who is paying the price for what is happening.”

The main example of this is Josh Reynolds, the current starting five-eighth for the Wests Tigers.

Dean Pay wanted to sign Josh Reynolds but the board blocked the signing.

The reason for this is because the board wanted to look long term and not sign an old halfback but, they aren’t giving Dean Pay long term.

Canterbury Bulldogs young half Lachlan Lewis

They want short term results from a long term vision and the coach is paying the price for that.

Ben Ikin said, “the patience that they expected from their constituents, they are not prepared to give to their current coach.”

James Hooper says on the show that the factionalism of the board is a massive issue and their all constantly at war.

This leads to indecision in the board over the big decisions, such as the coach.

This also affects player recruitment and retention.

James Hooper said, “The first question that any player that Canterbury show any interest in signing for 2021 asks; who’s going to be the coach? And they can’t give them an answer”.

The dogs of war have become the dogs at war.

Canterbury Bulldogs captain and back-rower Josh Jackson

Warriors drown disappointing Broncos

New Zealand Warriors veteran half Blake Green

The Brisbane Broncos nightmare continued after they fell to a sixth straight defeat, this time at the hands of the New Zealand Warriors.

It would be the men in maroon and gold who opened the scoring.

After a few repeat sets on the goal line, a simple overlap to the right side that opened up the Warriors.

Tesi Niu delivered the final pass to PNG international, Xavier Coates who crossed in the corner.

Jamayne Isaako hit the post so the score remained 4-0 to the Broncos.

The Warriors then had a few sets on the goal line and it looked like they had a great chance to score.

However, Coates intercepted it and ran 90 to get a double against the run of play.

Isaako converted this one to make the lead 10-0.

The Warriors would finally get on the board with 1 and a half minutes left in the half after a nice short side play.

Chanel Harris-Tavita threw a cutout ball to Gerard Beale who gave the last pass to Ken Maumalo.

Maumalo gave the Warriors their first points and Harris-Tavita converted to lower the deficit to 10-6 going into the half time break

The Warriors started fast in the second half to level the scores.

Agnatius Paasi crashed over under the posts to score the 4-pointer. Harris-Tavita converted to take the lead 12-10.

10 minutes later, the Broncos would strike back.

From 40 out, Anthony Milford put up a beautiful spiral bomb.

Peta Hiku let it bounce and it went into the in goal.

It bounced over the head of a defender into the grasp of Herbie Farnworth to score.

Isaako converted to make the lead 16-12.

A few minutes later, David Fusitu’a scored to strike back for the New Zealanders but the Broncos challenged the try.

An obstruction was ruled and the Broncos survived.

This would not last long though.

With 10 minutes left, Wayde Egan ran from dummy-half and managed to break through three defenders to score.

Harris-Tavita converted to take the lead 18-16.

A few minutes later, the Warriors would all but seal the game as they crosses for the 4th time this game.

On the last tackle, Maumalo dived over in the corner with a wonderful put down.

However,  Harris-Tavita missed the goal meaning the lead remained 22-16.

To finish off the game, with 1 minute left, Isaiah Papali’i crossed the stripe.

David Fusitu’a was given the final kick but he hooked it.

The score held 26-16 until the end of the game.

Warriors coach Todd Payten praised his side’s resolve but also new loan recruit Jack Hetherington.

“He just threw himself into the week as well, he wasn’t quiet or shy,” Payten said.

“I thought he added a lot of leg speed and a different body shape through the middle for us.

“He made me feel old because he’s the first player I’ve ever coached that I’ve played with his father.”

With the Broncos down in the dumps, veteran back-rower Alex Glenn has vowed to help lead the side out of their slump, as he showed emotion post-game.

“I just got overwhelmed out there,” Glenn said.

“Sometimes we cry, we get upset. It’s just been a couple of tough weeks.

“It just hurts because I know the effort that we’re putting into training every week.

It’s just little areas in our game, we’re lacking discipline. I just care for this club, care for this team so much.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Blake Green

2. Wayde Egan

  1. Ken Maumalo
New Zealand Warriors hooker Wayde Egan

Sharks run rampant in high-scoring clash against Manly

Cronulla Sharks half Shaun Johnson

The Manly Sea Eagles came into this game sitting in the top 8 with two wins in a row while the Cronulla Sharks got back into the winners circle last week.

First points of the game went the way of the men in blue.

It was the late starter Braden Hamlin-Uele who crashed over with Shaun Johnson converting to make the lead 6-0.

It was not long until the Sea eagles struck back.

On his return from injury, Jorge Taufua went over for the Sea Eagles first points.

Reuben Garrick was unable to add the 2 points from the left sideline so the lead remained 6-4 to the Sharks.

That lead however, would not last much longer.

5 minutes after Manly’s try, a grubber was put through by the Sea Eagles.

It was cleaned up by Matt Moylan but he was deemed offside as he was in front of Briton Nikora who already touched it.

Garrick added the 2 points from right in front to level the score at 6-all.

Cronulla did not take long to take the lead back.

The scores were only level for 5 minutes before Sione Katoa broke the deadlock.

Johnson sent a grubber through the defensive line and it bounced up for Katoa to add the 4 points.

Johnson converted to make the lead 12-6. This remained the score until the half time break.

Manly needed a fast start to the second half but instead, they didn’t even seem to leave the sheds.

Sharks received the kickoff and on the opening set, Chad Townsend grubbered through for Josh Dugan to score.

Johnson converted to make the lead 24-6.

The Sharks had all the momentum and it was Johnson who was involved yet again.

He threw a beautiful cutout ball to Bryson Goodwin who beat one tackle and powered over to score.

The Kiwi international had his first miss of the night and the score remained 28-6.

A few minutes later, the Sharks again had the ball in great position.

Quick hands through Johnson and Chad gave Katoa enough space.

Katoa raced over and produced a quality put down to score a 4-pointer that was “sexy for the fans”.

Johnson had a brilliant conversion attempt to make the lead 34-6.

Manly finally hit back with 20 minutes left.

Nikora shot up out of the line leaving a gaping hole for Jake Trbojevic.

Addin Fonua-Blake received it on the inside as support to score Manly’s first second half points.

Garrick kicked the goal from right in front to lower the deficit to 34-12.

As Manly looked to build some momentum, an error let Cronulla off the hook and they had field position again.

A grubber was placed through that Blayke Brailey chased to score Cronulla’s seventh try of the afternoon.

Johnson added the 2 to make the lead 40-12.

With less than 10 minutes left and a 28 point lead, Sharks had all but won it.

However, that didn’t stop Manly from scoring a consolation try.

On the goal line, Curtis Sironen drew in a couple defenders and offloaded to Fonua-Blake who scored a double.

Garrick converted to lower the deficit to 40-18.

Manly crossed again five minutes later but it still wasn’t enough.

Tevita Funa got the ball with enough space to get a try with a spectacular finish.

Garrick hooked the goal so the score remained 40-22 to the Sharks.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Shaun Johnson (CRO)

2. Chad Townsend (CRO)

  1. Addin Fonua-Blake (MAN)
Cronulla Sharks half Chad Townsend

Newcastle Knights overpower a tame Brisbane Broncos

Newcastle Knights five-eighth Kurt Mann

The Newcastle Knights took on the Brisbane Broncos and as expected, it was all Newcastle and they got the win.

The Knights were coming off their first loss while Brisbane had taken three in a row.

After dominating  possession, the Knights would be the first to crack the scoreboard.

Mitch Pearce held the ball up beautifully and sent Kurt Mann through a gaping hole to score.

Kalyn Ponga converted and the lead was 6-0.

5 minutes later, it looked like Corey Oates had given Broncos some points as well.

However, a second look from the bunker revealed that Jamayne Isaako pushed a defender off the ball and a penalty to the Knights was awarded.

It got worse for the Broncos; Jamayne Isaako was controversially sent to the sin bin and the Knights capitalised.

Mann grubbered to the wing of Hymel Hunt who ran over near the posts to score.

Ponga added the two points to make the lead 12-0.

10 minutes later, still a man down, the Broncos looked for sure to concede to Newcastle.

Andrew McCullough attempted to throw a cutout ball to Edrick Lee but it was intercepted by Xavier Coates who ran 100 to score.

Herbie Farnworth converted to cut the deficit to 12-6.

As the half-time siren approached, Pearce kicked a field goal to make the lead 13-6.

Newcastle came out firing in the second half with an early try.

Daniel Saifiti powered over with 3 defenders on him to score.

Ponga converted to make the lead 19-6.

With 20 minutes left in the game, Pat Carrigan hit Pearce very late and he was sent to the bin.

The Knights kicked the 2 points and the score read 21-6.

To end the game, Pearce stepped over under the posts and Ponga added the 2 to make the final score 27-6.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Kurt Mann

2. Daniel Saifiti

  1. Mitchell Pearce
Newcastle Knights prop Daniel Saifiti

Manly Sea Eagles make resurgent comeback against rejuvenated Brisbane Broncos

Manly Sea Eagles prop Addin Fonua-Blake






The Manly Sea Eagles were coming off a controversial loss to the Eels whereas the Brisbane Broncos were coming off of two heavy defeats  in a row.

Talented Manly rookie Tevita Funa made his NRL debut in this clash.

Brisbane started much stronger than they have recent weeks by scoring first points.

Kotoni Staggs grubbered for himself to score 6 minutes into his return from suspension.

Jamayne Isaako converted and the Broncos had their first lead of the suspended season.

The Broncos again cracked the Manly line 15 minutes in.

The Broncos bombed to the massive winger Xavier Coates who took it in and grounded it to get the second try.

Isaako added the two from the far right side to make the lead 12-0.

The away team kept the points coming against the shellshocked Sea eagles with their third try coming in the 30th minute.

The Brisbane side had Manly beaten for numbers down the left side and former captain Darius Boyd powered over.

Isaako went 3 from 3 to make the lead 18-0.

5 minutes from half time, it looked like Boyd had crossed for his second but a second look from the bunker gave second thoughts.

Corey Oates obstructed Daly Cherry-Evans causing a no try and a penalty to the sea eagles.

Manly used this penalty to finally score.

After a great cutout ball, Funa raced over in the corner to score on debut.

To make the comeback even more difficult, Reuben Garrick missed the goal to keep the score 18-4 in Brisbane’s favour.

Manly needed to come out firing in the second half and they did exactly that.
After 3 and a half minutes, Cherry-Evans cracked the Broncos line with a slick run to get Manly back in the game.

Garrick kicked the goal and the Broncos lead was cut to eight.

15 minutes into the second half, Manly had their second unanswered try of the half.

A shoot by Boyd left space for Moses Suli to walk over and get the 4-pointer.

Garrick converted and the Broncos lead was down to just two points.

65 minutes in, Coates would give away a penalty for an escort and Garrick would level the scores at 18-all with the penalty goal.

With just less than 10 minutes left, Pat Carrigan was penalised for stripping the ball after the held call.

Garrick added the two to take the lead 20-18.

Manly showed gallant defence and just held on to win the game 20-18.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Addin Fonua-Blake (MAN)

2. Xavier Coates (BRI)

1. Daly Cherry-Evans (MAN)

Manly Sea Eagles captain and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans


Titans break 364-day winning drought to defeat the Tigers

Gold Coast Titans halfback Ashley Taylor

It was the Wests Tigers who started as favourites but the Gold Coast Titans were desperate for their opening win.

In two days, had the Titans not won, it would have marked a year since their most last NRL win.

The Tigers opened the scoring on their first trip to the Titans end.

Five minutes in, Benji Marshall gave it under to Adam Doueihi who had enough space to power over the line.

He was almost held up but he got the ball down and Marshall converted. The Tigers lead 6-0.

Another five minutes later, the Tigers would crack the scoreboard again.

At the halfway line, the Titans lead a raid down the left side.

Ashley Taylor threw a cutout ball which was intercepted by David Nofoaluma who out jogged Jai Arrow to score.

Again, Marshall converted to make the lead 12-0.

20 minutes into the game, the Titans would get their first points on the board.

Taylor barely kicked a 40/20 before Kevin Proctor crashed over the line. Taylor converted to lower the deficit to 12-6.

Again, five minutes later, the Titans got a try to level the score.

Taylor put a crossfield bomb up for Anthony Don to make a magnificent catch and bring it down for a four-pointer.

Taylor converted to level the scores at 12-all. This score remained until half time.

The Tigers came out firing in the second half with a very early try. Luke Brooks bombed and the Titans let it bounce.

The Tigers got the ball and put it through the hands to the right side.

David Nofoaluma kicked back in perfectly to Joey Leilua who scored a try of the year contender.

Benji Marshall horribly hooked it to keep the lead 16-12 to the Tigers.

10 minutes later, the Tigers had the ball back down the Titans end.

On the last tackle, Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks were both unable to kick so the ball ended up with Doueihi.

Doueihi put in a crossfield kick to Nofoaluma who beat Dale Copley to it to score.

Marshall kicked the goal to make the lead 22-12.

The Titans would hit back a few minutes later.

On the Tigers goal line, Keegan Hipgrave powered over for his first NRL try of his career in his 29th game.

Taylor converted from right in front to lower the deficit to 22-18.

With 10 minutes left, the Titans again crossed the line.

Taylor dribbled a grubber into the corner and Brian Kelly picked it up to score.

Taylor missed the goal to keep the score 22-all and the grandstand finish was set up!

With just 3 minutes left, with the scores tied, it was the 300 game veteran, Benji Marshall who kicked the field goal.

The Tigers led 23-22 but the game wasn’t over.

After a short kickoff, with 2 minutes left, the Titans put a grubber through.

Phillip Sami dived on it to score and win the game.

Taylor converted to make the winning lead 28-23!

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Ashley Taylor (GLD)

2. David Nofoaluma (WST)

  1. Keegan Hipgrave (GLD)
Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma

Raiders weather the Storm in gritty affair

Canberra Raiders halfback George Williams

It was a game that many had as their game of the round as two of the undefeated sides came together to end Super Saturday. Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders.

The Raiders started off brilliantly as they absorbed pressure from the storm and went on the attack.

4 minutes in, close to the Melbourne goal line, Jack Wighton threw a bullet out to Jarrod Croker who tapped it on to Jordan Rapana who went over to open the scoring.

It was Rapana’s first try in his return to the NRL and Croker converted it.

10 minutes in, on the last tackle, Cameron Smith grubbered into the in goal.

Jahrome Hughes chased but Croker got to it first and grounded it.

However, the bunker was referred to to look for a penalty try, looking for interference on Hughes.

Nothing was found and the try was denied.

A few minutes later, the Raiders had the ball on the storm goal line.

This time, it was a George Williams two person cutout ball to Nick Cotric that would crack the defence.

Cotric produced a great finish in the corner to stay in and ground the ball.

Croker again converted to make the lead 12-0.

On the following set, the Raiders knocked on giving Storm great field position.

This field position lead to Ryan Papenhuyzen putting the ball down over the line, or so we thought.

The bunker disallowed the try as Papenhuyzen lost possession over the line, giving the Raiders a 20m restart.

Both sides went back and forth until the half an hour mark when the storm finally got points on the board.

Dale Finucane crashed over right under the posts and Smith converted to make the score 12-6 to Raiders.

This breath of relief didn’t last long as the Raiders continued to weather the storm.

Only 2 minutes after Finucane’s try, Williams dummied his way through the line.

He drew Papenhuyzen and gave the ball to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad who scored under the posts.

Croker converted to make the lead 18-6 to the Raiders. This remained the score until half time.

Both sides went back and forth for the whole second half, with almost no points coming.

They both defended and defended and in the end, with less than a minute left, the Raiders would go over one last time.

On the 5th tackle, Williams faked the kick and ran down to the right side.

A long ball to Curtis Scott, a chip kick from Nick Cotric and the ball was alive.

It was knocked back by Josh Addo-Carr and jumped on by Jo Tapine to score.

Josh Papalii completely shanked the conversion to finish off his 200th game.

The Raiders went down to Melbourne and defeated the Storm 22-6.

It was a dominant defensive performance by the men in green.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was pleased with his side’s first half but not the second.

“I was really disappointed with how we played and how we executed in the second half and it is not the standard that we are trying to play to,” Stuart said.

“I was very happy with how we started the game… but we didn’t go on with it.

Stuart also went on to praise the grit of his Raiders side.

“It was the grittiness that we showed in the end that was the telling factor,” Stuart continued.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. George Williams

2. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

  1. Nick Cotric
Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Raiders hold on in the heat against the Warriors

Canberra Raiders centre and captain Jarrod Croker

It’s round 2 of the NRL and we kick off our Super Saturday with the New Zealand Warriors taking on the Canberra Raiders on the Gold Coast.

The game started with both sides having attacking opportunities but both made constant errors.

The Raiders would be the first side to crack the defence and score.

Canberra brought the ball left and it ended up with Jarrod Croker who stepped inside instead of handing it out to the winger.

A beautiful offload to Elliott Whitehead and a conversion by Croker gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead.

Both teams attacking struggles continues into the half time break as the score remained 6-0.

Unlike the first half, the Raiders were firing in the start of the second.

Only a metre out, Josh Hodgson put a grubber through the line for Sia Soliola to jump on and score.

Jarrod Croker kicked the goal to make the lead 12-0.

Just 2 minutes later, the Raiders found a way to score their third try.

Adam Blair dropped the ball and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad picked it up to return it the other way.

Nicoll-Klokstad gave it to Curtis Scott who was tackled 10 metres out.

A simple through the hands play to Bailey Simonsson gave the green machine a try in the corner.

Jarrod Croker hooked the goal meaning the score remained 16-0.

With 5 minutes left in the game, the Warriors looked destined to be the first team in a hundred years to be scoreless in their first two games.

However, they made sure to change that.

A grubber was put through the line for Kodi Nikorima to chase.

The raiders defender pulled him out of the way and the bunker called it a penalty try.

Chanel Harris-Tavita sent the goal over to lower the deficit to 16-6.

To finish off the game, on the buzzer, George Williams put a grubber through to the right side.

Curtis Scott chased and scored to make the lead 20-6.

Jarrod Croker hooked the goal meaning the game finished with the Raiders winning 20-6.

The Raiders go two in a row to start the season as the warriors struggle to get their first win.

Next week, the Raiders host the struggling dragons as the Warriors head to Lottoland to play the Sea Eagles.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jarrod Croker

2. Josh Hodgson

  1. Iosia Soliola

Newcastle Knights shut out New Zealand Warriors in the wet

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

The NRL’s first Super Saturday clash of 2020 was a Newcastle Knights v the New Zealand Warriors showdown. 

Our only late team change is King Vuniyayawa taking Karl Lawton’s spot on the bench.

Kalyn Ponga will play his 50th game while Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Eliesa Katoa and King Vuniyayawa will make their debut!

The Knights opened the scoring after 10 minutes of play.

Only a few metres out, Mitch Pearce dropped it Under to Daniel Saifiti who powered over for the first 4-pointer.

Kalyn Ponga sent the kick over from right in front to make the score 6-0 Knights.

10 minutes later, Newcastle cracked the warriors again.

An attempted grubber ricocheted off the Warriors and they knocked on.

Kurt Mann picked up the ball, drew in the winger and gave it to Edrick Lee to score.

Kalyn Ponga hooked the goal so the score remained 10-0 Knights.

Throughout the whole first quarter, penalties plagued the warriors.

The eighth penalty in the first 20 minutes lead to Chanel Harris-Tavita being sin-binned.

The Warriors successfully defended during this 10 minute period and the score held until half time.

To start off the second half, errors creeped back into the warriors game.

An error followed by a penalty lead to Kalyn Ponga slotting a penalty goal to make the lead 12-0.

Again, with half an hour left, Ponga slotted another goal to make the lead 14-0.

5 minutes later, the Knights continued their dominance of the Warriors with another try.

Kalyn Ponga was the man to crack the defence for the third try of game and he converted his own try to make the lead 20-0.

Warriors just couldn’t get any points on the board as the score remained until full time.

The Knights open their bank for 2020 with their first win of the season as they shut out the warriors in the rain.

Knights will play the Wests Tigers next week and the Warriors will play the Canberra Raiders next week (given nothing occurs with COVID-19).

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Kalyn Ponga

2. David Klemmer

  1. Connor Watson

SuperCoach team analysis: One man’s view

As of 2 days ago, the 2019 NRL SuperCoach began and this is a rundown of who I believe will do well and who I have gone with on my team.

1. Hookers

To start off, I’ll take a look at the hookers.

You have one starting hooker and one benched hooker so I’ve picked Jayden Brailey and Jake Turpin.

In his 2 games where he played the full 80 minutes as starting hooker, he averaged 62 with a high of 81.

With a price of 336k, if he keeps up those performances at the start of the season, he would be a great cash cow to eventually upgrade to a much more expensive hooker (e.g. Damien Cook).

I would be having Jake Turpin as one of my scoring bench players.

Newly signed Newcastle Knights recruit Jayden Brailey

Jayden Brailey is a new recruit to the knights after leaving the Sharks last year.

He is the clear favourite to replace the recently departed Danny Levi.

Newcastle start with what is predicted to be some relatively easy games with the Warriors, Tigers and Sharks.

With a quite small starting price of 424k, this could be an opening for Brailey to become a cash cow for the start of the season and allow for upgrades going into round 6-7.

2. Front Rowers

For the front rowers, we are allowed 2 starting and 2 on the bench.

I usually find that the front row forwards are the most consistent players on the field every week so this would be a good place to splurge a bit of money.

For starters, on the bench, I’ve selected Stefano Utoikamanu and Tom Flegler.

Utoikamanu is a cheapie (171k) from the Eels and could be a possibility to get a small bit of game time.

Parramatta Eels prop Stefano Utoikamanu

Either way, it’s a way to just fill a spot with as least money as possible.

Tom Flegler is only 294k and a good chance to be a regular starter. He’ll be a great option to be a cash cow to get a big upgrade later.

For my first starter, I’ve picked Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

Taukeiaho is a consistently consistent forward and usually racks up a decent score.

A finalist for the golden boot in 2019, he averaged 58 throughout the NRL season with a high score of 99.

Also, he has the advantage of being a goal kicker.

With Latrell Mitchell now a Rabbitoh, the two goal kicking options at the Roosters are Kyle Flanagan and Taukeiaho.

Flanagan’s goal kicking was sporadic during the year which means Taukeiaho could get the call up to kick for the Chooks.

Brisbane Broncos prop Payne Haas

Secondly, I’ve added Payne Haas.

After missing the first 4 games of the year in 2019, he still went on to be the Rookie of the Year and almost won the Dally M medal.

Haas averaged a whopping 78 points per game in 2019 which is brilliant for a SuperCoach player.

This was just in his rookie season and as long as we don’t have any more second year syndrome, we’ll be fine with him in 2020.

3. 2nd Row Forwards

In the second row, we have 3 starters and 3 bench players.

On the bench, I’ve picked cheapies who probably won’t play. They are there to fill positions for little money. I’ve picked Kelma Tuilagi, Ben Trbojevic and Teig Wilton.

For my first starter, I’ve picked Brandon Smith.

Smith was interchange player of the year in 2019 and could possibly get a bigger role in the Storm side going into 2020.

In 2019, he averaged 49 off the bench with an absolutely massive high score of 100 wearing the 14 jumper. He could end up being a great cash cow for the start of the season.

Sydney Roosters utility Victor Radley

Secondly, I’ve got Victor Radley. Radley has shown to be a great utility being strong, fast and having some playmaking skills.

He played hooker and lock during the 2019 season and had some very impressive performances, mainly at lock.

He averaged 52 in 2019 and with that score, could have a decent price rise at the start of the season.

Also, the Roosters first round opponent is the Panthers and against them, he averages 62 which would be a great score for round 1.

Brisbane Broncos back-rower David Fifita

Finally, I’ve got David Fifita. The 19-year old tyro dominated defences throughout 2019 totalling Over 100 Tackle busts.

Also a great try-scorer for a second rower, it’s no wonder he averaged 54 during the NRL season.

Only being priced at 501k means he could easily undergo a massive price rise early in the season and even be used as a cash cow.

4. Halfbacks

Now, onto the halfbacks. We get 1 starter and 1 bench player for our Halfback position.

On the bench, I’ve got Jarome Luai. He impressed a lot during his limited game time in 2019, showing a lot of great playmaking skills.

In his final game of season, playing 80 minutes, he got 73 which is a very decent score.

However, his first game is against the Roosters, the only team he’s never been fielded against so we don’t know how well he will go.

I’ve still got him as a scoring reserve though.

Canberra Raiders halfback George Williams

For our starter, I’ve picked George Williams.

Coming from the English Super League this year, he is set to be the replacement for the departing, Aidan Sezer.

Williams impressed this year for the Wigan Warriors, scoring 14 tries in 29 games.

He is also a backup goal kicking option if something happened to Jarrod Croker.

However, a lot of promising Englishmen come to the NRL and underperform which could be the fate for Williams.

He is a risky pick but it’s worth it considering he is only 333k.

5. 5/8s

For our 5/8 position, we again get 1 starter and 1 bench player. For my benched player, I’ve chosen Benji Marshall.

Benji showed class in his play in 2019, getting his highest average in over 5 years, 51.

Also, in round 1, Marshall takes on his former team, the Dragons, which he averages 57 points against in his entire career.

He is 469k which means he may be able to get a bit of a price rise as the season advances.

However, he may not be able to climb for very long, so if you are using him as a cash cow, you may have to cash out early. I have selected him as a scoring reserve.

Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford

For my starter, I’ve gone with Anthony Milford.

“The Milf” had a lacklustre season in 2019, with a lacklustre side around him but in 2020, the pressure won’t be on him as much to run an entire team.

With the addition of Brodie Croft, Milford will be able to be the running half he likes to be.

I’m tipping a return to form, even if it may take a few rounds. If you want Milford, you’ll have to be patient but it could pay off by about Round 6-10.

6. Wings/Centres

The wings and centres are the most common positions on the team, with 4 starters and 3 on the bench.

I’ve started with 2 cheapies on the bench in the form of Semi Valemei and Ilikena Vudogo.

My only actual bench player in this position is Xavier Coates.

Coates is extremely cheap, only coming in at 205k but he is a chance to get a starting spot.

In his 2 starts at wing, he averaged 30, and these 2 games were the first of his career.

This will be his official rookie season if he plays a game and if he starts regularly, could be a threat to defences. Coates possibly might be a good cash cow option.

Canberra Raiders centre Curtis Scott

For my first starter, I’ve got Curtis Scott. Scott moved from Melbourne to Canberra this off-season and is now fighting with Joey Leilua for a Spot at centre.

He is a risky pick as you might need to trade him out if Leilua wins but could definitely rack up some good scores if he starts.

He had an injury-riddled 2019 but in his final game before injuring his foot in the 60th minute, he got 100 points.

This is a massive score and if he can stay in that form, be a massive boost to all SuperCoach teams. Especially with a price tag of 406k, he could definitely be a cash cow as well.

Secondly, I’ve gone with his centre counterpart, Jarrod Croker.

Being a try-scoring and goal-kicking Centre, he is a points machine and starts the season at a low 496k.

He could end up as a good cash cow to end up upgrading to someone like a Latrell Mitchell.

Also, for the last 3 seasons straight, Croker has averaged 50+ points per game which shows how consistent he is in his performances.

Cronulla Sharks centre Bronson Xerri

Thirdly, I’ve gone for Bronson Xerri.

The young speedster from the shire has shown incredible promise and talent at such a young age. Oh yeah, and he’s also got blistering pace.

Xerri was brought in in round 4 and has not disappointed since, averaging 56 points per game.

This is brilliant for a centre. Xerri is also almost guaranteed a starting spot at the Sharks and could get a lot of points.

He is priced at 523k which is a little high so he might not be a cash cow but he could be worth it points-wise.

Parramatta Eels winger Maika Sivo

Lastly, I’ve gone for Maika Sivo. The young Fijian for Parra.

Topping the try-scorers list in his rookie season.

He went from no one knowing his name, to the whole BankWest Stadium crowd chanting “Sivo” after every try, and there sure were plenty.

Sivo possesses the speed and strength to be a beast of a winger and he sure is.

He averaged 59 points, ending the season with a absolutely stunning 152 score against Manly.

He may be priced high but I doubt he will let anyone who picks him down.

7. Fullbacks

To finish of the team, we have our fullbacks. I’ve splurged a lot of money on my fullbacks.

Firstly, on the bench, the young gun playing for the Storm, Ryan Papenhuyzen.

He’s one of the fastest players in the game and even debuted for Australia in the World 9s in his rookie season!

Papenhuyzen averaged 52 with a high score of 123 against the Titans late in the season.

Melbourne Storm custodian Ryan Papenhuyzen

Also, he scored a try in each one of his first five starts for the team. If he keeps up his form, he will be not only a great cash cow from 508k, but a great point-scorer.

For the final player, I’ve gone with the most obvious pick, James Tedesco.

Teddy led the league in Linebreaks, tackle busts and run metres in 2019.

He destroyed defences and averaged a gigantic total of 84 points per game. The only problem is his price tag.

Because he is a great player, he is priced at 781k. He would be great for points but it would also be smart if you waited until about round 4-6 to get him because his price will be a bit lower and will probably start rising again soon after.

Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco

Teddy is a must-have in my opinion, whether you get him now or wait for a few rounds.

These are my picks for my SuperCoach team going into the 2020 season.

Remember, these are just predictions, anyone in this team could go into the year and be a bust, but that’s the fun of playing SuperCoach/NRL fantasy.