Api Koroisau ($338,800) HOK
At the start of the second round, Koroisau was the eighth most owned player in the game and in 41.3% of teams. When round three begins that ownership rate will be a fair bit higher after the Penrith recruit knocked out scores of 97 and 76 in the opening two games.
As promising as the headline scores were, it was Koroisau’s workrate which saw him average 57PPG in base alone over the opening games and that is why he leads the rankings here. One note of caution is that Koroisau does have a history of injury and the odds are he will miss time if asked to bang out 80 minutes week in week out.
But that maybe is not enough to warrant a ‘No’ when it comes to making this trade, if you don’t have him, get him and hope for the best.
Expected five round price rise: $180K-$250K
Connor Watson ($506,700) HOK|5/8
Jayden Brailey tore his ACL in round two and the injury opens the door for Connor Watson to move from being a supersub off the bench to playing 80 minutes at hooker. This is huge for KFC SuperCoach NRL, Watson started seven games at hooker for the Knights in 2019 and scored 91, 70, 55, 75, 82, 117 and 24 (he spent 10 in the bin in that game) averaging 73PPG (51 in base) and 74MPG.
Available at hooker and 5/8, Watson does not project to make as much cash as Api or some below due to his reasonably high entry price, but his solid scoring potential will likely see him sit near the top of the ‘most purchased player’ list.
Expected five round price rise: $120K-150K
Jamayne Isaako ($420,000) CTW/FLB
Early in the 2020 hype the fullback job at the Broncos was Isaako’s to lose — and lose it he did just weeks out from the season start when Jack Bird appeared to make the custodian job his own. And then just two days before the Broncos first game of the season Bird suffered an ACL injury and the job was Jamayne’s again.
Maybe it was the kick in the pants that Isaako needed because he could hardly have been more impressive over the opening two rounds, stuffing the stat sheet with a try, try assist, try contribution, two linebreak assists, plenty of tackle busts and even offloads. The workrate has been solid enough (averaging 24PPG in base) and his goalkicking has been good (averaging 13PPG) giving him a base of around 35PPG to work with. You could probably jumble the three CTW I list here in any order but I have Isaako on top thanks to the kicking duties.
Expected five round price rise: $130K-180K
Josh Mansour ($416,700) CTW
I’ve ranked Mansour second of the CTW buy options which may be a bit risky considering the Penrith winger’s run of bad luck with injury AND my worry regarding his attacking stats detailed below but hear me out.
Last year was a mixed one for Mansour. He did play 19 games which was a big improvement on the 13 he managed in each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons — but in those 19 games Mansour scored just one try. ONE! Mansour also failed to assist a single try in 2019, but that’s not so shocking because he only bagged a solitary assist in 2018 and again in 2017.
Wingers aren’t there to assist, after all it’s their job to score. And therein lies a worry re Mansour’s 2019 numbers. You see, in round one Mansour scored 65 points with a try assist. In round two Mansour scored 79 points — with a try and linebreak assist. As I pointed out at the start of this little story, history suggests those assists will not keep flowing for Mansour.
So why the ‘buy’ recommendation I hear you ask? Well, alongside those attacking stats, Mansour has been pumping out the base at a rate of almost 38PPG so far. That’s high level stuff for a CTW. He’s also passed the eye test — yes I know for many Mansour regularly passes the eye test but I mean as a player not as a stud muffin — in the early rounds. Mansour is looking like he may be ready to forget his 2017-2019 form and return to the halcyon days of 2016 which saw him average 63PPG.
There’s also the POD issue to consider when compared to the men above and below him on this list; Mansour is owned by just 4% of coaches at this point which compares favourably to Isaako (17%) and Staggs (13%). I think Mansour is a little riskier than Isaako but has the same upside as Staggs at a lower entry price and much lower ownership rate and so have made him the meat in my Broncos sandwich.
Expected five round price rise: $140K-180K
Kotoni Staggs ($447,400) CTW
Despite being set to make the most money in the short term I have ranked Staggs last of the three CTW and that despite him having scored the most points of any CTW so far. Staggs holds that record thanks to a beastmode performance against the Rabbitohs playing a mix of centre and halves and scoring three tries and 121 points.
Staggs scored a try in the opening match too, with a linebreak, and yet tallied just 53 points. And therein lies the reason I have ranked Staggs third here. Workrate is not the youngster’s go. That’s not necessarily a fatal knock when it comes to SC, after all Latrell Mitchell had one of the worst workrates of any CTW last year and he comfortably topped the scoring of true CTW (excluding the 2RF interlopers like Bateman and Matterson etc).
But it does mean that pressure is on for attacking stats every game and if they do not come then a sub-40 point game is likely. Staggs is a real talent and maybe he can keep the attacking stats flowing, so I certainly would not try to talk anyone out of buying him, rather I’m a safety first guy so have rated him third.
Expected five round price rise: $80K-$200K - Staggs is very hard to pin down here because if he nabs tries in three of his next five games you can expect him to fall at the top of this scale, should he be held tryless in four of the five he will struggle to reach the bottom of the scale. Big risk, big reward.
Alex Twal ($492,200) FRF
Is this the year Alex Twal progresses from ‘the man with potential who just needs more time’ to ‘The Man’? If Twal’s scores in the opening two rounds are anything to go by the answer would appear to be an unequivocal yes. However, I love to equivocate, so while I’m very much Team Twal, some caution should be had. But first to the numbers — in round one Twal played 53 minutes and scored 78 points (60 in base). In round two the Tigers had some injuries and so Twal played 66 minutes and he scored 72 points - EVERY SINGLE
FREAKING ONE OF THEM IN BASE. Sorry to shout but that’s immense, and in fact it was better than that because Twal scored 74 in base and he lost two points due to a penalty. That’s the good.
The bad(ish) is that both those games/scores come with cautions. In round one Twal had a linebreak (10 points) and four tackle busts (8 points). That’s not really Twal’s go — for reference in the 24 games he played in 2019 Twal made a total of one linebreak and 10 tackle busts. And as I mentioned, the minutes in game two were inflated due to injuries around him in the pack.
Those are far from fatal issues though when it comes to considering Twal a trade target. While I don’t expect attacking stats to flow at round one rates, as he matures there is every reason to think Twal may add a little bit of elusiveness to his game. And 66 minutes is definitely unsustainable, but Twal can handle all the work the Tigers can throw at him and I’m expecting to see more games in the 55-60 minute range than 45-50. Currently a serious POD with under 4% ownership, Twal reads as an affordable way into a 60PPG average right now at a 50PPG price.
Tui Kamikamica ($295,800) FRF
Regular starting prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona (NAS) is working back to full fitness after suffering a hamstring injury in the pre-season and this opened the door for Kamikamica to start for the Storm in rounds one and two. Kamikamica certainly made the most of his chance averaging 63PPG and 46MPG over that span. The average score is boosted by a round two try, but 48PPG in base at better than 1 PPM is certainly impressive.
If there is a worry it’s a big one, in fact the biggest one in the NRL right now, in the shape of Asofa-Solomona himself. NAS is an absolute weapon off the bench, but you can’t help but feel that when he is fully fit he will reclaim his starting role and thus Kamikamica’s minutes will decline.
I listed Kamikamica as one of my five ‘buys’ ahead of round three, and while I fully expect NAS’ minutes to increase and Kamikamica’s to decrease as a result I also think the big Fijian can expect to play more than the 29MPG he averaged in 2019. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt that the big guy crashed over for that try in round two and so has a 72 point game sitting in his rolling average for a while boosting his cash creation.
Expected five round price rise: $120K-$150K
Luciano Leilua ($434,300) 2RF
I rated Leilua a strong maybe all pre-season but you can’t have them all and I did not put him in my squad to start 2019 — I’ll remedy that situation ahead of round three. Playing 80MPG in the opening two rounds, Leilua scored 64 in round one and 80 in round two. Full disclosure Leilua bagged a try in each game and obviously that strike rate will not continue, but he also averaged 47PPG in base and that provides a very nice floor for a player at his price.
A POD at under 10% ownership after round two, I expect his ownership percentage to double before round three gets underway. I don’t think Leilua will be a ‘keeper’ till the end, but he’ll make a nice bridge to the likes of John Bateman and/or Ryan Matterson.
Expected five round price rise: $140K-$180K
Jake Trbojevic ($583,900) 2RF
Let me remind you there is NO Origin or byes in the new schedule. So, its only the best available. Guys like David Klemmer, Jake Turbo and Cam Murray were all big no-nos to start because of that, but now they’re all fair game — and it’s an underpriced Jurbo that I’m all over. 80 minutes every week, extra time to have rehabbed the shoulder and unquestioned KFC SuperCoach elite status. John Bateman is very much in the mix here, too, if he is healthy and ready to go.
David Klemmer ($617,400) FRF
Klemmer has pumped out 69 and 72 in the opening weeks mostly in pure base, although he has also developed an offload over the off-season. With State of Origin to take place after the season proper and therefore have no impact on the regular season, the KFC SuperCoach value of Origin players is at an all-time high.
Due to the suspensions of N Cleary and K Ponga in conjunction with the injury to D Fifita they will be traded, along with W Blake and G Leleisiuao. Their current replacements are L Leilua, C Watson, B Hampton, J Mansour and T Trbojevic.
The Broncos are expected to welcome Matt Lodge back from the partial ACL tear he suffered in pre-season. Alex Glenn will be right for round three after recovering from hamstring/calf injuries in pre-season, and he is expected to start if David Fifita is not fit. Joe Ofahenguae will return from the bench after serving his two game suspension. Corey Oates (ribs) and Brodie Croft (shoulder) both suffered injuries in round two but will be right to go once season resumes. Darius Boyd will play with the Broncos set to play home games in Brisbane. David Fifita has been ruled out after undergoing knee surgery when restrictions were lifted in April and will miss a few games when season resumes which will see Jamil Hopoate retain his starting 2RF position. Rhys Kennedy and Ethan Bullemor drop out of team after playing in round two. Tevita Pangai remains suspended until round six. Jordan Kahu (shoulder) and Sean O’Sullivan (ACL) are listed to return in mid-June while Jack Bird and Keenan Palasia won’t return this season after suffering ACL knee injuries at training earlier this year.
Expected team: 1.Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matt Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Jamil Hopoate 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patty Carrigan Interchange: 14. Herbie Farnworth 15. Andrew McCullough 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Joe Ofahenguae
The Raiders are sweating on John Bateman receiving final clearance to return after undergoing shoulder surgery in early February. If Bateman is cleared to play he would start at second-row likely pushing Corey Horsburgh back to the bench with Michael Oldfield dropping out of the 17, but at present it looks like he won’t be ready when season resumes. New signing Jordan Rapana could be on bench to allow him to get some match fitness under the belt. Silvia Havili suffered hamstring injury in round two but will be fit to play. Hudson Young (suspension – Rd 6) and Sebastian Kris (sick leave) are the only players unavailable
Expected team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Elliott Whitehead 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Corey Horsburgh Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Emre Guler 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Jordan Rapana
The Bulldogs could receive a huge boost with the return of Kieran Foran from shoulder injury, Foran is progressing nicely but will need to prove his fitness and if declared fit would replace Brandon Wakeham at five-eighth. Kerrod Holland set to return from knee injury to take up the bench utility role with Ofahiki Ogden a chance to replace Jake Averillo on the bench. Marcelo Montoya will be fit to return after a knee injury and could come into contention for a wing position. Chris Smith and Joe Stimson is only other player on injury list - Smith isn’t due back until July after suffering knee injury in All Stars game but Stimson\s season is over after he suffered a shoulder injury. Dean Britt is expected to start in relief.
Expected team: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Will Hopoate 5. Christian Crichton 6. Brandon Wakeham/Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Dean Britt 13. Adam Elliott Interchange: 14. Kerrod Holland 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 17. Ofahiki Ogden
The Sharks will receive massive boost to offset the loss of Josh Morris to the Roosters with Bronson Xerri (shoulder), Josh Dugan (knee) and Matt Moylan (hamstring/calf) all set to play their first games of season after missing the opening rounds. With the nature of numerous hamstring issues last season then calf injury in pre-season it will be interesting to see if Matt Moylan has the volume of running metres to play full game at fullback. Moylan would replace Kennedy at fullback with Josh Dugan to replace Sione Katoa on the left wing and Xerri replacing Morris at left centre. Briton Nikora will return after missing round two due to knee injury. Wade Graham suffered a foot injury in round two but will be right to go. The final call is whether Scott Sorensen or Billy Magoulias will nab the final bench spot. Cameron King is the only player on long term injury list after suffering ACL injury in pre-season trial in Papua New Guinea
Expected team: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Dugan 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Jack Williams Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Scott Sorensen/Billy Magoulias
GOLD COAST TITANS
The Titans are probably the biggest beneficiary of the Covid-19 crisis with a number of players set to return from injury, Shannon Boyd (shoulder), Kevin Proctor (hamstring), Dale Copley (ribs), Tyronne Roberts (achilies) and Tyrone Peachey (ankle) all set to play in Round 3. Kallum Watkins has returned to England due to crisis with Copley to move to centre. Coach Justin Holbrook has confirmed it’s unlikely AJ Brimson will be fit to return when season resumes. Moeaki Fotuaika is facing suspension after receiving a charge from Round 2 with the hearing yet to be heard, but Jaimin Jolliffe is a chance to replace him on bench if suspended. Presently Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly won’t be allowed to play in Round 3 unless they receive QLD Government exemption due to not receiving flu vaccine, with Sam Stone and Jonus Pearson coming into side for them. Beau Fermor is closing on returning from ACL knee injury with Keegan Hipgrave (concussion) and Ryan James (ACL) other players on injury list currently
Expected team: 1. Phillip Sami 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Dale Copley 5. Anthony Don 6. Tyronne Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Jai Arrow Interchange: 14. Nathan Peats 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Shannon Boyd 17. Moeaki Fotuaika/Jaimin Joliffe
MANLY SEA EAGLES
The Sea Eagles side is fairly settled with only change expected to Round 2 team being Taniela Paseka returning from an ankle injury suffered in the trials and coming onto the bench to replace Haumole Olakauatu. Corey Waddell suffered an injury set back ruling him out of openings rounds but match finess could still be a concern. Jack Gosiewski (back), Manese Fainu (stood down) and Albert Hopoate (ACL) remain unavailable. Presently Dylan Walker and Addin Fonua-Blake would be able to play despite not getting flu vaccines but they won’t be able to play in any games in Queensland unless they receive exemption from Government.
Expected team: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Sean Keppie 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka