South Sydney Rabbitohs player Sam Burgess and coach Wayne Bennett are both under pressure in 2019. Picture: Dylan Robinson
South Sydney Rabbitohs player Sam Burgess and coach Wayne Bennett are both under pressure in 2019. Picture: Dylan Robinson

SuperCoach NRL study guide: Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs exceeded expectations in 2018, finishing with the most points scored before going down to eventual premiers the Sydney Roosters in the third week of the finals.

After missing out on finals football for the previous two seasons, Souths were back at their attacking best and delivering solid points for SuperCoaches.

But now Dally M coach of 2018 Anthony Siebold has left the Rabbitohs, with one of the best coaches in NRL history, Wayne Bennett, replacing him.

While Bennett's focus on the team over individuals could give the side a better chance at winning the premiership, it remains to be seen whether he will have a negative impact on SuperCoach scores.

There were some standout players in 2018, with Damien Cook proving an absolute revelation for the club as an 80 minute player, earning representative call ups and becoming a SuperCoach gun.

Angus Crichton is a huge loss, joining the Roosters after another dominant season at Redfern, but his departure has opened the door for young Cameron Murray to see an expanded role.

With Wayne now at the helm, pressure is on the side to keep the momentum from last season and do one better in 2019.

 

 

Best 17

1. Alex Johnston, 2. Campbell Graham, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Robert Jennings, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Tom Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess, 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Adam Doueihi, 15. Dean Britt, 16. Tevita Tatola, 17. Mark Nicholls

Who's left?

Bayley Sironen, Corey Allan, Cory Denniss, Kurt Dillon, Rhys Kennedy, Liam Knight, Matt McIllwrick, Braiden Burns, Connor Tracey, Jacob Gagan, Kyle Turner, Mawene Hiroti, William Britain, Sam Johnstone

 

 

Cameron Murray is set to start at lock.
Cameron Murray is set to start at lock.

Player Movement

Gains: Corey Allan (2021), Cory Denniss (Newcastle Knights, 2020), Kurt Dillon (Cronulla Sharks, 2020), Rhys Kennedy (2019), Liam Knight (Canberra Raiders, 2020), Matt McIlwrick (Wests Tigers, 2019), Bayley Sironen (Wests Tigers, 2019)

Losses: Jesse Arthars (Gold Coast Titans), Jason Clark (Warrington Wolves), Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Tyrell Fuimaono (Penrith Panthers), Hymel Hunt (Newcastle Knights), Zane Musgrove (Wests Tigers)

Bye

Round 16: South Sydney will play during the Round 12 bye period but could be without several stars, including Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai and Damien Cook.

 

Guns

Damien Cook ($726,600) HOK

 

Damien Cook is coming off a brilliant season.
Damien Cook is coming off a brilliant season.

 

The explosive hooker was the best player in SuperCoach 2018, finishing with a season average of 77.59, the highest of any player in the NRL. While he is a constant threat out of dummy half and has really high upside, his price has a lot of SuperCoaches jumping ship.

No player has ever topped SuperCoach two years in a row, and it remains to be seen the impact Bennett has on South Sydney and its attack. Bennett would be crazy to mess with a winning formula and should play Cook in an identical role as 2018. But given the history of coach "SuperCoach Killer", I won't blame SuperCoaches who decide to wait and see on Rabbitohs players.

Cody Walker ($569,200) 5/8

Walker was the best five-eighth for SuperCoach in 2018, finishing with an average of 60.8 points per game. With an average base of only 23 points, he was dependant on creative points and tries, but thankfully he was on the best attacking team.

One of the best things Walker gave SuperCoaches was flexibility with his fullback dual eligibility, which he has unfortunately lost in 2019.

He was a bit of a POD in 2018 at 13.8 per cent despite cementing himself as a gun, but given there aren't many good choices at the position he could see a bump in 2019.

But at the price, SuperCoaches may prefer to go with Cameron Munster, who has better base points, is cheaper and has a dual eligibility.

 

Wayne Bennett (right) chats with Cody Walker (left) at Redfern Oval.
Wayne Bennett (right) chats with Cody Walker (left) at Redfern Oval.

 

PODs

Adam Reynolds ($488,400) HFB

The talented goal-kicking half has been in the shadow of better options at HFB over the past few seasons, but could be a decent POD in 2019, especially since he will play in the Round 12 bye period. While he has been down on form and constantly injured over the past few seasons, 2018 was a decent bounce back year, finishing with an average of 52.2.

John Sutton ($534,900) 2RF

 

John Sutton was a SuperCoach surprise packet last year.
John Sutton was a SuperCoach surprise packet last year.

 

At 34 years old, John Sutton is no spring chicken and 2019 is looking like it will be his last in the NRL, and he'll want to end it with a bang. Despite his age, Sutton was an awesome POD in 2018, finishing up with the 2nd most points of any 5/8, and the 7th most points of any 2RF all at only 3.5% ownership! He has lost his dual eligibility which is a big hit, but if he can repeat this effort in 2019 he could be another amazing POD player.

Greg Inglis ($469,000) FLB, CTW

After missing all of 2017 with an ACL injury, most SuperCoaches were not tempted to bring GI into their sides, despite his SuperCoach relevance and a handy dual eligibility.

But Inglis looks to be back to his devastating best, and a potential move back to fullback could have SuperCoaches licking their lips on the potential POD. He averaged 50.1 in 2018 playing mostly at centre or fullback and was only owned in 4.4 per cent of teams.

 

 

Cheapies

Corey Allan ($168,100) FLB

While Souths players have high attacking upside, they are pretty light on the cheapies front, with Corey Allan one of the only rookies whose name is being mentioned as a possible starter.

While he may not get the start at fullback over Greg Inglis or Alex Johnston he will probably get a nod at some point. With Robert Jennings' contract situation still unknown, Allan could even see game time on the wing. Allan is a wait and see at this point, unless he is named to start in Round 1!

Junior Tevita Tatola ($224,200) FRF

Tatola was impressive as a bench forward in 2018, playing 23 games at an average of 23.96, and could see an increased role in 2019 under Wayne Bennett.

While at the Broncos, Bennett gave bench forwards either huge minutes (like Joe Ofahengaue's 58 minutes per game) or basically nothing (like Sam Tagataese's 16 minutes). With Angus Crichton's departure, there is more game time to go around and hopefully Tatola can get in on some extra minutes.

No Go Zone

Alex Johnston ($488,800) FLB, CTW

 

It’s unclear where Alex Johnston will play. Picture: Brett Costello
It’s unclear where Alex Johnston will play. Picture: Brett Costello

There is a lot of uncertainty over how Wayne Bennett will start his backline in 2019, with Johnston possibly losing his No.1 jersey. If Johnston can retain his fullback position, he could prove an interesting POD option at only $488k. However, it's looking like he could be moved to the wing, with Greg Inglis at fullback, and at that price SuperCoaches should look at other options. But if he does start at fullback, he could still provide a decent option for Round 12 bye coverage, as he won't play State of Origin.

Sam Burgess ($560,000) 2RF, FRF

Sam Burgess was disappointing in 2018, recording his lowest season average in the past three years at just under 60 points per game.

With his dual position status he could still be a decent option at his discounted price, but there simply are just better options for SuperCoaches, like Martin Taupau, Ryan James or Josh Papalii.

It remains to be seen where exactly Burgess plays in 2019, but he is currently tipped to be moved to an edge, with Cameron Murray starting at lock. His uncertain position, as well as a dramatic off-season, makes Burgess either an avoid or a wait and see in 2019.

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News Corp Australia


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