Former SuperCoach NRL champion Dave Von Kotze.
Former SuperCoach NRL champion Dave Von Kotze.

SuperCoach NRL: 10 Things We Learned

THE first round of SuperCoach NRL scores are in the can and trades are open. Before you pull the trade trigger check out Dave Von Kotze's 10 Things We Learned below:

1. TWO HALVES THAT WOULD MAKE YOU A WHOLE (LOT HAPPIER)

In the SuperCoach craziness that was round one, Gareth Widdop (106) and Shaun Johnson (86) warranted their spots and expensive price tags as the highest ranked halves in SuperCoach. It is widely published in SuperCoach circles how well Anthony Milford scores at Suncorp and Widdop is now creating his own legacy having cracked the ton four times in his last five games at Win Jubilee Oval for a five-game average of 109. As an added bonus for Widdop owners, he is only owned by 5.7% of players making him a juicy round one POD. Shaun Johnson (15.7%) showed that he will once again be a prominent force in SuperCoach breaking the line twice, setting up two tries and taking the goal kicks to terrorise non-owners who didn't fork out the cash for him.

 

Gareth Widdop charges into the Broncos defence.
Gareth Widdop charges into the Broncos defence.

2. TIME FOR TKO TO GO?

Poor round one performances from certain popular players may result in a few panic trades when lockout lifts on Monday. While patience and confidence in our initial teams is suggested, Sio Siua Taukeiaho (19.2% ownership) could be on the chopping block and become known as Trap-eiaho if he does not produce against the Bulldogs this weekend. Some owners may not even give him a week after he failed to kick goals against the Tigers as many had expected and only spent 48 minutes on the field for 38 points.

3. THREE HOOKERS WHO LEAVE YOU HAPPY

Those coaches running with the popular Cameron Smith and Damien Cook combination at hooker will be happy with their handy work as a result of both boys getting off to a good start with scores of 66 and 67 respectively. Smith, like he does so often, got it done making 42 tackles and having a perfect night with the boot for an extra 24 points whereas Cook owners loved seeing him play the full-eighty and will enjoy watching him fatten nicely if he continues in this manner. Api Koroisau also deserves honourable mention playing the full eighty-nine minutes during Friday's golden point blockbuster to open his account with an impressive 79 for his 2.7% of owners.

Damien Cook played 80 minutes for the Rabbitohs.
Damien Cook played 80 minutes for the Rabbitohs.

4. CHEAPIES WHO DELIVERED

At approximately 9:50pm (8:50pm for Queenslanders) last Friday night, more than 56% of the SuperCoach world shook their head in disbelief when the Sione Katoa (10) left the field in his NRL debut with a broken jaw dooming those who played them in their starting 17 to an underwhelming round one score. Cheapie of the week has come from the clouds with Viliame Kikau (87) being relegated to the bench prior to kick off before coming on like a man possessed scoring a try with a line break and creating a glorious line break assist showing the immense ability he will have to create much needed early-season cash for owners. Fellow popular cheapies Richie Kennar (80), Robbie Rochow (61), Phillip Sami (64), Isaiah Papalii (58), Jamayne Isaako (52), and Siliva Havili (50) begun their fattening process as cash cows nicely while Kelepi Tanginoa (43), Ligi Sao (46), Matt Lodge (45), Mark Nicholls (27) and Lachlan Croker (23) also opened their accounts with sound scores. Luciano Leilua (13)…….not so much.

5. LOLO GOES LOCO

Jason Taumalolo showed enough in his opening game to lock in that he will reprise his role of SuperCoach wrecking ball during the 2018 season. Lolo went loco with 66 points in 52 minutes scoring his points with a cracking PPM of 1.27 and even though he played 10 minutes less than his 2017 average (62 mins), he was a menace for the Sharks defensive line and came agonisingly close to scoring on a few occasions. Non-owners need to be making a plan to get him in their squads.

Jason Taumalolo kicked off where he left off last year. Picture: Evan Morgan
Jason Taumalolo kicked off where he left off last year. Picture: Evan Morgan

6. MUNSTER MAKES HEADLINES FOR RIGHT REASONS

Cameron Munster (101) was one of only two players to hit triple figures this weekend and was electric standing in at fullback for the injured Billy Slater. Munster may have been in the headlines during the pre-season for a variety of reasons but he showed no ill-effects tearing up the Bulldogs as he broke the line twice to set up his first two tries before putting Suliasi Vunivalu over for his first of the season. Potential owners need to know that he will return to five-eighth when Billy Slater returns which may impact his scores but regardless he is one for the watch list.

7. MID-RANGE MADNESS

It was mid-range madness in this opening round with a handful of mid-priced players posting decent scores in their first hit-outs of the year. On the borderline of cheapie and mid-range, Newcastle dual 2RF-HOK Slade Griffin scored a try with a line break for 82 points. Griffin benefited from an extra nine minutes of golden point but would have played close to 60 minutes had the game been decided after 80 minutes. Bulldogs edge forward Raymond Faitala-Mariner ($310,600) also boosted his points with a try that included a line break on the way to 76 points. Tevita Pangai ($338,300) appears to have served his apprenticeship with Wayne Bennett receiving 46 minutes of game time and maintaining his usual high economy rate scoring his 57 points with a PPM of 1.2. Former Bronco Herman Ese'ese ($350,300) also made the most of his 52 minutes for the Knights making 24 tackles and scoring 37 points from 22 hit-ups to finish with 64 points.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner produced a hair-raising display for the Bulldogs.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner produced a hair-raising display for the Bulldogs.

8. PONGA WAS ON SONG (A)

Just over 25% of players were gifted a beautiful start to the weekend when they saw Kalyn Ponga (81) put on his dancing shoes to skip through for an early try with a line break. Although it is only round one, Ponga looks like the real deal also kicking goals as an added kicker and if he backs it up with another strong performance against the Raiders this weekend, coaches running with a Tedesco/Trbojevic fullback artillery may have some decisions to make.

9. SHOULD YOU LOCK IN THIS RAIDERS SMOKEY?

Raiders' 2RF Elliott Whitehead (67 pre-updates) had an impressive start to the year playing the full 80 at lock and grabbing a try for good measure. Whitehead's price is based on a 2017 season average of 54 so definitely one for the watch list if he maintains these minutes and stays at lock. We don't have the largest sample size of him playing big minutes in the 13 jumper, however, SuperCoach Stats tells us that playing at lock at the back end of last season he scored 74 and 60 playing the full 80 and then a 19 in 56 minutes during round 25. His price will remain at $479,200 leading into the next two rounds and he is only in 2.3% of teams for those interested coaches.

10. DON'T FIRE YOUR GUNS

The final point is virtually an exact replica as the final point in 2017's round one wrap. SuperCoaches, it is so important that you remember that it is only round one and patience in your guns is the key. At this exact time last season, I pointed out that ten of the fifteen highest averaging players of 2016 failed to get within 10 points of their averages in the first game of 2017. Trust in your pre-season research and know that, historically, the cream usually rises to the top. If your guns happen to tank again next round, then possibly consider rage trading to avoid haemorrhaging cash, but as for now hold strong.



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