By Brendan Smith
Ins – Moses Pangai (Townsville Blackhawks), David Mead (Titans), Tautau Moga (Cowboys), Benji Marshall (Dragons), Mitchell Dodds (Warrington), Korbin Sims (Knights)
Outs – Greg Eden (Castleford), Brett Greinke (Rabbitohs), Corey Parker (Retired), Jarrod Wallace (Titans), Jack Reed (Retired), Darren Nicholls (Panthers), Lachlan Maranta (Rugby)
Best 17 – 1. D Boyd 2. C Oates 3. J Kahu 4. J Roberts 5. D Mead 6. A Milford 7. B Hunt 8. K Sims 9. A McCullough 10. A Blair 11. M Gillett 12. S Thaiday 13. J McGuire 14. K Nikorima 15. A Glenn 16. J Ofahengaue 17. T Pangai Jnr
Not Used – B Marshall, F Molo, T Opacic, T Moga, T Waddell, M Dodds, J Arrow
Finished on 2016 ladder – 5th (were knocked out in Week 2 of the Finals)
Strengths – Experience is what Brisbane have all over the Park. In the best 17 above nearly all players have had finals experience and most played in the 2015 Grand Final loss to the Cowboys. It’s this experience and form from the past few years that will have Brisbane in the top 8 for this season.
Weaknesses – With experience comes age. Brisbane is an ageing side and will their legs see out the season? Also in 2016 the Brisbane play makers were very hot and cold. Ben Hunt never really bounced back from the dropped ball in the 2015 Grand Final. He has now signed a big money contract with the Dragons in 2018. Will the pressure get to him?
Who to Watch – If Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford can get their forwards going and find the form they had in 2015 the Brisbane Broncos can do anything. So the players to watch are Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford
B.S Prediction – 8th I feel the experience will keep them just in the top 8 however Origin time might be what makes or breaks them this season.
Hot – Josh McGuire ($387.7k) looks set to take Corey Parker’s lock position and should get extra minutes. Jordan Kahu ($291.1k) will take over goal kicking duties and very rarely misses. Should score extra points for this at a great price.
Risk – Anthony Milford ($444.8k) can be hot and cold and at the current price is a pass for me. Corey Oates ($336.2k) duel position and scores a few tries but as a winger ball can struggle to find him. Like Milford will for those who want to stand out from the crowd. The last risk should you want to take it is Korbin Sims ($304.1k) starting prop and would depend on minutes.
Cold – Matt Gillett ($383.5k) in my opinion just won’t score enough points for his price tag. Ben Hunt ($372.4k) there are much better options than him in the halves in Supercoach. Benji Marshall ($299.6k) just do yourself and favour and don’t do it.
Ins – Jordan Turner (St Helens), Dunamis Lui (Dragons), Makahesi Makatoa (Bulldogs), Scott Sorensen (Mounties), Brent Naden (Mounties), David Taylor (Catalans)
Outs – Lachlan Lewis (Bulldogs), Sisa Waqa (Rugby), Zac Woolford (Bulldogs), Sam Williams (Wakefield), Brenko Lee (Bulldogs), Paul Vaughan (Dragons), Shaun Fensom (Cowboys), Edrick Lee (Sharks)
Best 17 – 1. J Wighton 2. N Cotric 3. J Croker 4. J Leilua 5. J Rapana 6. B Austin 7. A Sezer 8. S Boyd 9. J Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. E Whitehead 12. J Papalii 13. S Soliola 14. K Baptiste 15. J Tapine 16. L Bateman 17. J Lima
Not Used – C Priest, A Clydesdale, J Turner, L Crocker, D
Taylor, D Lui,
Finished on 2016 ladder – 2nd (were knocked out Week 3 of the Finals)
Strengths – The Raiders had an amazing year in 2016. The 2017 squad is mostly the same and these guys love playing for each other. The Raiders also have one of the biggest forward backs in the competition and they can get offloads away and this sets up the likes of Leilua, Crocker and Rapana to do their thing. Josh Hodgson just keeps getting better and is the man Canberra needs to lead them around the park for them to go deep into this season.
Weaknesses – The Raiders have a couple of weaknesses to me. The first is in 2016 they did it without their two great halves Aiden Sezer and Blake Austin doing too much. These two guys need to get their hands on the ball more if not can Canberra do it two years in a row? The second is depth, should the Raiders get injuries do they have enough quality to cover them?
Who to Watch – Josh Hodgson this guy is a gun and guides the Raiders around the park. In 2016 he was the difference in many games for the Raiders and was unlucky not be closer to winning and the Dally M and should have got Dally M Hooker of the year in my opinion.
B.S Prediction – 3rd I feel with fielding the same side and the way Josh Hodgson plays that the Raiders will be a Top 4 side this season however depth in key positions could cost them.
Hot – Josh Hodgson ($417.3k) is the 2nd best hooker on Supercoach behind Cam Smith. Should you not want to pay top dollar go for Hodgson. I know I will be. Nick Cotric ($122.6k) with the injury to Jarrod Crocker, Nick is fighting for the Centre spot with Jordan Turner. Crocker could be out for 4-8 weeks so keep your eyes glued to Round 1 teams.
Risk – Aiden Sezer ($236.5k) in Crocker absence will take over goal kicking and the Raiders love scoring points. He is a massive risk but has averaged 60 in the past and while he is kicking goals he could go up in value.
Cold – Jarrod Crocker ($479.6k) will be out for 4-8 weeks with a knee injury. He was the NRL leading point scorer last season but at that price he is a no go. Will he kick when he gets back from injury? Also on my no go list are Joseph Leilua ($483.4k) and Jordan Rapana ($436.4k) they are very expensive and with some good duel position players in the centre/wing position I just can’t have them.
Ins – Zac Woolford (Raiders), Josh Cleeland (Sharks), Rhyse Martin (Townsville Blackhawks), Brenko Lee (Raiders), Tom Carr (Dragons), Francis Tualau (Storm), Richard Kenner (Storm), Asipeli Fine (Tigers), Rod Griffin (Tigers), Andy Saunders (Panthers)
Outs – Pat O’Hanlon (Retired), Sam Perrett (Retired), Curtis Rona (Rugby), Tim Brown (Panthers), Tony Williams (Sharks), Richard Coorey (Released), Makahesi Makatoa (Raiders), Jarrod McInally (Qld Cup), Graham Clark (Released), Jake Kamire (Released), Reubenn Rennie (Released), Lamar Liolevave (Released), Lloyd Perrett (Manly)
Best 17 – 1. B Morris 2. W Hopoate 3. J Morris 4. K Holland 5. B Lee 6. J Reynolds 7. M Mbye 8. A Tolman 9. M Lichaa 10. J Graham 11. J Jackson 12. G Eastwood 13. D Klemmer 14. S Kasiano 15. R Faitala-Mariner 16. D Fualalo 17. A Elliott
Not Used – J Cleeland, T Carr, B Abbey, A Fine, C Garvey, R Kennar, T Phillips, R Smith, C Stanley, Z Woolford
Finished on 2016 ladder – 7th (were knocked out Week 1 in Finals)
Strengths – There really isn’t many but the Bulldogs forward pack is big, strong and powerful and have some ball skills to go with it. The Bulldogs will need the forwards to get on the front foot is they are a chance in any game.
Weaknesses – Where do you start? The halves are really hot and cold and don’t have the finishing touches of other gun halves in the NRL. Depth is also an issue and they have not picked up many good players in the offseason. So what happens to the Bulldogs should injuries strike?
Who to Watch – Should Brett Morris be fully fit and not wasted on the wing, he could be the spark that the Bulldogs need in attack. Besides him there is not much else.
B.S Prediction – 14th I feel the Dogs have recruited poorly losing a lot of talent and will pay the price especially if they have injuries. Could this be the end of Des Hasler at the Bulldogs?
Hot – James Graham ($428.4k) and Josh Jackson ($381.6k) are good safe Supercoach options but you can get better. Also keep a watch on Zac Woolford ($122.6k) and Josh Cleeland ($122.6k) as they may get a run if the Dogs get injuries or start to fail.
Risk – David Klemmer ($379.4k) is a massive risk should you choose to take it. He can score big but can give away silly penalties. Brett Morris ($363.6k) I’m prepared to leave him out for now but should he get moved to fullback I will be watching with interest.
Cold – Moses Mbye ($394.1k) is a massive pass for me. You can find so many better players in his position. Sam Kasiano ($248.8k) is said to be looking lean and fit but I’ll believe once I see his game time.
Ins – Manaia Cherrington (Tigers), Tony Williams (Bulldogs), Jeremy Latimore (Panthers), Daniel Mortimer (Titans), Edrick Lee (Raiders)
Outs – David Fifita (Released), Mitch Brown (Leigh), Josh Cleeland (Bulldogs), Michael Ennis (Retired), Connor Tracey (Rabbitohs), Ben Barba (Released), Matt McIlwrick (Tigers)
Best 17 – 1. V Holmes 2. S Feki 3. J Bird 4. R Leutele 5. E Lee 6. J Maloney 7. C Townsend 8. A Fifita 9. J Brailey 10. M Prior 11. L Lewis 12. W Graham 13. P Gallen 14. T Williams 15. J Bukuya 16. C Heighington 17. S Tagataese
Not Used – K Capewell, M Cherrington, F Brown, J Latimore, J. Paulo, G Beale, D Mortimer
Finished on 2016 ladder – 3rd (Went on to win premiership and are current Bats and Balls Champions & Premiers)
Strengths – The Sharks are the Premiers so they should have plenty of confidence. The Sharks also have plenty of experience. Paul Gallen playing in his final season the Sharks will want to send him out a winner. However the biggest strength for the Sharks is Andrew Fifita. His grand final game was outstanding and he will be looking at continuing that form in 2017.
Weaknesses – Losing Ben Barba is a massive loss for the Sharks. Valentine Holmes get his chance to play in his preferred fullback position but how good will he be? The Sharks do half a few players getting old and will their bodies be up to it as the Shark have not recruited much and may struggle with depth.
Who to Watch – Andrew Fifita he will need to lead the forwards and attack the game so that James Maloney and Chad Townsend can attack. Look for big minutes and plenty of hit-ups for Fifita.
B.S Prediction – 6th I feel injuries and age could make this season tough for the Sharks. They are still a top 8 team but how much further can they go?
Hot – Andrew Fifita ($481.9k) is a set and forget. He will score plenty in hit ups and offloads. Don’t think and just do. Jayden Brailey ($122.6k) was 2016 Dally M NYC Player of the Year and could end up being a good cheapie option in the hooker position but keep your eyes open to the news and round 1 teams. Should James Segeyaro return that will end this cheapie option.
Risk – Paul Gallen ($503.9k) he is very old and his game time may be less this season but you can’t question his work rate. In last couple of years, injuries have made it hard to have him in your side and mix that with Origin and he was a no go. However he won’t be playing Origin so he may be a good buy over the byes an origin period. James Maloney ($335.1k) can score big and score small. He kicks goals which is a plus but can often have a shocker of a game. Hats off to you if you want to take the risk.
Cold – Daniel Mortimer ($232.0k) should be called “Trappy McTrapface” cause he is in the no go zone. He has never scored well in Supercoach and this year will be no different.
Gold Coast Titans
Ins – Dan Sarginson (Wigan), Jarrod Wallace (Broncos), Kevin Proctor (Storm), Paterika Vaivai (Free Agent), Tyler Cornish (Roosters), Daniel Vidot (Salford)
Outs – Nathan Friend (Retired), David Hala (Released), Nene McDonald (Dragons), David Mead (Broncos), Cameron Cullen (Manly), Luke Douglas (St Helens), Josh Hoffman (Eels), Greg Bird (Catalans), Jed Cartwright (Panthers), Daniel Mortimer (Sharks), Brian Kelly (Manly), Matt Srama (Retired), David Shillington (Retired), Zeb Taia
Best 17 – 1. J Hayne 2. D Vidot 3. D Sarginson 4. K Hurrell 5. A Don 6. K Elgey 7. A Taylor 8. R James 9. N Peats 10. L Pulu 11. K Proctor 12. C McQueen 13. J Wallace 14. A Paasi 15. E Pettybourne 16. N Peteru 17. T Roberts
Not Used – N Davis, J Olive, R Simpkins, W Zillman, K Lawton
Finished on 2016 ladder – 8th (were knocked out in week 1 of finals)
Strengths – The spine of the Titans is one of the best in the NRL. Made up of the $1.2mil man Jarryd Hayne, the returning from injury Kane Elgey, last season’s biggest surprise Ash Taylor and Nathan Peats, the Titans have strike power. Should these guys gel then and get good go forward from their forward pack then anything is possible.
Weaknesses – When you throw $1.2mil at one player you are always going to lose some good players. The Titans have lost some firepower with the like of Josh Hoffman, Nene McDonald, David Mead and experience in Greg Bird and Nathan Friend. They have recruited ok but is it enough to make up for what they have lost. Like a lot of teams, depth in key areas could be an issue. What will the cost of Hayne actually be?
Who to Watch – Jarryd Hayne has to be the man to watch. Will he work with Ash Taylor and Kane Elgey? Hayne has the pressure of playing to his price tag. We have seen him do it before but will he get back to that standard? As a footy fan I hope he can.
B.S Prediction – 9th I feel the Titans have lost too many good players this year. They will be in a battle for 8th with the Broncos so Origin time may be the key to the top 8 for them.
Hot – Jarryd Hayne ($244.7k) is a bargain. Should he hit his best form you will want him in your side. He is duel position at fullback & 5/8 so set and forget. He should b in 100% of sides. Jarrod Wallace ($251.8k) is also one to watch. At the Titans he may get more minutes so he could be a good cheap option. Nathan Peats ($364.8k) will hit a solid 40-60pts each game so if you’re happy with that and you will score points elsewhere he is a good selection.
Risk – Kane Elgey ($226.7k) has won the battle for the 5/8 position and could be a good cheap option but he could be hot and cold so enjoy the ride. Ryan James ($487.4k) had an amazing 2016 scoring heaps of tries. Can he do it again? He is a pass for me as he is too expensive. Konrad Hurrell ($315.3k) is one for you risk takers. Can score huge scored with try assists, tackle breaks and offloads but he can go missing at times.
Cold – William Zillman ($248.1k) will be lucky to get a start. Dan Sarginson ($219.9k) is a sit and watch for now for me.
Manly Sea Eagles
Ins – Frank Winterstein (Rugby), Shaun Lane (Warriors), Blake Green (Storm), Cameron Cullen (Titans), Akuila Uate (Knights), Curtis Sironen (Tigers), Lloyd Perrett (Bulldogs), Jackson Hastings (Roosters), Brian Kelly (Titans), Jonathon Wright (Warriors), Jarrad Kennedy (Raiders)
Outs – Jaime Lyon (Retired), Brett Stewart (Retired), Steve Matai (Retired), Tim Moltzen (Retired), Tom Symonds (Huddersfield), Siosaia Vave (Eels), Liam Knight (Roosters), Nathan Green (Released), Blake Leary (Townsville Blackhawks), Jayden Hodges (Released), Fabian Goodall (Rugby), Josh Starling (Knights), Jamie Buhrer (Knights), Brayden Wiliame (Catalans), Matt Parcell (Leeds), Feleti Mateo (Salford), Luke Burgess (Catalans)
Best 17 – 1. T Trbojevic 2. J Taufua 3. M Wright 4. D Walker 5. A Uate 6. B Green 7. D Cherry-Evans 8. N Myles 9. A Koroisau 10. D Lussick 11. M Taupau 12. C Sironen 13. J Trbojevic 14. L Brown 15. B Lawrence 16. A Fonua-Blake 17. L Perrett
Not Used – S Lane, J Hastings, C Cullen, B Kelly, J Wright, F Winterstein
Finished on 2016 ladder – 13th
Strengths – There is not much here but the Trbojevic boys will have to take control of the Manly side if it hopes to be a threat this season. Jake is a tough work-a-holic and Tom is try scoring and setting up gun. Daly Cherry-Evans will be trying to give Tom Trbojevic early ball so he can do his work.
Weaknesses – A lot of quality players have retired or left Manly at the end of last season and it may take a season or two for the new players to jell together. Will Trent Barrett last that long?
Who to Watch – If Manly can get some go forward Tom Trbojevic could work some magic.
B.S Prediction – 13th I feel not even Tom Trbojevic can pull a magic trick that good. Could be a looooong season for the Manly boys. Manly has just lost too much quality.
Hot – Tom Trbojevic ($437.4k) is a gun and deserves to be in most sides this season. His brother Jake Trbojevic ($438.0k) is also a consistent Supercoach scorer and would also be in most supercoach sides. I know they are in mine.
Risk – Dylan Walker ($303.4k) can be hot and cold but is a duel position player. He is back into his favoured centre position and could cause some trouble. Akuila Uate ($172.5) isn’t the biggest cheapie but is playing on the end of a Tom Trbojevic back line and he is a great finisher. So he could score a lot of tries and see some rise in price. As they say “Who Dares Wins”.
Cold – Curtis Sironen ($228.1k) averages about 30 and that’s when he played big minutes at the Tigers. He is a no go zone. Brenton Lawrence ($274.8k) is the same so stay away.
Ins – Josh Addo-Carr (Tigers), Brandon Smith (Cowboys), Vincent Leuluai (Roosters), Jahrome Hughes (Cowboys), Ryley Jacks (Sunshine Coast Falcons)
Outs – Marika Koroibete (Union), Josh Kerr (Dragons), Ryan Morgan (St Helens), Blake Green (Manly), Matt White (Bulldogs), Francis Tualau (Bulldogs), Ben Hampton (Cowboys), Richard Kennar (Bulldogs), Kevin Proctor (Titans)
Best 17 – 1. B Slater 2. S Vunivalu 3. W Chambers 4. C Scott 5. J Addo-Carr 6. C Munster 7. C Cronk 8. J Bromwich 9. C Smith 10. J McLean 11. K Bromwich 12. T Harris 13. D Finucane 14. T Glasby 15. N Asofa-Solomona 16. C Welch 17. F Kaufusi
Not Used – D Britt, C Galo, S Griffin, C Blair, J Hawkins, T Kamikamica, M Nicholls, J Stimson, Y Tonumaipea
Finished on 2016 ladder – 1st (were beaten in the grand final)
Strengths – They are the Melbourne Storm and command respect. Every season we say they are done and they keep producing. As long as Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster are there they will be in the top 8. Every player has a job and they do it well which is why we will see the Storm playing finals again.
Weaknesses – The Storm could lose Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster over Origin and this could really test the Storm. The big 3 are not getting any younger and need to be there for the Storm if they want to play in the finals.
Who to Watch – Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith work this team around the park so well. Just sit back and enjoy what you see. I can’t talk these guys up anymore.
B.S Prediction – 5th I feel Origin could be a testing time but unlike previous season I’m not prepared to take them out of the Top 8. They will be there when whips are cracking.
Hot – Cameron Smith ($523.7k) if you can afford him get him. Once he is in he stays until the end. Tohu Harris ($448.1k) has duel position of 2RF and CTW. Like Smith you want him in your side and he scores very very well. Jessie Bromwich ($436.7k) always very consistent and if that’s what you want lock him in. Curtis Scott ($143.6k) could be a great cheapie to get into your side. Watch for Round 1 teams to see if he gets selected.
Risk – Kenneath Bromwich ($265.4k) is at a very tempting price and should get more minutes. Maybe wait until Round 3 before making a decision on Kenny. Billy Slater ($300.8k) could be a pod if we finds the form of old. He is older no so only time will tell.
Cold – Cameron Munster ($460.9k) scored huge points last year but moving to 5/8 due to Billy Slater returning. He is a pass for me.
Ins – Jamie Buhrer (Manly), Rory Kostjasyn (Cowboys), Ken Sio (Hull), Josh Starling (Manly), Jacob Gagan (Sharks), Joe Wardle (Huddersfield), Anthony Tupou (Wakefield)
Outs – Jeremy Smith (Retired), James McManus (Retired), Kade Snowden (Retired), Robbie Rochow (Rabbitohs), Akuila Uate (Manly), Jake Mamo (Huddersfield), Korbin Sims (Broncos), Jarrod Mullen (Suspension)
Best 17 – 1. D Phythian 2. K Sio 3. D Gagai 4. P Mata’utia 5. N Ross 6. B Lamb 7. T Hodkinson 8. J Starling 9. R Kostjasyn 10. D Saifiti 11. S Mata’utia 12. M Barnett 13. J Buhrer 14. D Levi 15. L Yates 16. S Mataora 17. S Stone
Not Used – J Saifiti, J Stockwell, L Fitzgibbon, B Elliott, W Pearsall, J King, C Mata’utia
Finished on 2016 ladder – 16th
Strengths – The Knights have recruited some solid players in the offseason and mixed in with some younger players the Knights are a team building well. Problem is it may take a few years. They can’t get worse can they?
Weaknesses – Confidence is a wonderful thing and the Knights only won one game in 2016 and had one draw. Defence was the biggest weakness in 2016 and with so many new players this may continue.
Who to Watch – Dane Gagai will need to be at his very best for the Knights to be any chance this season. They will annoy some teams this season.
B.S Prediction – 16th I just can’t see them winning enough games. They were a long last in 2016 and if they win 8 or 9 games it would be a successful season.
Hot – Sione Mata’utia ($308.7k) should be a must have in most sides. At a good price and playing in the forwards for the Knight will see him score well. Dylan Phythian ($156.4k) is looking at being the starting fullback for the Knights so this makes him a good cheapie option. Sam Stone ($122.6k) and Luke Yates ($122.6k) could be a good cheapie options but look for round 1 teams.
Risk – Ken Sio ($260.1K) was a try scoring machine in the Super League but he is in the Knights side. Maybe a pod if you’re desperate for pods.
Cold – Mitchell Barnett ($450.8k) is simply overpriced and there are much better options.
New Zealand Warriors
Ins – Kieran Foran (Eels)
Outs – Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan), Shaun Lane (Manly), Jonathan Wright (Manly), Henare Wells (Burleigh)
Best 17 – 1. R Tuivasa-Sheck 2. T Lolohea 3. D Fusitu’a 4. S Kata 5. M Vatuvei 6. K Foran 7. S Johnson 8. B Matulino 9. I Luke 10. C Gubb 11. B Thompson 12. R Hoffman 13. S Mannering 14. J Lillyman 15. B Afoa 16. A Vete 17. S Lisone
Not Used – J Tevaga, J Gavet, A Hingano, M Lino, B Ayshford, K Maumalo, J Bell
Finished on 2016 ladder – 10th
Strengths – The Warriors spine of RTS, Johnson, Foran and Luke are the best in the NRL. This is the New Zealand spine with the New Zealand coach. Should the Warriors get good go forward by their big forwards the spine will dominate and the Warriors could score plenty of points.
Weaknesses – As per every other year the Warriors just fall asleep in parts and look disinterested. They will need to fix these old habits should they want to be playing in the finals.
Who to Watch – Shaun Johnson when he is on he is electric. When he not he is bad. However with Foran and RTS in the side hopefully we will see the very best of Shaun Johnson.
B.S Prediction – 1st I feel the Warriors have the players all over the park to give this competition a huge shake in 2017. I made the call on Bats and Balls Podcast in 2016 and I’m sticking to it.
Hot – Shaun Johnson ($464.3k) is one of the top 2 halfbacks on Supercoach. If he is kicking goals he is as good as Jonathan Thurston. Simon Mannering ($450.6k) and Bodene Thompson ($442.7k) are solid picks and will knock out 50 or 60pts a game. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ($324.0k) is coming back from injury but if you want to save some money he is at a good price.
Risk – All of the Warriors players are a risk as they have a habit of going MIA. Ata Hingano ($165.4k) is a risk but he will play first 2 Rounds while Foran is out and should Johnson or Foran get injured he will be straight in.
Cold – Issac Luke ($424.1k) was goal kicking last season but Johnson is back to 100% so Issac will not kick and thus he will score a lot less points. He is massive overs for me.
North Queensland Cowboys
Ins – Ben Hampton (Storm), Shaun Fensom
Outs – Brandon Smith (Storm), James Tamou (Panthers), Jahrome Hughes (Storm), Rory Kostjasyn (Knights), Tautau Moga (Broncos), Ben Hannant (Retired)
Best 17 – 1. L Coote 2. K Ponga 3. K Linnett 4. J O’Neill 5. K Feldt 6. M Morgan 7. J Thurston 8. M Scott 9. J Granville 10. S Bolton 11. G Cooper 12. E Lowe 13. J Taumalolo 14. P Kaufusi 15. B Hampton 16. S Fensom 17. J Asiata
Not Used – A Winterstein, J Bowen, G Gela-Mosby, S Hoare, B Spina, R Thompson, C Hess
Finished on 2016 ladder – 4th (were knocked out week 3 of finals)
Strengths – The Cowboys have pretty much the same team they won the premiership with in 2015. They all know how each other plays and Paul Green is doing a great job. Any side with JT in it will always be strong. The Cowboys have plenty of attacking options and can score from anywhere on the field.
Weaknesses – The Cowboys can sometimes rely on JT a little too much and he can’t always work his magic. If JT gets injured what happens next? The loss of Tamou and Hannant could test the Cowboys forward depth this season.
Who to Watch – This is easy. Johnathan Thurston he is a gun full stop. He will drive the Cowboys to another finals series.
B.S Prediction – 4th I feel JT will be able to take the Cowboys to the finals. They have a great forward pack and attacking backs.
Hot – Johnathan Thurston ($467.0k) is a gun and will be in most sides. Ethan Lowe ($429.8k) is a consistent scorer and should get you a good score each week.
Risk – Kalyn Ponga ($122.6k) simply will he or won’t he play.
Cold – Gavin Cooper ($392.6k) I simply can’t have him. He scores go up and down.
Ins – Nathan Brown (Rabbitohs), Josh Hoffman (Titans), Jamal Fogarty (Burleigh Bears), Siosaia Vave (Manly), George Jennings (Panthers), Suaia Matagi (Panthers), Frank Pritchard (Hull FC), Kirisome Auva’a (Free Agent), Will Smith (P anthers)
Outs – Michael Gordon (Roosters), Kieran Foran (Warriors), Luke Kelly (Rabbitohs), Danny Wicks (Retired), Vai Toutai (Released), Mitch Cornish (Roosters), Tyrell Fuimaono (Rabbitohs), Kieren Moss (Bradford), Anthony Watmough (Retired)
Best 17 – 1. B French 2. S Radradra 3.M Jennings 4. B Takairangi 5. J Hoffman 6. C Gutherson 7. C Norman 8. T Mannah 9. K Pritchard 10. N Brown 11. M Ma’u 12. T Moeroa 13. B Scott 14. S Vave 15. F Pritchard 16. S Matagi 17. K Edwards
Not Used – D Alvaro, P Terepo, J Fogarty, I De Gois, K Auva’a, D Gower, J Robson, C King, G Jennings, R O’Brien, W Smith, A Twal, J Hasson, J Folau
Finished on 2016 ladder – 14th (lost 12pts for Salary Cap breach would have finished 8th)
Strengths – Parramatta’s forward pack match every opposition forward pack and gave the backs plenty of room to move. With a few quality additions the pack the Eels will look to dominate in the forwards again. On the back of this watch for Semi Radradra and Bevin French to score plenty of tries.
Weaknesses – Will the Clint Gutherson experiment work??? The Eels lack a little bit of quality depth in the halves and should they get injuries who knows what could happen. Will the demons of 2016 come back to bite the Eels?
Who To Watch – Corey Norman will be the man the Eels will be wanting to see the best of. Has plenty to pay the Eels back for in 2016 so watch for him to dominate.
B.S Prediction – 7th I expect to see the Eels rise up the ladder but plenty of other teams have improved and will want to see how the halves experiment goes. Any less then top 8 is a fail.
Supercoach Watch –
Hot – Manu Ma’u ($386.8k) is probably the best pick of the Eels in supercoach. Due to a few games in 2016 in the centres he has duel positions. Would not look out of place in most sides and should score consistently.
Risk – Corey Norman ($367.6k) is a risk but if he finds 2016 form he could score very well. If he kicks goals for the Eels he could be in a large number of teams. Bevan French ($336.8K) at fullback and is a try scoring machine. Semi Radradra ($409.9k) is the same and Bevan. Both are high risk.
Cold – Any other player in the Eels side id stay away from however they do have a really good bye draw so keep an eye on a few cheapie options for the byes.
In – Michael Oldfield (Rabbitohs), Darren Nicholls (Redcliffe), Mitch Rein (Dragons), Jed Cartwright (Titans), Tim Browne (Bulldogs), James Tamou (Cowboys)
Out – Ben Garcia (Catalans), George Jennings (Eels), Zak Hardaker (Castleford), Jeremy Latimore (Sharks), Suaia Matagi (Eels), Chris Smith (Roosters), Chris Grevsmuhl (released), Robert Jennings (Rabbitohs), Will Smith (Eels),
Best 17 – 1. M Moylan 2. J Mansour 3. D Whare 4. W Blake 5. D Watene-Zelezniak 6. T Martin 7. N Cleary 8. R Campbell-Gillard 9. P Wallace 10. J Tamou 11. B Cartwright 12. I Yeo 13. T Merrin 14. T Peachey 15. T Browne 16. J Fisher-Harris 17. L Latu
Not Used – S McKendry, D Edwards, S Katoa, M Leota, D Nicholls, M Oldfield, M Rein
Finished on 2016 ladder – 6th (knocked out week 2 of finals)
Strengths – Depth. The Panthers have plenty of it. The younger Panthers coming through are all quality and the future looks bright at the foot of the Mountains. Bryce Cartwright’s ball playing skills were on show in 2016 and he should look to dominate in 2017. The young Panthers halves will attack the game and should go a long way to getting to the top 4.
Weaknesses – Experience. The young Panthers may struggle with experience when it comes to the business end of the season. They also let a few points in and will need to look at making their defence better should they want to hold the premiership.
Who to Watch – For me I can’t wait to watch the young halves Martin and Cleary guide this Panthers side around the park. With their forwards getting plenty of go forward they will have plenty of room to play with.
B.S Prediction – 2nd I feel this Panthers side is ready to fire. The juniors coming through give them great depth.
Hot – Bryce Cartwright ($497.2k) and Trent Merrin (492.9k) should be in most if not all teams. They are too good not to have them. Dean Whare ($143.6k) could be a good cheapie option.
Risk – Nathan Cleary ($442.7k) is a risk but he is a goal kicker.
Cold – Josh Mansour ($422.0k) he will be out most of the year and is far too much money to worry.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Ins – Robbie Rochow (Knights), Robbie Farah (Tigers), Luke Kelly (Eels), Robert Jennings (Panthers), Brett Greinke (Broncos), Tyrell Fuimaono (Eels)
Out – Joe Burgess (Wigan), Paul Carter (Roosters), Kirisome Auva’a (Released), Cameron McInnes (Dragons), Nathan Brown (Eels), Michael Oldfield (Panthers), Luke Keary (Roosters)
Best 17 – 1. G Inglis 2. A Johnson 3. B Goodwin 4. H Hunt 5. A Gray 6. C Walker 7. A Reynolds 8. G Burgess 9. R Farah 10. R Rochow 11. J Sutton 12. K Turner 13. S Burgess 14. J Clark 15. T Burgess 16. A Crichton 17. D Cook
Not Used – Z Musgrove, T Fuimaono, L Kelly, R Jennings, B Greinke, B Burns, D Nielsen, D Tyrell, S Talakai
Finished on 2016 ladder – 12th
Strengths – After losing the services of Issac Luke a couple of years ago the Rabbits have been looking for a quality hooker. Robbie Farah is that player and has played with Adam Reynolds in State Of Origin. The Rabbits will want both these players to fire.
Weaknesses – The Rabbits backline bar Inglis and Reynolds can only be described as boring. A youngster with some flair may be what is needed to fix it but will they do it?
Who to Watch – Sam Burgess will need to be at his powerful best along with his brothers if the Rabbitohs want to be a chance of playing finals football.
B.S Prediction – 12th I think the Rabbits could finish anywhere between 8-12th on the ladder. I do however worry about the boring backline and lack of flair could cost them points.
Hot – Sam Burgess ($499.3k) is a gun and is a MUST for all sides. George Burgess ($241.8k) is dirt cheap and should be a reserve in most sides. Siosifa Talakai ($160.4k) if named could be a great cheapie option.
Risk – Adam Reynolds ($385.2k) is a real risk but he does goal kick and he does set up tries and kicks well. A risk but a calculated one. Greg Inglis ($402.1k) will he find his best Supercoach form only time will tell.
Cold – Robbie Farah ($346.9k) is likely to get less game time at the Rabbits and is a no go for me
St George Illawarra Dragons
Ins – Nene McDonald (Titans), Cameron McInnes (Rabbitohs), Shaun Nona (Cutters), Paul Vaughan (Raiders), Josh Kerr (Storm)
Outs – Mike Cooper (Warrington), Ben Creagh (Retired), Benji Marshall (Broncos), Dylan Farrell (Retired), Tom Carr (Bulldogs), Sebastine Ikahihifo (Huddersfield), Mitch Rein (Panthers), Dunamis Lui (Raiders), Adam Quinlan (Hull)
Best 17 – 1. J Dugan 2. N McDonald 3. E Aitken 4. T Milne 5. J Nightingale 6. G Widdop 7. J Field 8. P Vaughan 9. C McInnes 10. T Sims 11. T Frizell 12. J Thompson 13. J De Belin 14. R Packer 15. J Host 16. L Ah Mau 17. L Leilua
Not Used – J McCrone, M Dufty, K Faifai Loa, Y Kiti Glymin, J Kerr, T Lafai, K Mann, J Marketo, W Matthews, S Nona, D Hutchinson*, M Masoe* **long term or season ending injuries
Finished on ladder 2016 – 11th
Strengths – There are not many strength for the Dragons. Defence in the past has always been ok and has kept them in plenty of matches. They will need this defence to step up again if they want to be a chance of the top 8. Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell having played origin need to lead the way for the Dragons
Weaknesses – Attack Attack Attack where is it?? The Dragons where terrible in attack last season and this season looks like it will be no different. The coach has a decision to make. Does he play Josh McCrone or Jai Field? If he decides Josh McCrone the Dragons attack will be as boring as ever. They need the speed of Jai Field to spark their attack and really could they do any worse??
Who to Watch – Josh Dugan is the man the Dragons need to have plenty of ball. If he gets himself involved to Dragon could upset plenty of teams.
B.S Prediction – 15th I really can’t see thing getting better for the Dragons this season. Will the coach still be around by the end of the season??
Hot – Jai Field ($122.6k) should he get a run, will be in everybody’s Supercoach sides. Other than that there isn’t much to like.
Risk – Cameron McInnes ($369.4k) is a risk if you do not want to play top dollar for a hooker. He looks set to play 80mins so keep a close eye on him. Josh Dugan ($372.8k) if he get his hands on the ball could score well but he is very hot and cold.
Cold – Everybody else in the Dragons line up. They are ever overpriced or just not worth having.
Ins – Luke Keary (Rabbitohs), Liam Knight (Manly), Paul Carter (Rabbitohs), Mitch Cornish (Eels), Brendan Santi (Blackhawks), Zane Tetevano (Wyong Roos), Michael Gordon (Eels)
Outs – Sam Moa (Catalans), Tyler Cornish (Titans), Jackson Hastings (Manly), Vincent Leuluai (Storm)
Best 17 – 1. M Gordon 2. D Tupou 3. L Mitchell 4. B Ferguson 5. S Kenny-Dowall 6. L Keary 7. M Pearce 8. J Waerea-Hargreaves 9. J Friend 10. D Napa 11. B Cordner 12. M Aubusson 13. A Guerra 14. I Liu 15. K Evans 16. R Matterson 17. P Carter
Not Used – L Knight, C Watson, D Copley, M Cornish, B Gray, J Manu, J Nikorima, C Smith, Z Tetevano, S Siua Taukeiaho* Long term or season ending injury
Finished on ladder 2016 – 15th
Strengths – The Roosters have plenty experience all over the ground. With this their attack should be able to compete will every team in the competition. The combination of Pearce and Cordner will be vital for the Roosters. Will Peace find the form he once had??
Weaknesses – The Roosters had plenty of excuses in 2016. They basically started the season with the “B” lineup. That being said they still leaked a lot of point during the 2016 season and they will need to improve their defence if they want to give the 8 a shake.
Who to Watch – The hard running Boyd Cordner runs fantastic lines and always find holes. With Mitchell Pearce running the side, look for these 2 to combine and have defences guessing.
B.S Prediction – 10th I can see the Roosters being a top 8 chance for a looooong time. They will be in the group of teams around 6th -12th on the ladder
Hot – Boyd Cordner ($466.8k) he is a little pricey but he runs great line and seems to know where the try line is. He could be a great POD if you are looking for someone different. Jake Friend ($420.6k) scores really well last season and plays plenty of minutes. Michael Gordon ($323.9k) if you want to be different. The Roosters do score points and he will be kicking goals.
Risk – Mitchell Pearce ($443.4k) will he find his best form. He doesn’t goal kick like Thurston, Johnson, Cleary, Sezer or Reynolds but he could be a good POD if you want to risk it. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($325.6k) had an injury riddled 2016 and if he can bounce back he is at a nice price.
Cold – Connor Watson ($279.5k) doesn’t look like he will get enough time on the field to go up in value. Ryan Matterson ($276.7k) like Watson probably won’t play enough minutes to make it worth it.
Ins – Jamal Idris (Free Agent), Matt McIlwrick (Sharks)
Outs – Josh Addo-Carr (Storm), Josh Drinkwater (Released), Asipeli Fine (Bulldogs), Manaia Cherrington (Sharks), Dene Halatau (Retired), Robbie Farrah (Rabbitohs), Curtis Sironen (Manly), Rod Griffin (Bulldogs), Chance Peni (Union),Jesse Parahi (Rugby 7s), Billy McConnachie (Released), Jack Buchanan (Widnes), Tim Simona (NRL suspended contract)
Best 17 – 1. J Tedesco 2. M Suli 3. J Idris 4. K Naiqama 5. D Nofoaluma 6. M Moses 7. L Brooks 8. A Woods 9. M Ballin 10. T Grant 11. J Aloiai 12. C Lawrence 13. E Taylor 14. J Liddle 15. S Sue 16. A Seumanufagai 17. K Lovett
Not Used – JJ Felise, J Rankin, M Chee-Kam, J Edwards, J Hunt, J Littlejohn, M McIlwrick
Finished on 2016 ladder – 9th
Strengths – The Tigers spine is one of the best in the competition. James Tedesco at fullback getting his hands on the ball is awesome to watch. Mitchell Moses had a fantastic 2016 and if Luke Brooks can find form and these 3 hit form together the Tigers could be anything. Tigers can score points and score them fast.
Weaknesses – Like most teams that can score points fast they can also let in points very fast. The Tigers will need to improve on their defence if they want to be a serious contender for the premiership. They also haven’t attracted many players to the club so depth could be a massive issue if they get injuries.
Who To Watch – It’s the Tedesco and Moses show. If these 2 can find last year’s form the Tiger could force their way into the top 8.
B.S Prediction – 11th Yes the Tigers were a J Hayne field goal away from finals football last season but they were a Salary Cap scandal away for 10th. They will be fighting for a top 8 spot for a long way.
Hot – James Tedesco ($466.3k) he is pricey but he is a gun and scores plenty of Supercoach points. Elijah Taylor ($307.1k) playing lock this season and could play 80mins. His average was down in 2016 due to playing hooker for periods in a game. Moses Suli ($122.6k) look like he will start the season on the wing for the Tigers.
Risk – Matt Ballin ($143.6k) will he play enough minutes and be injury free?? Mitchell Moses ($371.1k) had a fantastic 2016 but will he be able to do it again?? Jamal Idris ($263.6k) is really cheap but hasn’t played in a long time and is a real risk.
Cold – Luke Brookes ($296.0k) I just can’t have him in my side ever. Jacob Liddle ($234.0k) just won’t get the game time needed to go up in value or score enough points.
The 2017 season is shaping up to be the closest season yet. Just like the past seasons the top 8 will be separated by only a few points and I think the top 12 will be in the fight for the top 8 for a really long time.
B.S Top *8
- New Zealand Warriors
- Penrith Panthers
- Canberra Raiders
- North Queensland Cowboys
- Melbourne Storm
- Cronulla Sharks
- Parramatta Eels
- Brisbane Broncos
B.S Bottom 8
- Gold Coast Titans
- Sydney Roosters
- West Tigers
- South Sydney Rabbitohs
- Manly Sea Eagles
- Canterbury Bulldogs
- St George Illawarra Dragons
- Newcastle Knights