This morning Fantasy NRL was launched. That means leagues are being formed and speculation about the best players and tactics has started around water coolers on both sides of the Tasman. Among NRL fans, Warriors supporters rank as the best overall players and also historically provide the largest number of participants from any one club. So we want to encourage conversation about the best use of our players within the Fantasy NRL forum. Here is a summary of the best players from last year, how the new signings might score and a couple of potential bolters from the squad.
Simon Mannering was a dual position work horse last year, scoring around the 40 point mark consistently over the entire season. With the departure of Elijah Taylor and Todd Lowrie, the number 13 jersey is up for grabs along with a lot of tackle points in the middle of the park. The captain could increase his already vast workload in 2014.
When we hit our midyear form in 2013, Shaun Johnson began to score big. His ability to score runaway tries, kick goals, kick long on the 5th tackle and gain points from Try Assists make him a good option at halfback. On a good day he was hitting 80 plus points which can make the difference in any head to head league.
Konrad Hurrell is another player who can explode with a couple of blockbusting runs and tackle busts. He is a good option in the centres, which can be a tricky position to fill. Like Johnson, Hurrell can be the difference in turning a par score into a competitive total.
Our new guys provide some exciting Fantasy prospects with Jayson Bukuya, Chad Townsend and Sam Tomkins all having the potential to accumulate.
In 2012, Jayson Bukuya was a revelation. He started the season as a low priced back rower who played 80 minutes regularly, worked hard on defence and made big metres with the ball in hand. After 24 games he was a feature across a lot of fantasy teams. 2013 saw him playing more off the bench in a Cronulla side with a very deep back row roster. He arrives next year as another competitor for the number 13 jersey and the workload that comes with it.
Chad Townsend is a new halfback that has a great skill set and 19 games of NRL experience. When given the chance, he has scored over 50 Fantasy points on at least three occasions for Cronulla since 2011. His limited chances were due to the preferred combination of Robson and Carney last year, but if he gets an opportunity in the halves he could be a cost efficient back up.
The most interesting new addition is Sam Tomkins. He is a dual position attacking threat that can also kick the ball. His ability to break the line and score tries could see him join Inglis, Barba, Hayne, Slater and Dugan as one of the must have Fullbacks. Because he is fresh to the NRL, he is reasonably priced and the first three games could see him becoming a feature across the game.
From the current crop, the props last year were consistent scorers with Matulino, Rapira and Lillyman sharing the workload. Rookie prop Suaia Matagi also improved in every one of his 11 starts in the NRL. Two players that could score well in the front row if they are given an opportunity are Sione Lousi and Charlie Gubb.
Lousi played 22 games in 2012 with a high tackle count and plenty of metres. His 2013 season was ended before it could start with a knee injury in the preseason. He is a mobile front rower with a good step. At this stage Sione is only listed in the second row area, but hopefully this will be updated so that he is a dual position player.
Gubb got his one NRL run to date in Perth against the Rabbitohs last year. In just 24 mins on the paddock he made 86 metres and 12 tackles. Charlie is another product of the 2010 NYC championship team and could be a player to watch in 2014.
Over the coming weeks we will continue the conversation, and we encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s your first year or you’re a veteran, get your friends involved and start a league. It’s a great way to follow the games and learn more about the individual stats. Send us your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. Best of luck, WARRIOR NATION!