KFC SuperCoach Mastermind’s team reveal: Tom Trbojevic v Nathan Cleary

Regular top 1000 finisher Ian Maybanks reveals his KFC NRL SuperCoach squad with a POD halves combo to bolt out of the gate.

Walkers on! Cody Walker and Sam Walker are the halves combination I’m backing for huge things in 2022.

The rivals from the Roosters and Rabbitohs have plenty going for them but remain in serious POD range.

Sam Walker averaged 62PPG in his rookie season in an injury riddled Roosters outfit, playing with a shoulder problem himself, where he had a few games off the bench to impact that average.

He’s won the goal-kicking duties, and even a marginal improvement on his 54% strike rate last year would deliver some serious uptick in his scores.

I’m looking for 70PPG-75PPG from Walker knowing full well he’ll have highs like last season’s 163 against the Knights and lows like 11 against the Broncos.

Cody Walker has found his way into my team for yet another season.

He finished 300 points clear of his rivals in 2021 and has been the top scoring 5/8 in four of the past five seasons.

In that five years he’s also missed just six games of NRL. Three for suspension, two around Origin and he was rested in the final round last season.

His draw looks a little tough through rounds 2-4 playing the Storm, Roosters and Panthers, but he’s put scores on them in the past, especially the Roosters.

Earlier in pre-season I settled on Tom Trbojevic over Nathan Cleary and James Tedesco to take the bulk of my budget.

Trbojevic’s ceiling is what makes him so hard to leave out. Five of the top 10 scores in history are his. He’s had 12 scores of 150+ while Tedesco has eight and Cleary has four.

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With Trbojevic, there’s no captaincy debate week to week and that removes a lot of pressure on your other decision making around trades and bench selection.

Turning those 150s into 300s and 200s into 400s will send you up the rankings and win your head to head battles.

Tougher fixtures loom for Turbo in Round 1 and 2 against the Panthers and Roosters and plenty of people are banking on lower scores there to deliver a price drop. Round 3 brings the Bulldogs and that could easily be another 200+ haul to cover the breakeven and keep him out of reach.

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Plenty of cheapies emerged in team list Tuesday and I’ve snapped out most of the likely suspects. Here’s how the rest of the squad looks ahead of any final day tinkering and updated team news.

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Melbourne Storm’s Brandon Smith.
Melbourne Storm’s Brandon Smith.

HKR

Brandon Smith ($596,600) and Chris Randall ($245,500).

OUT: Cameron McInnes ($535,400)

Brandon Smith is coming off an 11 try season, when his previous best was three in a season. It screams that he’s overvalued but Smith’s still a key player in one of the best teams with dual position status. I’ve got spare cash that could turn him into Harry Grant depending on Papenhuyzen’s fitness for Round 1. Randall slots into the Knights starting team with Jayden Brailey injured. He’ll be one of the most owned players given his price and promising signs in past years. His 68 tackle game in Round 3 of 2020 put him on the radar of every SuperCoach player and most recently put 81 points on the Broncos in the final game of 2021 with a try and 48 tackles.

Jai Arrow runs with the ball during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Training Session. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images
Jai Arrow runs with the ball during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Training Session. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

FRF

Jai Arrow ($457,700), Stefano Utoikamanu ($457,200), Ethan Bullemor ($280,000), Max King ($188,700).

OUT: Payne Haas, Tepai Moeroa

Payne Haas has been the premium prop in SuperCoach for the past three seasonsbut I needed to cut corners somewhere to load up on the halves so he’s out. Jai Arrow has landed on the left edge outside of Cody Walker and should get a share of attacking points and more than the 47 minutes per game he had last season. His dual position status will come in handy.

Bullemor has scored the left edge role at Manly. He should make some quick cash until Josh Schuster returns and again has dual position status. Max King showed good signs in the trials and in the same forward pack as frequently suspended Tevita Pangai, Luke Thompson and Jack Hetherington he should see an opening for bigger minutes at one point or another even though he’s on the bench for now.

North Queensland Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo. Picture NRL Images
North Queensland Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo. Picture NRL Images

2RF

Jason Taumalolo ($485,700), Euan Aitken ($486,600), Jack Bird ($498,600), Izaak Tago, ($287,900), Kelma Tuilagi ($253,900) Jirah Momoisea ($205,100)

OUT: Tevita Pangai, Reuben Cotter, Jack Howarth

Taumalolo averaged 55PPG in 2021 and broke his hand three times. Without the injury worries I’ll back him to return closer to the previous four seasons when he averaged in the 70s. Dual CTW/2RFs Aitken and Bird will play in the forwards this season and have shown numbers that put them just below the top tier options in this position but at about a $100k+ discount on their expected output. Aitken is far more popular than Bird at the moment. I expect Bird’s injury problems of the past will turn off most but he played 22 games last season. Tago has picked up a centre spot at the Panthers. He may not burst out of the blocks with the Panthers notably struggling for points without Nathan Cleary in the team 31 points per game in 2021 with him and 17 without him. Tago should remain a great option and another great dual position option for squad flexibility.

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Kelma Tuilagi has scored an edge role with the Tigers after Shawn Blore went down injured, his other main rival for the spot Luke Garner is on the bench. Hopefully he scores some big minutes, he found the tryline in the trial against Manly. Momoisea looked good in the trials and has scored a bench spot for the Knights. He might not get huge minutes but he’s shown he can break the line with a try in the trials and in the last game of 2021.

Sam Walker of the Roosters. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images
Sam Walker of the Roosters. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

HFB

Sam Walker ($545,900), Brad Schneider ($188,700)

OUT: Luke Keary ($528,400)

If I’m not running with James Tedesco in my team then I need a piece of the Roosters attacking points from somewhere else as Rob Sutherland points out their draw is the best. That’s just another reason on top of those mentioned earlier on Walker. The Raiders have turned to rookie halfback Schneider with Jamal Fogarty out injured. Cheap, goalkicking and a reasonable draw. You could potentially play him in your 17 for the good match ups. He’s got potential to be a fast earner.

Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs runs onto the field during the Charity Shield. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs runs onto the field during the Charity Shield. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

5/8

Cody Walker ($734,900), Lachlan Ilias ($205,200)

OUT: Jackson Hastings ($350,700)

The Rabbitohs get the covid-hit Broncos in Round 1 on a dry track at Suncorp Stadium. With Latrell Mitchell suspended, all the attacking play should go through Cody Walker and I expect he’ll score 100+ points to kick off another huge season.

Ilias is an easy decision. Halfback at one of the best attacking outfits with dual position status. He is currently the most owned player in the game.

Xavier Coates of the Storm scores a try in the trial match against the Warriors. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
Xavier Coates of the Storm scores a try in the trial match against the Warriors. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

CTW

Xavier Coates ($358,400), Billy Smith ($294,600) Sean Russell ($285,400), Talatau Amone ($284,500), Will Penisini ($255,700), Viliami Vailea ($205,100), Tolutau Koula ($175,400)

OUT: Selwyn Cobbo, Jordan Pereira, Joseph Suaali

The strategy is simple here: targeting value players from the top teams and their favoured attacking sides. Tries are the quickest way for players in this position to rise in value and there’s plenty of potential for that here. Xavier Coates takes the spot of Josh Addo-Carr on the Storm’s left edge. Haze Dunster was set to fill the shoes of the injured Maika Sivo on the left wing for the Eels before picking up a horrific knee injury in the trial against the Dragons. Sean Russell is next in line for the Eels so he’s straight into my squad. In his only 80 minute game of NRL so far he scored two tries and 82 KFC SuperCoach points in Round 15 last season. I’ve also picked up Pensini from Parramatta who has shown decent base even if he’s not on the prime attacking side for the Eels. Billy Smith comes in from the Roosters and should find some attacking stats in that team.

Amone lands the five-eighth role at the Dragons. He’s shown plenty of attacking promise but his defence needs to improve as we pointed out in our crown duals article.

The other cheapies I’m grabbing are Vailea, who’s scored a start with the Warriors and Koula who is on the bench for Manly and seemingly one injury away from getting a start in the potent Sea Eagles backline.

Tom Trbojevic is locked in to captain our team for 2022. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Tom Trbojevic is locked in to captain our team for 2022. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

FLB

Tom Trbojevic ($1,256,100), Ryan Papenhuyzen ($694,700)

I’ve written enough about Trbojevic at the top. He’s here to captain this ship. The price is ridiculous but you’ve got to pay for the best. About 20% of teams are doing so at the moment. The other 80% of players I’m not sure how or if they’ll be in a position to reach him if he fires again. If he goes down injured, I’ve got the ability to trade in a gun from any position with the dual coverage in the squad. Papenhuyzen played just seven full games in 2021 and averaged 115PPG in those. If any player is going to go close to Trbojevic it’s the Melbourne fullback. Outrageous value to get him for just $694,700. Has been under an injury cloud all off season and if he doesn’t play Round 1, I’ve still got $77k I can use to bring in Tedesco or even downgrade to Clint Gutherson and pocket another $40k.

Originally published as KFC SuperCoach Mastermind’s team reveal: Tom Trbojevic v Nathan Cleary

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