SuperCoach NRL trial guide 2022: Players to watch in trial matches, All Stars

After a long summer, rugby league is finally back this weekend! These are the KFC SuperCoach players to keep your eye on.

Finally, the footy is back.

Rugby league kicks off for 2022 this weekend with the Indigenous All Stars v Maori All Stars clash, while the Broncos also play Wynnum Manly Seagulls in a trial.

These are the players to watch.

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DAVID FIFITA

As the below photo shows, Fifita is as fit as ever, which is a rather scary proposition. Fifita dropped out of favour at the end of last season, averaging 56.4 minutes per game from Round 16 onwards.

But his new physique suggests he’s ready to return to 80 minutes and we get our first look at him for 2022 this Saturday as a starting back rower for the Indigenous All Stars. He’s at 23 per cent ownership, which is actually quite POD-ish for a bloke who finished seven points clear for average at 2RF last year. But he’ll be at 40 per cent ownership with a big showing on Saturday.

David Fifita is as fit as ever.
David Fifita is as fit as ever.

ANDREW FIFITA

Can the big man turn back time and average 60PPG in just 49MPG like he did in 2019? Almost certainly not. Fifita plays the game on one leg these days and has managed just 17 games over the span of the past two seasons. Fifita is fit again, having battled back from a scary throat injury and has impressed new Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon with his pre-season work ethic. However, Cronulla have a solid pack and it’s hard to see Fifita forcing his way on to the bench let alone reliving his years as a starter. And so for the nostalgic among us, Saturday night may be one of your last chances to watch the big fella crab sideways, fending off would be defenders before finishing with a one-handed offload. Classic Fifita where a run that only progressed six metres downfield still makes SC owners 10+ points.

LITERALLY EVERY BRONCOS PLAYMAKER

The five-eighth spot outside star recruit Adam Reynolds is up for grabs and it’s literally a six-horse race. Ezra Mam, Tyrone Roberts, Te Maire Martin and Billy Walters have been named for the weekend trial against Wynnum Manly Seagulls and all will get the chance to impress. Then there’s Albert Kelly named in the Indigenous All Stars squad. This leaves Tyson Gamble as the only five-eighth contender for the Broncos not named this weekend. Of course, KFC SuperCoaches have their fingers crossed either Mam or Martin score the spot as both sit in cheapie range. Realistically, they are a rung or two down the ladder for now but Mam’s skills have been compared to Matt Bowen, while Martin played 55 NRL games before sitting out the last few years with a bleed on the brain.

Selwyn Cobbo is a youngster on the rise. Picture: Liam Kidston
Selwyn Cobbo is a youngster on the rise. Picture: Liam Kidston

SELWYN COBBO

Named as a reserve for the Indigenous All Stars, the boom Bronco is currently owned by 20 per cent of KFC SuperCoaches and is therefore one of the more popular money-making options at CTW. Coach Kevin Walters has essentially assured the young gun a spot for round one, it’s just a matter of whether he plays wing, centre or fullback. At $320,000 he’s not quite a cheapie, but still well underpriced if the Latrell Mitchell comparisons are on the mark. Named as a reserve for the Indigenous All Stars.

JORDAN PERERIA

He’s currently an injury or two off a backline spot for round one, but a big off-season could see the former Dragon surge up the pecking order. While many of his competitors are young guns, Pereria is 28-years-old and has 39 NRL games under his belt. A noted tackle busting machine and possessing a KFC SuperCoach friendly game, Pereria has averaged 38, 43, 50 and 42 in his last four seasons despite being starved of tries. He starts at a serious discount due to playing just four games last season and will line up on the wing for the Broncos against the Seagulls.

NICHOLAS HYNES

There are a host of differing views on Nicho Hynes. Theoretically he’s underpriced after averaging just 65 minutes last year. But take away a few points per game for the inevitable leaving-the-Storm dip, then take away a few more for a switch from fullback to the halves, and you’re looking at a pretty fair price. Either way, he’s quite popular at 12 per cent ownership and he’ll play in the halves this weekend for the Indigenous All Stars alongside Sharks teammate Braydon Trindall.

Cronulla Sharks signing Nicho Hynes. Picture: Grant Trouville/NRL Images
Cronulla Sharks signing Nicho Hynes. Picture: Grant Trouville/NRL Images

BRENDAN PIAKURA

The Broncos Academy product, who is very popular in the pre-season with better than 15 per cent ownership, has been named to start in the back row for Brisbane. Potential, and current owners, should beware that a number of Broncos backrowers who are generally considered to be above Piakura in the pecking order (Capewell, Riki, Palasia and Robati) are not playing in this game — and of course Piakura is suspended for Round 1.

JOSEPH TAPINE

Canberra’s stacked middle pack makes investing in the likes of Tapine a risky proposition which helps to explain his lowly one per cent ownership rate right now. But there’s plenty of reward for those who risk it. Having played a mixture of lock and bench through the beginning and middle of the season Tapine finished 2021 as a starting front row. In the final seven games of the regular season he averaged 61PPG of which 52.4PPG came in lovely reliable base stats. Will a huge All Stars performance help Tapine cement a starting job in the front row come round one? Possibly not, and even if it does, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart will probably rotate him out again as is Ricky’s want — but it wouldn’t hurt...

THIS WEEKEND’S TEAMS

Brisbane Broncos vs Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Kiko Manu, 3. Brenko Lee, 4. Ethan Quai-Ward, 5. Jordan Pereira, 6. Ezra Mam, 7. Tyrone Roberts, 8. Thomas Flegler, 9. Cory Paix, 10. Keenan Palasia, 11. Brendan Piakura, 12. Zac Hosking, 13. Kobe Hetherington

Bench: 14. Te Maire Martin, 15. Billy Walters, 16. Corey Jensen, 17. Ben Nakubuwai, 18. Tyrone Amey, 19. Ben Te Kura, 20. Deine Mariner

Indigenous All Stars vs Maori All Stars

Indigenous: 1. William Kennedy, 2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Brent Naden, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Nicholas Hynes, 7. Braydon Trindall, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Reuben Cotter, 10. Ryan James, 11. David Fifita, 12. Tyrell Fuimaono, 13. Josh Curran

Bench: 14. Albert Kelly, 15. Will Smith, 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 17. Josh Kerr

Reserves: 18. Selwyn Cobbo, 19. Tyrell Sloan, 20. Shaquai Mitchell

Maori: 1. Jordan Rapana, 2. Morgan Harper, 3. Dylan Walker, 4. Reimis Smith, 5. Patrick Herbert, 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Joseph Tapine, 9. Erin Clark, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 11. Kenneath Bromwich, 12. Briton Nikora, 13. Jazz Tevaga

Bench: 14. Esan Marsters, 15. Royce Hunt, 16. Teui Robati, 17. Kevin Proctor

Reserves: 18. Tukupa Hau Tapuha, 19. Jayden Nikorima, 20. Wiremu Greig

FULL LIST OF TRIALS

All times AEDT*

WEEK 1

Saturday, February 12, 5pm: Wynnum Manly Seagulls vs Brisbane Broncos at BMD Kougari Oval, Wynnum

Saturday, February 12, 8:10pm: Indigenous All Stars vs Maori All Stars at CommBank Stadium, Parramatta

WEEK 2

Friday, February 18, 6pm: Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders at Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt

Friday, February 18, 8pm: Wests Tigers vs Manly Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt

Saturday, February 19, 4pm: Melbourne Storm vs New Zealand Warriors at Casey Fields, Cranbourne

Saturday, February 19, 6pm: North Queensland Cowboys vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at Barlow Park, Cairns

Saturday, February 19, 8pm: Gold Coast Titans vs Brisbane Broncos at CBus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

Sunday, February 20, 4pm: Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla Sharks at CommBank Stadium, Parramatta

Sunday, February 20, 6pm: Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons at CommBank Stadium, Parramatta

Monday, February 21, 7pm: Canterbury Bulldogs vs Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

WEEK 3

Friday, February 25, 6pm: Manly Sea Eagles vs Canberra Raiders at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Friday, February 25, 8pm: Sydney Roosters vs Wests Tigers at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Saturday, February 26, 3pm: New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans at Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe

Saturday, February 26, 5pm: Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels at BlueBet Stadium, Penrith

Saturday, February 26, 7pm: (Charity Shield) South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George Illawarra Dragons at Glen Willow Stadium, Mudgee

Saturday, February 26, 9pm: North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos at BB Print Stadium, Mackay

Sunday, February 27, 5:45pm: Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights at Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Monday, February 28, 7pm: Cronulla Sharks vs Canterbury Bulldogs at PointsBet Stadium, Cronulla

*All games will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and Kayo

Originally published as SuperCoach NRL trial guide 2022: Players to watch in trial matches, All Stars