SuperCoach NRL study guide: Sea Eagles
2018 was one of Manly's worst seasons on record, only narrowly avoiding their first wooden spoon, finishing up 15th with just seven wins. Despite being a basket case on the field, Manly were still a SuperCoach gold mine, with four players in the top 15 point scorers (turns out carrying your team can make you a SuperCoach gun... who knew?)
The Trbojevic brothers ended up in the top three for the second year in a row, and while they each have big price tags in 2019, they will be worth every cent. Marty Taupau was the second best point scoring prop behind Andrew Fifita, and this looks set to continue this year.
Daly Cherry-Evans was also a great POD with 10 per cent ownership despite finishing as the 11th highest point scorer, and if he continues to kick goals for Manly, will be a great option at halfback.
Even though the side looked good on paper, the team was clearly affected by injuries, off-field dramas and the coaching saga behind the scenes, and it showed! While the attacking weapons are there, the side gave up points seemingly at will, conceding a staggering 622 points (the most of any NRL team).
While this was bad for the NRL side, it meant Taupau and Jurbo had to make more tackles, while a lack of weapons meant Cherry-Evans and Turbo were pretty much running the show. Hopefully the return of Des Hasler in 2019 will mean better results on the field, while still allowing their guns to dominate in SuperCoach.
1. Tom Trbojevic, 2. Jorge Taufua, 3. Dylan Walker, 4. Moses Suli, 5. Albert Hopoate, 6. Kane Elgey, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Martin Taupau, 9. Api Koroisau, 10. Addin Fonua-Blake, 11. Joel Thompson, 12. Curtis Sironen, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Trent Hodkinson, 15. Taniela Paseka, 16. Kelepi Tanginoa, 17. Jack Gosiewski
On the fringe
Brad Parker, Toafofoa Sipley, Lloyd Perrett, Frank Winterstein, Manase Fainu, Cade Cust, Brendan Elliot, Reuben Garrick, Semisi Kioa, Reuben Funa, Tevita Funa, Jade Anderson, Sean Keppie, Lachlan Croker, Luke Metcalf, Haumole Olakau'atu
Gains: Brendan Elliott (Titans), Kane Elgey (Titans), Albert Hopoate, Corey Waddell (Panthers), Reuben Garrick (Dragons), Cade Cust
Loses: Akuila Uate (Super League), Shaun Lane (Eels), Lewis Brown (retired), Tom Wright (Rugby Union), Matthew Wright, Jonathan Wright (retired)
Round 16: Manly play during the Round 12 bye, but could be without their origin stars: DCE and the Trbojevic brothers.
Tom Trbojevic (FLB, $691,200)
Turbo was the third highest scoring SuperCoach player in 2018, and while he does have a big price tag he is definitely worth it, since you'll want to hold onto him for the whole season.
With an average just under 74 points per game, Tommy T is one of those players you can slot into your team and just forget about him. Also not to mention he broke the SuperCoach record for most points scored in a game, with 194 points against the Titans in Round 23 (his fourth game above 100 points in 2018). His upside is unreal so instead of wishing you had him, why not just lock him in before Round 1?
Jake Trbojevic (2RF, $667,600)
While his brother is all about scoring and setting up tries and breaking the line at will, Jake is a gun for different reason. He's an 80 minute backrower who averages 59 points per game in tackles and hitups, making him the best base stat player in all of SuperCoach.
Jurbo also backs this up with some decent offensive stats, like the seven tries scored in 2018. He also took on more of a ball playing role in attack last year and had his hands on the ball a lot more. More touches means more chances of earning some creative points. A must own at some point in the season.
Daly Cherry-Evans (HFB, $577,400)
With other quality options at HFB in 2018, Daly Cherry-Evans really flew under the radar and was a great POD for the few SuperCoaches who picked him. At only 10 per cent ownership, DCE was the best halfback and the 11th best player overall, thanks to eight tries, kicking goals and his average base of 22 points per game.
With no decent replacement, it looks like DCE will keep the goal kicking duties for Manly in 2019, which makes him a very tempting option over the more expensive Shaun Johnson.
Martin Taupau (FRF, 2RF $605,100)
As mentioned earlier, Taupau was the second highest scoring SuperCoach prop in 2018, behind only Andrew Fifita, and other than him or Ryan James there aren't many gun FRFs. But what sets Taupau apart from Fifita is the fact he has dual position and also covers the round 13 bye. Given these two are the best FRF options in the comp, you definitely want at least one of them in your starting side, and Taupau covers the first bye round.
Apisai Koroisau (HOK, $528,300)
While he's no Damien Cook, we've seen what Api has done before, averaging 56 points and 70 minutes per game in 2018. He is coming back from injury, but does provide a unique option for those looking to save cash on the hooker position.
Joel Thompson (2RF, $474,100)
While Manly's defence was very vulnerable last year, their backrow were still interesting SuperCoach prospects, playing big minutes, having decent base and a penchant for attacking stats. Thompson averaged 50 points, 80 minutes, 38 points in base and also scored seven tries in, all at only 1.1 per cent ownership, making him an interesting value pick.
Curtis Sironen (2RF, $398,600)
Similar to Thompson, Sironen played big minutes and averaged 53 points in 2018, before tearing his ACL. While his minutes may take a hit as he is eased back into the NRL, if he can produce a similar scores to last year he could be a great pick. A 53 point average for under $400k? Not bad!
Albert Hopoate (CTW, FLB $168,100)
With Akuila Uate, Brian Kelly and Jono Wright leaving the club there is an opportunity for a cheapie to grab a starting spot on the wing, and Albert Hopoate is looking the best bet so far. Manly's outside back depth is shaky and if Dylan Walker misses time for off-field dramas then Hopoate could have some pretty solid job security. Lock him in for now.
Reuben Garrick (CTW, $168,100)
Another cheapie who could find himself in the hotseat in 2019 is 22-year-old centre Reuben Garrick. Moving to the Northern Beaches for a shot at making his NRL debut, he could very well find himself playing first grade in 2019. In 21 games NSW Cup games last year, Garrick scored 10 tries, had eight try assists, while making 12 line breaks and 55 tackle breaks. These numbers would even put him ahead of 2018 Rookie of the Year Jamayne Isaako (if you take out the goal kicking). Watch this kid.
Corey Waddell (2RF, $168,100)
The Panthers junior was a gun for the club in Under 20s and NSW Cup sides, but has moved on to look for his NRL debut. Manly's depth at backrow is really short after the departures of Shaun Lane and Lewis Brown, and Waddell could definitely see some game time if injury strikes. While the other two cheapies are better options, Waddell could still be a good cheapie, especially given Sironen is coming back from an ACL injury.
No go zone
Manase Fainu (HOK, $582,200)
While Fainu has the fourth-highest average among hookers in 2018 at 62.22, the Manly backup looms as a trap for some SuperCoaches looking for cheaper alternatives to Damien Cook. Despite some good performances, Fainu will be the backup hooker at Manly, and barring an injury to Api Koroisau, is unlikely to see significant minutes in 2019.
Dylan Walker (CTW, 5/8 $313,500)
While the off-field dramas should be enough to scare off most SuperCoaches, some may still be interested in the talented back but they should beware. It remains uncertain where Manly will play the livewire, given he was favoured as a five-eighth in 2018, despite playing his best football as a centre. While on paper he is a clear starter in the centres, the off-field incidents that have plagued his off season might mean he doesn't start at all.