The battle of the Preseason - Gold Coast Titans
As the NRL Preseason gets into the full swing of things, there are a few positional match ups from each team that all fantasy coaches should keep an eye on. In this article we will dive into how each team's pre season moves could help decide some tough fantasy decisions.
Gold Coast Titans: Halfback
A team that always appears strong on paper, the Titans have also struggled to match that strength on the field or for consistent periods. Some strong signings and positional battles in key positions could make or break the Titans seasons. The battle between Jayden Campbell and AJ Brimson at fullback is an intriguing one, but regardless of who is selected there does not appear to be any fantasy value. What fantasy coaches should keep an eye on however is the battle for halfback between Tanah Boyd and Toby Sexton.
Justin Holbrook has made early indications that Tanah Boyd is his man for round 1, following on from a strong back-end of 2022 and a cohesion with David Fifita dating back to their days at Keebra Park. Priced at 479k and with HLF/HKR DPP Boyd would provide instant value as a mid-ranger if named at halfback come Round 1. When playing halfback in 2022 Boyd was able to average 48.2 fantasy points, albeit with a weak schedule at the end of 2022. If named at halfback, it would also be expected that Boyd is the Titan’s goal kicker and could provide additional attacking stats as the Titans find success.
With Kieran Foran partnering him in the half, there could be concerns that Boyd will lose some kicking metres, but over his career Foran has only averaged 135 kick metres per game, and coaches should expect for Boyd to still dominant the kicking game in a 75/25 split, similar to the DCE/Foran partnership in the past. Another thing fantasy coaches need to be mindful of when selecting Boyd is his missed tackles when playing in the halves. In his time playing halfback Boyd has averaged 3.5 missed tackles per game and missed 9 tackles against the Storm in 2022, and there could be concerns if targeted as a rookie half.
After being in a similar position to Boyd in 2022, Sexton is hoping for a big preseason to regain the starting halfback job. Though many would consider Sexton to have had an underwhelming 2022, he was still able to muster an average of 40.2, and is at the same starting price as he was in 2022 (573k). The main concern with Sexton’s fantasy prospects is his inconsistency and demerits. During the 2022 season Sexton scored over 45 points in 8 of his 19 games but also 6 games under 25 points, as his success as a fantasy scorer correlated with the Titans overall success. If Sexton was able to mature as a player and show more consistency in his game he could provide nearly 100k of value to fantasy coaches. Sexton also struggled defensively in 2022, missing 3.9 tackles for every 18.7 makes, but coaches would hope as he matures and develops as a player he could improve his tackle efficiency and boost his base stats.
During his strong periods as a fantasy asset, Sexton showed a strong kicking ability and ball running. Sexton built up strong base stats by averaging 360 kick metres per game along with 18 tackles per game, though as mentioned prior his demerits have hurt his scoring. Lining up alongside David Fifita would also bring additional attacking stats for Sexton and improve his current try assist average of 0.5 and line break assist average of 0.3. Sexton would also take up the goal-kicking for the Titans if starting halfback and given the Titans attacking capabilities he should see a slight uptick in his scoring.
Regardless of who Holbrook looks to name at halfback there appears to be some value in both options. Both Sexton and Boyd would take up goal kicking duties if given the opportunity but share similar concerns in the way of their inconsistency and feels like Boyd could replicate the disappointment coaches had with Sexton in 2022. The hope for fantasy coaches would be that the inclusion of Foran in the Titans spine will fastrack both player's maturity and development as NRL-level halves and subsequently improve their consistency as fantasy assets. If you haven't yet check out the Dragons NRL Fantasy preview. TK, Jake and Riley rip into the fortunes of Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Toby Sexton, Tanah Boyd, Erin Clark, David Fifita, Kieran Foran and Beau Fermor.