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The battle of the Preseason - New Zealand Warriors

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.

New Zealand Warriors: Five-Eighth

After missing the finals in the past four seasons, the Warriors are back in New Zealand and bring with them Mitch Barnett, Marata Nuikore, and Dylan Walker to bolster their middle rotation, Along with their fellow middle forwards, these recruits may have diminished fantasy value due to the abundance of big minute forwards alongside Tohu Harris and Josh Curran. The core of this article will instead focus on the battle to be Shaun Johnson’s halves partner, with the main contenders appearing to be new recruits Luke Metcalf and Te Maire Martin.

The versatility of Martin should see him in the Warriors starting 13 but his value to Fantasy owners will be dependent on whether he has the 1 or 6 on his back. Currently priced at 313k and with HLF/WFB DPP, Martin would appear to be significantly underpriced if starting at 6. Though he hasn't played the position since 2019, Martin has been able to pick up 33.1 points per game at five eighth. If he replicates these numbers in 2022 Martin would see up to 100k in price rises and become a slow burn cash cow for fantasy coaches. Martin’s fantasy prospect could be diminished if given the number 1 jersey however. After playing 13 games at the back for the Broncos in 2022, Martin averaged 21.9 and this would show that Martin’s starting price is in line with his perceived fantasy value.

Where Martin lines up in the Warriors team may be dependent on the performance of Luke Metcalf over the preseason. A potential cash cow himself, Metcalf, has high raps on him and during his time in NSW Cup Metcalf proved to be a strong ball runner and constant threat for the try line. Priced at 319k, after a brief 27 point cameo in 2022, Metcalf averaged 50.7 in the NSW Cup, with a strong combination of 25 point average in base stats coupled with 14 tries and 30 goals in 13 games. A strong goalkicker after converting 80% of conversions in the NSW Cup, Metcalf could provide additional value to coaches if given the kicking tee.

The inclusion of either Martin and Metcalf as Shaun Johnson’s half partner will also have a direct impact on Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and his value to fantasy coaches as a mid-range cash cow. The inclusion of Martin at six would see CNK occupy the fullback position. Over the past four years CNK has been able to average 38.1 when playing fullback for the Raiders, and if this trend was to hold true CNK would provide between 10-15 points of value. The inclusion of Metcalf at five eighth would more than likely push CNK to the centres, which is an unknown prospect in fantasy and the NRL in general. However, during his three games at centre in the 2022 World Cup, CNK averaged 25.3 fantasy points which would price him accordingly.

Who Andrew Webster looks to partner with Shaun Johnson in the halves will provide fantasy coaches with at least one if not two underpriced fantasy prospects in 2023. The inclusion of Martin at six will provide coaches the potential of two slow burning cash cows in himself and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. The inclusion of Metcalf however, would diminish any fantasy value around the two but instead provide fantasy coaches with a sub 350k starting half with goal-kicking potential.

If you haven't yet check out the Warriors NRL Fantasy preview. TK & Tim rip into the fortunes of Tohu Harris, Mitch Barnett, Addin Fonua-Blake, Viliami Vailea, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Te Marie Martin, Shaun Johnson and Jazz Tevaga.


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