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.
Sydney Roosters: Where does Joseph Suaali’i line up? (Left Centre)
A consistently strong team, the Roosters starting 13 boasts consistent fantasy guns who may not provide early value and price rises to fantasy coaches. One thing to monitor over the preseason is not a specific position matchup, but rather where Trent Robinson chooses to deploy Joseph Suaali’i in his starting 13.
After leading Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup Suaali’i has proved that he is ready in his development as a player to get his hands on the ball more and be a more prominent attacking threat. Playing on the wing in 2022, Suaali’i averaged 34.8 and led him to being priced at 498k in 2023.
With Suaali’i training at left centre during the preseason, this could provide fantasy coaches with an underpriced DPP player in the centres and a potential keeper option. Suaali’i had very limited attacking returns in 2022 with 0.8 tries and line breaks and 0.1 try assists and line break assists per game. The move to centre would place him inside Daniel Tupou and allow for greater opportunities for line break and try assists, with Tupou’s centre partner in 2022 averaging 0.4 try assists per game and 0.7 line break assists. Positioning Suaali’i in centre would also give him greater potential for tackle breaks and offloads with more touches of the ball, with Suaali’i nearly doubling his average tackle breaks when playing fullback in the World Cup when compared to his time on the wing.
Suaali’i has also shown an eagerness for contact in his NRL career, providing strong careers in exit sets and also strong contact in defense. This provides Suaali’i with solid base stats (21 point average) for fantasy coaches looking to have him in Round 1. With the added attacking potential, Suaali’i having the number three on his back come round 1 may give an underpriced keeper option for a typically thin centre position. All these factors could provide fantasy coaches with 5–7 points of value and more importantly push Suaali’i to an average closer to 50 and firm a position as a must have centre option.
The positioning of Suaali’i would also provide an opportunity on the Roosters right wing and given recent history would provide fantasy coaches with a cash cow come round 1. The three contenders for the right wing spot would be Corey Allan, Billy Smith and Jaxson Paulo. Though none have been fantasy relevant in the past, their price (all between 300k-400k), could all see up to 150k in price rises if they are able to replicate the fantasy performances of their position-sake in 2021 and 2022. Typically positioned outside Joey Manu Roosters right wingers have averaged 42.76 over the past two seasons and the starting price of Suaali;i in 2023 shows there is money to be made on Roosters right wingers if given a consistent opportunity.
Where Joseph Suaali’i lines up in 2023 will provide fantasy coaches with a value option not only with Suaali’i himself, but also with whoever finds themselves on the right wing of the Roosters. With the opportunity to get a cut-price keeper in a weak centre market, how Trent Robinson looks to use his young gun in the offseason is one for all fantasy coaches to be mindful of.
If you haven't yet check out the Roosters NRL Fantasy preview. TK & Gus rip into the fortunes of Sam Walker, James Tedesco, Joey Manu, Angus Crichton, Victor Radley, Siua Wong, Brandon Smith, Jared Warea-Hargreaves, Paul Momoirovski and Luke Keary.