Welcome to TK’s PlayBook where I break down the winners, losers and black bookers from each game. I’ll do this in written and audio format which will be released every Monday morning.
I had a decent round of 838, rank for round 1 is 5716 which is a lot better than 25,000 from last year LOL
A few things from this round to consider.
It’s round 1 don’t freak out about your rank. There's only a few points that separate thousands of positions, I started the last two seasons past 20,000 in ranks and finished top 500 both years so it's a patience game.
Make corrections if it is going to make your team better, not just for the sake of it. We had some outlier performances like Illias, Rugby League is a funny game where holding ceiling games week to week is unlikely. Trades will be crucial so don’t just give up on players not scoring well this week. 3 date everyone has players form can change week to week based on venue, team mates, playing conditions and much more.
This is March footy. It’s hot and some teams have had better preparations than others. What we are seeing now is unlikely to be seen in June or July so don’t base all your future plans on round 1. Back your research and don’t lose patience, it's a long season.
Things like the Tatola and Frizell HIA’s happen each week and are going to happen to everyone; it's just the nature of the beast. It doesn’t make you a bad coach so get back on the horse.
It’s NRL Fantasy so have fun with it. No one is going to remember your shitty score from this week and you're not going to be buried with a Tombstone that says TK the greatest NRL fantasy player of all time. Laugh at the up and down and give and take with your friends. If you’re up at night worrying about it or sending me private messages in the late evening, well you’ve got an issue.
Now let's get into it
Fines for Adam Elliott, Eli Katoa, Briton Nikora, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Kyle Feldt. Wade Graham and Jordan Rapana facing 3 weeks each with an early guilty plea for some really silly incidents. Egan Butcher could be in trouble for a hit on Jarrod Wallace also.
Jai Arrow - Hamstring
Tevita Tataloa - HIA
Latrell Mitchell - PCL (looking week to week, more a performance issue according to NRL Physio)
Jack Williams - HIA
Cameron Munster - compound fracture of ring finger (3 weeks)
Xavier Coates - SC joint sprain (1-2 weeks)
Scott Sorensen - HIA
Tyson Frizell - HIA
Matt Lodge - HIA
Victor Radley - HIA
Shawn Blore - HIA
Kieran Foran - Hamstring
Eels vs Storm
Both teams have two starting / big mins caliber forwards types out (Parra - Matterson, Lane) (Storm - Sims, Tui) which is forcing the current starters to play minutes which are unlikely to be able to be sustained. The likes of Hopgood (84 mins), Paulo (68 mins) and King (81 mins) will find this hard to continue over 27 rounds. If you cop an injury to a premium MID I wouldn’t mind trading to a Welch and NAS, both in stellar form with off loads galore between the two.
It will take a little bit of time for Katoa and Loiero to prove their real worth. Parra had a mountain of possession so their tackle counts were inflated however both are still working into combos with their halves so a pass mark is deserved for both. I don’t think you need to rip your team apart to get either unless again you want to depart from Garner.
Warbrick did his job, for a $230k player you would take a non scoring try week of 29 every day of the week. He had 2 turnovers also and 130 MG so he was good. Doorey as expected will be a slow burn. Similar to the Melbourne edges he will work into this season.
Cartwright was a great one for those who took the punt. NRL wise his edge defense was terrible and his offloads were erratic but you don’t lose points for putting your teammates under pressure. Will have a negative break even so the thing to consider is was this an outlier fantasy game and the using the trade vs the risk of Ryan Matterson taking his starting spot in 2 weeks. If you have Trindall I wouldn't chase him but for Garner owners I probably would.
12.5% of you own Munster and with news of his 2-3 weeks out you will need to use a trade. He will lose around $20k so you’ll have plenty to choose from and if you have halves cover you might even trade to a MID like Carrigan or Harris.
Josh Hodgson surprisingly went 84 minutes. Scored a decent 45 however most were in the first half. For some reason he now can’t pass right to left (very usual) and this no doubt affected Dyl Bags lowly score of 33 with his time effectively cut.
Bronson Garlick would be handy if he was ever needed to start for a period of time
Warriors vs Knights
Tohu Harris is back in a HUGE way. 80 minutes for 145 MG and 51 tackles (2 MT) an off load and turnover. All class and shout out to the 2.8% that backed him. Great news even for non owners as we have a gun to trade our Origin players too when the time is right.
Wayde Egan started the game terribly with an unusually poor passing game but like SJ worked into the game. Scored the match winner to knock out a 64 FT. Played 66 mins which is good as even when Jazz is back it's likely still the same. His score did have a try, 4 tackle breaks and 1 turnover which wouldn’t be a regular occurrence but again you can’t hate on 1.8% that found a POD for round 1 but I wouldn’t be chasing him.
CNK with a busy performance which included a try in his 51. Given the level of competition you would suggest this may be his ceiling.
SJ was on 1 FP after 25 minutes so took a long time to get going. 46 FP was decent in the end as he started to run. His kicking game was erratic to say the least and if his only scoring 46 against a lowly team like the Knights across a season he may struggle to average high 30’s.
Jackson Ford looked great for his 44. Given 14 demerits he might be this year's Nanai. Has some game this guy and looks great as our dual bench option. Play him regularly.
The Knights have a major issue with their halves as their styles are clashing. Hastings digging so deep puts huge pressure on Ponga who is used to having time and space. This is forcing Ponga to throw unnecessary passes which are not hitting the players. Laid on a nice first try but was literally unsighted for the next 70 mins. They will continue to overreact every time he gets a little tap also. With Hastings he will struggle to break 50 as he just doesn’t lay on tries.
Lachie Miller did Lachie Miller things, I think that's where he will be most of the year ranging in the 35-45 as he loves to touch the play but they just struggle to put on tries.
I don’t mind this slow start from Adam Elliott. It will take him about a month to work into the season so that price just keeps dropping and dropping. We know what he can do at his best, so keep him on the monitor. Daniel Saifiti didn’t own the game in an NRL sense but still knocked out a 47 in his 53 minutes. He’s a decent mid range option if you get an injury.
TMM with an expected 25 FP and unless they get him to start sharing the kicking with SJ is likely where he ranges all season. Not sure what Josh Curran did to annoy his coach but 19 minutes suggests he was either a fat boy all preseason or said something to someone. Did have one off field incident so maybe that's what it is. Again not a bad thing he will lose around $40k and he could be a decent price if he gets a start down the line.
Poor Frizz owners were deleting the app early. It's just what happens in fantasy and can happen to anyone. He was actually looking decent prior to this with a couple of strong carries. For the 0.7% that own Crossland just delete app bra.
Panthers vs Broncos
Panthers look underdone from a 5 week preseason and struggling post Api and Kikau departure. I wouldn’t put all the hate on Kenny, the Broncos won the middle easily and Luke got to come on against a very tired team.
Carrigan and Haas were god-like. The biggest question is will 70 mins (Carrigan) and 65 mins (Haas) continue. They lost Staggs to a HIA for 15 mins which forced Capewell to the centres and a normal mid rotation player in Palasia onto an edge. Flegler did play his usual 40 mins, Jenson got 47 mins and Taupau got 18 mins.
The Broncos have potentially the best centre pairing in the comp. Herbie had 2 opportunities and showed his class and Kontoni didn’t see any ball but he was smashing everyone in his path. Really impressed with both. Staggs owners don’t worry that's him, 26 this week then 60 next week. He also got a HIA check and cramping so only played 57 minutes. Just wait for Walshy to come back next week and add even more to these two. Cobbo is a good fill-in but literally doesn’t ball play.
Little Ezra Mam was super impressive. The smallest guy on the field was folding every one. Still had 7 miss tackles which is something he will drastically improve before any consideration.
Cleary had a few points added but literally 90% of good coaches captained him so wouldn’t offset too much. Does seem he is struggling without Api’s service and even though Kikau doesn’t play his edge, Kikau creates huge momentum and ruck speed with his huge runs. Cleary will have to find another way which did contribute to a few errors in his game. Stick solid.
Early season is about making corrections. If you own Garner well it's time to correct. Played 50 minutes before Ricky Stuart's Gutless Dog replaced him. That combo is going to take time. Off load to one of the Melbourne starting pair.
Sunia Turuva - Scored a 34 with no tries. 161 MG and 3 tackle breaks. Issue is how long they persist with To’o on the right wing.
Soni Luke - Will need to play more than 26 minutes to get onboard. The try did inflate the score but hey he's a tidy emergency who might pressure to start.
Sea Eagles vs Bulldogs
Ciraldo needs to take responsibility for this one. Naming Nu Brown at lock was super weird given he has a rookie fullback and centre in the line up already. Their next 6 games are Storm, Tigers, NZ, Cowboys, Souths, Eels, Sharks.
Burton just isn't there. The limited preseason coming back from the World Cup and also the surgery is no doubt affecting him negatively. Will take a while to get going with the combo’s, even his kicking game was well off and scored 22 FP. I had him projecting 50-55 so he well off the mark.
Reed Mahoney had a super performance and carried his team with 73FP.. Scored a neat try but was just a ball of energy. No need to go out and get him but again keep him in your thoughts if you don’t have a gun hooker and you cop an injury to someone above $700k.
Alamoti is going to be a slow burn. Lucky he can’t lose money however he needs to get his BE. Burton and Kikau being off the pace is not helping him at all.
Sutton proved to be a nice mid ranger with a score of 47. Fulfilled his potential of being a mid 40’s guy. With TPJ around the corner to come back, not sure if chasing him now is your best bet.
Nu Brown had a decent fantasy score of 37FP, too much pressure though at 13 he’s just not big enough to play that role so can see him losing that spot shortly.
DCE right under the radar at 3.1% owner and he was vintage DCE scoring 88 FP including a hat trick of tries. Unfortunately they have a bye in round 2 otherwise Munster owners should go right there.
Turbo had some great touches for a try and try assist. Still probably not 100% fit, at around 55 minutes he got off into the clear and pulled up. Apart from that moment of hesitation, his touches were really good. Was actually taken off with 20 to go but then had to go on with the HIA to Croker pushing Weekes to 9. Scored 39 and will continue to build momentum but don’t go chasing they have a draw of Bye, Eels, Souths, Knights, Penrith and Storm ahead.
Keppie got pushed to the bench but he still got his 40 minutes. Looked solid to score 35 and make some nice money to throw it into the faces of the haters.
Jacob Preston - wouldn’t surprise me if he gets a start and pushes RFM to lock. He shuffled a few different positions and I think would do better as a starter.Only scored 18 from his 53 minutes but he tried his heart out.
Keao Weekes - Class just oozes through this guy. Stuck behind one of the elite players but given his injury history could easily play at some point.
Ben Trbojevic - Another who could get an opportunity if anything happened to one of the edges. The dual could be handy at some stage so keep him in the book.
Cowboys vs Raiders
Robson and Cotter were just huge. Big minute guys who just get down and dirty. Show’s sometimes trials are made to get rid of rust. The thing especially with Cotter is he is not as talented with the ball as Carrigan, Murray, Radley or Tapine. But what he does better than any one is work hard (216MG & 35 TCK) and he’s also sexier with that mullet.
Don’t freak out on Tapine. The conditions didn’t suit him but he still had 39 tackles and 122 MG so the base is there. He had 12 demerits and also only had 1 TB and 1 OF so you’re going to get these weeks but then he returned the following week with a 75FP performance. If you want consistency get Cotter or Carrigan but if you want the ceiling stick with Tapine.
Guler played really well for his first ever try and knocked out a 56 to make some good cash. Don’t go chasing players who just had a career game. Horsburgh made an immediate impact off the bench so I'd be surprised if he is not pushing to start next week.
Val Holmes with another nice performance. Will be in the top 3 centres by years end and a very intriguing battle with Staggs in round 2.
Drinky was a bit disappointing considering he had two tries for only 40. Was a little bit off in the ball playing department but let him work into the season don’t base everything off 1 game. The other disappointment was Nanai. The old sign your fat contract and not turn up narrative. Still has those silly demerits in his game. Just a nightmare for the 16.5% of coaches that some reason own him. Hudson Young had a really quiet game also with his best moments was the 5-6 times he tried to start a fight, ended up with 14 demerits.
Fogarty had really light kick meters (181) as Wighton surprisingly dominated this area with 409 KM. Might be a one off but owners should track this as kicking is a main part of Fogs scoring.
Starling was close to best on ground, scored a great try and was a menace throughout. Even had a stage where he was on as a roving middle. Played 43 minutes this game but that can be 30 or 60 next week you just can’t trust Sticky.
9.3% had Harley Smith Shields. He looks a little lost in the centres and I think they would get more out of him on the wing. Still decent run metres (168) and a couple of tackle breaks so he could easily pop in games where he scores tries so don’t lose faith.
Pasami Saulo - Had a 34 score in 33 minutes mostly based on tackles. Don’t rush in as Papa is close to return but keep him in the book.
Sharks vs Rabbitohs
Lachlan Illias has continued to grow from last year’s finals. 71FP in a very dominant performance where he was laying on tries, scoring himself and folding big forwards like Wilton. However this is his ceiling (I don’t think he can play better than that) so be careful rushing in. Souths look like they want to deploy their attack more right to balance up. And the beneficiter will be Illias and Campbell Graham, with Graham proving why he’s one of the best centres in the game with a 2 try, 66 FP performance. The Sharks left edge was on another planet, between Moylan and Sifa they should delete the app.
The injuries to Tatola and Arrow caused players to step into erratic minutes. Cam Murray had to play a full 80 which isn’t realistic for a rep middle and Shaq (45 mins) and Moale (39 mins) had minutes that probably won’t be repeatable every week. Both might turn into nice cashies though particularly if Arrow is out long term. If Nicho Hynes comes back quicker than expected then you could easily turn Tricky into one of them if you were smart and kept some cash in the bank.
Trell Mitt with a quiet 61 FP. Didn’t seem to do much and also carried injury so a good sign he can rack up the points without doing too much or being 100% fit. His goal kicking has improved so much. Cookie did Cookie things and looked great for a round 1.
Koloamtangi was a beast and must be close to Origin if this continues. Super dominant and smart. Just bullied Moylan and Sifa all night. Actually bombed a try with a drop ball so that 63 FP could have been 70+.
Speaking of Tricky Trindall he looked set for a huge score with a very dominant first grade. Was actually robbed of a try assist with a shocking call by the touchie to deny Katoa a try in the corner. Did his job with 420KM but really we still haven’t seen his best with low running and of course the try denial affecting his score. Gut feel from sources and even hearing Fitzy speak is I think we will have him for at least 2-3 weeks.
Wilton knocked out a 45 but will need to be better. Had 8 miss tackles which no doubt had something to do with the issues with Moylan and Sifa. Was flying out of the line on a number of occasions to try and nullify play. Had 38 tackles and 113MG so if he gets rid of the demerits it is still worth a look and even though Nicho doesn’t play his edge, his absence still affects him as Nicho plays everywhere and lifts the team’s attacking chances and output.
Izaac Thompson was decent and knocked out a 34 FP. Given he dropped the ball over the line this could of been much higher. Base of 173MG and 9 TB just looks like his playing style and the strategy change to shift more to the right will eventually pay off in some more tries. Nice dual to have if you don’t have him.
Shaq Mitchell & Davy Moale - Outlier games but depending on the health of Tatola and Arrow this may continue. MID depth they also have Daniel Suluka-Fifita and a pending Hame Sele so don’t go rushing in wildly.
For the Sharks it will be interesting to see how long they persist with Sifa at centre when a really classy centre in Kayal Iro waits in the wing. If he gets promoted to left centre get all over him, the kids a stud.
Dolphins vs Roosters
How good to see the GOAT Mark Nicholls hit a 74 with zero demerits. All heart this bloke and we should have backed him, shame on us. Again an outlier game so don’t go chasing now if it means ripping your team apart. If you have cash though and Garner then consider him.
Hammer looked on pace to hit a ton before slowing up. Great energy and speed and looks to be the centerpiece of the team. No idea how he only scored 52 must be some stats missing.
Jeremy Marshall King was the best kiwi hooker on the field as he destroyed the Chooks up the guts. Really impressive running game with 127MG and set up the first ever try for the Hammer.
Felise Kaufusi is the most consistent player to range score 38-42 every week of his career. While not fantasy relevant a joy to see him get angry.
Isaiah Katoa actually had some nice touches but playing second fiddle to O’Sullivan just didn’t have the production. He had 20 points in demerits so while his price can’t move down, his break even gets higher.
Sam Walker was probably the Roosters best. Scored a 43 with 20 demerits and just couldn’t get going with the middle getting owned by the Dolphins. Teddy with a 30 as he was kept quiet and Suaali’i did some nice things but could only manage a 29.
Lindsay Collins can hold his head up scoring a nice 54 in 56 minutes as both Radley and Lodge got rubbed out with HIA’s. Egan Butcher had a really off game including a sin bin but don’t go crazy give him a couple of games before trading him out.
Cheese got out a 36 in 60 minutes and I really don’t enjoy the role he played between hooker and lock. With Radley’s HIA mid game and no Connor Watson unfortunately this may continue.
The Chooks always do this early so don’t lose faith. Next up is a home game against the Warriors so it can easily turn around.
Would say Katoa but I can’t see him doing much right now.
Tigers vs Titans
With Fermor out, Fifita switched to the left edge and had a belter of a first half before hitting a few demerits to shrink his score in the second half. At only 6.3% he is one of the few guns in POD territory but no need to go rushing in.
Tino was a major disappointment scoring only 30 in 59 minutes. Did his carries but was another hit hard with 16 demerits. In the middle, Erin Clark only saw 28 minutes which is killer to see him only get that limited time as his dual could be handy down the track.
After a really slow start, Doueihi carried the Tigers with a 67 FP game. Looked the only man really likely a great pickup for those who have him.
Ipap (59) and Klem (58) with big minute and decent scores but made little impact on the field NRL wise to inspire their team. Stefano got the minutes (50 mins) just had limited production, where is the bloke from 2021 hiding. Twal got surprisingly huge minutes (63 mins) and worked away to score a nice 63. All those guys seems a little over priced.
The cashie were killers in this one despite pretty good trial form. We lost Blore after 18 minutes with a HIA, Talau scored 16 before coming off with cramp while Khan-Pereira scored a -1 in a night to forget.
Of all the centres this round, Naden was actually one of the better ones. He scored a 39 and was pretty lively for a change with 194 MG and this is with 10 demerits.
Asu Kepaoa replaced Blore on an edge and ripped out a 32 in 64 minutes. Actually has a centre / wing dual so one to keep an eye on.