SuperCoach NRL study guide: Bulldogs
Canterbury's new-look roster makes them somewhat of an unknown heading into the 2019 SuperCoach season.
Last year's revelation Rhyse Martin faces a reduction in minutes, while Will Hopoate has stiff competition for the fullback role he excels in.
Fortunately with mystery comes opportunity, meaning there's plenty of value lingering among the men from Belmore.
PREDICTED ROUND 1 TEAM
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Christian Crichton, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Kerrod Holland, 5. Reimis Smith, 6. Lachlan Lewis, 7. Kieran Foran, 8. Dylan Napa, 9. Michael Lichaa, 10. Aiden Tolman, 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Rhyse Martin. Interchange: 14. Jeremy Marshall-King, 15. Corey Harawira-Naera, 16. Adam Elliott, 17. Sauaso Sue
Who's left: Brandon Wakeham, Chris Smith, Danny Fualalo, Fa'Amanu Brown, Francis Tualau, Jack Cogger, Jayden Okunbor, John Olive, Marcelo Montoya, Ofahiki Ogden, Renouf To'omaga, Zac Saddler.
In: Jack Cogger (Newcastle Knights, 2020), Christian Crichton (Penrith Panthers, 2021), Corey Harawira-Naera (Penrith Panthers, 2022), Nick Meaney (Newcastle Knights, 2021), James Roumanos (Cronulla Sharks, 2021), Chris Smith (Sydney Roosters, 2020), Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers, 2020), Dylan Napa (2021)
Out: Greg Eastwood (released), Asipeli Fine (released), Matt Frawley (Huddersfield Giants), Moses Mbye (Wests Tigers), Brett Morris (Sydney Roosters), Josh Morris (Cronulla Sharks), Clay Priest (released), Aaron Woods (Cronulla Sharks), Zac Woolford (Newcastle Knights)
Bye: Round 16
Rhyse Martin ($634,300, 2RF)
Whether or not to start with last season's breakout star Rhyse Martin is a major conundrum facing many SuperCoaches. The PNG international ticks every box to become an elite gun of the game. Martin has a strong work ethic, plays massive minutes and has attacking upside. Add in a 94 per cent goal-kicking success rate and you've got a Corey Parker clone. The issue is the log jam of back-rowers at Canterbury since the arrival of Penrith's Corey Harawira-Naera. With skipper Josh Jackson, 2018 weapon Raymond Faitala-Mariner and the versatile Adam Elliott all competing for spots in the second-row, Martin's minutes are under threat. If we can get confirmation he'll lock down an 80-minute role his stocks should rise significantly, but it's a huge risk should he see a reduction in game time.
Will Hopoate ($556,000, FLB/CTW)
Will Hopoate is another with his buy credentials resting on his role at the club. At fullback, Hoppa is a genuine gun. At centre he's a reliable option but is overpriced to begin the year. In 10 games in the custodian role last season he averaged 67 points compared to 54 in 14 stints at centre. In an entire season at fullback in 2017 he averaged 59 points. With highly touted Newcastle recruit Nick Meaney at the club it's unknown which role Hopoate will play to start the year. If he does play fullback he's a terrific POD option at a staggering one per cent ownership.
Reimis Smith ($487,400, CTW)
Rangy Canterbury winger Reimis Smith has SuperCoach star written all over him, unfortunately he's on the end of one of the weakest backlines in the competition. Smith averaged 52 points in 11 games last season where he excelled in actual NRL terms. Smith can evolve into a very similar type of player to Jordan Rapana in Canberra. He's big, strong, fast and importantly for an outside back has a high work ethic. Expect Canterbury to utilise him far more this season in and around the ruck, a move that should up his workrate and SuperCoach output significantly. It'd take a major gamble to recruit him for Round 1, but he may just be a breakout player in 2019.
Nick Meaney ($281,500, FLB)
Knights recruit Nick Meaney comes to Canterbury with monster raps having featured in five games in his debut season. Meaney averaged 37.6 points last season including two tries, two assists, 13 tackle breaks and 10 runs per game. He'll feature at some point in the year, hopefully for SuperCoaches he earns a start at the back in Round 1. Meaney is awkwardly priced at $281,500, but will likely earn a call up to masses of sides if he is favoured by coach Dean Pay.
Christian Crichton ($257,800, CTW)
Former Penrith winger Christian Crichton certainly isn't the most appealing cheapie prospect, but with a likely starting spot and lowish price tag he deserves a mention. He played 18 games in his debut season for a paltry average of just 28 points, with 20 coming in base stats. If there's a cheapie drought for Round 1, which looks unlikely, Crichton will come into contention. All it takes is a few meat pies for men on the flanks to earn some value. Crichton only scored three tries last season, but that tally may not rise too drastically unless the Dogs engineer some quality attacking football.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner ($543,400, 2RF)
RFM was almost a POD candidate, but for all the same reasons mentioned above with Rhyse Martin he lacks appeal. One of the back-rowers has to lose minutes to accommodate Harawira-Naera, so RFM looks a risk at the price with only limited upside.