SuperCoach NRL: who are the gun forwards you need in 2020?
THE long wait is over, NRL SuperCoach is officially open for the 2020 season!
Over the next 10 weeks or so Fox League will be releasing a number of articles to help you pick your team, analysing all sorts of players; from the best of the best to the rookies set to light up the 2020 NRL season, and everything in between!
To succeed in SuperCoach all you need to do is one simple thing; score a lot of points. Sounds easy in principle, but it's certainly hard in practice. Seasoned SuperCoachers will know 'guns' are crucial to success, these are the players you can rely on (most of the time) for big points.
For rookie coaches, a gun is the top players in each position. A benchmark often used is a player averaging 60 SuperCoach points per game is considered a gun.
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Firstly I will be analysing some of my top gun picks across each position. Today I will be examining the front-row forwards and the second-row forwards for SuperCoach NRL in 2020.
Without further ado, let's get into it!
FRONT ROW FORWARD (FRF)
PAYNE HAAS | BRISBANE BRONCOS | $728,200 | 78.3 avg. in 2019
The young Broncos prop had one of the best SuperCoach rookie seasons of all time. Averaging a mammoth 78.3ppg in 2019, he was unstoppable and featured in more highlights than a rookie prop ever should. From a promising cheapie to a safe captain option week in week out, Haas only scored below 60 SuperCoach points on two occasions and managed 70+ in an astonishing 75% of matches, cracking the ton on three occasions. This type of consistency sees him priced at a monstrous $728,200, over $110,000 more expensive than the second most-expensive prop - David Klemmer. If he follows on from last year his consistency will see his price remain steady, so unless you're predicting second year syndrome for the towering Bronco, it's pay up now or pay up later.
DAVID KLEMMER | NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS | $617,400 | 66.4 avg.
The Newcastle Knights prop benefited from a larger role at his new club with his 58 minutes per game in 2018 increasing to 66 minutes per game in 2019. Not only this but he managed to increase his points per minute (ppm) from 1.02 to 1.09. This saw him break into gun SuperCoach status for the first time. Klemmer was a hallmark of consistency in 2019, scoring between 55-80 in 18 of his 21 games. He's rarely going to get attacking stats, only managing 2 try assists and failing to cross the stripe in 2019, but with strong base stats of 59.5ppg you can rely on him for a solid score each week. Every team needs a no-nonsense dependable forward and Klemmer can fulfil exactly that role for your SuperCoach team.
JOSH PAPALII | CANBERRA RAIDERS | $605,300 | 65.1 avg.
The Raiders' prop has been a rather unheralded SuperCoach gun in recent years, always seeming to fly under the radar. Despite averaging between 63 and 66ppg across his last 4 seasons, the powerful Canberra forward had a peak ownership of only 12.4% in 2019, bordering on POD territory, and that peak occurred in the final round of the season. Unlike other forwards, Papalii is less consistent across the season, having hot and cold patches. In 2017 he averaged 78.0ppg across his first 10 rounds, in 2018 he averaged 71.4ppg from round 8 to round 16 and in 2019 he averaged 76.7ppg post-Origin. Do you gamble on a hot streak to start the season?
SECOND ROW FORWARDS (2RF)
JASON TAUMALOLO | NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS | $723,400 | 77.8 avg.
The Cowboys' powerhouse is a well-established SuperCoach gun, averaging over 70+ ppg in his past three seasons. Possessing a unique combination of power, agility and skill the dynamic lock forward is near-impossible for opposition defences to contain, and the numbers show it; racking up 69 tackle busts and ten line breaks in just 18 games in 2019. He's not just a power player either, doing plenty of work in the middle averaging 57.8ppg in base stats (tackles and hit ups). An absolute joy to watch and the only forward available to have averaged 70+ in the last two seasons, let alone three. Can you afford to leave the powerful, reliable Tongan forward out of your round 1 side?
JOHN BATEMAN | CANBERRA RAIDERS | $668,200 | 71.9 avg.
Continuing the trend of English forwards to dominate the NRL, the skilful Canberra backrower quickly became a fan favourite for not just Canberra Raiders fans, but SuperCoach fans as well in 2019. An 80 minute backrower of Bateman's calibre available in the volatile CTW position, he was absolute gold. But the SuperCoach gods giveth, and now they taketh away, as Bateman is 2RF only for the 2020 season. But don't fear, as his mammoth 68ppg placed him the second highest averaging 2RF, only behind the reliable Jason Taumalolo. Bateman's deceptive strength and skill allows him to score SuperCoach points in all avenues, tackles, hit ups, tackle bust, offloads, tries, try assists, you name it, Bateman can do it. With a friendly opening draw, there could be plenty of attacking stats early for the diminutive backrower.
CAMERON MURRAY | SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS | $644,900 | 69.4 avg.
The young Rabbitohs lock forward had a breakout year in both NRL terms and SuperCoach terms, making his State of Origin debut and rising to SuperCoach gun status. Possessing fancy footwork at the line and forming a lethal combination with Damien Cook, Murray managed ten tries and seven line breaks in the 2019 season. Ridiculous numbers for a middle forward. With the medical retirement of Sam Burgess, the departure of George Burgess and retirement of John Sutton, the Rabbitohs need someone in the pack to stand up and Murray could be that man. Averaging 59 minutes in 2019 and a strong ppm of 1.17, a rise in minutes could see him challenge Taumalolo as the number one 2RF, but the question is; will the attacking stats keep coming?