Wins and losses for every NRL club in 2020
The NRL pre-season has begun and that can mean just one thing - it's time to start your research for SuperCoach NRL in 2020.
We take a look at the player gains and losses at every club and who stands to benefit.
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Paul Gallen (retired)- 'The G-Train' ride could not go forever, and Paul Gallen's retirement looms as one of the great opportunity areas for SuperCoach in 2020. The Sharks run deep in middle forwards and there's no consensus in the office over who will get the lion's share of the 50 MPG that Gallen averaged in 2019, so with my cavalier disregard for word limits I will do my best to outline the competing claims of both the leading candidates. One mooted replacement is Jack Williams, a hard-working middle forward just coming in to his prime at 23. In 2019 Williams played 23 games (22 off the bench and one start at prop) averaging 43 PPG in 37 MPG. A hit it up and knock them down straight line middle, what Williams lacks in creativity he makes up in reliability. Boasting a good PPM and decent motor in the six games where he played 45+ minutes Williams averaged 53PPG. The other leading contender to make the number 13 jersey his own is Billy Magoulias. For what it's worth my money is on Billy, for while he's not quite the staunch middle that Williams is, he has great creativity (just ask the Burleigh Bears players who were the victim of his last-gasp chip kick to win the NRL State Championship on grand final day). Given his NRL debut in 2019 Magoulias played two games off the bench averaging 27PPG in 28 MPG. However, a truer reflection of his ability comes from looking at his Canterbury Cup stats last year. Magoulias played 17 games with six starts at hooker (averaging 62MPG), eight starts at lock (72.5 MPG) one 80-minute stint at prop and two games off the bench (58.5 MPG). He busted 22 tackles, scored three tries, forced three drop outs, made 661 tackles (averaging 36 effective tackles per game) and averaged 84 metres per game. Magoulias has the motor to play big minutes and will provide excellent cover for young Blayke Brailey at hooker (see below). Now we just need to pray the SuperCoach gods are kind and he comes into the game cheap.
Jayden Brailey (Knights) - The departure of hooker Brailey leaves an average of 67 MPG available and it would appear that the Braileys will be keeping it in the family with younger brother Blayke the man most likely to fill the gap. Given 15 games (averaging 30 MPG with one start in which he played the full 80 minutes) in his NRL debut season, Blayke then finished the season playing in the Canterbury Cup. In the seven Canterbury Cup games Brailey junior played the full 80 minutes he averaged 33 tackles (and two missed tackles), also making nine tackle busts, one linebreak and producing three try assists. Optimistically Blayke Brailey has a breakout year in line with Parramatta hooker Reed Mahoney in 2019. That's a big ask and I'm not quite sure Blayke has the engine to do that so the pre-season games will be a key indicator.
Sosaia Feki - The departure of Feki leaves a gap on the wing at Cronulla and the man most likely to make that spot his own is Ronaldo Mulitalo - a victory for not letting one bad game get you down. Mulitalo made his NRL debut in round 7 of 2019, and if I were being charitable I would say he showed some flashes of ability on a tough night. If I were to be honest, I would say it was a bit of a nightmare. The Broncos kickers put a target on Mulitalo's head and hit it every time. But persistence and perspiration were the poultice for any mental wounds inflicted on the night, and when given another chance in first grade, Mulitalo grabbed it with both hands. Good news for Mulitalo but bad news for SuperCoaches. Selected to play in seven of the last eight games of the regular season, Mulitalo scored five tries in that span and finished the season averaging 50PPG so will start 2020 far too expensive to be considered for your team.
Kyle Flanagan (Roosters) - As noted above Kyle Flanagan is heading to the Roosters for 2020. Connor Tracey arrives at the club and if he can just have some luck with injuries he has the talent to at least keep incumbent halves Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend honest.
Jesse Ramien - The prodigal son returns after an unhappy stint with the Knights and the pre-season word is that Ramien will slot straight back into the starting line-up for the Sharks. You only need to look back to 2018 to see why the Sharks hold Ramien in such high regard. In 17 games (one injury-affected game removed) that year he averaged 55.8 PPG (over 30 of those in base stats) and in one memorable stretch he scored a try in every game from rounds 11-16 (inclusive) including a double in round 12. Absent that injury affected game, Ramien scored over 60 points in more than 40 per cent of games which is just shy of elite territory and thanks to his unhappy stint at the Knights you should be able to pick him up for a fair discount on his ability to start the season.
Matt Gillett (retired) - Gillett played 16 games in 2019 averaging 69 MPG but oddly his departure will not leave a gaping hole at the Broncos. David Fifita averaged 38 minutes per game up until the Round 12 bye and then 73 minutes per game after that including nine full 80 minute efforts. Once Fifita has served whatever suspension is imposed for his Bali 'hijinks' an 80-minute role on the edge looks assured. After averaging 54PPG in 2019, Fifita won't be cheap in 2020 - but he will be 'unders' as he averaged 66PPG when starting. The other edge role at the Broncos will either be filled by Tevita Pangai Jr or Alex Glenn.
Tanah Boyd (Titans) 2 games (Rds 24/25) of regular season
Troy Dargan (Rabbioths) 0 games
Shaun Fensom (Retired) 2 games
Jesse Arthars - featured in 12 games for the Titans playing a mix of centre and wing. He is unlikely to oust Brisbane's first-choice centre pairing of Kotoni Staggs or Jack Bird so absent injury his best chance of selection would be on the wing where he will be competing with Jamayne Issako.
Jordan Kahu - Utility Kahu is back at the Broncos after a one-year stint and would appear to be counting on injuries/representative absence to play first grade in 2020.
Kieran Foran (Injury) - A shoulder injury suffered while playing for New Zealand is set to rule Foran out of the game for the entireety of the 2020 season. The injury leaves the Bulldogs fielding young duo Lachlan Lewis and Jack Cogger. Neither really has a SuperCoach friendly game, though Lewis produces admirable base with his willing work in defence. There are whispers the Bulldogs will sign an experienced half who is on the outer at his NRL club and I will update this should that eventuate.
Michael Lichaa (released) - Lichaa played 13 games, seven as starting hooker and the rest off the interchange.
Danny Fualalo (released) - Fualalo played 15 games averaging 33 minutes off bench
Fa'amanu Brown (released) - Played three games, two for under 10 minutes off bench one start at halfback
Rhyse Martin (UK) - Martin played 11 games averaging 55 mins but left halfway through the season with his last game being in round 14
John Olive (released) 0 games
Connely Lemuelu (Cowboys) - 0 games
Sione Katoa - In 2019 Katoa played 13 games for the Panthers averaging 40 MPG, in 2018 he played 18 games averaging 53 MPG. He has never been a SC performer though and incumbent hooker Jeremy Marshall-King has shown he is more than capable of playing 80 minutes playing the full game seven times last year and 70+ minutes four times..
Joe Stimson - Safe to say that the Melbourne Storm pack, littered as it is with Internationals, is a harder nut to crack than the Bulldogs. However, Stimson will need to oust incumbents Josh Jackson and Corey Harawira-Naera to become SC relevant. In 2018/19 Stimson played 34 games averaging 36PPG, in the 14 games he played 60+ minutes he averaged 55PPG.
Dean Britt - The former Rabbitoh can play bench or middle and with Stimson on the bench to cover the edge I expect he will get many of Fualalo's minutes in the middle rotation.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall (UK) - 23 games last year, gives Bradman Best (who unfortunately for SuperCoaches played three regular season games last year thus seeing a price rise) a chance to lock in a starting position.
Jesse Ramien (Sharks) - Ramien never really settled at the Knights and after 17 games there he returns to the Sharks. Could this see Tautau Moga return to SC relevance? Moga played 24 regular season games in 2017 before coming to the Knights and averaged 52PPG that year. If he can reclaim a starting role he gets in cheap in 2020.
Jamie Buhrer (released) - Played nine games last year starting twice and bench the remainder.
James Gavet (UK) - 18 games averaging 33 MPG and seven starts.
Slade Griffin (released) - 0 games last year
Brayden Musgrove (released)- 0 games
Nathan Ross (released) - 0 games
Zac Woolford (released) - 0 games
Jayden Brailey - Brailey the elder played 23 regular season games for the Sharks in 2019, averaging 67 MPG and 46 PPG (40 points in base). Unfortunately for us, Brailey posted a monster 102-point game in round 24 boosting his average and he will be at the expensive end of mid-price hookers to start 2020. Add to this the fact that Connor Watson could snipe minutes at hooker off the bench, while representative hooker Danny Levi still remains at the club so despite the ability I'm not keen.
James Maloney (France) - The departure of Maloney opens up a starting slot in the halves at Penrith and the man most likely to have first crack at the job is Jarome Luai. The Samoan international had four starts in the halves for the Panthers in 2019 (averaging 46.75) along with one start at centre and eight games off the bench.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Eels) - RCG has joined Parramatta for 2020 leaving an average of 47MPG available in the Penrith front-row rotation. Moses Leota is the man I expect to benefit most here. Leota averaged 31MPG in 2019 at a PPM of 1.19 and in the four games in which he played 40+ minutes he averaged 58PPG at a PPM of 1.37 (though these stats are boosted by a try in one game).
Wayde Egan (Warriors) - Egan played 18 games averaging 45MPG, starting six at hooker and coming off the bench for the remainder. Egan was supplanted by Mitch Kenny who debuted off the bench in round 11 and then started the next 11 games. His departure will be more than covered by the arrival of Api Koroisau (see below).
Tim Grant (retired) - Seven games in 2019 between rounds six and 12.
Sione Katoa (Bulldogs) - Squeezed out by Wayde Egan, and then Mitch Kenny, Katoa (see details of 2019 season above) joins the Bulldogs in 2020.
Tyrell Fuimaono (released) - Last game with Penrith was in Rd 12 2019 and does not leave a large hole to fill in terms of minutes played.
Tyrone Phillips - No games in 2019.
Paea Pua - No games in 2019
Hame Sele - Last game was round 5 of 2019.
Frank Winterstein (released) - Played 12 games averaging 40MPG, final game was in round 20.
Api Koroisau - The former Manly hooker was stuck in a timeshare with Manase Fainu last year averaging just 44 MPG compared to the 70MPG he had averaged in the four previous seasons. Sadly for those hoping for a Koroisau resurgence, things may not improve too much at Penrith where he will be competing with Mitch Kenny.
Jordan Rapana (Rugby) - After a mediocre, by his standards, 2018 many were hoping that 2019 would mark a bounce-back to the highs of 2016/17 for Rapana but it never really happened. Now the winger is off to Japan and the man most likely to take his spot is Bailey Simonsson. Simonsson gets through plenty of work on the wing and thanks to a reasonably quiet back half of the season he should be well priced to start 2020.
Aidan Sezer - (Likely UK) - The arrival of George Williams (see below) is set to squeeze halfback Aidan Sezer out of the club.
Brad Abbey (released) - 0 games in 2019
Ata Hingano (released) - 0 games in 2019
Royce Hunt (released) - 0 games in 2019
George Williams - UK backs coming to Australia have not had the success of their forward counterparts, but if Williams can replicate his Super League form then he has a very SuperCoach friendly style of game. A willing runner with the ball, Williams made 408 runs in 29 Super League games last season, busting 122 tackles, breaking the line 18 times and offloading 46 times. Add to that 21 try assists and 14 tries and you have a player you really need to watch in the pre-season to see if he can bring that form to Australia because if he does he will score very well.
Sam Burgess/John Sutton (retired) - I have bracketed both veterans because for the bulk of 2019 they formed the starting second row for the Rabbitohs. Love him or loathe him, the departure of Burgess leaves a big hole. He played 17 games in the 2019 regular season averaging 70MPG and playing on an edge and in the middle. Sutton played every game in 2019 and averaged 63 MPG. The Rabbitohs will not be able to replace the two with like-for-like. Rather I expect Jaydn Su'a to step up and make one edge his own. Su'a started nine games at second row for the Broncos in 2018 and averaged 56.8 PPG (I have excluded one injury-affected game). After averaging just 33PPG in 2019 due to limited opportunity off the bench he would be a quality mid-range pick-up should he make an edge his own in pre-season. Ethan Lowe will likely get first shot at securing the other edge role but he has never had a SuperCoach relevant game style.
Dean Britt - A versatile forward with a big engine, Britt played 11 games in 2019 averaging 39 MPG and will be missed by the Rabbitohs and an asset to the Bulldogs.
George Burgess - 'Gurgess' had an underwhelming season due to suspensions playing just 11 games and 29 MPG. I'm hoping his and Britt's departure should allow Tom Amone to earn more game time in 2019.
Connor Tracey - A talented half who has had little luck with injury, Tracey departs the Rabbitohs for the Sharks after playing two games in 2019.
Kyle Turner - Squeezed out of the Rabitohs due to salary cap pressure.
Billy Brittain - Quality backup hooker who captained the Rabbitohs Canterbury Cup side in 2019 and was named player of the year.
Bryson Goodwin - Goodwin is back at the Burrow after two years with Warrington Wolves in the Super League. I do not have the veteran in the best Rabbitohs backline to start the season, but both first-choice centres Braidon Burns and James Roberts have history with injury so he will see time on the paddock at some point.
Troy Dargan - An exciting young halfback, Dargan already has a connection with some of his Rabbitohs teammates having played in the 2014 Australian schoolboys with Amone and 2017 NSW Under-20s with Cameron Murray. Dargan played 21 games for the Norths Devils in the QCup in 2019 scoring five tries, assisting 18 more while averaging over 80-metres per game with the ball in hand.
Jaxson Paulo/Steven Marsters - Both young backs joined the Rabbitohs midway through 2019 and we will have more on them in the cheapie bible.
Edene Gebbie - Already a PNG international, Gebbie joins the Rabbitohs after a very impressive year in the QCup playing for the Wynum Manly Seagulls. I'll go into greater depth in the cheapie bible.
Cooper Cronk (Retired) - The future Immortal leaves a big hole at the Roosters, a hole that the club had planned for with the recruitment of the youngster below.
Kyle Flanagan - While young Kyle is certainly not expected to step in and fully replace future immortal Cronk, he will play the same position and minutes. Flanagan played eight games in 2019 for the Sharks, seven starting in the halves and one cameo effort off the bench. Across the seven games in the halves, the young playmaker averaged a very healthy 55PPG with a season high of 82 and just one score below 48 points. No offence to Cronulla, but the Roosters backline is an improvement and I'd expect Flanagan to improve on his 2019 numbers. But, there is of course a but - those scores were inflated by Flangan's goalkicking. Flanagan averaged almost 10PPG in goals (and -3 PPG in misses) while at the Sharks. If he beats the Roosters' incumbent goalkicker Latrell Mitchell for the job then he looms as a potential mid-range buy with upside. If he doesn't take the tee then I'd wait and see.
Manase Fainu (Stood down) - Well ain't this a kick in the guts for Manly fans. After fielding two very good hookers in 2019, the club now faces the very real prospect of starting 2020 without a first-choice rake. Api Koroisau, who had gone from averaging 70 MPG over 2016-18, to just 44 MPG in 2019, was allowed to depart for Penrith leaving the Sea Eagles all in on Fainu. And you could see why the Sea Eagles made the move: in the four games he played more than 60 minutes in 2019 Fainu scored 77, 61, 70 and 95. However, Fainu is currently stood down by the NRL as he faces criminal charges over an alleged stabbing. This leaves the Sea Eagles desperately searching for someone who can play hooker to start 2019. From within the club, replacement options are Zach Dockar-Clay (who played a mixture of hooker and halves for Manly's Canterbury Cup side Blacktown Workers in 2019), Lachlan Croker and Cade Cust. However, outside the club the likes of Danny Levi - who seems largely unwanted at the Knights - and unsigned Rabbitoh Billy Brittain are options. When we have a better guide to Manly coach Des Hasler's moves in this area I'll update this story re what it means for us SuperCoaches.
Lloyd Perrett (released) - Just two games in 2019, and in one of those he never got on the field.
Trent Hodkinson, Kane Elgey (retired) - Hodkinson played just once in 2019. Elgey played 11 games though failed to win selection in the second half of the season.
Brayden Musgrove - A big lump of a centre (190cm) 102kg, Musgrove joins the Sea Eagles from Newcastle. More on him in our cheapie bible.
Will Chambers (Japan) - Not too long ago Will Chambers was hailed as the best centre in the game, now he's heading off to play rugby. And it's not hard to see why, Chambers played 21 games last year scoring six tries and exceeding 50 points just three times - that's right in three games Chambers scored a try and still failed to exceed 50 points! Chambers' departure opens the door for Justin Olam and Curtis Scott to lock down a spot each in the centres. Neither will come particularly cheap after posting solid if truncated seasons last year; Olam played 11 games averaging 50 PPG with seven tries while Scott played seven games averaging 49 PPG with three tries, so won't be on my radar for round one.
Joe Stimson (Bulldogs) - Stimson's departure to the Bulldogs (see stats above) does not leave a huge hole at Melbourne as both Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi are 80-minute players.
Billy Walters (Wests Tigers) - Just two games in 2019, one as a starting half and a two-minute cameo off the bench.
Solomone Kata (Rugby) - Started the first six games of the season for the Warriors and then not spotted from then after his mid-season switch to Melbourne, hopefully he makes a fist of it in rugby.
Robbie Farah (Retired) - The club legend finally hangs up his boots and the Tigers have three possible replacements in the wings - each with their own issues. Utility Josh Reynolds played just seven games in 2019, four at five-eighth and three off the bench playing hooker when he came into the game. Reynolds has put his hand up to start at hooker in 2020 and will train at the position in pre-season. The Tigers have been forced to turn to Reynolds due to a horrid run of injuries for the man earmarked as a long term hooker option at the club Jacob Liddle. In 2017 Liddle copped a serious shoulder injury, in 2018 more shoulder and sternum problems limited him and then he suffered an ACL injury six minutes into round 22 of 2019. Liddle has shown that he has the motor to play 80 minutes at hooker - he played five full games of Canterbury Cup in 2019 (well one 74-minute game but let's not be picky) averaging more than 40 tackles and 100 metres per game. He will come with a very attractive price, but there are big doubts whether he will be good to go come round one - and once he does get on to the field how long will he last? The other option is young Queensland rake Jake Simpkin - more on him below.
Esan Marsters (Cowboys) - Marsters was not 'bad' in 2019, playing 24 games and averaging 52 PPG. However, the second-half of his season was a disappointment with the centre averaging 44PPG after round 12 as opposed to 61PPG (which was his 2018 season average) up until that point. In Marsters' place, SuperCoaches may be delivered cheapie gold with Tommy Talau tipped to get first crack at the job. Talau played nine games in Canterbury Cup in 2019 averaging 106 metres per game, busting 32 tackles and scoring four tries. He also made his NRL debut in round 22 against Manly at Brrookvale Oval last year so while Talau won't be right at the bottom of the price list he will still be very cheap.
Ryan Matterson (Eels) - Ryan Matterson got his wish and was released by the Tigers for 2020. His departure opens the door for someone to get plenty of time but who? Matterson played 24 games in 2019 mainly as an 80-minute edge second rower but also had four games at lock, three as hooker and a cameo at five-eighth. In Michael Chee-Kam and Chris Lawrence the Tigers have two players capable of playing 80 minutes on an edge but my money is on Luke Garner nailing down one edge and leaving the aforementioned duo to duke it out for the remaining spot. Garner was a popular pick to start 2019 and began well averaging 52PPG over the first six weeks of the season. Injury struck in round eight and he was not seen again until round 18. From rounds 19-25 Matterson moved into the middle (lock and then hooker) and Garner made the edge his own. In five games (he missed one through injury and only played 31 minutes in another due to injury) Garner averaged 76PPG and 77PPG. Two things I must note here: 1. Garner scored a try in four consecutive games over that span and that won't continue, and 2. Injury - keen readers will note there have been a few. One for the brave and he won't be cheap.
Ben Matulino (Retired) - Matulino played his last game for the Tigers in round 14 last year. While Alex Twal has been a rock at prop the joint venture has shared the remaining middle minutes among Josh Aloiai, Thomas Mikaele and Matt Eisenhuth. Mikaele is a youngster with immense potential, if he earns more minutes he has the potential to deliver big scores as his two 40+ minute games showed in 2019 when he scored 62 (38 in base) in 43 minutes in round 15 and 67 (48 in base) in 45 minutes in round 21.
Robbie Rochow (Retired) - 0 games in 2019
Billy Walters (Storm) - After kicking around in the QCup for five seasons, five-eighth Walters finally made his NRL debut in 2019. Walters will be 26 when the season starts so is hardly the future for the Wests Tigers, more a backup plan should anything happen to Benji Marshall, Luke Brooks or Josh Reynolds.
Jake Simpkin (Broncos) - The Tigers surprised the Broncos by nabbing young hooker Simpkin from under their noses at Wynnum-Manly. Simpkin franked the move with a starring performance for Queensland's Under-18 Origin side in 2019 where in 70 minutes he made 41 tackles (missing none), ran for 86 metres and scored a try. But don't get too excited, Simpkin joins the Tigers on a development contract in 2020 and will not be eligible to play first-grade until after round 16.
Reece Hoffman (Wynnum Manly) - Another Queensland youngster joining the Tigers on a development contract, Hoffman is an exciting young centre/wing talent who has one game in the QCup to his name. Like Simpkin, he will not be eligible for selection until round 16 of 2020.
Jesse Arthars (Broncos) - Arthars played 12 games for the Titans splitting his time between centre (six games), and then upon the arrival of English import Kallum Watkins, the wing (five games). Veteran Anthony Don probably has first shot at filling Arthar's shoes on the wing, but hopefully a cheapie slots in to give us all a cash cow.
Michael Gordon (retired) - Gordon started the year at fullback (nine games), missed the middle of the season through injury and then finished the season in the No.1 jersey. His retirement opens the door for AJ Brimson to make the fullback position his own in 2020. Last year, Brimson played eight 80-minute games at fullback averaging 53.5 PPG. With a season average of 39 PPG, Brimson would seem cheap if he can lock down the fullback role but do you really want to use a valuable fullback slot on the Titans - unless of course he's available as a dual-position five-eighth.
Will Matthews (retired) - Two games off the bench in 2019.
Jaxson Paulo (Rabbitohs) - 0 games in the NRL.
Issac Luke (Dragons - unconfirmed) - Luke's best days are behind him, but the veteran hooker still managed 17 games averaging 56 MPG in 2019. The Warriors have recruited a ready-made replacement in Wayde Egan from the Panthers (see below), though I can't help but feel they already had a better hooker at the club in utility forward Jazz Tevaga.
Ligi Sao (UK) - Sao was in and out of the Warriors team in 2019, playing eight games off the bench averaging 29 MPG.
Blayke Ayshford (retired) - Ayshford played seven games in 2019 with five starts at centre and a couple of brief cameos from the bench.
Wayde Egan (Penrith) - Egan played 18 games in 2019 averaging 45MPG, starting six at hooker and coming off the bench for the remainder. Lacks the workrate to make him SuperCoach relevant even when playing big minutes.
Manu Ma'u (UK) - the man with the meanest eyes in rugby league has left the country leaving a huge hole for the Eels to fill and one in my SuperCoach heart too. Ma'u was awesome in 2019 scoring more than 60 points in 83 per cent of games. The Eels have recruited well with Ryan Matterson (see below) a natural replacement.
Tepai Moeroa (Rugby) - Moeroa played one more game in 2019 than 2018 but his minutes took a big hit averaging just 33 MPG in 2019 compared to the 60 MPG he had averaged across the previous four seasons. The Eels are well stocked for forwards to take up his minutes and the pre-season will be a handy guide.
Tim Mannah (retired) - The veteran prop played 10 games in 2019 all in the first half of the season.
Ryan Matterson (Wests Tigers) - Matterson is a perfect replacement for Ma'u. He plays big minutes (24 games in 2019 averaging 76 MPG), has a great workrate (averaged 55 PPG in base) and can play both edge and middle. He won't be cheap, and he won't be 2RF/CTW eligible so he may not be quite the lock he has been in years gone by in SuperCoach.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Penrith) - Campbell-Gillard has never really been SuperCoach relevant and with the Eels having a stacked middle rotation he may actually see a slight decline in the minutes (47MPG) he averaged in 2019 at the Panthers.
Matt Scott/Scott Bolton (retired) - The two veteran props have retired and I've bracketed them here in an attempt to best illustrate the size of the opportunity their departure will create. Scott played 17 games (12 starts) in 2019 averaging 39 MPG. Bolton played 18 games (five starts) averaging 37 MPG. Josh McGuire and Jordan McLean will be the starting props for the Cowboys and I don't see the veterans' departures significantly affecting them. Rather it is Francis Molo and young Peter Hola who will benefit the most. Molo is a wrecking ball through the middle who played all 24 games in the season averaging 24 MPG and a beastly 1.35 points per minute. Hola debuted in round 21 and averaged just the 19 MPG over five games. A quick look at Hola's QCup stats though shows you the true ability of the kid. In 18 games, mostly playing lock, Hola averaged 123 metres and 24 tackles per game, busted 45 tackles and threw 23 offloads. Hola is very much on my cheapie radar.
Jordan Kahu (Broncos) - Kahu played 19 games for the Cowboys in 2019, eight at fullback, 10 in the centres and one out on the wing. The Cowboys are well placed to cover for Kahu's departure with Scott Drinkwater impressing at fullback from round 15 onwards after injury delayed his start to the season and Esan Marsters (see below) is an upgrade at centre.
Nene Macdonald (released) - MacDonald's season was ended when he suffered a severe ankle injury just five rounds into 2019. His career with the Cowboys ended in July following an off-field incident.
Gideon Gela-Mosby (released) - GGM played just three games on the wing for the Cowboys.
Enari Tuala (released) - Tuala played seven games for the Cowboys in 2019, five at centre and two on the wing. His last game was in round 15.
Javid Bowen (released) - Bowen is another outside back who had limited game time in 2019 and after six games on the wing and one at centre he has been cut.
Kurt Baptiste (released) - The diminutive backup hooker's time at North Queensland is over and he will be ably replaced by Reece Robson (see below).
Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers) - As I mentioned above Marsters was not 'bad' in 2019, playing 24 games and averaging 52 PPG, but his finish to the season was poor averaging just 44 PPG over the back half of the season. Marsters is an intriguing bounceback candidate for 2020 - not sure I'd be investing ahead of round 1 but will be watching pre-season keenly.
Reece Robson (Dragons) - A superstar junior Robson was the NSW under-18s hooker in 2016, under-20s hooker in 2017/18 and Junior Kangaroos hooker in 2018. Stuck behind Cameron McInnes at the Dragons for much of his career at the Dragons, Robson played seven games in 2019 averaging 48 MPG and 43 PPG. Given his first start in the final game of the season, Robson played the full 80 minutes and scored 55 points (all in base). The youngster could be the 80-minute hooker the Cowboys desperately need. Unfortunately his quality 2019 average means he won't come super cheap in 2020 but if big minutes are on offer at the Cowboys he might just be worth the investment.
Connely Leumelu (Bulldogs) - A genuinely talented young footballer, Leumelu can play anywhere in the backline from halfback to fullback and everywhere in-between. Last year Leumele played 21 games for the Bulldogs in the Canterbury Cup averaging 127 metres per game and scoring eight tries, assisting four more with 11 linebreaks, 44 tackle busts and a very healthy 31 offloads.
Reece Robson (Cowboys) - See above, Robson is a serious talent who should be a star of the future but it's hard to hold a young hooker back when you have a dominant big minute player like first choice hooker Cam McInnes. The, still to be confirmed, signing of Issac Luke will provide quality cover for McInnes though is hardly going to serve the Dragons into the future like Robson would have.
Gareth Widdop (UK) - Widdop had a rough final season with the Dragons playing the opening three matches at fullback then did not play again until round 19 playing five-eighth - a role he filled for the final seven matches of the season. Widdop's departure should see Corey Norman move to five-eighth leaving Matt Dufty and Tristan Sailor to battle it out for fullback duties. Dufty played 16 games for the Dragons in 2019 with 13 starts at fullback and three games off the bench averaging 68MPG and 39PPG. Dufty had been groomed as a long-term fullback for the Dragons but appeared to lose coach Paul McGregor's favour and was not selected in first grade again after round 19. Sailor was given his NRL debut in round 23 where he acquitted himself well at fullback against the Roosters retaining the role in round 24 before being shifted to the wing for the final game of the season. Should Sailor impress in pre-season and be named to start at fullback he could be a cheapie option at CTW and there will be more to come on him in our cheapie bible.
Jeremy Latimore (retired) - Latimore's retirement frees up some interchange time with the big fella playing 18 games last year averaging 27 MPG.
Mitch Allgood (released) - Allgood played just one game of 22 minutes last year.
Jai Field (released) - Field played six games in 2019, four starts at five-eighth and two brief cameos off the bench.
Patrick Kaufusi (released) - Kaufusi transferred from the Storm to the Dragons mid-season and debuted for St George off the bench in round 16. He never really settled in the team playing six games in all averaging 29 minutes.
Darren Nicholls (released) - The veteran halfback had just two starts for the Dragons in 2019 and has been released. Canterbury Cup Team of the Year half Adam Clune remains at the club and would provide cover at the position if required.
Steven Marsters (Rabbitohs) - Talented young outside back joined the Rabbitohs mid-way through 2019.
Issac Luke (Warriors) - This move is unconfirmed at this stage but if it eventuates then the veteran would provide cover for Cameron McInnes and also allow McInnes to move between hooker and backrow.