SuperCoach NRL study guide: Broncos
A LIMP finish to the 2018 season has seemingly done little to dampen SuperCoach interest in the Broncos for 2019.
A new coach in Anthony Seibold has breathed life into Brisbane's training sessions and, as a result, boosted the SuperCoach stocks of a number of Broncos players.
With such hype, it pays to dig a little deeper into the Broncos squad, which has also undergone a number of changes from last year.
With the departures of Josh McGuire, Korbin Sims and Sam Thaiday from the top 17, there are minutes on offer, as well as a bench spot for a middle forward.
There are some legitimate SuperCoach options at the Broncos that you need to consider for your Round 1 team.
BYE: Round 12
BEST 17: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Jack Bird 4. James Roberts 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Matt Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Jaydn Su'A 12. Matt Gillett 13. Tevita Pangai Jnr 14. Alex Glenn 15. David Fifita 16. Payne Haas 17. Patrick Mago
WHO'S LEFT: Sean O'Sullivan, Troy Dargan, Thomas Dearden, Kotoni Staggs, Jordan Kahu, Andre Savelio, Gehamat Shibasaki, Sam Tagataese, Jake Turpin, George Fai, Patrick Carrigan, Thomas Flegler, Shaun Fensom.
In: Thomas Dearden (2019), Shaun Fensom (North Queensland Cowboys, 2019), Thomas Flegler (2019), Sean O'Sullivan (Sydney Roosters, 2020), Myles Taueli (2019)
Out: Josh McGuire (North Queensland Cowboys), Tom Opacic (North Queensland Cowboys), Jonus Pearson (St George Illawarra Dragons), Marion Seve (Melbourne Storm), Korbin Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), Sam Thaiday (retired)
ANTHONY MILFORD (5/8, $511,900)
2018 average: 54.7
Milford had a very disappointing year by his lofty SuperCoach standards, yet he still finds himself the sixth most expensive option at five-eighth. But after averaging less than his stellar 2017 SuperCoach season, can he still be considered a gun?
Well, there are a few positive signs for prospective Milford owners and Broncos fans alike. Despite a second shoulder surgery in consecutive pre-seasons, Milford is tracking ahead of schedule in his recovery and looks to be in his best shape for quite some time.
In 2018, Seibold worked wonders with the Rabbitohs' left edge and in particular, with Cody Walker. Milford would look right at home doing many of the same things Walker did last year - plus more.
The risk is there but Milford is primed to step right back into premium gun territory with the added advantage of being a POD player. I don't think many SuperCoaches will be game enough to consider Milford from Round 1.
TEVITA PANGAI JR (FRF/2RF, $495,000)
2018 average: 52.9
My man crush and the "Smokey Pick" of 2018 (see my Fearless Predictions for the 2018 season), 'TPJ' broke out from bench player to starting forward in the not-so-baby Broncos pack last year.
He struggled afterwards with multiple lingering injuries, and even now seems to be dealing with ongoing hamstring concerns.
However, when he steps onto that field, his SuperCoach prowess (and obviously, his on-field ability) cannot be denied.
Everything he does is pure SuperCoach goodness - strong, powerful carries for over eight metres a pop, sprinkled with a few tackle busts along the way, and the occasional effective offload at the end of one of these runs for potential line break assists … or he just busts through the line himself and crashes over the tryline for a four-pointer.
With one hand on the starting No. 13 jersey vacated by Josh McGuire, TPJ stands to play the lion's share of minutes at lock, and if he can average 60 to 65 minutes per game, I believe that he will comfortably average over 65 (or more) points per game. Get among it.
ANDREW MCCULLOUGH (HOK, $505,300)
2018 average: 54.0
Everyone expected Macca to come back slowly from his ACL injury. Well, that was partially true, as he came off the bench for Round 1 (but still played more than half the game). However, by Round 2, he was starting and playing the full 80 minutes. He went on to play all but four games that season for 70 or more minutes.
The good news for Macca is that usually, it's often the 12 to 18 month mark after a serious ACL injury where the body really gets back to normal. This may see him return to his workmanlike best, as he puts his body through a defensive workload that is almost unmatched in the NRL.
When getting the minutes (70+ per match), Macca has averaged between 58 to 61 points per game in three of his past four seasons before 2018.
That means he is already underpriced on that front. Then there's the fact he is now playing under Seibold and we all saw what he was able to do with Damien Cook.
Macca isn't the same type of hooker as Cook, but we may see some more attacking spark from him which will see some decent value in his price to start the year.
Look out however for the possibility that Jake Turpin may force his way onto the bench, which could see Macca either rotate to lock and defend there, or not play the full 80 minutes.
COREY OATES (CTW, $503,000)
2018 average: 53.9
Oates has now lost his dual position status after featuring the past few years as a 2RF/CTW option. However, considering all of his scores from 2016 onwards have all been as a CTW, it shouldn't affect his scoring potential.
His 2018 average sits at 56 points per game, after adjusting for one injury-affected match where he scored in the single digits and left after just 22 minutes on the field. Oates had a hot finish to the season, with a massive eight tries in his final three games.
Prior to this, he had scored ten tries. We saw Seibold set up an incredibly potent left edge attack at the Rabbitohs last year, turning Robert Jennings into a superstar winger.
With all due respect to 'Rennings', Oates is a far superior finisher and you can only imagine what Oates could have done with the quality ball Rennings received throughout the season. Throw in a potentially revitalised Jack Bird playing at left centre and you could strike gold.
PAYNE HAAS (FRF, $181,100)
2018 average: 14.7
Not much needs to be said here - the opportunity is clearly there and the Broncos have invested a lot in Haas.
With a record deal for such a young forward, they will want to give him plenty of opportunity to grow in experience and develop into a premium forward in the NRL.
His debut was pure class, and despite both his other games last year being cut short due to injury, Haas has already bounced back and is seriously impressive in his training habits and work ethic for such a young and inexperienced player. He could easily be the 2019 version of Matt Lodge as far as FRF cheapies go.
There may not be any other legitimate cheapies to start with in Round 1 at the Broncos, however just slightly outside of cheapie range is Jack Bird (2RF/CTW, $320,900) who is priced at approximately a 34.5 average (despite averaging 25.8 last year).
Seemingly fit and ready to play again, Bird is set to take up the left centre position, and could form a potent left edge with Corey Oates and also take advantage of a renewed Milford.
In his last full and healthy season he managed a comfortable 53+ average playing at right centre, so he certainly has the potential to make plenty of dollars if he is fit and healthy.
KODI NIKORIMA (HFB, $421,100)
2018 average: 45.0
You would have to be a brave SuperCoach to consider Kodi Nikorima after such speculation about his position during the off-season and also after a mediocre 2018 where he averaged in the mid-40s.
Nikorima at his best is an elusive runner of the ball whose natural height (or lack thereof) only helps him evade tackles.
However, his propensity to disappear, as well as the fact that his job is hardly the most secure, means that he is far too risky of an option for a hotly-contested halfback position.
DAVID FIFITA (2RF, $456,600)
2018 average: 48.8
Fifita is the other highly touted teenager at the Broncos and we saw just an early glimpse last season of how good he is going to be.
It is rare to see a rookie so composed and so confident, as he proved more than capable of handling what bigger, stronger and more experienced opposition players could throw at him - all in his first 10 games in first grade.
Fifita has serious SuperCoach potential as well, and is actually more expensive than all of the other 2RF options at the Broncos (including Gillett, Glenn and Su'A).
However, he is unlikely to find himself as the starter ahead of those three guys, and is likely to fill a limited minute role off the bench at the start of the season.
However he is absolutely 100 per cent talented enough to potentially overtake the starters by the end of the season, so keep an eye on him along the way.