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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad Rugby League: Around The Grounds!

Updated: May 1

In this blog we will have a brief look at the previous and upcoming rounds of the NRL. In round 8, who's performances stood out for the right or wrong reasons and which players made the GDS Squad of the round. With round 9 not too far away, who should coaches consider starting and which players have positive matchups. Have a read below and gain an edge over your competition. Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels: twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.

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GDS Squad of the week for round 8

HOK - Jayden Brailey (Knights) 53 points

MID - Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors) 74 points

MID - Connor Watson (Roosters) 72 points

MID - Jack De Belin (Dragons) 70 points

EDG - David Fifita (Titans) 96 points

EDG - Angus Crichton (Roosters) 81 points

HLF - Nicho Hynes (Sharks) 136 points

HLF - Sam Walker (Roosters) 103 points

CTR - Jesse Ramien (Sharks) 86 points

CTR - Dane Gagai (Knights) 77 points

WNG - Brian To'o (Panthers) 96 points

WNG - Reuben Garrick (Sea Eagles) 92 points

FB - AJ Brimson (Titans) 77 points

BENCH FWD - Nat Butcher (Roosters) 77 points

BENCH FWD - Jaimin Jolliffe (Titans) 67 points

BENCH HLF - Cameron Munster (Storm) 102 points

BENCH BACK - Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins) 76 points

BENCH BACK - Euan Aitken (Dolphins) 74 points

Squad Total 1509 points

How many of these players did you start?

The performance of the week

This award goes to Nicho Hynes. Take a bow Nicho, take a bow!!! What a performance he had against the Raiders. Hynes scored 136 points (season high by any player) that consisted of 1 try, 6 goals, 1 line break, 3 line break assists, 2 try assists, 8 tackle breaks and 1 offload, this came to 74 points through attacking stats. He also made 25 tackles, ran for 202 metres and kicked for 456 metres; this works out to be 60 points in base stats. This was an incredible performance and he's arguably the best player to have a card of in GDS. In my opinion, Hynes has been an auto pick for the last couple of seasons and my thinking hasn't changed on this. Many GDS coaches already have his card but if you are a coach that doesn't, I would be looking to acquire one as soon as possible.


This award goes to Euan Aitken. Aitken is one of those players in GDS that is a bit of a cheat code as he is playing as an edge forward this season but has a centre position designation. Against the Knights he scored a season high 74 points, this consisted of 51 points scored through base stats and this is fantastic for the centre position. He might not be the most glamorous player but with an average of 54 points and a seasonal ranking of 4th, he should be considered for selection every week. The downside is that he doesn't offer the ceiling like other centres do as he doesn't have the attacking output playing at edge forward. If you are after a consistent performer as the centre position has been difficult to navigate, Aitken might just be your man. However, Connelly Lemuelu was favoured at left edge for the Dolphins last season, and he has been dealing with a knee injury. It will be interesting to see if Aitken holds onto the left edge position once Lemuelu is fit.


This award goes to Tom Trbojevic. Many GDS coaches might be asking the same question as I am. What's happened to Turbo's fantasy game? He has yet to debut in the GDS squad of the round this season and is currently ranked 11th in the fullback rankings with an average of 49 points. He doesn't look as dangerous with the ball in hand like he used to, and it seems like he's trying to make contact with the defender instead of trying to elude them. This might have something to do with all the injuries he has dealt with over the last few seasons. Even with the Sea Eagles being one of the better attacking teams in the NRL, Turbo is still a key part of what they are doing but he's not as involved in their attack like I thought he might be. I still believe he is one of the better fullbacks in the NRL but at the moment there seems to be better starting options at fullback. However, Turbo is the sort of player that has been known to turn it on at any stage and score 100+ points. I think we will see him do this at some stage this season, but he remains a risky selection in my opinion.

GDS Team to Beat - Round 9

HOK - Harry Grant (Storm) - GDS average of 51 points & positional rank of 1st

MID - Isaah Yeo (Panthers) - GDS average of 63 points & positional rank of 2nd

MID - Payne Hass (Broncos) - GDS average of 68 points & positional rank of 1st

MID - Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors) - GDS average of 60 points & positional rank of 3rd

EDG - David Fifita (Titans) - GDS average of 63 points & positional rank of 1st

EDG - Briton Nikora (Sharks) - GDS average of 39 points & positional rank of 31st

HLF - Nathan Cleary (Panthers) - GDS average of 59 points & positional rank of 4th

HLF - Nicholas Hynes (Sharks) - GDS average of 76 points & positional rank of 1st

CTR - Joseph Manu (Roosters) - GDS average of 59 points & positional rank of 1st

CTR - Valentine Holmes (Cowboys) - GDS average of 56 points & positional rank of 2nd

WNG - Brian To'o (Panthers) - GDS average of 54 points & positional rank of 2nd

WNG - Reuben Garrick (Sea Eagles) - GDS average of 44 points & positional rank of 11th

FB - Dylan Edwards (Panthers) - GDS average of 66 points & positional rank of 1st

BENCH FWD - Eliesa Katoa (Storm) - GDS average of 52 points & positional rank of 3rd

BENCH FWD - Tohu Harris (Warriors) - GDS average of 55 points & positional rank of 5th

BENCH HLF - Jahrome Hughes (Storm) - GDS average of 61 points & positional rank of 3rd

BENCH BACK - Izack Tago (Panthers) - GDS average of 46 points & positional rank of 10th

BENCH BACK - Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm) - GDS average of 50 points & positional rank of 9th

Players with positive matchups

Briton Nikora

Compared to the last two seasons, Nikora hasn't lived up to a lot of GDS coaches' expectations this season. After returning from suspension, he has had scores of 59 vs Rabbitohs, 38 vs Cowboys and 58 vs Raiders. Up against the Dragons this week he may score well again as the Dragons are allowing an average of 54 points to the right edge. We have seen the following players make the squad of the round when playing against the Dragons, Olakau'atu (65 points), Lucas (75 points) and Nat Butcher (77 points). A right edge forward hasn't scored less than 40 points against the Dragons all season. With the form the Sharks are in at the moment, I wouldn't put it past Nikora to score a try or two and score 60+ points.

Brian To'o

To'o was the tackle breaking king last week as he broke 21 tackles on the way to scoring 96 points against the Cowboys. He's not going to do this every week, but I believe he can still have a lot of success against an out of form Rabbitohs. I'm under the assumption that To'o will be matched up against Izaac Thompson, who comes into the Rabbitohs starting team to replace the suspended Taane Milne. With this being my assumption, I think we may see the Panthers direct a lot of their attack down their left edge as the Rabbitohs have allowed five tries to left wingers over the last two games, three to Coates and two to Mulitalo. To'o has only scored over 50 points twice this season but on both occasions, he made the squad of the round. I think we will see another huge game from To'o and I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the squad of the round for the second week running.

Ryan Papenhuyzen

The definition of Papenhuyzen this season is either rocks or diamonds. He had four scores of 54+ points and three scores of less than 35 points. His range of scoring may have put many GDS coaches off this season, but I think this week against the Titans we may see a score of 60+ points. I think Papenhuyzen will have a good week because of the following factors. The Storm spine (hooker, both halves and fullback) are really starting to click after Munster's return from injury. Up against the Rabbitohs last week, they were unstoppable. Well done to the Titans for getting their first win of the season over in Auckland but this one win still doesn't mean that they are a good team. Opposing fullbacks against the Titans are averaging an average of 57 points. Only twice have the Titans have allowed less than 50 points to a fullback this season and that was Blake Taaffe (23 points) and Chevy Stewart (30 points). Other fullbacks the Titans have faced are Sloan, Hammer, Drinky, Turbo and CNK. Collectively these fullbacks average 69 points against the Titans. Papenhuyzen is still a risky option but up against a Titans team that fullbacks generally to score well against, I believe that he will score well.


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