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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad Rugby League: Around The Grounds!

In this blog we will have a brief look at the previous and upcoming rounds of the NRL. In round 15, who's performances stood out for the right or wrong reasons and which players made the GDS Squad of the round. With round 16 of GameDay Squad Rugby League 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 15


HOK - Damien Cook (Rabbitohs) 74 points

MID - Payne Haas (Broncos) 86 points

MID - Stefano Utoikamanu (Wests Tigers) 83 points

MID - Moeaki Fotuaika (Titans) 72 points

EDG - Mitchell Barnett (Warriors) 77 points

EDG - Briton Nikora (Sharks) 71 points

HLF - Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles) 73 points

HLF - Jarome Luai (Panthers) 69 points

CTR - Deine Mariner (Broncos) 83 points

CTR - Will Penisini (Eels) 80 points

WNG - Jojo Fifita (Titans) 75 points

WNG - Jordan Rapana (Raiders) 72 points

FB - Keano Kini (Titans) 88 points

BENCH FWD - Haumole Olakau'atu (Sea Eagles) 70 points

BENCH FWD - Reuben Cotter & Heilum Luki (Cowboys) 66 points

BENCH HLF - Mitchell Moses (Eels) & Jackson Hastings (Knights) 60 points

BENCH BACK - Dylan Edwards (Panthers) 71 points

BENCH BACK - Jayden Campbell (Titans) & Brian To'o (Panthers) 70 points


Squad Total 1340 points

How many of these players did you start?


The performance of the week

This award goes to Keano Kini. Even though the Titans went down to the Wests Tigers, Kini had a career game in GDS and went on to score 88 points. On attack, he had 1 try assist, 3 line breaks, 3 line break assists,13 tackle breaks and 3 offloads for 53 points. He also ran for a whopping 321 metres, and this really boosted his base scoring. The impressive part about this performance was that he ended up as the top scoring player of the week without even scoring a try. I wouldn't be expecting him to perform like this every week, but Kini's name should be put in the black book for the future. He's contracted to the Titans until the end of 2026 but who knows what the Titans spine will look like when everyone is fit. If you want to start him in your 18-man squad, you'd be a very brave coach with all the talent we have to choose from at the fullback position. He would be a handy card to have in your collection as he may have some really good match ups every now and then, just like he did against the Wests Tigers. I'm not going to argue with anyone who wants to start him, I just think he's a very risky starting option.


Riser

This award goes to Will Penisini. Penisini is a young strong centre that can break a tackle and knows how to find the try line. This season his performances have been rather inconsistent and a lot of this comes down to Mitchell Moses. In the six games this season when Moses has been in the team, Penisini averages 52 points. When Moses isn't in the team, Penisini only averages 32 points. Penisini and Moses are both contracted to the Eels until the end of 2025 and now that the Eels are playing better, Penisini is a genuine starting option when Moses is playing. This is Penisini's fourth season in first grade and he has 70 appearances to his name at only 21 years old. He is one of many very good young centres in the NRL and I believe he is a great card to target for your squad's dynasty.


Faller

This award goes to Jack De Belin. What are we going to do with JDB might be a question on a lot of coaches' lips. In the last couple of weeks JDB only played 41 minutes vs the Wests Tigers for 37 points and 45 minutes against the Sea Eagles for 18 points. Prior to the last two games, JDB hadn't played any less than 51 minutes when being named in the starting team. With the Dragons coach Shane Flanagan now running with a four-forward bench, I don't like JDB's GDS prospects this season. Most weeks I'm expecting to see 6-10 MIDs named to start that I'd likely start above JDB in GDS. His future is also uncertain as the Dragons have reportedly only offered him a one-year contract extension. The rumours are that JDB is wanting a longer contract and it sounds like the Rabbitohs may have a two-year contract for him. JDB is now 33 years old, and I can't see him returning to the form that he showed last season. If you can sell high or trade to a younger up and coming player, that might be a good option if you have his card. His value is rather low at the moment and the more likely scenario is to hold and see if he returns to a bigger minute role.


GDS Team to Beat - Round 16


HOK - Damien Cook (Rabbitohs) - GDS average of 53 points & positional rank of 1st

MID - Stefano Utoikamanu (Wests Tigers) - GDS average of 52 points & positional rank of 6th

MID - Terrell May (Roosters) - GDS average of 49 points & positional rank of 12th

MID - Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors) - GDS average of 59 points & positional rank of 3rd

EDG - David Fifita (Titans) - GDS average of 66 points & positional rank of 1st

EDG - Nat Butcher (Roosters) - GDS average of 49 points & positional rank of 10th

HLF - Shaun Johnson (Warriors) - GDS average of 55 points & positional rank of 5th

HLF - Jahrome Hughes (Storm) - GDS average of 59 points & positional rank of 2nd

CTR - Joseph Manu (Roosters) - GDS average of 55 points & positional rank of 4th

CTR - Euan Aitken (Dolphins) - GDS average of 58 points & positional rank of 1st

WNG - Dominic Young (Roosters) - GDS average of 51 points & positional rank of 3rd

WNG - Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins) - GDS average of 47 points & positional rank of 4th

FB - James Tedesco (Roosters) - GDS average of 57 points & positional rank of 4th

BENCH FWD - Joseph Tapine (Raiders) - GDS average of 49 points & positional rank of 10th

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

BENCH HLF - Sam Walker (Roosters) - GDS average of 42 points & positional rank of 19th

BENCH BACK - Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Warriors) - GDS average of 54 points & positional rank of 9th

BENCH BACK - Herbie Farnworth (Dolphins) - GDS average of 51 points & positional rank of 6th


Players with positive matchups


Addin Fonua-Blake

AFB might seem like a very chalky starting option at the MID position this week, but I just want to let GDS coaches know that the Titans are a very good match up for prop forwards. Props are averaging 0.95 PPM against the Titans this season and a lot of this is to do with Tino Fa'asuamaleaui being out since round three. Things did get worse for the Titans in round eleven as Jaimin Jolliffe went down with injury and is likely not to play until round 24. With the Titans missing their big men, many teams can get a roll on through the middle and march their team down the field. Just look at what Stefano Utoikamanu did last week, he ended up scoring 83 points and this didn't include a try. The Titans have also allowed the most tries to prop forwards this season. With AFB being a dynamic prop forward that is quick on his feet, I would be surprised if he scores a try and is the top scoring MID in GDS this week. Just remember that AFB did score a double against the Titans on ANZAC day and finished with a score of 74 points.


Terrell May

Terrell May earnt himself the performance of the week award for round 13 as he put in a very impressive performance against the Cowboys and ended up scoring 107 points. With the Roosters losing Collins and Crichton the Origin duties in round 13, they had May starting with Sandon Smith, Steep, Tupouniua and Wong on the interchange. May ended up playing 75 minutes and this was gold for GDS coaches as he averages 1.12 PPM. This week the Roosters will once again be without Collins and Crichton due to Origin duties and they are running out the same bench. This makes May an auto pick for me as I can see him putting in another big minute performance. Even if he just plays the 60 minutes, he should be able to score 60+ points.


Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

I've been saying this for a while, the Titans are a very good matchup for opposing fullbacks. The Titans are allowing an average of 61 points to opposing fullbacks and average of 72 points in the last three games. They have also allowed fullbacks to score a try against them in nine of their thirteen games for a total of fifteen tries. CNK is having a solid season and I think we might see him cross for a try this week. On ANZAC Day he scored 53 points against the Titans, and this included a try. I'm expecting a fast paced, high scoring game for the Titans vs Warriors and CNK will have every chance to provide GDS coaches with his highest score of the year.


 

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