Every week GameDay Squad coaches are searching for that player-of-difference (POD) to help them have the edge over the competition. Over the finals series we will be going over three different POD options ahead of the weekend’s footy. After reading this, hopefully some of the questions you might have for certain players would have been answered. Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
Joseph Suaalii – WFB, Sydney Roosters
Suaalii is a great young talent who has really been playing well over the last month. The Roosters are playing some fantastic footy and Suaalii has found himself on the end of many of their attacking raids, crossing over five tries since round 23. Over this same period, Suaaliihas finished as a top 10 WFB four times averaging 62 points. He has also taken over as the team’s goal kicker and his average has been bumped up by 12 points a game because of this. The Roosters welcome back Manu this week and Suaalii has a great combination with him on the Roosters right edge. The Shark’s left edge has been terrible defensively over the last three games. They allow an average of 57 points to the right centre and 45 points to the right wing. I’m expecting the Roosters to try and exploit this weakness in the Shark’s defenceand Suaalii may be able to benefit if they are to do so.
Stephen Crichton – CTR, Penrith Panthers
Critta is coming off his best game of the season after scoring 103 points against the Cowboys. To be fair, since round 23 he has been in great form and was averaging 52 points a game prior to the Cowboys game. He knows how to find the try line and has crossed five tries in the last five games. The Warriors left edge defence has been rather good against opposition’s right edge attack over the season but over the last three weeks they have been exposed down this edge. Against the Warriors, right centres have averaged 36 points over this period and right wingers have averaged 50 points. If I’m looking at these numbers correctly, it seems that Pompey may have been struggling on defence lately and Montoya is coming in off his wing to assist. This will then leave space down the Warriors left defensive edge and Critta might be able to capitalise on this. I really like the Critta/To’o vs Pompey/Montoya match up as this will be the best attacking right edge that the Warriors have come up against for some time.
Eliesa Katoa – EDG, Melbourne Storm
After coming back from injury in round 23, Katoa has been great for the Storm on attack and has scored five tries. Over this period his base stats haven’t been as good as some of the edge forwards, but he has been the best attacking edge forward out of players still available this weekend. With the likes of Fifita and Hopgood not making the finals, there are many decent options to select at edge this weekend, but none might have the upside on attack that Katoa possesses. The more Katoa plays outside Hughes, the better the Storm look on attack. Katoa should be matching up against Capewell and Capewell has missed the odd assignment on defence this season. The Storm may try and get Katoa in a 1vs1 situation and he wins these nine out of ten times. Even though Katoa has one of the highest ceilings of any edge playing this weekend, he also has one of the lowest floors. If you have the narrative that the Storm are going to go up to Brisbane and beat the Broncos, Katoa might just be the player for you this week.