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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad Rugby League Finals: Week 1 Starts & Sits

Who to start and who to sit is the biggest question each week for GDS coaches. Outlined in this blog we will cover three different player match ups for the upcoming weekend’s footy. After reading this, hopefully some of the questions you might have over 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.

Nicho Hynes – HLF, Sharks (74.6 avg) vs Shaun Johnson – HLF, Warriors (68.4 avg)

Nicho has been the best half to have this season and has finished as one of the top two halves (HLF1) on a round seven times. This week the Sharks will be facing the Roosters at home in an elimination final. With the season on the line, I’m expecting Hynes to have a good game. I honestly think the Roosters will upset the Sharks as they have been absolutely flying over the last month. If this narrative does come to fruition, I don’t think Hynes will be too affected by this.

SJ has been having a great year and is the third best half on the season behind Hynes and Cleary. What really concerns me about SJ is that he has been battling a quad injury for the last month and that the Warriors are making their first finals appearance since 2018. Since SJ has had this quad injury concern, Pompey has taken over as the Warriors goal kicker andthis is one of the reasons SJ has only averaged 50 points across his last three games. SJ is a very experienced player that has played in the finals before but not many others in the Warriors lineup has had a taste of finals footy. Up against Panthers who are back-to-back premiers, the Warriors might just have their work cut out for them. If the Panthers put on the sort of display they did against the Cowboys last week, how much more pressure will this puton SJ to perform!

Verdict - Start Hynes and sit SJ

GameDay Squad Rugby League: Round 25 Review

Isaah Yeo – MID, Panthers (59.4 avg) vs Cameron McInnes – MID, Sharks (49.9 avg)

Yeo has been one of the premium middle forwards all season and with the Panthers looking to run deep into the finals again, I believe he is a must have. If you just look at his average of 52 points over the last three games, it might be a little misleading as he has only averaged 69 minutes over these games. Outside of these games, Yeo has only not played the full 80 on four occasions. We all know the Panthers like to rest their players prior to the finals and this year it was no different. When Yeo does play the full 80 minutes he has an average of 62 points and I believe he is likely to play the full 80 against the Warriors.

McInnes has been one of the best middle forwards over the last six weeks. Over this period he has finished the week as one of the top three middle forwards (MID1) four times. He has an exceptional PPM of 0.97 and this puts him at an elite level in this metric. However, it all comes back to the minutes that he will be on the field. I don’t think he will be out there for any more than 65-70 minutes against the Roosters after looking at the Sharks rotation. On the season he is only averaging 51 minutes a game. Since Dale Finucane’s season ending injury in round 21, McInnes has averaged 64 minutes.

I don’t think there is too much of a difference between these players this weekend. I believe that McInnes offers a slightly higher ceiling but a considerably lower floor due to the Sharks rotation.

Verdict - Start Yeo and sit McInnes

James Tedesco – WFB, Roosters (53.9 avg) vs Reece Walsh – WFB, Broncos (48.8 avg)

Teddy has been the second best WFB since round 23 and has averaged 74 points a game over this period. Funnily enough, this coincides with the Roosters run of form. This week against the Sharks I believe he has a fantastic matchup. Over the last three weeks the Sharks have allowed 71 points a game to opposition fullbacks. With this being an eliminationfinal and Teddy needing to lead by example if the Chooks are to move forward to week two of the finals, I can see him having a big game.

Walsh has been having a great first season at the Broncos. I don’t believe his average shows actually how good he has been as it includes a -12. If it wasn’t for that, there would only be a couple of points separating himself and Teddy. This week Walsh comes up againstthe Storm who are one of the better teams at defending against the fullback. Over the last six rounds the Storm have only allowed an average of 28 points to opposition fullbacks. I’m ignoring last week they rested a lot of their squad. On a side note, Walsh was the highest scoring fullback against them all season with a score of 66 in round 11.

These two players are very similar in some respects as they both have the ability to rack up 25+ points within one play. Going by the numbers there isn’t much separating these two overthe season, but I’ve had to go with the player that is in the better form and has the better match up.

Verdict - Start Tedesco and sit Walsh


GameDay Squad Rugby League: Round 25 Review


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