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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad Rugby League Finals: Week 2 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 matchups 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.

Nat Butcher – EDG, Roosters (50.5 avg) vs Tyson Frizell – EDG, Knights (46.9 avg)

Butcher has been having a good season, but he’s been either rocks or diamonds since round 20. In this nine-game sample he has had six scores of 46 points or less and three scores of 65+. In all these games he has played the full 80 minutes except for one, so we can’t link his lower scores to the minutes he’s been playing. One possible reason for these inconsistent performances might be because he has played seven of these games on the left edge and not his preferred right edge. Last week we saw Siua Wong move out to the backs in the second half, and he played rather well. If we see a team reshuffle before kickoff,there is the possibility the Butcher may find himself back on the right edge. This would be great news for coaches as the Storm allow six more points to the right edge compared to the left.

Since round 20, Frizell’s form has been almost identical to Butchers and there isn’t too much separating these two players. Frizell has played eight games since round 20 and has five scores of 44 points or less and three scores of 55+. The minutes spent on the field are roughly the same as Butchers as well. The Warriors left edge defence against opposition right edges is the second worst in the NRL and they allow 45 points a game to this position. With the uncertainty around where Butcher might start and a better matchup for Frizell, I’m leaning to start Frizell over Butcher. However, if the news breaks prior to kickoff that Butcher is lining on the Roosters right edge, I might be starting both.

Verdict - Start Frizell and sit Butcher

GameDay Squad Rugby League: Round 25 Review

Harry Grant – HOK, Storm (50.7 avg) vs Brandon Smith – HOK, Roosters (33.7 avg)

Prior to round 27, Grant was the best hooker in GDS this season. Craig Bellamy opted to give Grant an early shower in every game from round 24 through to round 26. Over these three games he only averaged 45 points in 60 minutes. This wasn’t what the coaches who played him in GDS wanted to see but with the Storm now playing for their season, I think we will see Grant play the full 80 minutes this week. Grant did play the full 80 against the Broncos last week but had a shocker as he lost 38 points through demerits. This week I’m expecting the Storm and Grant to be a lot better against the Roosters. If you want a juicy narrative, here it is. Smith dominates as the Roosters and end the Storm’sseason! Until Suaali’i, Manu and Billy Smith were all ruled out, I did see some merit in this narrative but not anymore. Smith has been playing some excellent footy since round 25 and has averaged 47 points over this period. The problem I have with playing Smith this week is the number of minutes he will be given. He is yet to play the full 80 minutes this season and in the four games where he has played 70+ minutes, he averages 47 points. It's going to be great to see the Grant vs Smith battle in an elimination game but with my fantasy hat on, I’ll be going Grant over Smith due to the expected minutes they will be receiving.

Verdict - Start Grant and sit Smith

Victor Radley – MID, Roosters (37.3 avg) vs Josh King – MID, Storm (43.5 avg)

I’m pretty certain that there are two clear cut choices at MID this week with Tohu and AFB. It’s the third MID position that is giving many coaches headaches but here are two possible candidates that coaches may be considering.Radley can be a coach’s nightmare due to his enforcing nature on the pitch. He has been sent to the sin bin three times this season and spent time on the sidelines due to suspension. However, over the last five games he has put some decent performances together and only been penalised once. Over these five games he’s averaging 48 points in 78 minutes. Josh King is another solid option but he’s just not getting enough minutes for myliking. Over his last five games he has only been on the field for an average of 62 minutes for35 points a game. With NAS, Sims and Eisenhuth on the interchange, I really can’t see any more than 65 minutes out of King.Going by the recent form and minute in the field, I prefer Radley over King this week. However, Radley’s enforcing nature is always a concern, especially against a team like the Storm who might dominate this contest. I believe Radley is worth the risk but will be hoping he doesn’t see red and spend time in the sin bin.

Verdict - Start Radley and sit King


GameDay Squad Rugby League: Round 25 Review


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