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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad Rugby League: Round 2 Player In Focus

Each week we will do a deep dive into a player that had a strong performance in the previous round. The player may not have had the top score of the weekend but a solid outing nonetheless. I’ll look to cover the previous rounds performance, outlook for the season ahead, outlook for 2024 and beyond and my recommendation for this player. Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels: twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.

NRL fantasy round 2 player in focus Stephen Crichton

Player of the Week

Player Name: Stephen Crichton Age: 22 Club: Penrith Panthers Position: Fullback Round 2 Score: 65 2023 Ave Score: 53 2023 Positional Rank: 3rd 2023 Overall Rank: 39th

Round 2 Performance

Crichton kicked on from his solid round 1 performance and may have raised some eyebrows against the Rabbitohs. He seemed to have a hand in everything and came away with one try, goal, line break, line breaks assist, try assist and two tackle breaks. On top of these attacking stats he accumulated 33 points in base and this is top draw for a centre. The thing that really impressed me was his defence. The Rabbitohs have been one of the best attacking teams in the NRL over the last few years and Crichton made 19 tackles without missing one.

2023 Outlook

After watching Crichton in the first couple of rounds, I think he may improve on his 2022 season. I don’t believe this performance was a one off as he has a proven track record of decent scores. I strongly believe that centres that play in good NRL teams are generally good centres in fantasy and Crichton ticks this box. I find that centre is generally the most difficult position in fantasy to navigate due to the inconsistency of the position. Crichton is one of those centres that is consistent against all opposition. This huge for a centre as so many are matchup dependent. I’m not saying he is going to score 50+ points every week but I believe he will average north of 40 points. To begin the season, I had projected to rank 8th in the centre position, he has now moved ahead of Siosifa Talakai and Katoni Staggs into 6th in my season projections.

GDS Dynasty Ranking

It seems that Crichton has been around for some time and at the age of 22 he still has plenty of years ahead of NRL. In January this year, it was announced that Crichton would be leaving the Panthers at the end of the 2023 season and joining the Bulldogs on a four-year deal. Crichton already has some links to the Bulldogs with ex-Panthers Matt Burton, Viliame Kikau and coach Cameron Ciraldo being at the club. What makes this move very interesting from a fantasy perspective is that the Bulldogs seem to have a vacancy at fullback. The rumours are that Crichton has been brought to the Bulldogs to fill this vacancy and join Mahoney, Burton and Flanagan in the spine. Crichton has spent time at fullback and has shown that he is a very capable player in this position. It’s only a small sample size but he’s played five games at fullback and averages 41 points. It is well known that centre is the lowest scoring position in fantasy and if Crichton is to play at fullback while being classified as a centre in fantasy, it may be wheels up for him next season and beyond.

JT’s Call

Crichton is a tall, solid, agile young centre that has played on some of the biggest stages in rugby league. When watching him on the field, he isn’t the most glamorous centre out there but he does the little things well and this is reflected in fantasy. He also knows his way to the try line which is key for any centre. This season I would be more than comfortable starting him every week due to the consistency he offers compared to a lot of other centres. It really depends what competition you're playing, what rarity card you may have of him and what other centres you have in your squad. Ahead of his 2024 move to the Bulldogs, I would look at targeting Crichton or trying to upgrade the rarity of card you may already have of him. It is unknown if he will play fullback when arriving at the Bulldogs but by many reports, Crichton looks to have the inside running which makes him a very intriguing dynasty prospect. I feel like Crichton is still flying under the radar this season and I believe the time to buy him is now. This would be a play for this season and your squad’s future.



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