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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad Rugby League: Round 5 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.

Shaun Johnson in round 5 NRL player in focus

Player of the Week

Player Name: Shaun Johnson Age: 32 Club: New Zealand Warriors Position: Half-back Round 4 Score: 99 2023 Ave Score: 72 2023 Positional Rank: 2nd 2023 Overall Rank: 4th

Round 5 Performance

SJ was the man of the moment for the Warriors in Sunday’s clash against the Sharks. He played a huge part as the Warriors came back from 20-0 down and even slotted the game winning penalty to seal the game. He featured heavily in attack and defence as he accumulated 54 points in base and 57 in attack. This was the best game I’ve seen by SJ for some time, hopefully he can continue this good form as the season wears on.

2023 Outlook

SJ has really surprised me this season and it appears that he’s turned back the clock. He has been extremely consistent, and his lowest score is 56 points. SJ looks like he’s set to be a premium half for fantasy and he would be a very handy card to have to bolster your halves depth. The way SJ and the Warriors are playing, SJ may be in for a career year in fantasy. He offers a great base and has a good attacking upside. To begin the season, I had SJ projected outside my top ten halves, he has now moved into 3rd in my season projections.

GDS Dynasty Ranking

At 32 years old, I thought SJ’s fantasy relevancy was in the past. Boy was I wrong! He is only on a one-year contract and assume the Warriors will be offering him another, based on his current form. Through the dynasty lens, SJ is well down the halves pecking order for me. This is purely because of the unknown contract wise after 2023 and his age.

JT’s Call

I’m honestly so happy for SJ as he is playing the best, I’ve seen him do in years. It’s great when old fantasy flames show the form that SJ has this season. If the Warriors continue playing as they have under their new coach Andrew Webster, I can’t see any reason why SJ shouldn’t be a consideration to start every week in your team. It really depends on your depth and what card rarity you have of Nico and Cleary. This is nothing against SJ but with my fantasy cap on, I prefer the other two halves as they have proven that they have been elite halves over the last couple of years.

If you don’t have the likes of Nico and Cleary, SJ is a locked in starter every week for me moving forward. When it comes round to origin season, SJ would be a great card to have. We have seen the Panthers give their origin reps rest and if you have Cleary, SJ will be an excellent replacement if Cleary is rested.

However, my brutally honest opinion is that SJ is a great sell high candidate as I don’t think his value will get any higher than it is now. There are so many good young halves in the game and if you’re lucky enough to have great depth in this position, I think this is the perfect time to see how the transfer market values him. Who knows how many years SJ has left in front of him, I’d rather take the value now before his card becomes a collectible.



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