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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad's 2024 Rugby League - Halves Tiers!

2024 Rugby League - Halves Tiers!: It's that exciting time of the year again when we delve into the realm of fantasy footy! Let's kick off this series with everyone's favourite positional group: the halves! We'll take a deep dive into the elite players from 2023, identify potential breakout candidates, and assess the older players who might be showing signs of slowing down. Get ready as we break down the halve position into tiers for the upcoming 2024 Rugby League season!

You may see some acronyms in this blog that you may not have come across before. Please feel free to see what they mean under this link - GameDay Squad's 2024 Rugby League - Classic Competition Strategy.


Fantasy Tiers

Tier 1

Nathan Cleary - 2023 AVG of 77 points, Positional Rank 1st

Nicho Hynes - 2023 AVG of 76 points, Positional Rank 2nd

These players are the top two players in GDS Rugby League, and they have been for the last couple of seasons. Given that neither player's circumstances have changed significantly from 2023, expectations are high for both players to remain the top two players in 2024. Both players averaged 11 more points than any other player last season and I'll be very surprised if they aren't the top two averaging players again in 2024.

Braydon Trindall will be Hynes's new halves partner for this season. Trindall will likely take some points off Hynes via kick metres, but I believe the inclusion of Trindall may allow Hynes to run more. I don't see any net loss or gain for Hynes's scoring; we may just see a reduction in points through some metrics and an increase in points through other metrics.

The Panthers have had minimal off-season squad changes and the most notable is the loss of Stephen Crichton to the Bulldogs. I do not see any of the squad changes having an impact on Cleary's fantasy output, and I continue to believe that the Panthers will be among the NRL's top teams.

Most coaches that have Cleary and Hynes won't have to think twice about who they are starting in the halves most weeks. I'm expecting both players to have another season of averaging 70+ points. These players offer coaches reliable fantasy production through base stats which provides a high floor and on any given week they can score 100+ points.

Leaving these players out of your starting squad is fraught with danger. Sitting one or both out of your starting squad would be a heroic choice, and you could lose ground in the overall rankings as a result of this choice.

Tier 2

Daly Cherry-Evans - 2023 AVG of 65 points, Positional Rank 3rd

Shaun Johnson - 2023 AVG of 65 points, Positional Rank 4th

Mitchell Moses - 2023 AVG of 59 points, Positional Rank 5th

All the players mentioned in this tier are fantasy-relevant players that can do a decent job for your team. If your team has Hynes and Cleary, then these players will be excellent cover when required. Some weeks they may even have a more favourable match and become your preferred starter. Everyone in this tier should be able to average 55+ points.

Last season it seemed that DCE was getting better with age. He had three scores of 100+ points and he finished as the HLF1 on five occasions. It will be intriguing to observe how Luke Brooks, who joins him in the halves this season, affects DCE's scoring production. Brooks was the dominant halve at the Wests Tigers for several years and it's too early to tell but I'm expecting DCE not to average as high as he did in 2023. DCE will be 35 years old when the season begins, and we may start to see the passing of the torch at the Sea Eagles in the halves position. Before I consider starting DCE, I'll need to see what his scoring output is alongside Brooks.

SJ had a career year in 2023 and he was a valuable card to have in your squad. Like DCE, SJ is a veteran of the NRL and has made 251 appearances across 14 seasons. The Warriors had an impressive 2023 campaign and a lot of this was to do with SJ. I think the Warriors will still be a very good team this season and this will help SJ accumulate points through attacking stats. The big question is, can SJ back up his 2023 form! I believe he will have every opportunity to if the Warriors average 24 points a game. However, we did see SJ have some injury niggles near the end of last season. I'm concerned that any injury niggles this season may take him more time to fully recover from and this would likely affect his scoring output in GDS.

Moses had a very good 2023 season with one 100+ score and he finished as the HLF1 on five occasions. I think Moses can improve slightly on his 2023 average, but he tends to be more matchup dependent than the other halves that have already been mentioned. He is known as the flat track bully as he tends to score well in good conditions against weaker opposition. To be fair, he did have one or two decent scores against top 8 teams in 2023 and he is a great starting option for your squad if you don't have the likes of Cleary and Hynes. What I did find with Moses last season is that he seemed to have a lower floor than DCE and SJ. Between these three players, they combined for nine scores of less than 35 points. Moses accounted for five of these.

Tier 3

Adam Reynolds - 2023 AVG of 53 points, Positional Rank 6th

Dylan Brown - 2023 AVG of 52 points, Positional Rank 7th

Jahrome Hughes - 2023 AVG of 51 points, Positional Rank 8th

Cameron Munster - 2023 AVG of 50 points, Positional Rank 9th

Jamal Fogarty - 2023 AVG of 47 points, Positional Rank 11th

Sam Walker - 2023 AVG of 46 points, Positional Rank 13th

In tier 3 we have players that are more boom or bust starting options. They all have the upside of finishing as a HLF1 in any given week, but they also have a higher chance than the tier 1 and 2 players of scoring outside the top ten halves.

Reynolds is nearing the end of his career, but he is still a great game manager. In 2023, over 50% of his points came via his boot That was by either kicking goals or chalking up kick metres. He is a safe starting option, but I believe some of the players in this tier offer a higher ceiling.

The Eels struggled in 2023 and so did Brown at times. He only had one finish as a HLF1 and three scores of 65+ points. I think we will see a better Eels team this season and his combination with Shaun Lane on the left edge is one of the best in the competition. I wouldn't be surprised if we see an uptick in line breaks, line break assists and try assists this season.

Hughes and Munster hamstring each other to a certain extent as they both play for the Storm. Neither of them are the dominant playmaker and they share most halve duties on the field equally. If either of them was to miss any time, the one who starts might just be a great POD option. Hopefully we see a injury free season from Papenhuyzen and if we do I believe we will see an uptick in averages from both Hughes and Munster. Also, in 2023 we saw some notable changes to the Storm's forward pack after the Bromwich boys and Kaufusi moved on. Another year on, we are likely to see Hughes and Munster's combinations with the edge forwards improve. We may see an uptick in uptick in line breaks, line break assists and try assists this season.

With Jack Wighton moving on from the Raiders, Fogarty is now the dominant halve for this team. I'm expecting most of the play to run through him, and I think he could be a starting option ahead of some of the players in tier 2 on occasions. As the season goes on, he might even move into tier 2.

If you have read any of the rugby league blogs on GDS before, you'll know by now that Sam Walker is one of my favourite players. He is improving each season and I think he's in for a big year as I'm expecting the Roosters to be one of the top four teams. The Roosters are likely to have plenty of points in them and with Walker being the goal kicker, this is great news for GDS coaches. Walker has a very bright future and I think we will see him in a Maroons jersey in the next 2-3 years. I'm expecting him to average 50-55 points minimum this season and possibly finish as top five halve.

It’s worth keeping an eye on the below players as they are all situational and match-up dependent.

Matt Burton - 2023 AVG of 44 points, Positional Rank 15th

Sean O’Sullivan - 2023 AVG of 40 points, Positional Rank 20th

Ben Hunt - 2023 AVG of 46 points, Positional Rank 14th

Toby Sexton - 2023 AVG of 39 points, Positional Rank 22nd

Luke Brooks - 2023 AVG of 37 points, Positional Rank 28th

Tom Dearden - 2023 AVG of 38 points, Positional Rank 26th


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