Centres are often a difficult position to fill for many coaches. Despite being a position without the highest of scores it still caused many Fantasy coaches plenty of headaches in 2021 with injuries, suspensions and drops in form forcing trades. Often the way to go is to identify dual position players that have the scoring ability of more prolific positions whilst still maintaining the centre status.
Here is my take on the Top 5 Centres to get your team in the top ranks of NRL Fantasy 2022.
Matt Burton – Bulldogs (HLF/CTR)
Matt Burton played the majority of 2021 in the centre position for the Panthers and yet was able to maintain impressive numbers through Tries, Try Assists, and Line breaks. His transition to the Bulldogs sees him adopt the Five-Eighth position will allow him to regularly get kicking metres whilst also giving him much more of a create opportunities in attack in the form of try assists and line breaks. However, the risk with Burton is whether the attacking stats will continue to flow regularly in his transition from a premiership favourite in the Panthers to the Bulldogs. With the significant upside, expect him to be a lock-in for most Fantasy teams.
Euan Aitken - Warriors (EDG/CTR)
Early in the 2021 season, Aitken was an average fantasy centre, but a change in Round 20 saw Coach Nathan Brown shift him into the second row and with that saw a massive uptick in scoring. In the five games he played a full 80 minutes, he averaged 36.2 tackles, 4.2 tackle breaks and looks to replicate these numbers in 2022 with the coach hinting at his future in the position. If he can keep his role in the second row, Aitken will be a premier centre that will be a tier above the centres below him on the list.
Jesse Ramien – Sharks (CTR)
Ramien is a solid consistent scorer that can also have elevated scores with his strong tackle busting ability (averaged 5.9 per round) and metres gained (averaged 140). With the arrival of several strong recruits such as Nicho Hynes, Cameron McInnes and Dale Finucane, the Sharks look to take a step up the ladder and this may result in an uptick of attacking scoring for Ramien in the form of tries and line breaks.
Jake Averillo – Bulldogs (HLF/CTR)
Averillo was a sought-after cheapie at the start of 2021, yet minimal returns in the first 3 rounds saw him dropped by most coaches, and this would prove to be a massive mistake. In the next 10 rounds, Averillo averaged 58 metres gained and 365 kicking metres alongside occasional contributions to his team’s attack. While the inclusion of Lachlan Lewis late in the season saw a reduction in his kicking metres, this will not be the case in 2022, with Matt Burton coming into the Five-Eighth role. This will free up Averillo to take up most of the kicking once again and become a powerhouse centre for your squad. The real risk with Averillo is the uncertainty around the role of Kyle Flanagan. Flanagan was unable to win over Barrett and spent much of the year on the fringes of the squad. If Flanagan can regain his spot in the side, this may see Averillo shifted to a centre or utility role and in turn will see a decline in scoring.
Kotoni Staggs – Broncos (CTR)
An injury-ridden 2021 season saw Staggs limited to just 4 games, but he did not disappoint with 3 tries, 4 line breaks and an average of 4.8 tackle busts a game. The risk with Staggs is whether he can replicate this form once again with the limited game time he has had in the past 18 months.
Smokey: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (CTR/WFB)
Arguably the fastest runner in the NRL, Tabuai-Fidow continues to light up the NRL with his incredible speed and the end of the season saw him win the fullback spot from Valentine Holmes and make it his own. Unlike the other options on this list, he is much more volatile due to scoring depending on attacking opportunities such as tries and line breaks. If you are okay taking the risk for a high potential upside, Tabuai-Fidow is the way to go.
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