Updated: Nov 30, 2022
To win any NRL Fantasy competition is a mighty tough ask, especially when the platform is in its inaugural season, the scoring is new and different to other fantasy platforms and the system of obtaining players is unfamiliar to traditional fantasy. But every competition needs a winner and we found that in our 2022 Open Rugby League competition winner Stuey MoiMoi. We asked our winner a series of questions to pick the brain of our best coach, so have your notepads ready and your squad screens up in preparation for 2023!
Before we ask you any questions about your squad we want to know, have you dabbled in the world of dynasty fantasy sports before?
While dynasty fantasy sports are relatively new to me, I’ve played re-draft and salary cap fantasy for about the past 15 years. The NRL is my #1 sport but I also love the NFL and Big Bash Cricket. I look forward to the unique fantasy sports opportunity GDS has provided and welcome the challenge of retaining the top gong in season 2.
All the eyes are on the #1 position on the ladder, but take us back to round 1 of the competition, how did you go about building your starting squad?
For me, fantasy sports have always been about stats. I put my personal biases aside and selected a squad of mostly 80-minute stat-padders. Playing SuperCoach for many years prior has allowed me to quickly identify the guys that score the fantasy points necessary to feature at the pointy end of the ladder. I tend to go for a mixture of safe base-stat beasts, with some of the higher-upside explosive players in the key point-scoring positions.
Consistency is key in any fantasy sport; how did you manage to reach that number #1 spot so early and stay there?
Thanks to a bit of pack luck early on, I had a good balance of high upside point scorers as well as high floor-type grafters that I could rely on each week. The added flexibility of being able to move players in and out of the squad meant I was mostly picking a team to score the most that week, rather than for the rest of the season. For example, if the Panthers had an easy game against, say, the Tigers (sorry Tigers fans) then I could look to put some of them in my 13 such as Brian To’o or Dylan Edwards. These blokes wouldn’t feature weekly behind the likes of Teddy or Latrell, but this allowed me to take advantage of some of the more generous matchups. Being unable to do this next season will certainly bring about a new level of season-long planning.
Which strategies did you employ to stay ahead of the pack?
Given my squad numbers were relatively small at the start of the year, it was just about getting blokes on the park. Keeping an eye on team lists and late mail meant I could field a full squad and avoid any unwanted donuts. If a player was in doubt for a game played late on Saturday or Sunday, I’d tend to leave him out rather than pray he’d line up and risk a score of 0. I definitely lost a few points playing it safe like this some weeks but gained a lot of extra points while many others fielded someone who was ruled out after the lockout.
If you could give out some hardware at the Stuey Moi Moi presentation night, who would win the coach's award/MVP and why?
Where do I start? A lot of boys contributed across the park, with guys like Cook, Papali’i, Tapine, Crichton, Cleary, Hynes, Teddy, Manu, and Latrell featuring quite heavily across the season. In saying that, Platinum Cook and Diamond Cleary scored some big points which helped me pull away from the rest of the pack.
How do you plan to stay on top heading into season 2023?
I think pre-season planning will be vital. I’ll look at the draw and find a balance of players that’s going to get me through the start of the season as well as the tough bye period over origin. I’ll need a little bit of injury luck to go my way too I think.
Do you have any advice for all the coaches out there for season 2023?
Those initial squads are going to be super important, so make sure you keep up-to-date with squad news and team lists – you’ll want to find the right balance from the get-go, otherwise, you’ll spend the first half of the season scrambling to get rid of some deadwood and getting in some of the better options. Also, if you’re tossing up between 2 guys, lean toward the one that plays with the better club as those extra attacking points certainly come in handy. Other than that, have fun, interact with the community as much as you can, and enjoy a pack opening or two every now and then!
And finally, who did you pick first overall with your rewards card pick, and why?
This was tough, but I have decided to go with the Crimson Chin, Nathan Cleary. At just 24 years of age, Cleary is already dominating the NRL and racking up huge amounts of fantasy points in doing so. The Panthers are currently in a dynasty that doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon, and he’ll feature heavily for many years to come.