Damien Cook is a Supercoach hotshot. Pictire: Brett Costello
Damien Cook is a Supercoach hotshot. Pictire: Brett Costello Brett Costello

SuperCoach: Top Guns on target for 2019

SuperCoaches! It's a new year and kick-off for the NRL season is just under 10 weeks away, so now is time to start preparing for a gruelling 2019 campaign.

While much of your preparation will be focused on which cheapies to bring in, you also need a few guns to help carry you through the start of the season.

It's pretty simple stuff, the more high scoring players you own, the more points you score. And these guys are the most reliable at bringing in those consistently high points week-in-week-out. These players are the proven performers of past SuperCoach seasons who you'll be keeping in your line-up for the whole season. Just lock them in and let them do their thing!

You probably won't be able to fit all these players in your SuperCoach line-up, but these Top Guns will not let you down.


Jake Trbojevic, Damien Cook and James Tedesco are part of a star studded list.
Jake Trbojevic, Damien Cook and James Tedesco are part of a star studded list.





Damien Cook (STH)

Price: $726,000

Honourable mentions: Cameron Smith (MEL)

This is a no brainer, as Damien Cook was the best SuperCoach player in 2018, finishing with a season average of 77.59, more than 14 points higher than the next best hooker, Cameron Smith. Souths scored more points than any other side in 2018, and Wayne Bennett would be crazy to mess with their attack too much, so expect similar things from Cook in 2019.

Cook's speed out of dummy half makes him a constant threat of breaking the line or putting a team mate into space and he should be one of the first players selected in SuperCoach Draft formats. The only problem with Cook is his hefty price tag of $726K, and while I think most SuperCoaches should find the money to include him, there are other solid, cheaper options.

Damien Cook during pre-season training. Picture: Brett Costello
Damien Cook during pre-season training. Picture: Brett Costello




Andrew Fifita (CRO)

Price: $634,300

Honourable Mentions: Martin Taupau (MAN)

Let me start by saying that front row guns will not always produce the same huge output as guns in other positions, and there also aren't as many high quality players at the position. Because there is less quality depth, having at least one of the best SuperCoach front rowers is an absolute must, and Andrew Fifita is the best of the bunch. Fifita ended up with a season average of 67.78, just three points higher than the next best FRF, Marty Taupau.

While Taupau has slightly better base points, Fifita is slightly more creative (he led the NRL in offloads) and threatening when running the ball, and more importantly plays bigger minutes. Fifita could see even more minutes to start 2019, with the retirement of Luke Lewis, and the ACL injury to Wade Graham.


Andrew Fifita is a SuperCoach powerhouse. Picture: Brett Costello
Andrew Fifita is a SuperCoach powerhouse. Picture: Brett Costello





Jake Trbojevic (MAN)

Price: $667,600

Honourable Mentions: Jason Taumalolo (NQC), Angus Crichton (SYD)

While the 2RF position is absolutely stacked, Jake Trbojevic finished 2018 as the highest scoring backrower, after being No.2 in 2017 and is among the must-owns in 2019. Trbojevic is a tackling machine and the base stat king of the NRL, averaging 59 points per game in tackles or hit ups. Plus he plays 80 minutes most weeks, while Jason Taumalolo (the second best 2RF in SuperCoach) averages only 64 minutes per game. If for some reason Taumalolo became an 80 minute player, then he would definitely be the better pick, but this just doesn't seem likely.

Trbojevic also has massive scoring potential, with seven tries, three try assists, six line breaks and five line break assists in 2018, and his combination with brother Tom is a constant threat. However, Taumalolo is also an incredible SuperCoach player and either are must-owns in 2019.


Jake Trbojevic is the best back rower in SuperCoach.
Jake Trbojevic is the best back rower in SuperCoach.




Shaun Johnson (CRO)

Price: $603,000

Honourable Mentions: Daly Cherry-Evans (MAN)

Despite a mixed 2018 season, with his season average of 64.4 (his lowest since 2013), Shaun Johnson still ended with the best average of all halfbacks in SuperCoach. While the loss of his dual position and a move to Cronulla may have some SuperCoaches nervous, don't despair! Johnson has always been a SuperCoach gun and I think it will take more than this to see a change.

With Matt Moylan likely moving to fullback, SJ looks set to be the centre of the Sharks attack and he should remain a goal kicker, with Chad Townsend falling out of favour in 2018. Currently at only 15 per cent ownership, SJ could prove something of a gun POD if SuperCoaches continue to shy away from the playmaker in 2019.


Shaun Johnson has joined the Sharks.
Shaun Johnson has joined the Sharks.





Kalyn Ponga (NEW)

Price: $614,300

Honourable Mentions: Cameron Munster (MEL), Cody Walker (STH)

While Kalyn Ponga seems to be the obvious choice, his move to the halves for the Knights makes his scoring potential a bit of a mystery. If he can produce similar scores to his efforts at fullback in 2018 (or even better, if he plays at fullback), he would easily be the best option at five-eighth. At this stage it looks like he will take back the goal kicking duties for Newcastle, which does make him an even more enticing pick.

But as long as the Knights keep the Ponga five-eighth experiment going, SuperCoaches should manage their expectations. You could even wait and see if he drops in price or ownership before jumping on.

If you want to avoid Ponga or just save some money, the next best guns are Cody Walker and Cameron Munster. Walker averaged 60.83 in 2018 but has lost his dual eligibility and was a bit too dependent on tries for my liking.

Cameron Munster on the other hand averaged 58.62, but should see an increased role yet again in 2019, with Billy Slater retiring and an unsettled halves partner. Plus he has the best base stats of any five-eighth, averaging 29 points per game in tackles and hit ups. Munster made the fourth most tackles of all five-eighths and was second for total runs, behind John Sutton who is no longer five-eighth eligible.


Kalyn Ponga is set to play in the halves. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Kalyn Ponga is set to play in the halves. Picture: Phil Hillyard





Blake Ferguson (PAR)

Price: $611,700

Honourable Mentions: Latrell Mitchell (SYD), Esan Marsters (WST)

2018 saw a number of CTW players break out, but Blake Ferguson was the pick of the bunch, averaging 65.38, his best since 2013, thanks largely to his huge base (and scoring 17 tries didn't hurt either). Ferguson led the NRL for hit ups, taking the line on 504 times for just under 5000m, and if he plays on the wing for Parramatta, expect a similar workload.

But $600k for a CTW is bit hefty, especially since they can come out with dud performances more than other positions. Plus it remains unknown exactly how Parramatta will use Fergo, so he could be another player you wait on for price drops before picking up.

Just behind him (and a bit cheaper) Latrell Mitchell went to a new level in 2018, with his best SuperCoach season to date, while the goal kicking Esan Marsters has also locked in his spot as a gun CTW.



Blake Ferguson is at the Eels in 2019. Picture: Benjamin Cuevas
Blake Ferguson is at the Eels in 2019. Picture: Benjamin Cuevas




James Tedesco (SYD)

Price: 689,000

Honourable Mentions: Tom Trbojevic (MAN), Kalyn Ponga (NEW)

Okay, so splitting James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic as the best fullback in SuperCoach is a bit like a parent trying to pick which of their kids is the favourite. They are both two of the best players in SuperCoach, let alone the two best fullbacks and picking just one was difficult. Honestly, you could put either one (or even both!) in your starting team and neither would let you down.

But I lean slightly toward James Tedesco just because he has higher average base points and a higher floor than Turbo (Teddy had two games under 40 points to Trbojevic's four).

Teddy is also playing for the one of the best teams in the competition, with huge attacking upside, while Manly just managed to avoid their first ever wooden spoon. While Tedesco had a slow start at the Roosters in 2018, by the end of the season everything was clicking and he finished the season on fire.

I personally will be starting with both of these players in my team, and keeping the reserve on one of them for the entire season, because their upside is too good to ignore.



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