KFC SuperCoach NRL: 11 secret stats that defined weekend
NO 1: Latrell Mitchell 6
Much has been written and spoken about how Latrell's move to fullback should increase his involvement. However, the Indigenous star made only six runs (he played 57 minutes at fullback before switching to centre). As always with Latrell though, he was very efficient in those touches, notching four tackle busts, an offload and he was a whisker away from a linebreak assist.
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NO 2: David Fifita 6
Confirmed his standing as the fourth most popular player in KFC SuperCoach with an enormous display on the edge. Shrugging off a tough off-season that included weight issues and a Bali "extortion" attempt, Fifita busted six tackles and was a handful every time he touched the ball. The big Bronco also made 118 metres from 10 runs, an offload, linebreak, try assist and 18 tackles.
NO 3: Kalyn Ponga 4/4
Ponga looked slick for the Maori in making 11 runs for 107 metres, two tackle busts, an offload and a linebreak (and he would have got a try assist if his teammates could catch). However, most pleasing for KFC SuperCoaches was 4/4 from goalkicking. Ponga's KFC SuperCoach selection hinges entirely on whether he kicks goals for the Knights in 2020, with Mason Lino another option (if he makes the side).
NO 4: Brandon Smith 4
Picking a standout stat is difficult following such a brilliant game but we've gone with the four linebreaks. Smith also notched two tries, had one disallowed, seven tackle busts and 13 runs for 151 metres. After averaging 42 minutes last year, Smith would be a great KFC SuperCoach buy if he jags a starting spot at the Storm. However, he has to fight past the GOAT Cameron Smith at hooker and NSW Origin prop Dale Finucane as incumbent number 13. Perhaps Smith's best chance of a starting role would be if Finucane moved into the front row rotation.
NO 5: James Roberts 8.5
That's the amount of kilograms Jimmy The Jet lost over the off-season. Looking lean and mean, Roberts was a handful with every run, producing a try, 134 metres from 10 runs, an offload, linebreak, linebreak assist and try assist.
NO 6: Jesse Ramien 10
The Cronulla recruit had spiders on him all night, busting 10 tackles in 10 runs. Ramien starts at an affordable $422,000 after a poor year at the Knights and certainly has POD appeal.
NO 7: Blake Ferguson 19
Fergy Ferg showed he will be a base stat beast once again with 19 runs for 177 metres - the most of any player on the field in both numbers. Add a try, four tackle busts and an offload and you've got a very handy stat line indeed.
NO 8: Josh Curran 1
The Warriors young gun has surged into cheapie calculations following injuries to Bunty Afoa (ACL) and Jackson Frei (suspected ACL). Curran made the most of limited minutes by scoring a try (with linebreak) and busting two tackles.
WORLD CLUB CHALLENGE
NO 9: Angus Crichton 0 and 0
Crichton looked out of place at left centre filling Latrell Mitchell's sizeable shoes. While his numbers aren't bad, especially considering he came from the field with concussion, his attacking stats were near-non-existent with no tackle busts or linebreaks and only one offload.
NO 10: Kyle Flanagan 0/3
Taking over from the great Cooper Cronk at halfback, Flanagan was relatively quiet and had a bad night with the kicking tee, missing all three shots before relinquishing the duties to Sio Suia Taukeiaho. However, the 0/3 stat reads far worse than in reality. All three shots were from out wide, one hit the black dot and bounced back while his first shot hit the upright. Even so, Flanagan only made one run and it's clear this is Luke Keary's team. Flanno is therefore a KFC SuperCoach risk after averaging 78 minutes last year and priced at a rather hefty $461,200.
NO 11: Sitili Tupouniua -11
The boom Rooster and KFC SuperCoach cheapie option was given a huge chance to impress as a starting edge backrower in place of the rested Boyd Cordner. However, Tupouniua was a victim of trying too hard, making five errors and missing a tackle, which equates to -11 KFC SuperCoach points.
AND SOME BONUS STATS FROM OTHER TRIALS
Brenko Lee: 206
The former Raider, Bulldog and Titan made an immediate impression in his first game for the Storm in running for 206 metres, the most of any player on the park. Playing on the wing, he also notched three tackle busts, a linebreak and try assist. Lee has been a borderline KFC SuperCoach keeper in the past with averages of 53 (2018), 57 (2027) and 51 (2016). However he starts at a very affordable $309,500 after averaging just 53 minutes at the Titans last year. He's behind Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu in the wing pecking order but one to keep an eye on over Origin or if there are injures.
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui: -8
With a number of star forwards rested or playing All Stars, the star cheapie was given a chance to start at prop for Melbourne. He was destructive in attack, making 12 runs for 108 metres and producing an offload. However, Craig Bellamy wouldn't be impressed by the three penalties conceded and one error, which equates to -8 points for KFC SuperCoach.