No Go Zone: SuperCoach players to avoid
Latrell Mitchell, CTW/FLB, $653,100
Currently the 30th most popular player but there are too many variables surrounding the South Sydney recruit.
* The move to fullback could bring an end to the "Lazy Latrell" moniker as he'll be forced to be involved, particularly in rucking the ball out of his own end, which he literally NEVER did at centre.
* Dual position status as CTW/FLB could come in very handy.
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* Likely loses goalkicking duties to Adam Reynolds who last year converted at 83 per cent to Mitchell's 75 per cent.
* May come into the season underdone after a LOOOONG time off the training paddock during off-season.
* Buying Latrell would tie up huge money at CTW - the most inconsistent position in KFC SuperCoach.
* CTW is also a hotbed of cheapies and buying Latrell would deny one of these bargain buys.
In summary, Latrell was the best CTW in SuperCoach last year and he'll be a KFC SuperCoach factor at some stage (particularly if he misses Origin selection). But there are too many question marks to start with him.
Valentine Holmes, FLB, $563,700
Rob Sutherland and Wilson Smith both have him in their initial sides, but those guys are loose units and definitely not adverse to risk. Like Latrell above, the negatives outweigh the positives:
* Starts at a big discount (approx $150,000) from fullback performances in his last NRL season. Holmes played No.1 for the Sharks 15 times in 2018 averaging 78.7, which places him in the elite of elite.
* Holmes' big run of scores in 2018 was boosted by goalkicking duties for the final five games. While he's a definite contender for the kicking at the Cowboys, he faces competition from Esan Marsters and Jake Clifford.
* Lack of dual positioning is a huge blow as fullback is the hottest position in KFC SuperCoach - probably ever. Picking Holmes would mean missing out on James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic, Kalyn Ponga and Ryan Papenhuyzen.
* Cowboys finished 13th and 14th in the last two seasons. How many attacking opportunities will he realistically get?
* Jarryd Hayne was the last star fullback to come back from NFL and he averaged 37 in his return season. The change in focus from impact to endurance is clearly a big obstacle.
In summary, there are way too many questions marks in a red-hot position. Papenhuyzen averaged almost 100 at fullback last year and is a far better buy for approx $50,000 cheaper. And Teddy, Turbo and Ponga also have serious cred. Holmes is a risk not worth taking.
John Bateman, 2RF, $668,200
It hurts my soul to write this about the most likeable player in NRL. He's currently the 21st most popular player, but as the old saying goes, never pick a player after a career year. Bateman will no doubt be a KFC SuperCoach factor at some stage but he starts very expensive after a brilliant season and is no longer available at centre/wing. Jason Taumalolo, David Fifita and Ryan James are more pressing buys in the position.
Kyle Flanagan, HFB/5/8, $461,200
Flanno is a huge signing for the Roosters in place of the great Cooper Cronk and the youngster will have a big impact on the competition. And KFC SuperCoaches clearly feel the love with Flanagan sitting within the 50 most popular buys. However, the son of Shane Flanagan has limited KFC SuperCoach potential after averaging 78 minutes in eight games for the Sharks last year, many of those with the goalkicking duties. In a position containing star cheapies Jarome Luai and Phoenix Crossland, plus cut-priced guns Nathan Cleary and Shaun Johnson, it's impossible to fit Flanagan in.
Ben Trbojevic, 2RF/CTW, $171,900
Currently the 11th most popular player but KFC SuperCoaches are clearly getting sucked in by the Trbojevic name. The younger bother of Tom and Jake isn't in the Manly top 30 squad and is therefore no chance of playing Round 1.
Albert Hopoate, CTW, $171,900
A heavily-fancied cheapie last year before doing his ACL. The son of John Hopoate is popular again in 2020 as the 22nd most popular buy. But while Hoppa is no doubt a cheapie to keep tabs on after earning a spot in Manly's top 30 squad, estimates on his return range from Round 3 to Round 14. And after consecutive knee reconstructions, expect him to be eased back through lower grades.