As Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow begins his first campaign as a fullback, we must have a look at his prospects – as any time someone is playing the fullback position but available at centre they need to be in consideration. No doubt “hammer” has the speed, but does he have the consistent ability to play fullback in the NRL and produce for Fantasy coaches?
Looking at his 2020 season, the answer to this question would be a resounding “no”. Hamiso managed 7 appearances at fullback across 8 consecutive weeks, registering what can only be described as “Brad Abbey” level fullback scoring. Disgraceful stuff. 2021 saw a marked improvement, with 3 appearances averaging exactly 50 with a 67% try scoring rate.
Now you might say “yeah Mark, but anyone can average 50 with 2 tries in 3 games”, to which my response would be that 2020 Hamiso also scored 2 tries (in 7 games) but if you look at the two games he scored tries and his BEST non try scoring game, you get an average of 40.3 points. So what makes a player improve by 10 fantasy points per game?
Essentially, what we actually saw was a big improvement in “base” stats. Hamiso made an additional 3 tackles per game plus 40 extra metres per game. He saw a rise in missed tackles and errors (which is to be expected from a player having a proper go) but also tripled his linebreak rate to go with a marginal rise in tackle busts and offloads. When you add this all together, you get a player growing in physicality, confidence and experience. You add this all to the god given talents of absolute top tier raw speed, and you get a player that is designed to succeed in NRL Fantasy.
Now its not all roses, Hamiso should see a 4-5 point reduction in tackle busts, but part of that should be offset by the (very) occasional offload, and a few additional kick diffusal points through in goal escapes. It is also important to note that Hamiso assisted in 0 tries across 3 games, a stat I would expect to see positive regression in.
If you are looking for a “floor”, I daresay the 2020 Matt Dufty season is a good place to start. given the similar play style, body type, career progression and physical attributes. I think we can all agree that, on the eye test, Hamiso has a ceiling much higher than Dufty. That said, this season is Dufty’s best, and the average came out to 43.1 (adjusted to 41 in new scoring) despite having a 72% try scoring rate. This represents a very real possibility for Hamiso. This season isn’t all bad, as Dufty did manage only 4 scores under 35 across 8 appearances, but it also means that the “ceiling” games weren’t there either, with only one score over 59 despite having 3 games with 2 tries.
Hamiso starts the year with a break even of 38, and may well return value on that. If we look at the affore mentioned Dufty season and add the additional 20-30 metres and a tackle bust, to go with at least 2 but as many as 5 extra tackles, you get to a scoring range (new scoring) of 47-51 average, which would absolutely be a huge return on value of $470k. No doubt about it, the dual centre eligibility is a huge leg up, and the eye test tells you the sky is the limit for this style of player, particularly if he can improve his playmaking ability and fill out a bit while keeping all of the speed. He looks likely for an extended run at fullback and the Cowboys have a fairly favourable schedule to start the year, with a home game against the Roosters being their only “tough” match in the first 10 rounds.
In the process of this article, I started thinking I was in favour of Hamiso, then I talked myself out of him, and by the end now I am back in. I think Hamiso would make the perfect player for your 17 early in the year, with a move to your emergencies later in the year to cover two positions the obvious answer if he doesn’t “gun up” to a 50+ average and become a mainstay in the centres.
Keep in mind, you are likely to see Jack Bird splitting minutes with a lot of players in the middle of that Dragons pack, and Euan Aitken back in the centres on the return of Tohu Harris. It may well be a Matt Burton/Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow centre partnership that is the desirable combination come the run home.