Former Raider finally relevant?

The new Bishop of Canterbury, Ryan Sutton, looks set to replace departing captain Josh Jackson at lock and join his fellow Wigan-born countryman, Luke Thompson in the Bulldogs forward pack.

After four seasons in Canberra, Sutton failed to find a consistent role in Ricky Stuart’s side with multiple appearances off the bench as well as a 0 point 1 minute injury affected appearance, which has him priced at only 34.4 points ($491,000) this season.

After 75 NRL games, we have a very good idea who Ryan Sutton is. He’s a little thrills, base stat accumulator with a PPM of approximately 0.83 when he plays more than 30 minutes. This means for a safe 10 points of value, we would require Sutton to play at least 53 minutes per week in this forward pack. Josh Jackson played 70 minutes on average last year, however he was in a hybrid middle/edge role for most of the year, playing about 50 minutes, give or take, in the middle per game. So with the loss of Jackson and addition of Sutton, what kind of forward minutes can we estimate from new coach Cameron Ciraldo?

It is hard to know exactly what we’ll get so far out from the start of the season but the amateurs predicted team list consensus expects us to see the pack lining up as:

8. Thompson

9. Mahoney

10. King

11. Kikau

12. Faitala-Mariner

13. Sutton

14. Reynolds

15. Corey Waddell

16. Patolo

17. Pele

There’s a lot of big minute players in that starting side and if there’s no utility on the bench I think we can put a line through Sutton. Assuming we do see a bench utility, I think we’ll see Thompson and Patolo split 80mins (55/25), Faitala-Mariner playing 55mins on an edge with Pangai playing 25 on an edge and splitting 80 in the middle with King (45/35) and the final 80min split between Sutton and Pele (55/25).

If this scenario plays out then we see Sutton as a buy. However, with still plenty of time before the season starts and a brand new head coach in charge we’re bound to get a curve ball or two thrown in before kick off.



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