Jayden Brailey (HOK): NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

The vanilla icecream of Hookers

One of the best buys of 2021, Jayden Brailey had an unfortunate start to 2022 suffering a torn achilles in the pre-season, limiting him to only eight games. With one game off the bench bringing his season average down, Brailey finds himself priced at 48 ($695,000) and seemingly a discount option compared to some of the other elite hookers available. With a disruption free off-season and a new spine around him, can the club captain return to keeper status in 2023 in this new look Knights side?

Brailey has undoubtedly improved as a player since leaving Cronulla and suits the new uptempo style of football since the expansion of the set restart. From 2017 to 2019 Brailey averaged 39 in 63 minutes in his 40+ minute hooker starts. Since joining Newcastle,his PPM has risen steadily with Brailey posting an average of 53 in 78 minutes from 2020 onwards.Of course, 2021 was Brailey’s stand out year averaging 55.8 in his 70+ minute starts that season. It was a season of two halves for Brailey however, as he averaged 68 over the first 10 rounds of the season before falling off a cliff and posting an average of only 44.6 in his final 11 games of the season. So why the drop off and how does it relate to his 2022 scoring? In short, the attacking stats dried up almost completely.

 R1-10 2021R11-24 2021R18-24 2022
Tries301
Try Assists313
Line Breaks501
Tackle Busts715
Offloads400
Turnover Tackles1032

While the early rounds of 2021 were more than certainly a purple patch, the back end of 2021 was so lacking in attacking stats that it essentially evened out what was looking like a career year. Brailey’s seven starts last season were likely a happy medium and a more sustainable level of consistent attacking football. With a full offseason to recuperate from a serious injury can only help Brailey and could lead to another slight uptick. Even a best case realistic scenario with the Knights playing well would see Brailey averaging 54 with 6 points of value on offer. More likely however, Brailey likely settles in the low 50 to 52 range and in the borderline keeper category. There’s almost certainly a few points of value here with Brailey as one of the few remaining 80 minute hookers. With the majority of teams likely running a hooker combination of Brandon Smith and Tanah Boyd, the $695’000 price tag on Brailey is probably better spent elsewhere for now.

AMATEUR (REGULAR) RYAN

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