NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS

PROJECTED STARTING 17, ROUND 1 2022

FULLBACK: REECE WALSH* $655K 53BE (2021 AVG 48.6, 48.4 AT FULLBACK)

LEFT WING: MARCELO MONTOYA $361K 29BE (2021 AVG 29.3, 30.6 ON WING (40% TRIES)

LEFT CENTRE: ROCCO BERRY $358K 29BE (CAREER CTR AVG 30.5)

RIGHT CENTRE: VILIAME VAILEA $240K 19BE

RIGHT WING: DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK $422K 35BE (21 AVG 36.5, 33.2 AT WING)

LEFT HALF: KODI NIKORIMA $523K 42BE (2021 AVG 42.3, 47.9 AT FIVE-EIGHTH)

RIGHT HALF: SHAUN JOHNSON $544K 44BE (21 AVG 48.2, 55.8 AT HALFBACK 2021)

Fantasy Outlook (R): The prodigal son returns home but can he return the Warriors to the top 8? There will be plenty who will just want to avoid the headache here and I can’t say I blame them. SJ has been plagued with injury in recent years missing 25/68 games during his three years at Cronulla and is now on the wrong side of 30. Typically he is good for about 18 games a year however, so if he goes through the pre-season unscathed he is well worth the look. Priced at 48 there appears to be roughly 6pts of value here assuming Johnson takes the goal kicking duties and the lion share of the in play kicking. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Between the kick metres and tackle busts, we expect roughly an 8 point reduction, sapping his average down to the high 40s, making him a trap, even at this price. FOR OUR IN FOCUS ARTICLE CLICK HERE.

LEFT BACK ROW: EUAN AITKEN $540K 43BE (2021 AVG 43, 64.2 IN 80MIN EDGE STARTS)

Fantasy Outlook (M): Aitken is an option if you want to pay up for a gun centre, providing of course he is both eligible at centre but not playing there for the Warriors. As you can see above, Aitken scored like a madman on the edge, scoring 4 tries in 5 games (which is probably unsustainable) but even if you draw that back to a reasonable rate of 30% and add some other random stats like try/linebreak assists he could absolutely be a gun centre (even with the -4 in tackle busts) if he is playing 80 minutes in the back row. This would also open up a spot for another centre – win win for NRL Fantasy fans. For our full thoughts on Aitken click here.

RIGHT BACK ROW: ELIESA KATOA $426K 34BE (CAREER 65+ MIN BR 46.4 IN 72.9)

Fantasy Outlook (M): My initial instinct on Katoa is “yuck”, but players like this are a necessary evil in round 1 lineups. Due to 8 performances from the interchange, there is more than likely some real value here if he can lock down the job. In games where Katoa played at least 40 minutes in 2021 he managed to average 41.9 in 63.1 minutes, so a 65 minute role on the edge is enough for Katoa to retain value. Ideally, you want to see the Warriors carry a genuine utility rather than a 4 forward bench to make you feel comfortable with the role.

LOCK: JOSH CURRAN $675K 54BE (2021 AVG 52.1, 3 MID GAMES AVG 48 IN 67.3)

PROP: ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE $651K 52BE (21 AVG 50.7, 53 IN 58 IN 40+ MINUTES)

Fantasy Outlook (R): AFB will have a slight discount due to an injury game last season and could prove to be a solid round 1 cut price keeper option for those looking to get ahead in the overall rankings. With Tohu Harris likely gone for the first month or two of the season, AFB will likely shoulder some extra minutes and play between 55-65mins per game. These increased early round minutes coupled with the fact he’ll play the first bye round will have to tempt overall coaches. NEW RULES IMPACT: Another one rounded up, stealing some of the appeal. Should net about even between the tackle bust reduction and offload increase, maybe a -1 or thereabouts. Would go with others for cheaper.

PROP: MATT LODGE* $572K 46BE (2021 AVG 46.3, 51.8 in 57 MIN AT WARRIORS)

Fantasy Outlook (M): While the numbers look good for Lodge as an average, the reality is that there are probably too many minutes in this Warriors middle forward rotation for him to be fantasy relevant enough to warrant a purchase. I would let this one go to the keeper.

HOOKER: WAYDE EGAN $620K 50BE (21 AVG 47.1, 54.1 IN 2021 WHEN PLAYING 60+)

Fantasy Outlook (M): In 2021, the Warriors showed a desire to play an 80 minute hooker, and Wayde Egan presented them with a great option – earning himself an extension this offseason. Assuming that they don’t go with Nikorima or CHT off the bench, I really like Egan as a POD with a really good early season schedule, facing none of the projected top 6 teams until round 6. Unfortunately, Egan doesn’t come at a huge discount, but if he is a consistent 80 minute player I can see a solid 5-7 points of value here to take you through the first bye round. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Jerk fanhub raised his price by 3 points, stealing a big chunk of value. Rude.

BENCH 1/UTILITY: JAZZ TEVAGA $516K 41BE (AVG 55.8 IN 56.3 AT 40+MIN LOCK IN 2021)

BENCH 2: BUNTY AFOA

BENCH 3: AARON PENE

BENCH 4: BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

Fantasy Outlook (M): If the Warriors decide to go with Tevaga at lock, the role should be worth 50-55 minutes per game, making Jazz a buy. This is particularly true if they choose to carry Nikorima or Harris-Tevita on the bench. He loves an offload, and not so much a tackle bust, making him a great option under the new rules. He would be a sell once Tohu returns mid season, but its not like you want to hold him anyway.

PROJECTED FORWARD ROTATION AND MINUTES

PLAYER NAMEPROJ. MINS
MATT LODGE50-55
ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE55-60
JOSH CURRAN50-55
ELIESA KATOA65-80
EUAN AITKEN80
WAYDE EGAN65-80
JAZZ TEVAGA30-35
BUNTY AFOA25-30
AARON PENE20-25
BEN MURDOCH-MASILA15-20

*REECE WALSH & MATT LODGE will miss round 1 due to suspension

*TOHU HARRIS will be unavailable to start the year, with an unknown return date

FRINGE PLAYERS NOT PROJECTED FOR TOP 17

ADAM POMPEY

TANIELO UTOKOLO

JACK MURCHIE

JESSE ARTHARS

CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

EDWARD KOSI