Tommy Talau (CTR/WFB): WESTS TIGERS

Cheapie dual EMG option?

You’d be excused for forgetting about Tommy Talau as it will have been 546 days since his last first grade game – after tearing his ACL in the final round of 2021 and missing the entire 2022 season.  You may also be scarred by owning Talau after registering a rare 80 minute 0 point game in R19 of 2021 or an even rarer 80 minute -1 point game in R16 of 2020 – but hey that’s showbiz baby (when it comes to Tigers outside backs (see Zac Cini R9 2021)).

But all that looks to be behind him if Tim Sheens selects the promising outside back in a centre spot in a new look Tigers outfit in 2022.  The Tigers have shown continued faith in Talau offering him a one-year contract extension despite coming back from major injury.  When speaking to NRL.com, Talau said: “I’m glad I went through it all because I feel a lot mentally and physically stronger.” “They showed faith in me after not being able to play for a whole year and relieved me of the uncertainty of not having a contract. I feel like they did me a huge favour and when I get back on the field, I really hope I can repay the faith.  I just feel like after all the emotions, hard work and rehab, it’s all starting to pay off.”

Tommy’s previous NRL starts in the centres are nothing special, averaging only 26.5 points (excluding his injury-affected game in R25).  His starts on the wing are slightly worse where he averaged 25 (although Talau seems unlikely to win a wing spot with Staines in town).  His career to date has been plagued by negative stats – racking up an average 8.5 points of demerits per game – largely due to missed tackles and errors.  If he can remove some of these from his game, his base stats are pretty handy (around 20 points per game at centre).

That said, because of Talau’s starting price (250k / 17 BE) he only needs to average 27 to represent 10 points of value.  Not to mention he carries a very helpful dual position (CTR/WFB) to slot into your emergencies and cover both your outside back positions.  

As discussed on the podcast, the Amateurs expect a much better season from the Tigers in 2023 behind a far superior forward pack (including new recruits Bateman/Papali’i/Koroisau/Klemmer).  We are projecting Talau to improve on his career average and score between 27-32 points in 2023, which is great value to start the year with.

FANTASY AMATEUR (IRREGULAR) ROB

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