Forward or extra half?

At 31 years old with this current set of rules, the days of Tohu Harris playing as an 80 minute edge forward seem all but over. In 2023, we find Harris as an extra half playing in the forward pack, while providing some defensive steel and leadership. He is essentially the Kiwi Jake Trbojevic, so how does that look for fantasy and his prospects in 2023?

In short, about as good as Jakes – non existent. In the last 3 years since Harris moved to lock, this is what his scoring looks like:

AVERAGE PTS64.164.149.8
AVERAGE MINS75.177.871.6

Looking at the breakdown of these scoring patterns, the main change seems to be in the base stats. Here is what that looks like under the microscope:

RUN METRES191121137

The biggest difference we see here is the significant downturn in Harris’ minutes, going from high 70s to low 70s. Now, there are a few conclusions you can draw from this:

  1. Harris was returning from an ACL injury, and was managed back. As we know, players perform better in their 2nd year back and as a result we are likely to see both the minutes and PPM return for Harris, making him a screaming buy at $687k.
  2. At 31yo, the Warriors know that, if they want Harris to play to the end of his contract, they need to manage his minutes. As a result, they went out in the offseason and got Mitch Barnett and Dylan Walker to play in the middle of the field, both of which are competent ball players, meaning that the Warriors don’t need Harris to play 70+ minutes a week as they can replicate what he offers.

At the Amateurs, we find scenario 2 much more likely. We should absolutely see the return of the PPM to 0.78-0.83 levels from 2020/21, but likely in a 60-65 minute role, with Dylan Walker playing the balance of the minutes in the middle as that ball playing option as a 5th member of the spine. Looking more closely at a floor/ceiling for Harris based on new role of slighly reduced (but still big) minutes, and an upswing in PPM.

60 MINS AT 0.78PPM
60 MINS AT 0.83PPM
65 MINS AT 0.78PPM
65 MINS AT 0.83PPM

For us, this represents the extent of the likely value of Harris for 2023. Starting at a price of $687k (47BE), there is no real “downside” short of his PPM continuing to drop. While many would point to the ACL injury, here is the PPM by year for the affore mentioned Jake Trbojevic who plays in a very similar role to Harris but is even younger.


The harsh reality for all players is that there is an age cliff that players fall off, and a 31yo middle forward with a recent ACL injury fits that criteria perfectly. There is an untapped “downside” for Harris, where his PPM stagnates at 2022 levels but the minutes drop, which would push him to a 41 average, or heaven forbid it gets even worse (see Jake T).

For us, you can likely get a similar upside from several players that are much cheaper, or spend similar money for players with less competition for minutes (Jack De Belin) or that are ascending (Pat Carrigan). We recommend looking in the $600k or less price bracket for alternatives such as Corey Horsburgh, Tevita Pangai Jr, Adam Elliott, Erin Clark, Brandon Smith, J’Maine Hopgood and Dan Saifiti, or move into the more premium options such as Reuben Cotter, Joe Tapine or Payne Haas.




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