The Starting 17

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to another week of The Starting 17. I must again apologise for my no show last week – hopefully you stayed out of trouble. Never fear though, I am back to share some more wisdom.


Round Three showed us yet another week of unpredictability. Not only did we see price gains and losses (Looking at you Drury Low) but some players went through as many as three points adjustments, giving many captains heart attacks. You should have a fair idea of where your team needs improvement, but the question is, do you spend the trades to do so?


Regardless of whether you’re shooting for overall glory or just trying to take out your BWTF League, my answer is yes.


Despite the fact that we have seen a price rise, it’s not too late to round out your team. Some players such as Sandow may have had a healthy gain last week, but a week of procrastination combined with another high score may mean that player ends up out of reach. Even if it means you’ve spent six trades in the first three rounds. I’ll talk in depth later about trades this year, but this week – just go for it.


Despite my advocacy of trading this week I do encourage you to always consider the long term. Does your team lack cash cows, or keeperd? A team with too many cows runs a dangerous game of needing to use too many trades to cash them in down the road. Alternatively, are your keepers performing as they should for their price?


Also consider a team’s injury list when trading. Will xy player returning in Round 7 affect a player that I am considering? Those kinds of questions go a long way when evaluating players.

That is enough food for thought this week. Next week I return to the normal format given that the Head 2 Head competitions will have started. Until then, good luck this weekend!



2013 – Round 3 – Tigers vs Eels


wests tigers game previewThe Wests Tigers are very much a work in progress, but despite the errors and missed tackles we still managed to open our 2013 account with a fairly impressive win last Sunday. At least most of the errors made last week were at the right end of field while on the attack. Those mistakes are typical of early rounds anyway. The impressive aspect was in the way the team banded together to bounce back from the Round 1 drubbing. Our forwards punched through the line regularly and we defended our own try line quite well.

But we still can’t take a trick in terms of injuries. Our prop forwards are like Spinal Tap drummers. KG’s pec injury will keep him out until about July at best, or next year at worse. With Gavet and Groat out for a few more months as well with toe injuries, a lot more responsibility will fall to Pettybourne and Blair. Pettybourne racked up over 100m in just over 20mins on Sunday and will relish the extra time on the field. Blair is showing good improvement in attack, but has led the missed tackle count with 6 in each of the first two games.

Moltzen was near faultless on Sunday, defusing some great bombs and constantly following off the shoulder of our forwards looking for the offload. I’m not his biggest fan, but he’s responded to the pressure from Teddy in a positive way and looks set to hold onto the #1 jersey for now. Well done Timbo.

Sandow is another bloke I have not really rated in the past, but jeez he’s started 2013 in fine form. He’s looking very fit and will be a huge threat tonight. The pressure will be on our defence to limit both Sandow and Hayne.

Our attack looked sharp at times on Sunday. Miller took on the line well and Benji created some good opportunities for our outside backs. Seriously, how good does Koroibete look in full flight! He led the team in tackle breaks and metres gained last week. If he can consistently get quality ball in space, the tries will follow.

Given how much the Wests Tigers improved on last week, I’m confident we’ll see them step up another gear tonight. On the back of the announcement of Robbie Farah’s contract extension, Leichhardt Oval will be buzzing. The Eels are a stronger outfit under Stuart, but a combination of the Farah factor and our superior left side attack will see Wests Tigers dominate from go to whoa.

Fortune Teller:

FTS – Koroibete. He scored 4 tries the last time we played the Eels, so he’s a solid bet to go over first.
LTS – Farah. This is his night – he’ll score the final try and kick the goal to boot!
HT/FT – Tigers/Tigers
Margin – Tigers 19+


A reminder that BWTF admins will be gathering at the Queens Arms Hotel in New Farm from about 6:30 for tonight’s game. Come along to cheer on our boys, while part-taking in a bite, beer, banter … and bagging Tom Waterhouse. See for directions.



2013 – Round 2 – Tigers vs Panthers


wests tigers game preview2012 ended with two very disappointing performances, and unfortunately the Tigers bought that form with them to Newcastle for Round 1 last week. The good thing about the NRL is that a lot can change in week. Mick Potter’s starting 13 hasn’t changed (pending late mail), so let’s hope the completion rate (67%) and missed tackles (36) statistics do. There’s no doubting the talent in our squad this year, so I’m certainly not writing them off after one game. A return to Campbelltown this afternoon sets the scene for Wests to right what happened last week and re-start their 2013 campaign.

The Panthers were regularly seen on the bottom two lines of betting throughout the pre-season. They got off to a good start against a disappointing Raiders in Round 1, making plenty of yards out of dummy half and powerful hit-ups. Their new recruits in Brown, Manu and Segeyaro were impressive.

There’s really not a lot you can say about our blokes in Round 1. They were put on the back foot mid-way through the first half and were never able to get back in the contest. Mick Potter made a point when he came on board about wanting to instil a culture of players being accountable for their performances. On one extreme, you don’t want to see wholesale team changes after every loss, so I can understand he needs to keep the faith for Round 2. Having said that, a few of our outside backs in particular will need massive improvement to keep their positions over the short term.

Wests have won the past five consecutive games against Penrith and I’m optimistic they will bounce back from last week to make it six. I’m still very worried about our defence on both flanks and hope Thursday’s training session devoted entirely to defensive patterns and drills has the desired effect. I think we will have enough strike power in our squad to out-score the Panthers in a high scoring shoot-out. Pretty, ugly, I don’t care – we need the win.

Fortune Teller:

FTS – Mansour
LTS – Koroibete
HT/FT – Panthers/Tigers
Margin – Tigers by 4


The Starting 17 – The Scramble‏

The Starting 17

uncategorizedLadies and Gentlemen, welcome to the first “Starting 17” DreamTeam blog for 2013. DreamTeam this year will be as tricky as ever. So last week, I selected some players to evaluate for you all. I carefully watched them over Round 1, and my hope is to help you in the right direction as you make those vital trades before Round 2 commences tonight. Beware, this may be a long blog.

Mick Gordon – WFB/CTR, $285,200.  A fit Mick is capable of putting out massive DT scores, and suits the current scoring system well. Staying fit will be his main concern, but if he does, he will be one of the seasons must haves. Has potential to rack up massive scores which is hard to go past. Looked solid on the weekend, and made heaps of tackle breaks. For me, Mick sits at a 2/5 in terms of risk factor. If you don’t have him, get him.

Matt Ryan – 2RF, $290,600. Joshua asked me if I saw Matt taking over Hindys role at Parra. honestly, It’s hard to tell where Hindys minutes go. Matt looks to be a likely candidate but whether or not he steps up is a different matter entirely. beyond that who knows what Ricky will do. for me he sits at a 4/5 risk factor. I’d prefer Reni Maitua, who looks like value and also looked good on the weekend.

Aidan Guerra – 2RF, $302,700.  I was asked to review Aidan Guerra after his seemingly solid hit out against in the Foundation Cup. Right now, the Roosters 2RF stocks are deep and very talented. We saw after a very solid performance from Aubo last week saw him shifted to the bench this week. This scares me as a DT Coach, as poor performances could mean a fluctuation in minutes. Plus Aidan hasnt got the best Injury history. I’d prefer Cordner, whos is cheaper, or SBW, who has huge potential for tackle busts and line breaks. Risk factor – 4/5.

Lewis Brown – 2RF/CTR, $197,300.  Lewis looks very attractive at his 2013 price. Add on his dual position status and it’s not hard to see why people like him. At Penrith he looks set for close to 80 mins a week. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a good PPM (points per minute) so i don’t think he will smash the big scores. But I do think there is some definite cash to be made there. Unfortunately, injury to other team mates may impact just how much cash he makes as Lewis playing centres will definitely bring lower scores. 3/5 risk factor here, but don’t expect huge pay outs. Keep an eye on team lists if you want to buy  him, but don’t be worried if you have him.

Albert Kelly – HLF, $156,300. Towards the back of 2011, Albert Kelly showed solid DT potential at the sharks. He has a style of play that suits the current scoring system, and looks to have first crack at a half spot alongside Sezer.  However he needs to start well with Rankin and Beau Henry breathing down his neck. His combination on the field looked good last weekend, and will only get better in time. Add a very solid score and he is possibly the year’s must have Cash Cow. Risk rating – 1/5.

Andrew Fifita – FRF, $379,500. Towards the end of last year, Fifita showed his potential for absolutely massive DT Scores, pushing 80-100 on smaller minutes than what he will receive at the start of this year with Gibbs out for an extended period of time. A large price tag sees a higher risk rating than what he may have otherwise receive. He looked solid over the weekend and made a very healthy score. If you want an FRF gun and need to trade out a disappointing Josh McGuire or Ben Matulino, try and find the cash for Fifita.  Risk rating – 2/5.

If you need advice on other trades, I’ll be floating around BWTF over the course of the day. Don’t forget, I always advise spending 5-6 trades in your first three weeks to set your team up right. Good luck Dreamers!


2013 – Round 1 – Knights vs Tigers


wests tigers game previewAfter a longer than anticipated and drama-filled off-season, game day for the Wests Tigers is finally here!

Mick Potter seems to have had a positive influence on the club and players so far and I can’t wait to see how our team responds to his coaching style in the season opener. The first half in the Foundation Cup trial was promising, but tonight’s game is when it starts to count for real.

Most experts have already drawn a line through the Tigers chances. That’s fine by us. I think the impact of Heighno and Ryan leaving the club has been over-estimated. Don’t get me wrong, I liked both players but clearly they are not irreplaceable. Pettybourne and Anasta will bring a more power and versatility to our backrow. Less running at the markers, at any rate. As for Ryan, yes he was our best back throughout last year. But seriously, when your best back-line player is a winger you’re doing it wrong. Our troubles last year started and stopped with the multitude of unsuccessful halves combinations. We need a dominant and stable 6 and 7 first and foremost. With Marshall back at five-eighth I’m confident we’ll see our attacking form of 2010-11 return. We have more than capable outside back talent in Koroibete, Nofoaluma and Simona coming up from the lower grades to fill Ryan’s shoes.

Our forward depth has also been questioned heading into this year – and rightfully so. Losing Gavet (and to a lesser extent, Groat) during pre-season was bad luck. A first up battle against a big and experienced Knights pack will be a great test to see how we stack up. Woods being a late inclusion on a four-forward bench will help immensely tonight, but it’s Blair who really needs to take on greater responsibility and workload after his sub-par season last year.

Gidley’s return in the halves for Newcastle gives them plenty of attacking and kicking options. Our defence around the centre of the ruck must be spot-on if we are to contain the Knights and secure a win. This is bound to be a close and nerve-wracking game. Footy is back – and so are the heart-attacks. Good luck!

Fortune Teller:

FTS – Uate
LTS – Anasta
HT/FT – Knights/Tigers
Margin – Tigers by 2