NRL Fantasy club profile: Brisbane Broncos
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Who will be in your team?
As we count down to the start of the new season of NRL Fantasy, NRL.com's Lone Scout is revealing each squad's player prices and best buys.
The Brisbane Broncos are an intriguing proposition this year, both in the NRL and in Fantasy. In the league itself they are suddenly genuine contenders again, with some star recruits – including legendary coach Wayne Bennett – adding to a team already packed with star names. In Fantasy though it's the presence of Bennett that raises a few questions. The mastercoach has a habit of splitting the workload fairly evenly amongst his forwards, which could be bad news for workaholic NRL Fantasy superstars like Corey Parker and Andrew McCullough. Still, it's way too early to write off Brisbane's best Fantasy prospects just yet.
Andrew McCullough ($523,000) – An increase in minutes last season allowed McCullough to become the busiest defender in the NRL, making a whopping 48.5 tackles per game. That also made him Brisbane's most valuable Fantasy player, averaging a tick under 60 points a week. The arrival of Bennett favourite Travis Waddell on the bench could bring McCullough back down to earth a little this season, and he's one of a handful of players to cost more than half a million dollars, but the Broncos rake is sure to make the most of his game time again in 2015.
Ben Hunt ($512,000) – Last season's most improved player is this year's most expensive half in NRL Fantasy, completing a rise that few could have expected when Hunt was given the job of being his club's sole specialist playmaker at the start of 2014. He'll have livewire Anthony Milford beside him this season, which could mean fewer chances to create tryscoring plays on his own, so like McCullough Hunt may lose some value despite remaining a safe-as-houses Fantasy scorer.
Corey Parker ($484,000) – One of the undisputed legends of fantasy footy, Parker is a bit of a mystery heading into 2015. On the one hand, he does everything – runs, offloads, tackles, tackle breaks, goals – and his recent rep performances suggest he's playing better than ever. Plus there's the likelihood he'll revert back to his favoured lock position this year after filling in at prop in 2014, following the recruitment of Adam Blair. On the other hand, Bennett's teams rarely feature high-scoring Fantasy forwards and that could mean Parker won't be playing the full 80 minutes, which will reduce his scoring potential. He also turns 33 in May, improving the chances Bennett could start giving him more of a rest than usual. That makes him somewhat of a gamble, but we should know early in the season whether Parker will be pumping out weekly 60+ scores yet again in 2015.
Anthony Milford ($385,000) – He's a super talent, has joined one of the strongest line-ups in the NRL, and is playing under arguably the best coach the game has seen. So Anthony Milford will be a star in Fantasy this season, right? Not necessarily. Milford was the go-to man in attack for Canberra last year, collecting a solid 43 points a game from fullback in a team that rarely fired on all cylinders, but while he may get more try-scoring chances this season he won't have to create them all himself. Now at five-eighth, Milford is likely to play second fiddle to the much-improved Ben Hunt in general playmaking, meaning he'll need to score the bulk of his Fantasy points through run metres, assists and tackle breaks. That could mean some big scores on any given week, but it also means he's unlikely to be a consistent scorer compared with dominant playmakers.
Josh McGuire ($445,000) – A workhorse prop who proved at the recent Four Nations he can also star at lock and even hooker, McGuire averaged 50 points from 59 minutes a game last season. He's capable of playing more minutes, but in a star-studded pack featuring Parker, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn and Adam Blair, chances are his game time will remain stable or even drop under Bennett.
Adam Blair ($298,800) – Let's face it, Blair was a flop at the Wests Tigers, considering the reputation that preceded him and the pay packet that greeted him at the club. He's never really been a Fantasy-friendly player either, specialising in touches of class rather than massive stat counts. But who knows how Blair will perform under Wayne Bennett and for one of the competition favourites. He thrived in his first NRL stint with the Melbourne Storm, and when working with Bennett in New Zealand's successful 2008 World Cup campaign, so if you're willing to take a gamble Blair could be your man up front. He averaged fewer than 34 points a game last season, so will get a decent price rise if he brings that average up to 40 or more.
Potential Cash Cows
Jordan Kahu ($165,000) – Fantasy coaches will be hopeful Wayne Bennett gives Kahu the fullback role in place of the injured Darius Boyd this season, with the promising young gun starting the season nice and cheap and certainly capable of increasing his price tag in the custodian role. Justin Hodges has proved to be a more than capable fill-in at the back, but his preference for a centre spot and his fitness concerns could see Kahu get the gig.
Corey Oates ($164,000) – An impressive young back-rower whose minutes per game fluctuated wildly during the 2014 season, from close to a full hour during one of his four games in the starting side to less than 10 minutes off the bench. A more even rotation of Brisbane's big men this season may hurt the scoring ability of Corey Parker and the like but it could also help Oates, who at $164,000 may turn out to be a bargain.
Joe Ofahengaue ($128,000) – The rookie prop produced more run metres than any other player in the Holden Cup last season, frequently topping the 200-metre mark, and took out the club's NYC player of the year gong. His uncle was a Wallabies star and Joe could get his chance to start strutting his stuff on the NRL stage this year if injuries strike.
James Gavet ($135,000) – If Oates and Ofahengaue aren't the men to benefit off the bench for Brisbane this season, it could be former Wests Tiger Gavet.
Broncos 2015 NRL Fantasy prices
Andrew McCullough, $523,000
Ben Hunt, $512,000
Corey Parker, $484,000
Josh McGuire, $445,000
Matt Gillett, $415,000
Anthony Milford, $385,000
Alex Glenn, $338,000
Darius Boyd, $299,000
Adam Blair, $298,800
Daniel Vidot, $267,000
Justin Hodges, $234,000
Dale Copley, $227,000
Mitchell Garbutt, $217,000
Jack Reed, $215,000
Greg Eden, $195,000
David Stagg, $176,000
Jordan Kahu, $165,000
Corey Oates, $164,000
Lachlan Maranta, $158,000
Jarrod Wallace, $137,000
James Gavet, $135,000
Ajuma Adams, $128,000
Ashley Taylor, $128,000
Francis Molo, $128,000
Joe Ofahengaue, $128,000
Kodi Nikorima, $128,000
Marmin Barba, $128,000
Mitchell Dodds, $128,000