NRL Fantasy club profile: Warriors

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Warriors Verified League code: PFFXJP49
Who will be in your team?

The enigmatic Warriors just missed the NRL finals last year but again shape as a team with several strong NRL Fantasy options, with a star signing from the Storm joining resident big names Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering and Sam Tomkins. Will this be the year everything goes right for the men from New Zealand?

Fantasy Guns

Shaun Johnson ($485,000) – SJ just keeps getting better and better. The Warriors halfback ended 2014 on the highest of highs – leading New Zealand to the Four Nations title with a sensational display in the final before picking up the Golden Boot award. Once a hit-and-miss Fantasy player with the ability to dance through defenders or go missing on any given week, Johnson has become a more consistent playmaker, with a strong kicking game helping him to about 55 points per game last year.

Sam Tomkins ($383,000) – Tomkins was a great example of patience paying off for Fantasy coaches last season. The star English import averaged a meagre 35 points from his first half dozen games (including a 59-point blitz against the Tigers), before averaging 45 points a game for the rest of the year. Only three winger/fullbacks in NRL Fantasy – Jarryd Hayne, Josh Mansour and Greg Inglis – averaged more than 45 points across 2014, so if Tomkins continues that form in his second NRL season he'll be among the elite Fantasy players in his position.

Wild Cards

Simon Mannering ($393,000) – A long-time Fantasy favourite due to his solid all-round game and occasional dual-position status, Mannering has lost his centre status in Fantasy this year after being named exclusively in the back row last season. That's a blow to potential owners, along with the fact that he's unlikely to repeat his surprise try-scoring spree that saw him cross eight times in eight games between late May and the end of July. He was also slow out of the blocks in 2014, failing to score more than 35 points until Round 5, so might be one to keep in mind for later in the season. On the positive side, players in NRL Fantasy can be given a second position during the season – so if the Warriors skipper does fill in in the backline a few times he could again become a great dual-position buy.

Konrad Hurrell ($358,000) – A rampaging centre built like a fridge who crashes through would-be defenders for fun, frequently before touching down in the corner and blowing the camera a kiss, it's easy to see why Hurrell is a crowd favourite. He is notoriously inconsistent in Fantasy – he averaged 55 between Round 4 and Round 9 last year, but just 25.8 over past the final month of the season – but can pile on the points on his day. He is battling a wrist injury and could be in doubt for the start of the season, and in any case his erratic Fantasy scoring means a smart move may be to wait for Hurrell to string together a few low scores and for his price to drop before snapping him up on the cheap.

Ryan Hoffman ($295,000) – A class act in the back row whose signing is a major coup for the Warriors, it's unknown how Hoffman's club switch will affect his Fantasy scoring. In truth, his game isn't really suited to the stats-based world of NRL Fantasy – he doesn't make a mountain of tackles like Shaun Fensom, or notch dozens of tackle breaks like Andrew Fifita. Last season he averaged a tick over 33 points a game, despite playing close to 80 minutes each week. But his stats do have room for improvement at the Warriors, both because he can be expected to do a little more defending than he did in a successful Storm side, and because he may be utilised more in attack as a star signing at a club which can't fall back on the Smith-Cronk-Slater combination to make things happen. Still, he's a gamble at the start of the year.

Potential Cash Cows

Solomone Kata ($128,000) – Centre is one position where the Warriors have been looking for answers in recent years, having recruited Matthew Allwood and Api Pewhairangi as new options this season. But Kata is one young gun who could get his chance if injury strikes the starters, with the former Tonga under-21s rugby representative having starred for the Junior Warriors in the 2014 Holden Cup Grand Final. He's behind Hurrell and Ngani Laumape in the pecking order – and possibly others as well – but at the rookie starting price he'll be a steal if he gets some game time. 

John Palavi ($144,000) – In the week before Round 1 last season Palavi was plucked from obscurity in thousands of NRL Fantasy teams, after the former Junior Warriors captain was named to start at lock for the first-grade side in the season opener. He played 35 minutes, and was never seen again in the top grade in 2014.  Another year older, Palavi could get a decent chance in the side this year after last season's false start – but it's probably safest to wait a week or two before considering rushing him into your squad.

Warriors 2015 NRL Fantasy prices
Shaun Johnson, $485,000
Nathan Friend, $396,000
Simon Mannering, $393,000
Sam Tomkins, $383,000
Bodene Thompson, $359,000
Konrad Hurrell, $358,000
Ben Henry, $331,000
Chad Townsend, $318,000
Ben Matulino, $315,000
Ryan Hoffman, $295,000
Jacob Lillyman, $293,000
Manu Vatuvei, $288,000
Ngani Laumape, $264,000
Sebastine Ikahihifo, $236,000
Sam Rapira, $232,000
Sione Lousi, $221,000
David Fusitua, $215,000
Jonathan Wright, $202,000
Matthew Allwood, $201,000
Thomas Leuluai, $199,000
Api Pewhairangi, $197,000
Suaia Matagi, $187,000
Glen Fisiiahi, $182,000
John Palavi, $144,000
Dominique Peyroux, $142,000
Tuimoala Lolohea, $142,000
Charlie Gubb, $137,000
Siliva Havili, $137,000
David Bhana, $128,000
Nathaniel Peteru, $128,000
Solomone Kata, $128,000