Brett Morris wasn't in too many NRL Fantasy teams before the World Club Challenge but his three-try effort against Wigan turned heads, and it's worth considering the fact his Fantasy scoring has traditionally reflected his team's winning percentage.
There's a decent argument that when his team wins games, Brett Morris scores Fantasy points. And he's just left one of the wooden spoon favourites to join the premiers.
In 2014 Morris's Dragons won just 39% of their matches and Morris scored 26 Fantasy points a game. The Bulldogs excelled in his first season at the club (winning 62% of their games) and his Fantasy scoring reflected it (42 points a game). Both declined in the next three years, with the Bulldogs winning 55%, 44% and 35% of their games in 2016, '17 and '18 while Morris's Fantasy average dipped to 36, 29 and 26 points a game each year.
But his new club the Roosters won 68% of their games last season and are expected to be just as dominant in the 2019 regular season. If the trend continues, Morris's NRL Fantasy scoring would jump to something like 46 points a game this year. With a break even of 26, anything near that kind of scoring would make the veteran winger an absolute bargain.
|Year||Team win %||Fantasy average|
A simpler explanation of his declining Fantasy output in recent years is he's simply getting older.
Morris is 32 and isn't as quick as he used to be at the start of his 14th NRL season. He hasn't averaged better than 30 points a game since 2016.
A glance at his run metres per game numbers backs this view: he peaked at a whopping 214 run metres a game at the Dragons back in 2012, but has averaged less than 100 metres a game in the past three seasons.
To buy or not to buy?
There is a fair bit of faith required to make the leap and bring in Brett Morris this season, but his barnstorming hat-trick against Wigan shows he still has plenty of strength even if his speed isn't what it used to be.
He'll be playing on the wing rather than the centres in the NRL this season so his Fantasy scoring will rely heavily on run metres and tackle breaks – two areas in which the man he's replacing, Blake Ferguson, excelled last season.
Winning teams do score more tries and force teams to make more kicks out of their own half – meaning more kick return metres for fullbacks and wingers – so there is some logic in the theory that Morris's scores could rise at the Roosters.
At $370,000 he's not dirt cheap but he's much more affordable than a lot of alternatives, and as a sneaky third option beside a couple of guns in the back three he could be a gamble that pays off.