The Fantasy King: Origin 3

Filed in Uncategorized by on July 19, 2013

By Mick 'the King' Adams

A longstanding personal tradition post-Origin has been to read the SMH player reviews first thing the next morning. With Origin fantasy now a thing, I thought I’d rate the players by their fantasy performances. Note on scoring: given that Origin fantasy is new, we don’t really know what the ceiling on individual scores will be. Across the board however, scores seem to be lower. With this in mind, Luke Lewis’ game one 89 is used as the benchmark. That score would be given a 9.5 rating, with scores sliding don all the way to Nathan Merritt’s game two 3 (0.5 rating).

Andrew Fifita: Fantasy 9 (SMH 8.5)

One of the rare cases where the breakout fantasy star of the season holds the same title in reality, Fifita has been a revelation. Not just in origin, where he was easily the best NSW forward over the three games, but also for the Sharks, I’ve already spoken at length about his fantasy value before and have nothing more to add here. The interesting storyline from here on out will be the fantasy value of his twin brother if and when he gets a game. David will be on show at Henson Park against the Illawarra Cutters this Saturday and is clearly being groomed for a first grade debut. Fantasy players will do well to keep an eye on his stat sheet.

Corey Parker: 8 (7)

This column has been declared a Corey Parker-free zone. All I’ll say about him is he’s really owned his place in the Queensland squad this year. I dare say he’s in career best form.

Cameron Smith: 7.5 (8.5)

Again, nothing to add that we haven’t said a thousand times before. Melbourne have the bye this weekend so he gets a rest, but it will be interesting to see if he plays eighty minutes against the Warriors next week. History suggests he won’t.

Justin Hodges: 7.5 (7.5)

If he could just stay healthy Hodges would be hands down the best centre/wing in Supercoach history. I think those persistent injuries have caused him to be underrated as a player, as he is consistently left out of conversations for best player at his position. Certainly in the NRL-era there hasn’t been a centre as damaging.

Jonathan Thurston: 7.5 (7)

Make or break time for JT owners, as the Cowboys will need to be firing to see him reclaim his fantasy mojo. They have a fairly soft run home so it’s certainly a possibility, but at three wins out of the eight even winning all their remaining games won’t guarantee them a finals spot. Adam Reynolds has now officially run away with the crown as best halfback in fantasy, leaving Thurston and Cronk clutching at air. Let’s hope that’s an omen for next year when he takes his rightful place.

Ryan Hoffman: 7.5 (7)

In reality and in fantasy Hoffman is a solid player who doesn’t inspire me to write much about him. Too inconsistent over the season as a fantasy option, but a handy pick up in draft leagues.

Matt Scott: 7 (9)

A great front rower, easily one of the best in the game right no, he is a shadow of that as a fantasy player, and will likely remain so. Good for 50, rarely offers more.

Anthony Watmough: 7 (8.5)

Although Fifita was better over the course of the series, Watmough was NSW’s best forward on Wednesday night. I despise him when he’s wearing a Manly jersey, but I’d have him in my NSW team every time. There IS a difference when you’re playing Origin. Some players get that and some don’t. Watmough is certainly one of the former.

Nate Myles: 7 (7.5)

See Anthony Watmough.

Robbie Farah: 7 (6.5)

Was surprised to see the amount of bagging Farah copped in online comments sections following the Blues loss. He certainly had his worst game of the series, and some of his options were terrible, but not all of that was of his own making. Following Origin I I wrote a column dedicated to Farah’s class and play, and I mentioned that he was at his worst when he tries to do too much. Wednesday night was a classic example of this. The captaincy no doubt was a factor, but really I think Farah’s game can be read as a vote of no confidence in Mitchell Pearce, who once again showed zero sign of being up to the task.

Josh Morris: 6 (7)

A rubbish fantasy buy this year, there is no good reason to have Morris in your team. His work to set up James McManus was outstanding.

Greg Bird: 6 (7)

Had a quiet game by his standards, but his fantasy score suggests he got through a fair bit of work.

Cooper Cronk: 5.5 (7.5)

Not his best year of Origin, but as we’ve seen so many times over the last eight years, Queensland can get away with quiet games from one (even both) halves. NSW cannot.

Michael Jennings: 5.5 (7)

I thought his SMH rating was a touch on the high side. He once again looked dangerous but had dumb mistakes too. Something closer to his fantasy rating seems about right.

Brent Tate: 5 (7.5)

I have literally nothing to say about this guy.

Chris McQueen: 5.5 (8.5)

Stepped up to the plate in a big way. Offers little in fantasy however.

Billy Slater: 5.5 (7)

Had a quiet series, but left nobody in doubt of his class by doing all the little things he does better than anybody. His 30m run at the death when he should have been pinned before the Queensland 20m line was arguably the back breaker for NSW.

James Tamou: 5 (5)

Is increasingly showing signs of being a massive waste of space. A huge unit, I had predicted a breakout fantasy year for Tamou, especially with the rule change regarding 8m + hit ups. Has been a huge fantasy disappointment and surely NSW will be looking at other options unless his form and attitude improve drastically over the next year.

Darius Boyd: 5.5 (6)

How did he get a finger to that ball? Why is his face so punchable?

James McManus: 5 (6.5)

I have even less to say about McManus than I do about Brent Tate.

Josh Dugan: 5 (7.5)

Far from perfect but has done enough to cement the number one job for NSW long term. Jarryd Hayne should always be one of the first players NSW picks when healthy, but he has played his best Origin football on the wing. Plus, a backline consisting of Dugan, B. Morris, Jennings, Idris, Hayne, Sutton and Reynolds has me salivating.

Sam Thaiday: 4.5 (7)

Has had his day as a top-tier fantasy option, only breaking 70 twice this season.

Luke Lewis: 4.5 (6)

Recorded the best fantasy score of the series with his 89 in game one, an effort which earned him man of the match (sorry- hardest working player) honours. Was good in game two but Queensland figured him out on Wednesday and his impact was minimal. 

James Maloney: 4.5 (6)

Maybe I was expecting too much considering he is ranked fourth among fantasy five-eighths and 24th overall, but I remain a little disappointed with Maloney’s scores. I feel much the same way about him in Origin. He had a good game one but was hardly sighted for the rest of the series.

Josh Papalii: 4 (6)

Has really come a long way over the past two seasons, both in fantasy and reality. Didn’t get too much to do but showed that he has the talent to be a mainstay in the QLD lineup.

Mitchell Pearce: 4 (4)


Matt Gillett: 4 (7)

Maybe he was picked a year too early given his ordinary play in last year’s series, Gillett stepped up with some good throughout this series. Remains a great fantasy starter.

Daly Cherry-Evans: 3 (6)

Players in that bench utility role are invariably on a hiding to nothing, and I honestly can’t think of anything that DCE did in that game. Still hasn’t come close to recapturing the fantasy form of 2011.

Ben T’eo: 3 (5.5)

One of the biggest fantasy disappointments of the year.

Greg Inglis: 3 (6)

Injuries seriously hampered his Origin campaign, but he was masterful at times in game two.

Brett Morris: 3 (7)

Having a career-worst fantasy year. For Supercoach classic players however this is a godsend. He will start dirt cheap next year while playing for a much improved Dragons team. Will be a great buy.

Aaron Woods: 2 (5)

I don’t know how the SMH found five points to award him. A dreadful debut campaign, will be lucky to get another crack.

Trent Merrin: 2 (7.5)

Obviously a glitch in the fantasy scoring, as Merrin was not given points for the try he scored (unless this error has subsequently been corrected). Easily his best game for NSW. Plenty of room for improvement left in him as well.


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