NRL Supercoach 2023: Who to buy – analysis of the halfback position

There are two obvious standouts at halfback, most notably Premier League winner Nathan Cleary and last year’s Dally M medalist Nicho Hynes.

That duo aside, there’s value in one of the leanest positions in Supercoach, but there are also some pitfalls to avoid.

Under, The sports news executes rule on halfback position for NRL Supercoach in 2023.

Top 5 Supercoach halfback options to start the season

player Price Break even
Nico Hynes $902,600 86
Nathan Cleary $841,000 80
Mitchell Moses $738,500 70
Jarome Hughes $721,800 69
Sam Walker $623,000 59

Nathan Cleary and Nicho Hynes lead the halfback position

Despite only playing 14 games last season, Cleary remains Supercoach’s most popular halfback with over 50% ownership.

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In 2022 he missed the first four rounds before gradually regaining momentum with 34, 57, 151 and 158 points.

Across 14 rounds, including the game against the Eels in which he was sent off with four points, Cleary was still averaging just under 80 PPG. In fact, he hasn’t averaged under 60 PPG in any season since his debut in 2016.

The only concern is its availability, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s considered a must-have for most.

Meanwhile, Hynes orchestrated the Craig Fitzgibbon-led revolution at Cronulla en route to a 2nd place finish.

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He only scored under-50 points three times in 2022, scoring two of those in rounds four and six while hitting triple digits six times during an incredibly consistent debut season as a halfback and ending in the jittery 90s five times.

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Since bursting onto the Melbourne stage, Hynes has demonstrated the ideal qualities of a super coach, combining his ability to rack up attacking stats with a strong defensive workrate and a run-first mentality with the ball.

He averaged 78.2 PPG in his 22 appearances for the Storm before rising through the Shire and averaging 85.8 PPG as a main playmaker.

With the benefit of having taken over goalscoring duties for Cronulla, the No.7 was able to add over 300 points to his total over the past year. And that’s despite only converting with a 72% success rate in the regular season.

Are Mitch Moses and Jahrome Hughes too much of a risk?

Mitchell Moses and Jahrome Hughes sit on a par below Cleary and Hynes, but there are many uncertainties surrounding them as they head into the new season.

Moses led Parramatta to the grand final last year, but the team he will step onto the field with in 2023 is another matter.

Their entire backrow is changed at least in the early stages of the campaign, and he’ll have to adjust to another dummy half following Reed Mahoney’s departure.

The No. 7 Parra had seven points under 50 in 2022, up from nine the year before. In fact, his volatility in scoring is best represented by his highest and lowest scores.

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Moses has a high ceiling but meddles in basement results far too often to average around 50-60 PPG over his last five seasons.

Year The highest score Lowest Score
2022 144 8th
2021 112 7
2020 108 18
2019 133 14
2018 137 -7

Hughes offers a safer bet for a little less money but doesn’t have the added benefit of being his club’s goalscorer. Despite this, he was No. 7 with the fourth-highest score last season.

Over his last two seasons, the Melbourne halfback has averaged 73 & 68.6 PPG. Many of his points (204 in 2022 and 153 in 2021) were generated through notch attempts, but the consistency with which he’s managed to do so should allay any fears that it’s an anomaly.

Although Melbourne are going through a period of transition with the forward package stripped down and Ryan Papenhuyzen sitting on the touchline. Whether Hughes can produce the goods in 2023 remains to be seen.

Could Sam Walker Become an Elite Supercoach Halfback in 2023?

There’s no doubt that Sam Walker is a wild card at halfback. He averaged 59.3 PPG last season after averaging 62.3 PPG the previous season.

The 20-year-old is mingling on sky-high records with results in his 30s, but there’s still plenty of upside.

Firstly, he is a half-back in one of the Premiership favorites with the Roosters and is now entering his third season in the first class with a long-term contract already in the bag. The Queenslander has an opportunity to take his game to another level.

His ability to do so was already evident in his shot on goal, which has improved from out of sight. In his first season, he only had a 54% conversion rate until he finally improved it to 77% in 2022.

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If Walker can establish himself as one of the elite goalscorers and play the rest of his game, he becomes a viable option.

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Last year Walker nearly doubled his in-game kick yards, which isn’t relevant to Supercoach, but all other areas of his game have improved as well, which is hugely relevant.

Walker doubled the number of forced misses he scored for his side (16) and more than doubled the number of offloads (15) he made in 2021.

He improved his threat at the line, averaging 68 yards, while also improving slightly on defense to reduce his missed tackles.

He’s already made 15 attempts and registered 35 assists in his first two seasons to place himself near the top to attack stats in halves.

Why are Adam Reynolds and Daly Cherry-Evans overlooked?

Daly Cherry-Evans hasn’t produced the massive results he has achieved in 2021 but has remained reliable with a 65.9 PPG average for the season.

He scored no fewer than 50 points through Round 12 but then did so in six of his last 11 games when the wheels really came off at Manly.

It is worth remembering that 2018, 2020 and 2021 are the only years in which the Sea Eagles skipper has not lost value.

Adam Reynolds is priced at a similar level to DCE at $636,100 but doesn’t have the same ceiling despite being in an exciting Brisbane lineup.

The former Souths general has averaged his entire career in the 50PPG bracket. He finally broke into his 60s in 2022, making him an overpriced way to start the year.

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