Moneyball: Wests Tigers real winners in NRL’s best buys for season 2018
April 6, 2018 6:00am
Source: FOX SPORTS
YOU could make a case for most of the big buys this season but the reality of the NRL is it’s a results driven business.
It’s also one where juggling the salary cap is key.
So when making a call on the best buys for the year, you not only need to take into account the impact they’ve had on the team but how much they’re costing the club.
We all love a bargain. NRL clubs are no different.
Last year Nathan Brown was easily the buy of the season. His work rate and influence on the team, coupled with his low salary made him a steal for Parramatta.
In 2018 there’s a host of players who meet that exact criteria.
Who would’ve thought a contract worth around $650,000 a season would be the buy of the year?
But that’s the reality for the Warriors.
So consistent and a confidence builder for his team, his name is being thrown around as a candidate to make his NSW Origin debut at the age of 31.
While Green is a standout, he’s not alone.
You can make that same argument for $850,000 playmaker James Maloney.
His move to Penrith has been nothing short of spectacular.
While most teams will have at least one bargain buy, it’s the Wests Tigers’ recruitment team responsible for the greatest number of value-for-money pick-ups.
The turnover of their roster has been nothing short of dramatic.
The loss of talent is remarkable yet the ability to plug the holes has been an early season highlight.
While most teams are running around with a fullback worth $700,000 plus a season, Ivan Cleary has put his faith in a minimum wage toiler.
But who needs a million-dollar man when the bloke on $95,000 is doing such a stand-up job?
Whether it’s on the wing or at fullback, Corey Thompson has been rock solid.
He’s an early contender for buy of the season.
No one anticipated David Nofoaluma staring the year in reserve grade but Thompson’s hard work was rewarded and Cleary’s decision justified.
He clinched the match winner for his team in round one and doesn’t shirk his work.
Or how about Pita Godinet?
Who, you ask? The bloke wearing the No.9. He pushed Matt McIlwrick out of the starting side and onto the bench.
A 30-year-old journeyman, Godinet started his career with the Warriors in 2011 but had his most success with Wakefield in the Super League.
By all rights, his first grade career should’ve been finished.
He didn’t accept that. To the credit of the coaching staff, they didn’t come into the pre-season with a preconceived idea of how the first grade team should look.
Perhaps the greatest buy for the Tigers is Benji Marshall.
It’s hard to look past him.
Not only has he evolved as a player but he’s costing them peanuts.
The veteran is earning around $200,000 this season and shown he’s worth every cent.
Yes, the flashy glimpses are still there, so too the magical step. But he’s demonstrating a composure we’ve never seen before.
Green and Maloney have been great buys but when you take into account the wage and influence they have on their team, Marshall’s our man.