Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16 Written by ROCCO LUCA, March 3, 2016

A BALL is yet to be kicked but already there are grave concerns over which clubs will thrive and which clubs will falter under the new reduced interchange system.

The bench is absolutely vital in the modern game and is ultimately judged by its ability to perform in three key areas – mobility, impact and versatility.

And with the interchange dropped from 10 to eight, we’ve decided to run our eye over the all 16 benches named for round one and rank them accordingly.

1. RAIDERS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Blake Austin, Iosia Soliola, Paul Vaughan and Jeff Lima
Average bench player minutes: 56.4
Mobility: 8/10
Impact: 9/10
Versatility: 7/10
TOTAL: 24/30

The Raiders bench has it all – size, speed, strength and most of all it screams impact.

The move to bench Blake Austin has baffled more than a few of us but we all know how valuable he can be off the bench. He can slot in anywhere in the backline and can change the game in the blink of an eye.

Iosia Soliola can run brilliant lines and has a knack of targeting and exploiting tired and lazy defenders in the line. He can also do the job in the centres.

In Paul Vaughan, the Raiders have one of the most efficient bench players in the competition. The Blues hopeful racked up an average of 127 running metres and 23 tackles in just over a half of footy last season. He also has a big engine and should prove to be a handy foil for monster starters Shannon Boyd and Frank-Paul Nuuausala.

Finally, old head Jeff Lima will act as the traditional wrecking ball who can provide that necessary spark up front particularly late on in games. As we’ve seen in the past – Lima’s aggressive play can often inspire his side at the right moment.

2. SEA EAGLES

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Matt Parcell, Blake Leary, Feleti Mateo, Darcy Lussick and Siosaia Vave
Average bench player minutes: 60.7
Mobility: 9/10
Impact: 7/10
Versatility: 7/10
TOTAL: 23/30

The new-look Sea Eagles will have a lot of questions thrown at them this season and their bench will likely change and evolve as the year wears on but it certainly looks prolific on paper.

Recruit Matt Parcell is one of the quickest dummy halves in the competition and will ask plenty of tired and lazy defensive lines.

Blake Leary and Feleti Mateo are very mobile back-rowers who have the capacity to slot into a number of positions, while Darcy Lussick will provide the punch and drive up the middle.

3. BRONCOS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Jarrod Wallace, Jo Ofahengaue, Sam Thaiday and Kodi Nikorima
Average bench player minutes: 34.5
Mobility: 7/10
Impact: 7/10
Versatility: 7/10
TOTAL: 21/30

The Broncos bench doesn’t traditionally play many minutes but each player knows his role and knows it well.

Sam Thaiday can be inspirational in the front and second row, as we all know. Big Jo and Jarrod Wallace are very sound in both attack and defence and in Kodi Nikorima – as we saw in the first final against the Cowboys last year – can be a match winner.

4. RABBITOHS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench: Damien Cook, Jason Clark, Chris Grevsmuhl and Zane Musgrove
Average bench player minutes: 48
Mobility: 7/10
Impact: 7/10
Versatility: 6/10
TOTAL: 20/30

Damien Cook is the quickest hooker in the competition and he will have defensive lines fearing for their lives when he enters the fray. Jason Clark and Chris Grevsmuhl know their roles and Zane Musgrove looks like a tough proposition.

5. COWBOYS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Rory Kostjasyn, Scott Bolton, John Asiata and Ben Hannant
Average bench player minutes: 37.3
Mobility: 6/10
Impact: 6/10
Versatility: 7/10
TOTAL: 19/30

Far from the most flashy bench but it’s one that is proven particularly in the big matches. Rory Kostjasyn and John Asiata have the ability to ball play while veterans Scott Bolton and Ben Hannant will just cart it up all day and provide good relief for James Tamou and Matt Scott.

6. PANTHERS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Tyrone Peachey, Jeremy Latimore, Suaia Matagi and Elijah Taylor
Average bench player minutes: 49.3
Mobility: 7/10
Impact: 6/10
Versatility: 6/10
TOTAL: 19/30

A solid bench that will be called on to break open games. Tyrone Peachey can turn a match on its head but there are question marks over Elijah Taylor’s effectiveness from the bench.

7. DRAGONS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Ben Creagh, Jack de Belin, Dunamis Lui and Siliva Havili
Average bench player minutes: 40.1
Mobility: 7/10
Impact: 6/10
Versatility: 6/10
TOTAL: 19/30

Nuggetty hooker Siliva Havili was arguably the Dragons most impressive player in the pre-season and looks a good prospect off the bench for the Red V in 2016. Jack de Belin, Ben Creagh and Dunamis Lui are all experienced interchange players but can lack impact at times.

8. SHARKS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Chris Heighington, Matt Prior, David Fifita and Jayson Bukuya
Average bench player minutes: 36.2
Mobility: 6/10
Impact: 6/10
Versatility: 6/10
TOTAL: 18/30

Not the most mobile or versatile bench. Chris Heighington, Matt Prior and Jayson Bukuya bring over 500 games worth of experience to the table. Bukuya and Prior are out and out second-rowers but if need be they can provide cover in the centres. If Michael Ennis goes down – the Sharks may be in trouble.

 

 

 

9. TITANS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Ryan James, Eddy Pettybourne, Leivaha Pulu and Daniel Mortimer

Average bench player minutes: 57.4

Mobility: 6/10

Impact: 6/10

Versatility: 5/10

TOTAL: 17

One of the biggest benches in the competition, the Titans will be looking to out-muscle their opponents. Ryan James, Eddy Pettybourne and Leivaha Pulu all tip the scales over 108kg. Daniel Mortimer is the point of difference. As we know, he can play a number of positions in the backline although will likely be used at hooker. You get the feeling that with the size of the bench, the Titans may struggle with the reduced interchange particularly early on in the season.

10. ROOSTERS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Sio Taukeiaho, Sam Moa, Ian Henderson and Vincent Leuluai

Average bench player minutes: 35.3

Mobility: 5/10

Impact: 6/10

Versatility: 5/10

TOTAL: 16

Far from the most mobile bench, like the Titans the Roosters will be banking on size and power. Sio Taukeiaho and Sam Moa can be devastating, Vincent Leuluai looks a very good prospect but there are question marks over veteran Ian Henderson and his ability to adapt to the speed of the NRL after a long stint in the Super League.

11. STORM

Bench – Kenny Bromwich, Tim Glasby, Ben Hampton, Christian Welch, Felise Kaufusi and Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Average bench player minutes: 27.1

Mobility: 6/10

Impact: 4/10

Versatility: 5/10

TOTAL: 15/30

There isn’t a whole lot of direct impact and versatility off the Storm bench. It is unclear at this stage whether Craig Bellamy will carry a utility back in Ben Hampton but what he does have is hard-running no fuss forwards who can rip in if needed.

12. WARRIORS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Nathaniel Roache, Sam Lisone, James Gavet and Bodene Thompson

Average bench player minutes: 49.6

Mobility: 5/10

Impact: 5/10

Versatility: 4/10

TOTAL: 14/30

Aside from Bodene Thompson, the Warriors bench is very inexperienced. Sam Lisone and James Gavet can make an impact although the latter has been out of the game for an entire year. Young Nathaniel Roache looks quite a talent but it is very unclear what he can offer from the bench.

13. BULLDOGS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Sam Kasiano, Danny Fualalo, Tim Brown, Adam Elliott and Shaun Lane

Average bench player minutes: 28.4

Mobility: 3/10

Impact: 6/10

Versatility: 4/10

TOTAL: 13/30

Arguably the most talked about bench leading into the 2016 season. Des Hasler has forced his big boys to slim down in preparation for the drop in interchange but electing for an all-forward bench certainly brings about risk. Michael Lichaa is still an unproven 80-minute hooker and the only back-up plan we can see is slotting Josh Jackson there – not ideal.

14. EELS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – David Gower, Peni Terepo, Daniel Alvaro, Ken Edwards and Kaysa Pritchard

Average bench player minutes: 46.4

Mobility: 3/10

Impact: 5/10

Versatility: 4/10

TOTAL: 12/30

Daniel Alvaro looks a very promising prospect given the impressive way he ended last season but other than that there isn’t too much to like here. Kenny Edwards is returning from a year out with injury and could take some time to adjust.

15. KNIGHTS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – David Bhana, Korbin Sims, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Pauli Pauli and Daniel Safiti

Average bench player minutes: 43

Mobility: 3/10

Impact: 4/10

Versatility: 4/10

TOTAL: 11

Nathan Brown has picked an all-forward bench with plenty of size. This has the potential to either payoff or blow up in his face. We all know how devastating Korbin Sims can be but David Bhana is untested as is Lachlan Fitzgibbon. Pauli Pauli can make an impact but he is ill-disciplined and volatile.

16. TIGERS

Every NRL bench ranked 1-16

Bench – Kyle Lovett, Josh Aloiai, Ava Seumanufagai and Jack Buchanan

Average bench player minutes: 42.9

Mobility: 4/10

Impact: 4/10

Versatility: 3/10

TOTAL: 11/30

Not a lot to rave about if you’re a Tiger fan. The bright spark has to be young Eels recruit Josh Aloiai. The former junior Kiwi has reportedly impressed during the pre-season and he could very well be the shining light in the Tigers season.

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