Who is the best premium FRF in SuperCoach?
IN THE first of our series SuperCoach "Death Match articles" we pit Tom Sangster against Rob Sutherland, with both arguing the merits of their favourite premium FRF.
ANDREW FIFITA - Tom Sangster
Fifita v Taupau. Battle of the offload kings. They have been the standout props in SuperCoach for three seasons, but the decision is a no-contest with Fifita the first prop picked for Sangster's Paradise. The Cronulla big man possesses the deadly combination of being the most consistent FRF in SuperCoach, yet also having the biggest upside.
He has notched averages 80.3, 77.3, 73.3, 72.1, 62.2 and 67.8 over the past six seasons and been the best prop in SuperCoach over that time. Taupau has only been a SuperCoach factor in the past four years, averaging 58.4, 60.9, 65 and 64.7.
However, the biggest red mark against Taupau is the change of coach to Des Hasler - a man renowned for conservative game plans (the very reason he was sacked by Canterbury).
Taupau has previous poor form with Hasler, producing season averages of 20.5 and 25.8 under the "Mad Professor" at Canterbury in 2012 and 2013.
It took a switch to the Tigers for Taupau to explode, rather spectacularly, as a premier forward.
Both are 28 - the age props tend to start breaking down. Both won't play Origin. Taupau has the slight advantage of dual position, but Fifita has been a constant in my squad over half a decade and in a game where loyalty counts for very little, it's nice to see a familiar face.
MARTIN TAUPAU - Rob Sutherland
There's no argument that Fifita has been the premier FRF of years gone past, but Father Time has taken his toll.
Tommy's point re Fifita's consistency is well made but I'm not sure it helps his argument - to me those numbers say Fifita has been in consistent decline since his peak.
Regarding Tommy's second point, I'm afraid to say he's been a little selective with his numbers there. Sure, Taupau played bench minutes under Hasler in 2012 and 2013, but that's because he was a bench player.
In 2012, Hasler gave his top props, James Graham and Aiden Tolman, an average of 56 and 53 minuters per game respectively.
In 2013 the same pair averaged 61 and 56 minutes.
Last year, Taupau averaged 51 MPG, less than Hasler asked from either of his top props in his entire tenure at the Bulldogs. So we can expect more minutes, not less, for Marty. And "Kapow" only needs minutes to knock off Fifita because he has outproduced the Cronulla man with PPM for two years running.
Younger, harder working, more minutes likely, dual-position flexibility, $30K cheaper AND he plays the first bye round.
Forget the Carty Party, people, that's so 2016. It's 2019 and the best ticket in town is the Marty Party.