NRL Fantasy: Zeb Taia Hit Or Hype

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Updated: March 11, 2016

As is always the case in preseason, there is a spate of “must buy” that builds around one player or another. It usually comes from trial and nines form or in the form of a hot tip from someone’s friend’s mother’s aunty’s cousin who knows the player in question or the players coach.
Within days, Zeb Taia, had become the hottest mid-range property in Nrl Fantasy and his round 1 score is suggesting the hype may have been on the money….for once.

So, Zeb Taia, Hit or Hype? Let’s look at the numbers.

Taia has spent the last 3 years in the English Super League and has been quite a hit… but then again so was Greg Eden and he only accomplished a miniscule ZERO NRL appearances in all of 2015 – not to mention a very forgettable performance in round 1 2016.

Taia does have some impressive numbers though. His 2015 SL stats include 79 Tackle Breaks, 60 Offloads and 14 Linebreaks along with 3 Try Assists and 11 Meat Pies from 23 games. He was also awarded Man of the Match in 4 of those games.

Add to this his round 1 performance of 49 fantasy points from 39 tackles, 1 tackle break, 111 metres gained and a try, and by now many have already opened their fantasy app and are about to replace that injured gun with Zeb. Just hold on a minute and read the rest of this article before making up your mind.
Back to Super League and Taia also made 407 tackles at 19.7 per game with 59 missed tackles at 2.6 per game (roughly a 13% missed tackle rate). On average he committed just over 1 error per game and only conceded 7 penaltys for the season. Taia only averaged 107m per game, about as impressive as his tackle count. For some perspective – that’s about the same avg meter gains and a few less tackles a match than Bryce Cartwright produced in just 53 mins a game last season!

It’s also vastly under his round 1 performance and when you consider McQueen on the other edge only saw half the traffic Taia did, his 49pts to start the season is looking less and less repeatable.

When all the sums are done, Taia averaged about 45 fantasy points per game last season for Catalans.

Taia’s priced at 40 pts per game so there would appear to be some upside there but Taia’s attacking stats will not fully transfer to the NRL.

The gap between top and bottom teams in SL is about as wide as Mitch Johnson’s radar! It would be like the NRL becoming a 24 team comp by including the top 4 NSW and QLD Cup teams. As a result there are plenty of ridiculous score lines.

The last 2 world club series also highlighted the glaring difference in standards. In his time in the NRL Taia scored 14 trys from 107 games. Whilst at Catalans he scored 36 Trys from 77 games.

He wont get pies like that at an NRL venue – Even if Georgie Rose isn’t around!

The Verdict – Taia will likely continue to be named starting BR and likely play 80 respectable minutes. But his price at 40pts a game is about on the money, probably at least a shade high coming back to higher standards of defence in our competition.

In order to see any significant increases, something will have to change – being he already plays 80, it’ll need to be a role change or a break-out season. That’s where you gut comes in, it’s your call – will Taia go big in 2016 and relegate the stats to history?

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