We have a slight change to normal transmission this week, with the latest arrival to Semisonic’s clan of future gun 2RFs for the Knights being brought into the world! Congratulations again, mate! Huge task to fill the shoes of your regular El Capitano while he attends to fatherly business, but I’ll do my best. Consider me Vice Captain – no, JUNIOR Vice Captain for Round 5. I’m kind of like the dud you left the VC on in the Thursday night game only to find out your first-choice captain on the last game of the round went down with injury in the warmup. But we’ll solider through!
Looking over Semi’s analysis last week, unfortunately there was not too much luck in the Captains’ Calls, with Damien Cook, Marty Taupau and John Bateman only nudging around the 60 mark. Nothing to sneeze at, but of course it could have been better. What Semi did nail though, was his ‘Avoids’, with Cleary and Hodgson underwhelming again, and SJ not even making it onto the park. And anyone who captained the likes of Fifita, Munster or Ponga from the ‘Others’ were duly rewarded.
Just as a side note, for those (like me) who are continually confused by the ‘Points to Position’ stat we use below, a friendly reminder that it represents where that player’s opposition are ranked in terms of giving up points to a particular playing position so far this year. For example, the Bulldogs concede the most SuperCoach points to 2RFs in 2019, so in points to position for second rowers they are ranked 1st. Conversely, the Raiders concede the least amount of points to fullbacks, so would be 16th.
Corey Oates – Previous Score – 18 – Points to Position – 11th
Back at his favoured Suncorp Stadium this week and after a couple of down rounds looks ready to pounce on a Tigers defence that can be found wanting out wide. This is the kind of low-risk upside you want from your VC and he’ll be a prime candidate for his 23,000 owners. Forget about last week’s score, the ceiling is too good.
Esan Marsters – Previous Score – 29 – Points to Position – 4th
The Broncos have given up plenty of points out wide so far this year and that’s exactly the type of opposition that Marsters can pounce on. Had a rare off game last round but on a dry track away from the grind it might just shore him up for a big score here. The possibility of 50+ in base and a try off the back of it (surely he’s due)? Huge.
Nathan Cleary – Previous Score – 54 – Points to Position – 5th
Almost a no-brainer if you don’t have the likes of Oates or Marsters in the early game. The Panthers haven’t set the world on fire but maybe it’ll just take the one game to get them on a roll here. Titans fans (all 7 of them) will still be having nightmares of watching Cleary and Kikau carve them up late to steal a win last year and will need to be at their best to stop a side stinging from criticism so far this season. There is still a risk though given Cleary’s patchy form to date, and that’s why you would find it tough to slap the C on him. Just run at Carty all game and you’ll be right, son.
Cameron Munster – Previous Score – 88 – Points to Position – 8th
As a Cowboys fan, I am beyond nervous for what this Storm side can do to us on Friday night. We have looked absolutely bog ordinary defending any sort of attacking shape so far this season and our line has been broken at will. We have far too many slow forwards trying to defend in and around the ruck to defuse the kind of ballrunning genius that is Cameron Munster. We have given up 17 tries in our last 3 games and if/when that rubbish continues against the Storm, you can guarantee Munster will have his hands on plenty more. This is a guy that usually sits in the Captain Riskys. Not this week. (Note: while I am a Munster owner, I am partially putting him here so that he inevitably fails and the Cows get a miracle win…so be warned )
Damien Cook – Previous Score – 66 – Points to Position – 4th
He missed out on attacking stats last week but was inches away from notching up another near-ton if they had have gotten over. Has been relatively quiet so far this season (still averaging 68 though!) but another huge game is not far away and he is more than likely to find it at Sunshine Coast Stadium. He averages almost 70 against the Warriors from 5 games and with the infamous ‘Queensland Heat’ bearing down at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, should find plenty of points against the very shaky Warriors pack.
John Bateman – Previous Score – 58 – Points to Position – 6th
Seems like a great way to close out your week of Rugby League, watching Bateman continue to rack up the points as he’s done all year. His game at home against the Eels looks a great chance to notch a few attacking stats as Parramatta’s blistering form so far this season hasn’t quite been matched in the defensive stakes. In Bateman, it’s fantastic to not only have someone who presents himself as a genuinely good captain option each week with such a high floor, and looks like going large regularly, but can be squeezed into your CTW. Amazing.
Bryce Cartwright – Previous Score – Laughable – Points to Position – Doesn’t matter
Someone should do it though. For the Lels.
Cameron Smith – Previous Score – 72 – Points to Position – 4th
If you were to pick a round where you expect him to go big, this would be it. My Cowboys have loved giving up points to hookers for the last couple of years (could have used some charity last week for Hodgson, though, but not even the most desperate soul seems to want to go searching on that street corner) and Smith can pick and choose his spots here against a sieve-like defensive line. It’s just not the same CS9 as past years though, is it? Without the running of the ball you kind of rely on him getting that try assist at the line and the stack of goals to push him into captain-able territory. Every chance of that happening this week anyway, so a good POD option if you have him.
James Tedesco – Previous Score – 84 – Points to Position – 15th
The Sharks are a much stingier defensive side so far this season than the likes of the Broncos and Eels who Teddy has done so well against recently. He’ll be a very popular option this week based on those last few rounds, but we know he’s got a low score in him. In what looks like being a bit of a grind of a game, do you trust him enough to get you the 80+?
Shaun Lane – Previous Score – 36 – Points to Position – 14th
It’s almost like one of those ‘this will have to backfire on everyone trading him out’ scenarios. The reason he’s in so many sides to begin with is because he possesses a terrific attacking game when given the chance, and the law of averages (if not common sense) says that he’s more than due this week after a couple of dodgy rounds. It will take a brave, brave SuperCoach to give him the reins, but you will undoubtedly feature as my Monday ‘Ballsy Call of the Week’ if it comes off for you! For anyone that’s found themselves sitting at pretty much 60,000th or something by now, this is a risk you should take for the sheer fact it will give you massive bragging rights over plenty of nay-saying Lane owners!
Andrew Fifita – Previous Score – 89 – Points to Position – 5th
Seems crazy to avoid a guy who notched 89 last week with 7 offloads, right? I just do not like seeing Paul Gallen in the same side as Fifi, and given it’s also unlikely that a mid-game injury to a fellow prop (ala Aaron Woods last week) will occur, I just don’t see Fifita as a captain option for this week. The Roosters might give up plenty of points through the middle, but the minutes and workload Fifi got through last week might just sting him this round. Can see this winding up another 50-60 point game unfortunately.
Jai Arrow – Previous Score – 59 – Points to Position – 10th
Who knows what the hell is going on with this forward rotation at the Titans? Smallish minutes are badly affecting the output of a SuperCoach favourite in Jai Arrow, who we know possesses a huge PPM game that would see him knocking out 80+ if given the chance. He’s just not getting it. You can’t trust it and unless you’re 12 beers deep by 6pm Friday and wanting to get a punt on early, you can’t back him in here.
Kalyn Ponga – Previous Score – 88 – Points to Position – 14th
A great return to form for the kid last week against the Dragons. Couple of try assists and some scything runs helped push that score up to where everyone expects it. The only worry this week is that the unfortunate passing of one of Ponga’s relatives has seen a disruption to his training week, and you just don’t know how that will affect him. The two teams also come into this game with contrasting records last round – Manly defying the odds to get a golden point win over the Rabbits, and the Knights heartbreakingly falling to the Dragons at home for their 3rd straight loss. How will that be faring for the legs and the minds of the players outside Ponga who need to step up? This is going to go one way or the other and my non-owning head is leaning me towards a dud week here, despite the hype.
Jake Trbojevic – Previous Score – 66 – Points to Position – 10th
Always a popular one but just a little bit vanilla for the real risk-takers out there. Will be safe 60 this round you would imagine, so wait and see how you’re travelling by the 5:30pm game on Saturday as to whether you need to go a bit riskier.
Clint Gutherson – Previous Score – 96 – Points to Position – 16th
How do you argue with form? The Raiders v Eels just sounds like an attacking masterclass if this current year is anything to go by.
Charnze Nikoll-Klokstad – Previous Score – 86 – Points to Position – 9th
Sam Burgess – Previous Score – 77 – Points to Position – 12th
On the podcast this week I’ve taken on Wenin in a steak bet (poor, foolish, gambly Wenin) that says Burgess (me) will finish higher in average points per game than Crichton for the rest of the season. So given the tale of the tape sees me ahead at 2-0 historically, I’m backing Surgess to deliver against a Warriors side that might have scraped a win together against the Titans but still has plenty of work to do. A nice 120+ game to kick off the bet would be lovely and possibly not that far-fetched. The only worry is that the Rabbitohs rack up such a ridiculous score that Uncle Wayne gives him an early shower. But by that time, you’d have expected him notch up plenty of attacking stats along the way.
Cody Walker – Previous Score – 64 – Points to Position – 16th
Amazingly, the Warriors have given up the least number of points to 5/8s so far this season. Reason for this is that those 5/8s have been Lachlan Lewis, Tyrone Roberts, Kane Elgey and Benji Marshall. Quite clearly, this guy is a little above in terms of class there. Looked like tonning up last week against Manly but probably scored one or two points if you’re being generous in the second half. Classic Calker. This round is one of the reasons owners have him in the first place. Have to trust him to go large here.
This is a wide-open affair this week. Which makes it a prime chance to throw your captaincy on a complete POD or one of the ‘Captain Riskys’. If it fails, at least you have another 20ish rounds to make up for it!
Your regular captain, Semi, will be back on deck next week to salvage what I’m sure will be the shipwreck I’ve guided you to here, and will hopefully have notched an hour or two of sleep across the weekend to keep him going.
Best of luck to all this week (except Wenin) and I hope this is the round your captain choice sees you soaring high up the SuperCoach ladder!