We’re now into round 18, two weeks removed from the Origin series decider and it’s still causing us some lingering havoc. Thanks to Cam400, there was no way the Storm were Origin guys were missing that game, and so they’ve been rested from this weekend instead. That’s a big hit to all Cam Munster owners especially as I was expecting him to tear apart the Titans who are in turmoil.
On a positive note, we should now start seeing full-strength sides for the remainder of the season with no more rep commitments, as teams head towards their finals campaigns or off season holiday plans. It means the only time we’ll be missing our guns now will be due to the unexpected injuries that occur along the way, so I hope you’ve saved your trades. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re best captain gets hurt and you’re stuck carrying him on the bench
As I continue to mention each week, I’m looking elsewhere than the surefire captain choice Lolo. But on him, the man scored 63 against the Roosters last weekend, his equal lowest score of the season (injury game excluded) and almost scored a try on multiple occasions. Just a BEAST.
Anthony Milford – Previous Score – 80 – Position Average – 61.19
Why not? I’m not yet a Milford believer, but I’ll play along. He is ticking the boxes since his move to fullback a few weeks ago. He passed the eye test against the Knights despite the lower score (42), Broncos loss and knee injury. He just looked more involved. The knee kept him out a week (the crucial bye week mind you) before he returned to post 80 points in last weeks field goal crapshoot with the Warriors. So things are looking up and he gets a very tasty matchup with the Bulldogs this week. They’re the 2nd easiest side for fullbacks to score on this year, behind only St George with their horrible rate. Connor Watson scored 74 last week with a similar running game, but the less said about that game the better.
Will Hopoate – Previous Score – 112 – Position Average – 58.38
When checking the draw, I never expected to find a suitable VC candidate from this first game, let alone two, yet here we are. I am not at all excited about this game from an NRL standpoint and for SuperCoach, I only have Haas (and Staggs not playing) that concerns me. But it’s not all about me and I’ve found just about the best, left-field option for you all. Hoppa is ballin’. A 3RA of 89.3 against post-season contenders Sydney, Cronulla and Newcastle with a FLOOR of 77. He’s killing it and the Bulldogs are surprisingly playing better football lately. He’s also managing to do it from right centre, which is another plus since the Broncos give up the most points to the position. They’re nearly eight points easier than the next spot.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – Previous Score – 113 – Position Average – 39.31
That’s more like it Ramjet. A remarkable performance that actually led to an NRL record for most running metres in a single game, chalking up 367 metres from 34 runs. It was super impressive and fun to watch from an owner’s perspective. This week is a far harder match up with the Sharks who rank 15th to fullbacks scoring. They’re very stingy. Even Jahrome Hughes only had 24 points last weekend. RTS hasn’t had a captain worthy score vs Cronulla since he was a Chook in 2015. His past two games have been 46 and 27. But it’s not all doom and gloom, or else I wouldn’t be recommending him. The man has a 5RA is 68.8 with only a 28 on Melbourne weighing him down, and includes 78 and 84.
Cam McInnes – Previous Score – 94 – Position Average – 50.31
When I recommended McInnes last week, not even I expected a 90+ score. This guy has well and truly upped his SuperCoach game to the premium echelon in 2019. His last three games have been 94, 76 and 65. You’d actually be 50 points better off playing him over Cook during that same span, or 126 with the r16 game included. Adding to the intrigue for me this week is the fact that McInnes has scores of 55, 52, 102 and 57 on Penrith in recent seasons. The only thing I can find that’s working against him is that the Panthers don’t give up huge scores to hookers. They’re one of the tougher teams to score on and have allowed a high score of 66 on them all season, although most weeks the scoring is between that and 47 (only four other games under that).
Josh Papalii– Previous Score – 60 – Position Average – 50.06
It’s been a solid run for Big Papa Pump. He was outstanding in Queensland’s Origin campaign and has recorded scores of 60 and 70 from his last two games around the midseason spectacle. He may have had just 46 on Wests when the two sides met in round 13, however in years gone by, Papalii has scored 100, 82, 112, 92, 56, 60 and then a 26 from back in 2015. The Tigers are his second favourite team to play based on career average.
Cameron Smith – Previous Score – 101 – Position Average – 52.63
I’m genuinely concerned for the Titans this weekend. They facing the league leaders, who towelled up the Sharks, they lost to the Panthers without firing a shot, and have just fired their coach. In fact, the only break they’ve caught is that the Storm are taking this as a second bye week and resting a few of the Origin reps. All that means to me is more ball for Cam this week. It should be another game where he steers the side around the park and pots a million goals when they run the score up. The Titans do ok against hookers this year, coming in 10th for points allowed, but they’re not usually Cam Smith. Smithy’s last six games vs the Coasters has resulted in an 81.3 average. It’s likely up around where he’ll sit again.
James Tedesco – Previous Score – DNP (rested) – Position Average – 48.44
Hopefully fresh and keen to rip in for those that held onto the Billy Slater Origin Man of the Series. Teddy got his second rest of the rep period in round 17 and returns against the Knights who he had 90 points on in their loss of round 11. He has had some mixed results against the Knights recently. Games from 2015-2018 saw scores of 51, 77, 85, 20 and 40. So been a bit here-and-there, but based on his recent form in Origin and subsequent rest, he could be primed for a big one. Regardless, between Teddy and Ponga, it should be a cracking watch and I’ll be glued to the TV for it. Family time be damned.
Damian Cook – Previous Score – 55 – Position Average – 57.63
Officially, I’m listing Cookie as a riskier captain choice but I am extremely excited about him this weekend. Leading up to the round 9 magic round between South Sydney and North Queensland, I had this to say about Cook:
“Point is, Cook was awesome and now gets a tasty match up with the Cowboys, a team he put scores of 115 and 113 on last year.”
Cook then made me look like a genius with a huge 146 point game, his SuperCoach career high. He scored a try, set up another three, associated linebreaks (2) and LB assists (2), and 41 tackles. He only ran the ball four times. It really was magic. Based on this game alone, it’s not surprising the Cowboys rank 3rd of all teams for ease of scoring from the rake position. They’ve been giving up solid points all year, culminating in Jake Friend punching out 87 points in his return game last weekend. The main (only) reason he sits in the “risky” section is the rumours that he may be due a rest. Looking at the team list though, I doubt that eventuates. All aboard!
Tom Trbojevic – Previous Score – DNP (Rested) – Position Average – 51.75
The prodigal son returns. How’s this stat for the young gun? He is yet to play in a losing side in 2019. He’s only played five NRL games (rounds 3, 4, 13, 14, 15) and the final two Origin games; all wins. Not overly SuperCoach relevant but interesting none-the-less. I suppose if you wanted to try to link it, you can say that he’s averaging over 100 points in wins this year. Last season when facing the Eels, Turbo posted 47 and 95 point games against the then Wooden Spooners. This year they are giving up over 50 PPG to fullbacks, including 65, 88 and 52 over the past three weeks. TommyGun is on a superb run this year, with the 58 points against Souths in just over a half of football his lowest score of the year.
Ken Maumalo – Previous Score – 45 – Position Average – 40.5
Some may have lined this game up as the opportunity for a sneaky VC throw with Kenny. Think again. Regular readers know my hesitation with guys suffering a HIA the game prior. I really need to start keeping stats on it. I’m of the belief that performances are well down following such a head knock. The Healthline website on concussion states “On average, expect to take at least two to four weeks off from strenuous activities, including sports, while you recover.” This is average, so it can be a day’s rest or multiple weeks that are needed (see Luke Keary). On top of that, Cronulla rank 4th hardest to score on for left wingers with Josh Addo-Carr getting just 19 points in a big Storm win.
Angus Crichton – Previous Score – 49 – Position Average – N/A
I saw a tweet during the week (which was then retweeted by this site), wondering where Angus would be playing next season, since his Roosters tenure has been so underwhelming. I am all for that scenario. After averaging close to 70 PPG the past two year, he’s sitting right at around a 53 average so far and he’s again been named from the bench. That alone should tell you not to look at him, but I’d already identified him as a skip before team lists came out. Crichton has had a horrible time against the Knights throughout his short career. Apart from Souths (who he’s played once this year from the bench) Newcastle are his worst team to play with just a 34 point average, including his high score of 43 coming in round 11 this year.
David Nofoaluma – Previous Score – 126 – Position Average – 42.94
I’ll concede right now this might be clouded by spite. However, it’s also a reminder not to chase last weeks points. Nofo was great against the Eels, but the game was the first time he had scored a ton since round 5, 2017. It was also his highest score of his career, next best being a 111 which came against the Warriors in 2015. So there’s a pretty good chance he doesn’t reproduce it on Saturday afternoon. Funnily enough, the Raiders are one of the easier teams to score on from the right wing this year, but did just restrict Ravalawa to 21. Admittedly, not a huge feat.
Some Others of Interest
Jazz Tevaga – Previous Score – 87 – Position Average – 53.06
I wanted so badly to be able to look into Boogie as a solid captain choice this week. He deserves that much. But NZ play the second game behind a relatively unexciting r18 opener. Still, a 75 3RA is impressive and not the worst choice.
Shaun Johnson – Previous Score – 98 – Position Average – 54.75
Revenge Game Alert! Although he’s been named, it’s very uncertain if Shaun will actually be there on the night. I hope he is though. A 98 against the hardest side to score on last week, and a revenge narrative against the easiest side to score on this week. Pray for SJ!
Viliame Kikau – Previous Score – 41 – Position Average – 54.75
Honestly just wanted to add Viliame here to applaud fellow contributor JT for his superb recap of Kikau’s Friday afternoon “game”. Well done.
Kalyn Ponga – Previous Score – DNP (Injured) – Position Average – 53.69
What a f***ing awful game it was on Friday. Just awful. But help is on the way. Wonderkid is back and not a moment too soon. Ponga’s second last game in the NRL was against the Roosters and he scored 112 that evening. They rank 6th for fullback points allowed in 2019.
Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad – Previous Score – 111 – Position Average – 45.25
This kid man. Honestly. Great start to the year, but after a five week run of 31, 37, 64, 40 and then 17, it appeared that he’d hit the wall. So I trade him out. Nek minnit, 88 and 111 are his next two scores. C’mon man.
Jordan Rapana – Previous Score – 54 – Position Average – 43.5
Rapana LOVES the Tigers. His scores on them since 2015 are 57, 62, 136, 82, 163, 78 and 33. Some outrageous scoring in there.
Cameron Munster – Previous Score – 90 – Position Average – N/A
OUT!! Make other arrangements.
Daly Cherry-Evans – Previous Score – 93 – Position Average – 46.00
DCE bounced back from the Origin loss to put in a huge game against the Bunnies. The Eels are a bit tougher to score on (by average) by allowed Benji 59 points in his milestone match last week.
Mitchell Moses – Previous Score – 86 – Position Average – 52.19
Moses is the best halfback in the (SuperCoach) comp this year. Never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. He towelled up Wests, and has a good history on Manly. 137 and 6 (in 70 mins) last year, 70 and 91 in the years prior. ARey also just scored 78.
I got back into the high scorers last week with a 1222 bolstered by my VC RTS and Captain Bateman. I was away on the weekend and decided not to loop RTS’s post-game 90ish, never seeing that it jumped 20 points. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I also played Sivo over Nofoaluma to the detriment of 100 points. That one hurt.
Despite what I said about Cook being a risky captain option, I’m potentially going to line him up at VC during the Saturday night game and Captain Turbo. I’m in the handy situation where I can sub out Jake Turbo, make him the reserve instead of Taupau, and captain Arrow all on the Sunday.
As always, you can ask me any follow-ups in the comments below and hopefully I’ll be able to help some more. Good luck.