This is it. For the very final time in 2019, we’ll set our teams, make a ton of mistakes and get incredibly frustrated. I’m going to miss is very soon. But I’ll also be enjoying the time off from it. That being said, I still have one last job to do. So let’s take a look at the captain options one last time.
But as we do that, keep in mind that this is treacherous territory this week. Ladder positions have largely been finalised. Team lists are named and we already have a host of stars on the sidelines. Munster, Addo-Carr, CNK and Bateman have already been given a week off. Turbo and McInnes have their years cut short in very disappointing fashion. The following players have been named, but could very easily be withdrawn at the final hour as they head into finals. So I implore anyone in the running for cash or a grand final to watch the late mail extremely closely.
James Tedesco – Previous Score – 84 – Position Average – 44.91
This one’s easy. If Teddy is out there, don’t even think about it. VC him at the very least. I’m not even going to go into past scores or mentioned scores against the Bunnies (except for the average above). Just know that since the Origin period, Teddy has played 7 games and averaged 107 PPG. Of course, if he’s not playing…
Maika Sivo – Previous Scores – 97 – Position Averages – 51.61
Playing Maika last weekend was a proud moment for me. I correctly surmised (i.e. guessed) that he’d do well against a Broncos right edge defence that’s been struggling lately. And in good news, Manly’s right edge has been even worse as the second easiest to score on this season. The Fox had 59 on them last week and Ken Maumalo scored 96 just a couple weeks earlier. It’s not all roses though. There were also some leaner scores in between, like Cotric’s 16, but to be fair, Croker scored 76 and didn’t look outside too much. Sivo scored 56 on the Sea Eagles in round 18. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the loss on Tom for the year.
Ryan Papenhuyzen – Previous Score – 98 – Position Average – 56.28
This kid might be one of my first picked players in 2020. How about this for an amazing stat. According to nrlsupercoachstats.com, when Papy has played 80 minutes at fullback he has scored 98, 123, 108, 71 and 87. An average of 97.4 PPG. He also had a 119 game in the magic round demolition of the Eels, and a 96 in the Storms round 20 Suncorp slaughter, both from the bench. He is electric and can easily post the round’s highest score given the opportunity. Which is just what has been presented to him this Friday night. He’s starting again (via Hughes to halves like last week) and faces the Cowboys who allow 56 PPG to fullbacks. If you still have him stashed away, or an extra trade (somehow), Papy could be a league winner.
Cam Smith – Previous Score – 111 – Position Average – 59.35
Another big “IF”. The Storm have secured the minor premiership so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Smith starting at hooker. Brandon though, not Cam. Still, if the future immortal does take the field, he’s a legitimate option (as always). Like Teddy, Smith is on a huge SuperCoach run, averaging almost 74 points this year and 87.25 PPG over the past two months. And he’s about 100 now. Playing the Cowboys in round 5 this season, who allow the second highest average to hookers, Cam returned a modest score of 56. In his younger days (last year), Smith scored 123 and 74 against the North Queenslanders. But again, keep an eye on the late mail.
Jazz Tevaga – Previous Score – 62 – Position Average – 57.43
Unlike a lot of spots on the field, the Raiders have been allowing the 3rd best clip against locks this season. The past 5 to play them have scored 68, 69, 57, 71 and 67. And Jazz has been amazing in the position. He’s averaging 72 PPG with the 13 on his back, and even had 73 points on a full-strength Raiders side in round 20 when he played primarily as a hooker. I say “full-strength” because they clearly are not this week and I think the Warriors could spring an upset of sorts. Hopefully Jazz can pick up a couple of attacking stats to go along with his usual work.
James Fisher-Harris – Previous Score – 71 – Position Average – 50.17
It’s been a hell of a year for JFH. He took his career high average of 49 from last year, and bumped it almost 20 points this year. He’s been rotated through prop, 2RF and lock and still maintained the scoring. In fact, he only had one score under 49 all season, a 48 in round 10 against Sydney. One of the times he was a front rower. But he’s been named in the #13 this week and Newcastle have been the 2nd hardest team for the position to score on all season. Except lately. Recently, locks are having all sorts of fun putting points on my guys. The only one of the past seven players to not score over 50 on the Knights was John Asiata and he was only there because Lolo missed a game. They even got Jai Arrow to score 68 points, the first time in months he’s scored outside of the 40’s. When the Panthers beat Newcastle back in round 2, JFH scored 74 points. That’s where I think he’ll be at once more.
Ken Maumalo – Previous Score – 54 – Position Average – 39.43
Maumalo started the year with a bang. It’s time to end it the same way. The Raiders have been one of the hardest sides to score on all season long but for left wingers, things have gotten pretty easy over the past month. Dan Tupou started it off with 82 points in round 21, followed by Addo-Carr (59), Taufua (12) and Ronaldo Mulitalo (92). I mean, Taufua’s score is awful but he’s not a renowned high-scorer. He’s more about (in Jim Ross voice) breaking people in half. And then on top of that, look at this weak’s Raiders team. Just look at it. And no, that wasn’t a typo. Barring something incredible from Manly, like 90 point win incredible, Canberra’s locked up a top 4 spot and they’re happy with that. So, they’re resting a bunch of top liner’s. Maumalo could feast.
David Fifita – Previous Score – 116 – Position Average – 55.13
The game’s next superstar has arrived. I don’t want to but undue pressure on him, but he has been exceptional of late and he deserves to be recognised. Fifita has scored 4 tries in as many games, thanks to a double against Souths. He single-handedly set Brisbane up for the win in extra time. It was very impressive to watch. He’s now sporting a 5RA of 82.2 points. And I’m not too worried about the Broncos resting players to be honest. Despite sitting in 7th place with 8th and 9th playing each other to make the finals, the Broncos can technically still miss out. They have the worst points differential of the 3 teams so if they were to lose, while the Tigers and Sharks play out a draw the next day….. Improbable, but not impossible. I actually hope it happens. It would be an amazing finish to the season.
Shaun Johnson – Previous Score – DNP (inj) – Position Average – 52.04
The very obvious risk here is injury. SJ was a super late withdrawal last week with a quad injury sustained in the warm-up. He’s been given the tick of approval but all eyes will be well and truly on the late mail here. If he does take the field, I’m expecting an on-song SJ because this is what the Sharks brought him in for. One of the sides in this game will be heading off to Mad Monday (short of the scenario outlined above). I know SJ doesn’t want that to be him. He’ll be looking to continue the form that saw him score 82.4 PPG in the 7 games leading into last week. Or potentially the 78.5 PPG he averaged over the last four years against the Tigers. Either way, I’m on board.
No avoids this week. We’re in round 25. It’s your final chance to throw caution to the wind with your captain pick. Go for broke. If JT can pick Michael Morgan for the last month, you can pick that PoD captain. Live your dream.
AND SO WE SAY GOODBYE TO…
Over the years, we’ve had so much talent running around the NRL and been extremely blessed to watch the world’s best rugby league players on a weekly basis. It’s easy to take it for granted at times but let’s take a moment to recognise some of SuperCoach’s best.
It’s easy to forget that GI is on this list, seeing as his retirement came at the start of the season. But for me, he belongs at the top of it, and not just because his team plays first this week. At his peak, there was no one better in the game in the NRL or SuperCoach. He averaged around 65 points for 5 straight seasons in the FB and CTW positions. This guy was a human highlight reel and I’ll forever remember that Suncorp try. You know the one.
A 300 game, 1 club man and Premiership Captain. Sutton earned SuperCoach respect for being a 2RF who could be selected in the 5/8 spot for many, many years. And he wasn’t a slouch either. From 2009, Sutton average under 50 points just once.
Cronk has never been a SuperCoach option. Sure he’ll break out for a huge game every now and then but by-and-large, he wasn’t relevant. But he is one of the best halfbacks of this generation, with numerous representative trophies, premierships and Dally M’s. He’s done it all.
The scariest man in the world is leaving us to go terrorise the English, God save them. He’s obviously been a complete beast for us SuperCoaches this year, but Ma’u has always been up there. His lowest average was 50 in 2014, followed by 54, 58, 52 and 63 last year. And then he somehow got CTW eligibility this season. A gift.
The Nth Queensland premiership captain and Maroons regular finally hangs up the boots after a few years dealing with health issues. Once a FRF gun, Scott averaged almost 58 points between 2012 and 2015.
Again, not a huge SuperCoach type, but a premiership winner and stalwart of the NRL. Plus, JT would have me fired if I didn’t mention the man. He has the contacts to do it.
Well, we all know that story. Gone too soon.
Remember when Flash was an absolute must-have as a goal-kicking CTW/FB superstar at Penrith? He averaged 65 in 2010 and then 75 in an injury plagued 2011. Injury also robbed him of all but 7 games in 2012 before he moved to the Shire. What could have been. Enjoy playing park footy with your mates, Mick.
The Englishman is heading home at the end of this year but does so with an impressive resume. A premiership winner with the Storm in 2012, World Cup runner up in 2017, and most impressively, Silver Fox medalist in 2017 (best captain in SuperCoach). He averaged 73 that season. Also scored 173 points last year against this week’s opponents, just FYI.
Like him, or loathe him, there’s no question Farah has been one of the best hookers of this generation. Another premiership winner, with the Tigers in 2005, a club and State captain, Australian and Lebanese representative, and 2-time Dally M runner-up. From 2009-2014, He averaged spot on 70 SuperCoach PPG as a FRF, before the position was split to exclude hookers. And despite all that, he’ll probably be best known for sitting on the scoreboard at Leichhardt. If he plays this weekend, it will be both a miracle and incredibly stupid.
PG13; Gal; G-Train. Whatever you want to call him (and I know there’s more colourful ones out there), put some respect on it. Paul Gallen is SuperCoach royalty. nrlsupercoachstats.com only has records back as far as 2009 but from then until 2018, Gal averaged over 84 points. Across 9 seasons. INSANE. He was a walk-up starter and captain. Unfortunately, Father-time is undefeated and his output has dropped considerably the past two seasons. But he will leave with a decorated resume, including captaining the Sharks to their first-ever premiership in 2016.
James Maloney is a winner. Pure-and-simple. He started his career in Melbourne, guided New Zealand to their only NRL grand-final, won premierships with Sydney and Cronulla, won Origins the past two years. Wherever he goes, success follows (except Penrith so far). And now he leaves us to join the Catalans Dragons. I hope the BBQ-ing is just as good over there.
MY WEEK IN REVIEW
My Knights won’t stop letting me down lately. Yes, they finally won a game but were still eliminated from the finals race across the weekend. Yes, they had a huge win against the NRL wooden spooners, but I captained Ponga for the bloodbath and he only posted a score of 54. Sigh…
I can’t complain too much though. While it’s been a pretty unsuccessful year for me in this game, I have managed an average of 93 points from my captains in 2019. That is higher than all but 2 of the scores I captained last year so it’s a huge improvement. My year includes 9 triple-figure captains, 2 x 99’s and another 3 in the 90’s. Hopefully, I can follow that up next year whilst improving the rest of my junk side/choices.
So, as I head off into the sunset for 2019, I think it’s evident through this that I’ll be going with Teddy as VC and SJ as C. But that again all depends on the finals teams as the weekend rolls through.
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, thanks for reading all year and see you again next season.