Lakey’s Captain’s – Round 1

The footy is back, and so is your Captain.

It’s been a long time but we’re on the home stretch now and I can’t wait to get stuck into some Captain’s analysis for you guys once again.

Following last year’s ‘Lose Yourself’ inspired intro, I thought I’d have another crack at an burgeoning rap career, this time with Coolio’s – Gangsta’s Paradise..

As I work through the team lists and try to add in some depth,

I take a look for some rooks and realize there’s none left.

‘Cause I’ve been staring at this screen for so long,

And I still don’t know if I’ll start with Shaun Johnson.

I’ve never crossed off a name that didn’t deserve it,

But a strained leg made me rule out Tom Trbojevic.

Whos’ a better match? Taumalolo and Cody Walker,

Or pairing Fitzgibbon together with Morgo?

His knee might hurt his kicks, but I gotta know

Do I grab Crokes and use the cash for Jai Arrow?

I want to have the kind of team that everybody wants to be like

And it starts with my Knights. I’m saying prayers Ponga’s alright.

Keep spending most my time,

Trying to get my round 1 line-up right.

And I’ll keep ignoring my wife,

Coz I’m obsessed with Sangsta’s paradise

Value for the money, Fifita vs Taupau

Who will get the minutes? How do I replace Kikau?

Lomax has just been cut, I need another rook in

But going down to Ravalawa, will let me get Dame Cook in

37 trades to burn, so I could get Tyrone Peachey?

But I need to save trades up, somebody has to teach me!

I know I can’t, I’ll waste them all

Trading is fun; that’s why I’ll start by stacking up the back row.

Tell me how do I afford Teddy,

All the guns I want are so exxy?

Keep spending most my time,

Trying to get my round 1 line-up right.

And I’ll keep ignoring my wife,

Coz I’m obsessed with Sangsta’s paradise

And I’ll spend my weekend family time,

Watching footy Thursday to Sunday nights.

Getting your SuperCoach Captain right,

Is the best feeling in Sangsta’s paradise…

Let’s go, homies.

Vice Captains

Matt Moylan – 2018 average – 51.7 – 2018 Points to Position – 6 – 3 Rd P2P – 7

First write up and I’m starting on a low note…. for me anyway. For whatever reason, Moylan just destroys the Knights on a regular basis. Last year, as the Sharks five-eighth, the man delivered a whopping six try assists on his way to a score of 134. His scores vs Newcastle from 2015 to then were 87, 33, 114 and 57. And what’s more, he looked mighty dangerous in the trial game between these sides a week ago, producing a try and a couple of try assists/contributions in just 40 minutes of play. If the same things click in week one, he might get you off to a flyer.

NB. The same could be said about SJ, who has a six game average of 77.5 against the Knights.

Damien Cook – 2018 average – 77.6 – 2018 Points to Position – 16 – 3 Rd P2P – 16

Last years top dog just had to feature in the first piece right? Unfortunately, he plays so early in the round that our every week Captain option becomes a Vice-Captain option. Probably for the best seeing how the Bunnies are playing the reigning premiers who were they stingiest SuperCoach team in 2018. The Chooks managed to keep opposing hookers to a PPM rate of just 0.69, equal hardest with the Storm. They limited Cook to scores of 56 and 80 in two meetings last year, contributing to one of his only five games below 60 for the season. Cook actually had as many games over 100 as he had below 60. Wow. Is that right? That’s a super impressive stat. And a reason why he’s a great VC option.

James Tedesco – 2018 average – 73.6 – 2018 Points to Position – 16 – 3 Rd P2P – 15

Teddy is the best fullback in the NRL for week 1 of the season and has a good record against against fellow NRL heavyweights, South Sydney. Over the last four years and eight games, Teddy has seven scores between 57 and 71. The one outlier of that is from the opening game of 2017, when he casually produced a score of 126. The one concern here is that the Bunnies were very restrictive of fullbacks last season (as seen above) and the Broncos under Bennett were only a little worse, ranking 10th for the year. But that’s what we use the VC for.

Captains

Andrew Fifita – 2018 average – 67.8 – 2018 Points to Position – 3 – 3 Rd P2P – 12

Jeez. Another one against my Knights. I really need to look at who’s picking these guys. Fifi is a rock solid option for round 1, but plays in the second game of the round/season. So if for some reason you pick a Storm or Bronco VC who fails (more on this later), Fifi is a great back up who can get your round/year off on the right foot. Looking fierce through trials, tore apart the Knights in trial 3, Knights were the third easiest side for FRF’s to score on, and he’s possibly slated for more work given the Sharks forwards situation. Then couple all that with past scores of 84, 82, 53, 56, 77, 66 and 64. It’s nothing but pro’s.

Jake Trbojevic – 2018 average – 71.3 – 2018 Points to Position – 1 – 3 Rd P2P – 1

How’s this for the perfect matchup in round 1? Jake Trbojevic, the closest thing we have to an old Corey Parker style lock in Captain, playing against the easiest side for 2RF’s to score on throughout 2018. It’s a match made in heaven. The West Tigers gave up 0.86 PPM to 2RF’s across the season, which includes all the bench guys and fringe first graders, so it’s really pretty good. Jurbo had 16 scores above 60 last year. He’s capable of huge games, having three over 110. He is durable, only missing the two Origin rounds. And he finished last year by averaging 74.5 PPG from round 18 onwards. He’s also scored 76, 62, 61, 67, 61 and 42 (2015) in his recent games against the Tigers. He’s as safe as it gets.

Jai Arrow – 2018 average – 63.9 – 2018 Points to Position – 2 – 3 Rd P2P – 9

Another young favourite of this column last year was Jai Arrow. The man killed me last year. He’d bust out massive scores when I didn’t have him, but then all his injury games seemed to be after I got him in, such as the 17 point game against the Raiders when I had the armband on him. But he’s a beast when allowed to play. In games of over 55 minutes on field, he averaged 84.5 PPG. ACROSS 10 GAMES. Insane. The 17 point game isn’t his only game vs Canberra. He also scored 38 in round 1 last year, and a 40 point game the year before with Brisbane. All up, there’s not a lot of history there, but he’s a huge worker (an incredible 1.17 PPM) against a team that gave up points to 2RF’s. He could bring home your round 1 score very nicely.

Captain Risky

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – 2018 average – 57.2 – 2018 Points to Position – 6 – 3 Rd P2P – 6

The regning Dally M medalist has a pretty nice run in the early rounds and it starts with the Bulldogs on Saturday. The Dogs were one of the easier teams to score against in 2018 and you tell me if you think they’ve improved since then, because I can’t see it. In the last five games of the year, Canterbury gave up the following scores to fullbacks: 71, 111, 85, 27 (Nightingale in 43 mins), and 127. Even with that injury affected score, it’s an average of 84.2 PPG. They played some handy FB’s in that time, and one of them was RTS himself. Along with his 85 in that game, he’s had 63, 21 (in his ACL game), 97 and 90 playing the Dogs in recent years.

Michael Morgan – 2018 average – 43.7 – 2018 Points to Position – 9 – 3 Rd P2P – 6

The great one has moved on and handed the reins over to Morgo. The question is, can he handle the pressure? Well leading the Cowboys in 2017 in the absence of their inspirational leader, Morgo averaged 65 PPG including scores of 143, 90, 77 (twice) and 73. So, yes. It appears he can. This is a very different side to that one though. The pack is arguably the biggest and best in the NRL, which will lay a foundation for the half to operate out of. The backs though… they’re currently rivalling Manly for talent, which isn’t a good thing. Morgan will be required to lead this team on the field and should see the ball plenty. He’s proven that he’s fairly handy when he has it too.

Blake Ferguson – 2018 average – 65.4 – 2018 Points to Position – 8 – 3 Rd P2P – 12

After a career best year and winning a premiership, Blake moved to the other end of the ladder and joined the Eels. Talk about going from the Penthouse to the sh…. Parramatta, mind you, were doing backflips from being able to land one of the premier outside backs in the game. He obviously was playing with a far better side, but previous games against the Panthers saw Fergo return scores of 99, 46, 61, 107 and 87. He showed in the all stars game that he’s still in great form, recovering very well from offseason foot issues, and in the Eels last trial (also against Penrith), he had solid numbers of 17 hitups (10:7), 3 offloads, 4 tackle breaks in 40 minutes. Thanks to @tjstyles for those twitter updates. The Eels can’t get worse than they were last year. They’ve got some handy players and recruited well. If you’re running with Fergo, you could do worse for a Captain pick, but I doubt it will be a relaxing ride. Enjoy!

Avoid

Kalyn Ponga – 2018 average – 65.7 – 2018 Points to Position – 15 – 3 Rd P2P – 16

This one really hurt me to write in the first preview of the year. I honestly think he’ll do well this year. He’ll make the five-eighth position his own, but there’s just enough of a question over too many things to run the risk this early in the year. He was average in the all-stars and last trial vs Cronulla. He was brilliant in another trial vs the Dragons. He’s got the kicking to boost him, but have the Knights fine tuned the combos enough in just one off-season. Also, Ponga has a horrible history vs the Sharks. They are easily his worst team to play in his short career. First of all, there was the 1 point game of 2017 that kept him cheap for last season. He got hurt in that one but had played nearly an entire half before that. Then last year he managed a score of just 30 across 66 minutes. It’s not a hot take to suggest he’ll get his PB this week against this club, but is it enough for a Captain?

Nathan Cleary – 2018 average – 61.7 – 2018 Points to Position – 7 – 3 Rd P2P – 10

I won’t go over it too much as it’s been spoken about to death, but the turmoil at the Panthers has caused a few question marks over how the club is going to respond. Will they put it behind them and come out firing? Will they let it affect them and performances suffer? Will they try to draw the attention elsewhere, throw their toys out the cot and quit Twitter? Wait…. Anyway, all of that and the ankle surgery over the offseason (he played just 40 minutes in the trials) has me a touch hesitant. Wait and see how this pans out.

Brisbane v Melbourne

It has been a long, LONG off-season full of scandal and controversy. Players acting like idiots, fines, suspensions, expulsions, teams breaking rules, General Manager’s proving how outdated they are. And that’s before we add SuperCoach into it (except the GM part). We’ve had months of team deliberations, tweaking squads to get them perfect and then TLT throwing those plans out the window (Lomax anyone?). I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted. We’re already going to be stressing about team selections, rookies, and getting off to a good start. We’ve got two teams opening the year who have proven hard to score SuperCoach points against, plus one of those has a new coach. Don’t add in the extra stress of a captain pick as well. After all this time, just sit back and enjoy some actual rugby league again.

If you absolutely have to, I’d maybe suggest Cam Smith as a VC option only. In his last eight games against Brisbane he has averaged 83.13 PPG, including 106 and 46 last season in a down year. He always seems to play well against his old rivals.

THE WRAP

Thank Corey Parker the footy is back. I was starting to run out of things to talk to my wife about.

Don’t get me wrong. I love her. But there’s wife love; and then there’s football love. And I’ve been missing the hell out of football.

Before writing this article and doing the stats, I’d all but locked in Ponga as my VC. But now, I’m just going to watch my Knights play their season opener and hopefully, enjoy the show. After a bit of tinkering following TLT, I’ve managed to get Teddy into my team, so my current VC choice is between him and Cook. Yet to be determined.

For the Captaincy, I can’t go past Jurbo in order to get a solid score first up. I chased the big fish last year in round 1 with Teddy (35) and never recovered. If my VC fails, I’m going the safe route.

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 and I hope your season gets going early. God it’s good to be back.

Ps. If you’re reading this darling, you’re my world.

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TurkeySnow
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Gun

Looking for a safe rd1 pick so between:
Fifi
Tapow
Arrow

Leaning arrow but tapow loves playing his old club?

Stilesy
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IMMENSE mate. Absolutely gallant effort.

Sonnysideup
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Sonnysideup

Thanks Semisonic. Reminded me why I look forward to these every week smile