How bout them Knights huh? I was going to find some place within the recommendations to subtly throw this in, but nah. I’ll just come out with it. What a brilliant afternoon of football from one team, and one man. Kalyn Ponga was glorious to watch (for about 50 minutes) and racked up his biggest score of the year, and highest of the round. My dear old dad is a Dragons supporter, and it’s just as well for him that he’s over in Canada on a holiday.
PSA: I finally managed to track down a place in Brizzy that sells Welders Dog, and I’ll be grabbing a few to enjoy the footy this weekend.
Blake Ferguson – Previous Score – 43 – Position Average – 49.8
I was torn this week on whether I’d write about Fergo or Gutho for the VC against the woeful Panthers. In the end I picked the former on the basis of CTW’s scoring better against Penrith than fullbacks do, albeit not by much. Fergo’s not had the best month since returning from his injury break, with scores of 52, 85, 31 and 43 but he does have a much healthier 73.3 point average on the Panthers since 2015. And as I said, the Panthers are bad this year. Really bad. That 49.8 right centre average is sixth most in the league.
Kalyn Ponga – Previous Score – 118 – Position Average – 48.8
What a superstar! If you think that Kalyn won’t feature in this piece every single week from now on, you’re going to get a rude surprise. The kid is magic. Pure magic. He dismantled the Dragons throughout the first half to hit the ton by the break, and started just as well in the second when he exploded through the line for a third try. Unfortunately, Lachie Fitzgibbon reached out and help Frizzell which got it disallowed. That guy continues to screw me even after I traded him out. He’s now averaging 87.7 PPG since moving to fullback in round 4. He has his hardest test this week when the reigning premiers come to town. They’ve allowed an average of 48.8 to opposing fullbacks this year and Ponga has only ever scored 65 and 54 on them. But when you’re on, you’re on.
James Tedesco – Previous Score – 79 – Position Average – 43.8
I heard something interesting from the FoxSports commentary team last weekend. Calm down, it wasn’t Braith’s on-point analysis. I’m pretty sure it was Mick Ennis. He said that Cronk and Keary are probably the best halves pairing in the comp, but it’s Tedesco that the Roosters look for to get things going. Then watching the game, he was absolutely right. Teddy is in everything they do at the moment and was very unlucky to only score 79 against the Broncos. My only slight concern is that he only scored 40 and 20 last season against Newcastle, and they’re currently the third hardest team to score against. However he had 85, 71 and 55 in the three games before that. So, I’m in the strange position of hoping he scores like the recent games, for my team’s sake, but like the earlier games for my SuperCoach’s sake.
Jai Arrow – Previous Score – 77 – Position Average – 51
Jai plays the first game on Friday, so throw the VC on him if you want. Or if you have VC’d an Eel (or a Panther I guess), then he’s still in play as a straight up captain. I mentioned last week how he’s killing it since Ryan James went down for the year. For those that didn’t catch it, he averaged 63.2 in 59 minutes over the first five games. Since, 72.8 PPG in 66 minutes. The man is a beast and it’s honestly a mystery as to why Brennan would mess with his best player’s minutes or workrate. Just to sweeten the cherry for you, Jai had 52 and 138 against Manly a year ago. Not bad.
Update: Arrow was injured at training on Thursday morning and went for scans. Keep a close eye on the situation.
Josh Papalii – Previous Score – 64 – Position Average – 49.05
Have to admit here, once Papalii got shifted to the front row I pretty much dismissed him as a SuperCoach option. But the big man has been unreal. He’s playing some of his best football, which is fortunate for Queensland with Origin just around the corner. Papalii has a 5RA of 62.4 which includes 64 and 86 over the past two weeks, and he’s had past scores of 47 (earlier this year), 64, 82, 57, 91, 67 and 50 against the Cowboys. In all fairness to the Cowboys, they’ve not been giving up huge scores to props despite being dominated for much of the season so Papa has his work cut out for him here. It should be a fun matchup to watch with this next guy too.
Jason Taumalolo – Previous Score – 94 – Position Average – 56.8
It’s a shame Lolo got injured this season. It’s robbed us all of the chance to field an absolute weapon all season, and the Cowboys are a much better side with him out there. Without him, the northern side has a 1-5 record and -74 points differential. With him, a 3-1 record (that loss to the Rabbitohs), a +17 points differential and a 87.5 PPG SuperCoach average. They say there’s no “I” in team, but I think he proves there’s no team in NQ without JT. In contrast to what I mentioned above, the Raiders are allowing points to Locks, ranking 5th easiest in the stat. They’ve had six different Locks score 60 or above on them in 10 weeks and the ones who didn’t averaged 39 points in 39 minutes. Lolo should make the above 60 number 7.
Robbie Farah – Previous Score – 85 – Position Average – 49.4
Robbie has wound back the clock this year and doing what made him a must have back when I first started playing this game. He had that concussion game a few weeks ago but since then he’s scored 59, 82, 63 and 85. He had a brief (failed) stint at the Rabbitohs a year or two ago, but has gone home and torn up since. Except the two games against Souths. He had just 29 and 33 last season. Before his move there, he scored 61, 74 and 64 on them. Souths are still hard to score on this season, but there’s something about a grudge match that makes these matchups intriguing.
Cody Walker – Previous Score – 81 – Position Average – 41.5
I think I’ve said it before, but my biggest regret is not committing to starting Cody when I had him all preseason. I’d be doing far better off this year if I had of stuck to my guns. This guy is averaging 80.3 PPG and hasn’t gone under 61 since his round 1 game. And just when you think he’s having an off-night, he’ll suddenly break through to score an unlikely try. It has not been fun to watch for me. And after looking up his history against the Tigers, I’m guessing it won’t be fun this week either. Past scores of 130, 64, 101, 82 and 91. The only worry is that the Tigers have been good against five-eighths, second hardest in the NRL. They just kept Cam Munster to a score of 45.
Andrew Fifita – Previous Score – 100 – Position Average – 49.55
When the news of Fifita starting filtered through on Sunday morning, the question came through the group chat: who’s stuck now and can’t play him? There were a few yes’s, some no’s, Surge even prophesied that a ton was inevitable since it happened earlier this year. But not me, because I’m smarter than all that, I said I wasn’t stuck but wasn’t playing him because of the injury. And because I’m smarter, I got to stare at a nice 100 on my bench all week. He scored every one of those 100 points in base+power stats too. It was incredible. The matchup with the Dragons is a funny one. They aren’t the easiest for props to score on, but when you’re getting pumped 45-12, there’s no real need for the props to do anything but watch conversions.
Nathan Cleary – Previous Score – 29 – Position Average – 43.3
How? Cleary is one of the best young halfbacks in the NRL. How is he only scoring 29 points in a game? What on Earth is going on in Penrith? It’s a shit-show. He might get a boost this week due to Maloney’s suspension and Luai suiting up in the 6, but I still can’t go there. Especially not in the first game of the round. Not only is he and the team drastically out of form, his past games against the Eels have only yielded 25 (this year), 83, 32 and 48. Only Melbourne have kept him to a lower average. I guess the only saving grace is that I might get to play him next week in the Origin round.
Angus Crichton – Previous Score – 59 – Position Average – 53.7
Gus is another one. This guy is more washed up than Catfish at the moment. Remember when we were super excited that one of the best attacking 2RF’s was joining the best attacking side in the NRL? It has lead to nothing as Gussy has become a pedestrian on the field. Meanwhile, his only scores against Newcastle have been 39, 35 and 19. That’s the kind of terrible football I love to see from a Knights opponent, not my SuperCoach team member.
Paul Gallen – Previous Score – 40 – Position Average – 43.9
Remember the old theory that Fifi and Gallen couldn’t score well in the same side. It still seems to be ringing true, only these days it’s Gallen that can’t score when Fifi is in. Two weeks ago, PG13 had 98 and the match winner against the Titans, when Fifi got hurt early. Last week, he had 40 while Fifi tore it up for a ton. This old man appears like his best scoring is behind him and comes up against a team allowing just 44 PPG to Locks this year, least in the comp. Not too many would have him, except maybe draft sides, but just avoid it.
Others of Interest
Clint Gutherson – Previous Score – 52 – Position Average – 48.6
Here’s the other Eel. Gutho has a 71 PPG average against the Panthers from his last four games. I’m backing (our) JT on this one. Gutho still has plenty to offer in 2019.
Jake Trbojevic – Previous Score – 74 – Position Average – 58.6
Because I have young kids, I was watching Disney Channel when “Captain Jake” and the Neverland Pirates came on. Made me chuckle because of our Captain Jake. His recent games against Titans? 115, 51, 123, 71, 46. Yo ho, let’s go.
Mitchell Pearce – Previous Score – 111 – Position Average – 39.1
Pearce is on another level right now. A 5RA of 85.2 featuring two tons. Another grudge match, but he only had 39 on them last season.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad – Previous Score – 31 – Position Average – 57.9
So I finally recommended CNK and he had his worst game of the year. Figures. But Cowboys give up the 2nd most points to fullbacks this year.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – Previous Score – 79 – Position Average – 57.2
And giving up the third most is Brisbane. RTS’s 57.5 average against them isn’t his best though.
Just an FYI: the Broncos allow 63.2 PPG to right centres, almost 10 points more than any other side. Patrick Herbert anyone?
Sam Burgess – Previous Score – 35 – Position Average – 55
I remember in 2017, when Surge was in ripping form. He came up against the Tigers, had scored 102 on them earlier in the year, was the most captained player, and got concussed on 20. After that he’s had 60, 130, 68, 45.
Cameron Munster – Previous Score – 45 – Position Average – 66.1
Munster goes from the 2nd hardest side to score on, to the easiest. A team he’s had 88 and 101 against in his last two encounters and a career 73.4 average.
I’m back. Finally. I’ve been consistently hitting those 1100 scores all year, but finally I broke out for a 1300. I got very lucky with a few bounces my way. Papy, Herbert, Teddy, Lolo, Arrow, Jurbo and then Ponga as skipper. I left big scores of Fifita and Okunbor on the bench but you can’t get them all.
Seriously though, 87.7 PPG average and he’s making scoring tries look easy so I’m all over Ponga as my VC this week. Get to enjoy the ride without being locked in. I cannot WAIT for this game. Going to be a cracker. After that, I guess I’ll back up with big Lolo as the captain. He’s on a great run as well.
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.