Week 12 marks the NRL’s annual celebration of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players and their heritage in Indigenous Round. We will see team jerseys displaying traditional indigenous artwork, opening ceremonies and acknowledgement of traditional owners throughout the weekend, as well as celebrations of past and present Indigenous players.
We’ve been graced over the years with some fantastic players and some of the best and most exciting have been the Indigenous talent we’ve had in our game. Names like Inglis, Thurston, Bowen, Walker’s, Blacklock, Renouf, Lyons and many, many more. We all need to celebrate and appreciate the culture. Not just for a weekend but as a part of our way of life.
In Supercoach news, we have so much potential this weekend from a captains standpoint. So many superstars with fantastic matchups. Some I’m on, most I’m not. So it should be another eventful weekend. Let’s take a look.
Shaun Johnson – Round 11 Score – 94 – 2020 Position Average – 66.8
Oooooo baby. I can’t wait for Friday night. Have I mentioned my disdain for the Broncos at any stage? I’m sure you may have picked up on some small hints here and there. But anyway, this week they are up against a suddenly resurgent Sharks side. They’ve won five of their last six games with the only blip being the small matter of a 56 points they conceded to Penrith. Minor really. The main reason for the resurgence is that young Shaun Johnson has been on a massive hot streak of late. He has a crazy 5RA of 86.2 which came just after back to back 75’s. He’s been pretty good. On the flip side, the Broncos have not been so good.
Here’s an excerpt from the article last week when Munster faced them in the same position. “…the Broncos give up BIG scores to left halves this year. The last five to face them have been Kurt Mann (72), Ash Taylor (99), Chanel Harris-Tavita (52), Kieran Foran (69) and Billy Walters (93). Sub-par names; great scores.” Munster then went out and put up a score of 77 points even while getting an early shower when the game was well in hand.
SJ has a history of scoring big, and loves doing so against the Broncos. The last four seasons have seen him play them seven times and he’s produced scores of 29, 118, 105, 82, 54, 77 and 108. I seriously can’t wait.
Scratch all that. SJ plays on the right. And on that side, Jahrome Hughes scored 93 last week while Benji knocked up a ton the week before. So if anything, it’s better for SJ. Apologies for the mix up though.
David Nofoaluma – Round 11 Score – 70 – 2020 Position Average – 57.8
I hate watching Tigers games. For no other reason than it’s impossible to sit through them when you don’t own Nofoaluma and the rest of the world is laughing at you. He started the season as one of the highest priced CTW options and has improved even further. By 12 points per game as a matter of fact. Mind you, the Tigers have had a great draw so far and it is getting more difficult to close the season, but not this week.
The Warriors are one of the easier sides to score on from the right wing position, and on top of that, they’ve just lost (both) of their first choice wingers for the rest of the year. Fusitu’a and Maumalo have opted to return to New Zealand after having been away from their families for months, and I have zero problems with that decision. Honestly, I thank them for the sacrifices they’ve already made so my fat ass can watch football on a weekly basis. Back to the point though, the Warriors can give up big points on their left. They kept Brett Morris to 27 in a really gritty affair last week but then it turns out he has a fractured vertebrae. Before that, Sione Katoa (96), Anthony Don (47), Xavier Coates (90) and Suliasi Vunivali (101) mostly did pretty well down that edge. I’m going to hate watching this game as well aren’t I?
Jordan Rapana – Round 11 Score – 26 – 2020 Position Average – 71.2
There’s been a fair chunk of chat about Rapana on the NRLSCTalk (and co.) Whatsapp group this week so I decided he was worth a closer look. It’s a very late choice for a VC, what with the Raiders playing Saturday afternoon and all, but there’s a few things pointing towards a potential “breakout” score so to speak, plus the added bonus of solid captain choices in the following 3 games of the round. I wouldn’t dare put anything more than a VC shot on him but, you could possibly risk it if you so choose.
He has been far from the Jordan Rapana we’ve become accustomed to in the past few years. The damaging ball runner who just searches for work. The same guy who scored 114 against the Cowboys last year, to go along with 40 and 95 from 2018. I mean, he’s still angry, but not quite scoring the same. However, JR has been thrown a lifeline in the form of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s disgusting finger injury. He’s been named in the fullback role, against this years Cowboys side who are allowing over 70 PPG to fullbacks on the year. It would have been more too if Turbo was around still instead of Brendan Elliot and his 33 points last week. I miss Turbo. And I miss old Rapana. Let’s get him back, if only for a night.
Cameron Smith – Round 11 Score – 110 – 2020 Position Average – 70.4
Another ton for Cam, his second straight and third of the season. The first of those tons came back in round 5 when the Storm met the Knights in Newcastle. It’s just one of the reasons for the positional average you can see above. The Knights have either allowed a score below 50 or above 75 from opposing hookers this year. And it’s mostly been the latter outweighing the former.
Last week, it was Jeremy Marshall-King (80). Before that, Damien Cook (138), Reed Mahoney (103), ex-Knight Danny Levi (37 in 53 minutes), and Reece Robson (75) who put Newy to the sword. And Smith has been the best in the comp in that regard. He’s also scored 50, 74, 71, 99, 42 and 58 on the Knights over the last few seasons. I don’t think I’m going to enjoy Sunday arvo footy this week.
Jason Taumalolo – Round 11 Score – 79 – 2020 Position Average – 66.9
Another side giving up plenty of points to position lately is the Raiders. This time against locks. Cam Murray dropped 80 on them in the Rabbitohs loss last week, joining Taukeiaho (64), Finucane (74), McInnes (78) and Niukore (65) in putting up good scores against them.
Most of those scores came in Raiders wins and that bodes well for Lolo. It doesn’t matter how the team is doing, locks still score well. So Lolo has every opportunity to add to his 79 points he scored last week. Or the 93 he scored on them last season. He also had 50, 68, 51, 98 and 43 when against the Raiders since 2016. The Cowboys and our own JT need him to have a huge game. For sanity’s sake.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner – Round 11 Score – 106 – 2020 Position Average – 55.6
I’m a little bit mad at myself. I’m a RFM fan and when the Dogs lost Stimson (and later Elliott) for the year and RFM was promoted to the starting spot in round 4, I thought he would be a decent shout. The things that held me back were other issues I needed to fix in my team and that he played for Dean Pay. But since round 4, RFM has an average of 71, including a last three of 49, 79 and 106.
The long shot part of this is obviously the game against the Eels. He only scored 22 against them in round 1, which came from the bench, and he had 30 (also bench) and 72 (starting) on them last season. And while the Eels have been one of the NRL’s powerhouses in 2020, they’re still giving up a very nice clip to left second rowers, especially lately. They just beat the Tigers and allowed Lucy Lu to drop 69 on them. The five guys before that were Joel Thompson (79), Lachlan Fitzgibbon (52), Coen Hess (45), Elliott Whitehead (99), and Boyd Cordner (65). Not renowned scorers.
James Tedesco – Round 11 Score – 53 – 2020 Position Average – 57.6
I know Teddy has been featured every week and I promise I’ve been looking for someone else who can outperform him but his matchups are all so appealing at the moment. And also, it’s Teddy.
The Titans have been the surprise packet team of late, limiting scores and giving teams a real fight. The table topping Panthers were expected to make short work of them in round 11’s closing game but snuck out with a 22-14 win. The Gold Coast went through a stretch of allowing huge scores to fullbacks but since then, they’ve kept Tesi Niu (30), Josh Dugan (16), RTS (89), Papenhuyzen (34) and Caleb Aekins (33) to mediocre scores. And yet we still see Titans and lick our lips.
Teddy is a different specimen though. His recent games against the Titans are out of this world. He had 152 on them last year, 82 in 2018 and 91 in 2017. The one thing working against him, and I’ll admit that it’s a huge hurdle to overcome, is that I’m an owner of him these days. You’ll see.
Clint Gutherson – Round 11 Score – 77 – 2020 Position Average – 77.6
I was a bit hesitant on King Gutho last week with the return of Moses, but fortunately for owners, Moses continued being rubbish and Clint carried on his high scoring ways. It wasn’t the most comprehensive of Eels victories this year (heh) but King orchestrated the win with three try assists and his 5th straight 70+ game.
And then he gets the Doggies. They just LOVE giving up big points to fullbacks. Not only Teddy’s 199 and Turbo’s 152. Those were something else, but the last five scores on them have been from Doueihi (82), Latrell (49), Tesi (58), Dufty (89) and Ponga in torrential rain (66). It’s not a bad run and I can still see Gutho easily eclipsing all of those scores.
*Another Eel that I would have featured this week is Ryan Matterson. He loves playing against the Dogs (62, 92, 71, 68, 85, 43, 50 and 73 sinc 2016) and the Dogs love giving up points on the right (70.9 PPG to right 2RF’s). There are just questions with his concussion from last week. We’ve all been stung by him before.
Kurt Mann – Round 11 Score – 92 – 2020 Position Average – 45.2
Putting my hand up here. I got this one wrong. REALLY wrong. I avoided Kurt Mann like he had Coronavirus and he’s slapping his big scores across my face each and every week. He just scored 92 points in what was probably the Knights worst game of the year, in a supreme downpour. He’s really stepped up in a big way. I’ve enjoyed his form for my club side, but am continually sickened at having missed out on it in the Supercoach world.
The issue for him this week is the game’s toughest matchup with the Storm. They allow just 45 PPG to left halves this season. It’s not the worst clip for the position but it’s far from the best either. But the problem for the Storm is that he’s not afraid of them. Newcastle and Melbourne met in round 5 and Kurt Mann was just about the only shining light on the day. He scored 71 points that day, to go along with his previous scores of 37, 76, 21, 43, 54 and 52. He has probably been Newcastle’s best player in 2020 and can hopefully help the team avoid embarrassment on Sunday. It’s a long shot, but if you’re feeling brave.
Maika Sivo – Round 11 Score – 76 – 2020 Position Average – 55.2
Bold call to recommend someone playing against the Dogs as an avoid, and I have to admit, I’m nervous about this one. But there’s enough history and stats to form a reasonable argument against it so I’m rolling with it. How’s this then. The Eels love going to their left winger when in the attacking 20 and it’s proven effective. But, the Dogs are far, FAR better defending on that side of the field. We know the Dogs have given up great scores to ride side attack and the respective points to position are 55.2 PPG to left wingers as opposed to 77.8 PPG to right wingers. A stark difference.
And I’m not at all suggesting that Sivo is going to royally bomb out, but he’s done just that against the Dogs so far in his short career. Three games on them for scores of 21, 29 and then 27 in the 2020 season opener. They’re the only team against whom he doesn’t average 30 or more.
David Klemmer – Round 11 Score – 102 – 2020 Position Average – 51.0
I said on the POD this week that Klemmer has been scoring 70’s for fun this year. It wasn’t a throwaway line. In 11 games, he’s scored 67 or above in all but two. He also had a 52 a couple of weeks ago, and then his worst game of the season, 38 points in round 5. Against Melbourne. Who he meets again on Sunday.
Klemmer has been a gun option for a few years now, but for whatever reason, the Storm have still had his number in recent years. He didn’t face them last year, but in three games from 2016-2018 he scored just 47, 55 and 43. Add in the 38 this year, and it’s a worrying trend against a team who this year are limiting opposing props more than anyone else. They even managed to hold Payne Haas to 60 points last weekend.
Damien Cook – Round 11 Score – 52 – 2020 Position Average – 44.8
I have Cook firmly in my sights as a trade-in over the coming weeks, but the matchup with St George this weekend doesn’t shape up as the ideal time. And so I won’t, and nor would I captain him. Cook himself has actually been pretty good against them over the past few seasons, recording games of 123, 82, 68, 96, and 65 on them from his last five, but it’s what the Dragons are doing to hookers this year that’s the concern. Yes, I heard it. Let’s move on.
As it stands, the Dragons have limited hookers scores more than any other team. Even Cory Paix, in 56 minutes of a 40 point loss to the Storm, scored more than Blayke Brailey did in a full game against the Dragons. Granted, neither guy broke 30 points, but facts are facts. The highest score they’ve allowed was Api’s 76 points in round 2. Apart from that, no one has broken the 60 point barrier. Cook though, is easily the best hooker to have faced them so far and I still feel he’ll give you something decent. But I’m not sure it will be huge.
My Trade Ins (Super avoid)
I have had an unprecedented amount of shit go through my team this year. Admittedly, a lot of it is my own fault through bad trades or planning etc. but not all of it. Some of it is just horrible luck.
- In the return week of round 3, I added Kotoni Staggs only for him to get suspended and then hurt.
- I also waited a week to see how Elesia Katoa and JTB would score from the bench. They were late inclusions to the starting side and both scored tries.
- In round 6 I traded Papenhuyzen to Teddy. He got knocked into oblivion by Maika Sivo on 63 points and subsequently missed the following week.
- So I traded Teddy to Munster in round 7 for his matchup with New Zealand and to try get Teddy cheaper. Munster got hurt before half time and missed weeks while Teddy returned with 108 and 178.
- I grabbed Tesi over Hammer in round 7 too, due to their matchups v Titans and Knights respectively. Tesi scored 30 and was benched early. Hammer starred with 58.
- I finally grabbed Teddy again in round 10. He’s scored 77 and 53 since.
- And last week, I finally bit the bullet and paid up big money for Ryan Matterson. Packer sent him to Disneyland on 8 points.
I tell you this, not to garner sympathy, but to instead warn you away from anyone I may be targetting in the upcoming week. This week I’m looking at Cam Murray or Mitch Barnett as a POD. My Knight knocked out a near 80 point game against the Dogs in a loss and in pouring rain. I’m hoping he can carry it on and stay healthy for the rest of the year. But I’ll ruin it by trading him in. You’ve been warned.
After a failed Tedesco play against the Warriors, I’ll probably back it up with him as a captain again, along with the rest of the competition. But only if SJ doesn’t destroy the Broncos like I’m predicting and hoping he does.
As always, you can ask me any follow-ups in the comments below, or even hit me up on twitter @dlake631, and hopefully I’ll be able to help some more. Good luck for the round ahead.