Round 18 comes and it’s not exactly a weekend of blockbusters. We’ll have a cracking game on Friday night between the Panthers and Eels, then the next closest thing we have is the 4th placed Roosters taking on the 6th placed Knights. But the Knights are resting a few key men and this appears anything but an even affair. The Sharks v Warriors is probably the game with the most on the line, as the win there moves either side one step closer to the 8th seed and an extended season.
As for Supercoach, it was a very high scoring round. I spoke about captain and VC options last week, pushing DCE, Ponga and Teddy. They did pretty well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the DCE train, even though I had planned to be. If only Cleary did his job and broke 150. I could have had it all. But that’s Supercoach. Maybe Round 18 will be kinder to me.
Daly Cherry-Evans – Round 16 Score – 114 – 2020 Position Average – 60.4
Coming into last week, I had just one playing half and that was Nathan Cleary. But not to worry, I thought. He’s playing the Broncos. He’ll score a billion points as my VC and then I can trade Dylan Brown to DCE for his game against the Tigers while taking an AE at 5/8. But no. Cleary didn’t hold up his end of the bargain, I had to trade Brown to Munster instead and lost out on DCE’s monster game.
He was incredible in defeat, setting up four tries and goal kicking along the way. He knocked up his highest score of the season and has a very real chance to top it this week. The Dogs left edge defense is an area of interest for Supercoach’s in 2020. They allow right halves like DCE an average of 60 PPG. In fact, the whole right edge scores over 60 PPG against the Dogs with Fogarty (72), Stone (67), Young T (51) and Thompson (74) the latest combo to put them to the sword. This also bodes well for Sironen, Harper and Hopoate. But it will be DCE who steers these guys to a big game.
David Nofoaluma – Round 16 Score – 120 – 2020 Position Average – 41.3
How good has Nofo been this year? A couple of week ago, I backed Mansour to be the best scoring CTW of the final quarter of the season. He’s scored 145 points since then. But in a hold my beer type moment, Nofo has turned around with 191 in the same two games. He’s a freak and season 2020 has really been a year of those with Nofo vs those without.
He’s never been a guy who’s going to pump out a huge ton, until this year. He’s now got four on the season, and two in the last five games. So much for that tough run home. It’s not exactly played out as expected. So, coming up against the Bunnies on Thursday night shouldn’t scare you off putting the VC on him. They’ve haven’t allowed much to right wingers this year, and limited the spot to just a 30 PPG 5RA, but Nofo is no ordinary winger. He had 63 when these teams met in round 9, which was an 18-10 win to Souths. And he’s been on a tear ever since. No need to jump off him now.
Damien Cook – Round 16 Score – 69 – 2020 Position Average – 50.8
I also like Cook in the same game. Speaking of that round 9 game, Cook had one of his best Supercoach performances of the year for 97 points. The issue coming into this one is that the Tigers are doing a really good job at limiting scores from hookers over the past five weeks. They’ve kept it to a rate of 43 PPG in that span, but that’s been to names like Mann, Katoa, Friend, Kenny and Levi. You could only count one of those as having any sort of Supercoach relevance this season.
Cook though is just warming up to a handy finish to the year. His last three games have been 69, 71 and 93 against some pretty handy competition (and Manly). And he has a very nice history against Wests with 54, 124, 70, 68, 21, 28 (those two backing up Farah in 2017), and 75. The Bunnies currently sit in 7th spot on the ladder and will be going hard to ensure their finals spot. They should be up for this one and Cook could go big.
Payne Haas – Round 16 Score – 89 – 2020 Position Average – 50.5
Payne Haas is easily the safest captain going around so I won’t waste your time trying to sell something that sells itself. I’ll simply say this:
- After missing two weeks, he returned with an 89
- He’s averaging 76.8 this season
- He’s averaging 79.0 from his last five games
- He’s averaging 88.3 from his last three
- He had 65 against the Titans in round 7, from just 63 minutes (he’s playing closer to 80 these days)
- He had 72 and 75 on the Titans last year
Safe. As. Houses.
Ryan Matterson – Round 16 Score – 74 – 2020 Position Average – 59.1
Another man who is a safe as they come is Matto. He’s averaged 76.7 this year and the only time he’s dropped under 60 points in a game was the round 11 game against the Tigers when he got knocked out after 15 minutes. the very game I finally traded him in. It was awesome 👍 Other than that though, he’s been great. He came back from that game with a 60 and then has scored 115, 66 and 74 in his most recent three games.
Right edge forwards don’t score a lot of points against the Panthers this year, but there’s not too many spots that do. Ben Te’o took it to the next level with his 16 points in 32 minutes last round. However, one man who had had success against them is Matto. These teams met in round 5. It was the last time the Panthers lost a game and Matterson dominated with 94 points. He also had 111 and 80 point games on them last season. Just huge numbers. The only issue, and it’s a small one, is that he plays on Friday night. So, if you wanted to VC someone before him it would have to be from the Tigers, Rabbits, Dogs (lol) or Eagles, but there are plenty of options within those sides to make it work.
David Klemmer – Round 16 Score – 59 – 2020 Position Average – 50.7
Klemmer is your classic meat and potatoes type of forward. There’s no flashy plays; no huge attacking upside. Just your standard hard worker. He averages 69.2 points on the year and scores 85% of his points through pure base stats. He actually scores 70.7 PPG through base+power stats, then obviously loses a couple through penalties and errors. This game against the Roosters suits that type of play perfectly.
The Knights most dangerous attacking player is out. If they have any chance in this one, Klemmer and the other Newcastle forwards will need to step up against the Sydney pack to lay a foundation for which the outside men can work from. And looking at those outside names, it will need to be some sort of foundation. Fortunately, Klem has always stepped up against the Roosters. His recent scores on them from his Knights and Dogs tenures are 77, 53, 68, 55, 45, 55, 60 and 63. Meanwhile, he’s averaging 70 PPG in his last five games this year and should carry that form over to round 18.
Cameron Munster – Round 16 Score – 78 – 2020 Position Average – 62.3
I love a Cam Munster play this week and he will be firmly in my considerations on Sunday afternoon. He’s come back from his knee injury in pretty good form, notching scores of 63 and 78. He was a tad lucky last week. He’d had a relatively quiet game until Papy set him up for a try, and then he received some solid upgrades on Monday.
In a competition where the right halves tend to be the dominant the games, the Cowboys have been allowing 62.3 points to left halves this season, and even allowed Adam Clune score 62 in round 17’s concluding game. For reference, Clune has exactly three games over the 50 point mark all year, and more games under 20 points. He’s not a Supercoach scorer. Munster hasn’t ever put up a monster score on the Cowboys. His last few seasons have seen him score 78, 69, 40, 82, 47 and 47 but this year, against this team, with these stats? I’m all in.
James Tedesco – Round 16 Score – 132 – 2020 Position Average – 51.6
Yeh, it’s Teddy again. It’s hard not to recommend him after back-to-back huge tons, but I made him the “next best” option out of spite and principle (and a scary rumour). I mean, he does play my Knights this week after all. But he should be amazing and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see him crack triple figures again. It might actually be the only thing that keeps me watching the entirety of the game.
He’s clearly been sensational and bagged another double last week. Remember when he wasn’t getting over the stripe for that period in the season and that was the reason for his low score games? I double checked it. He’s literally only scored in 4 games this year. It just so happens he’s had a double and a triple in two of those. Otherwise he’s been kept scoreless but still knocked out games of 178, 108, 85, 80 and 77. It’s not exactly a deciding factor. But he definitely explodes when he does score. Scores of 199, 103, 176 and then 132 in the games he has a try. And this game against the Knights without Kalyn Ponga or Mitch Barnett. It is shaping up as a great game to target the man.
As alluded to earlier, there are some rumours floating around of Teddy getting a rest, though nothing has been substantiated. Keep a close eye on Stilesy’s mail @AStilesAuthor for any updates across the weekend.
Shaun Johnson – Round 16 Score – DNP (inj) – 2020 Position Average – 60.2
I love a revenge game. The players just seem to have a bit more of an edge to them playing against their old club. A little more incentive to prove their former employers wrong. It’s something SJ has done more and more each time he’s come up against the Warriors since they let him walk to the Sharks. The first time out it was for 52. Next time he scored 76. Then the third meeting, in round 10 of this season, SJ dropped a cool 119 points. And this has all the makings of another big one for SJ.
He’s missed a couple of games lately for the birth of his first child and then a minor hamstring/groin complaint. It’s the latter of those that worries me most. If he’s limited by that at all it could mean a reluctance to run and take the line on as he has been doing so successfully this year. It could also result in a relinquishment of the kicking duties if it’s bothering him too much. But I’m of the belief that with the finals in sight, and the Sharks needing to grab a win to get there, they wouldn’t rush SJ back if he wasn’t ready. He’s so pivotal to their success. And flare up in his injury would mean an early exit from post-season play. So, he should be right to go, but just keep an eye on it.
Val Holmes – Round 16 Score – 93 – 2020 Position Average – 53.5
Don’t fall into the trap of falling in love with Val’s score last weekend. He was sensational and the game winner, but it was the Dragons. Not the defensive side that the Storm are. They’ve kept fullbacks over the last five games to 46 PPG, largely influenced by Alex Johnston’s 12 point/80 minute outing in round 17. One of the all-time great performances. On the back of that, it makes sense he just took a salary cut to stay at Redfern.
On top of that, Val has just one captain’s score against the Storm since 2016. It just so happens that it was his last time against them too. He had an 89, but previous to that he’d had 27, 48, 37, 44 and 50. They were all at Cronulla and a mixture between fullback and wing, but still. Very underwhelming.
Maika Sivo – Round 16 Score – 43 – 2020 Position Average – 35.2
Sivo has been trash lately. He scored a try last week and still only managed to get to 43 points for the afternoon. I know the Warriors are a resurgent side but that’s a low score. The worst part is the it’s his second highest score from his past six games. But then again, there’s more bad news with the red-hot Penrith the next team up. They’ve allowed a paltry 35 PPG to left wingers on the season, and lowered that to 26.6 PPG over their last five games. Also, Sivo has played them only once, last year, where he scored 13 points for the game.
Cam Smith – Round 16 Score – 61 – 2020 Position Average – 54.1
If you listened to the teams pod this week, you’ll have heard me put Smith forward a a bust candidate. I’ll double down on that here. Smith has still been doing what he does, but he’s just no longer converting that into Supercoach scores. He had the 34 points against Newcastle where he got hurt early on. Then missed a few weeks and has returned with a 49 and a 61. That’s a stark contrast to the start of his season where he averaged 84 and only dropped scored less that 60 twice in 11 games.
It could be a different story against the Cowboys with the season they’re having, but it could also mean that the Storm blow this out early and give their elderly captain a rest. They do have Ryley Jacks sitting there in the #14 just ready to grab a bit of game time. Don’t get me wrong though. Predicting Smith to have a bad game is just about the longest of long shots there is.
There is absolutely no reason for me to worry about safe at this stage of the season. Or even to about about picking anyone at all for that matter. So, I’m going to run the gauntlet. I’ll go with Teddy as my VC against my guys and Munster as the skipper. Let’s get after it guys.
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.