The team at NRLSCTalk are continuing to support Movember throughout the 2021 season and beyond. You can too by helping us raise much needed funds for men’s health by visiting our Mo Space here If you, or someone you know, are struggling with your mental health, please reach out for help. Our Mo Space is also linked in the menu.
Round 18 brought with it a rollercoaster of emotions across the weekend. There were our usual huge scores and a few more popular players suffering injuries on extremely low scores. If you managed to avoid those, you had yourself a big moving week but few sidestepped all of them and at the very least you now have any number of long-term injuries sitting on your bench and no trades to move them on. What a brutal time of the year.
My best call of last week was to avoid Kalyn Ponga as a captaincy play, however I never expected the way that it happened (and to be perfectly honest, I’m still filthy about the way it happened and that it was deemed a “fair play”, but that’s for another time).
My worst call of the week (by a long, LONG way) was a personal one. When Tohu made the final cut, I didn’t hesitate to bring him into my team but I had to figure out who was making way for him. My options were SJ and CHN and I decided to stick with SJ based on the attacking stats he was sure to rack up against the hapless Raiders. So that inclusion ended up costing me a whopping 118 points. On the other side of the coin, I would have lost 11 points. Such is (SuperCoach) life.
On a more serious note, the injury to Tohu is heart breaking. The man is one of the game’s good guys and a true workhorse. I wish him only the best in his recovery and look forward to his return towards the backend of next year.
But in the immediate future, let’s check out who’s left for round 19.
**I apologise for the lateness of the piece this week. I’ve been dealing with a bug of sorts that’s robbed me of 2 days and a whole lot of meals.**
Disclaimer: The following is not a science by any means. Nothing written below is gospel. The final decision is up to you.
Nicho Hynes – Round 18 Score – 166 – P2P Average – 78.94 – Captaincy Rate – 4.8%
After warning people about the Knights propensity towards holding opposing fullbacks to low scores, Nicho decided to prove that a complete fallacy. A 166 point demolition of the Hunter boys had any owners on the up and any captainers laughing all the way to the bank. The man has been on another level as the starting #1 and it doesn’t appear to be slowing up this week. The Cows are one of the easiest sides to score against from fullback, ranking fourth in the P2P scales, and are on a current 5RA of 82.8.
My only small concern is that name on the Storm bench. It’s not a small one (literally or by stature) so what is Bellyache planning? There’s two schools of thought in my opinion. The first is the lil’ Papi is given minimal minutes in his return game and that makes sense given the careful approach Melbourne have taken with Papi’s concussion.
The second is that Belly is playing some mind games with this initial team list. Crazy, I know, but hear me out. There’s the potential for Papi to start at fullback with Nicho moving into the halves as the cover for Munster (and at the expense of Cooper Johns). It’s not a bad fallback plan is it. But FWIW, Bellamy has come out just today and stated that whatever the case with Papi, he won’t play 80 minutes.
Clint Gutherson – Round 18 Score – 110 – P2P Average – 76.88 – Captaincy Rate – 2.5%
Strap yourself in Gutho fans and managers, because it gets rough after this weekend. From round 20 through to the end of the year, the Eels face the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Storm and Panthers. And with that draw, is anyone holding Gutho just so they can play him against the Cowboys? So the Raiders provide the last chance for SuperCoaches to benefit from his bullying tactics.
As I said last week, Gutho loves to play the “lesser” teams, and he proved that again with a 110 outing on the Titans. My oh my that game ended up being one-sided. But for those that have forgotten last week’s ramblings:
What you’ll also notice in there is that previous game against the Raiders. That was from round 6 and back when the Green Machine was still considered one of the stronger sides in the comp. The Eels put them to the sword with a 35-10 beatdown and Gutho contributed a try, two assists and three line break assists. And now he has the added bonus of goal kicking with Moses out of the side for the time being. I don’t see too much downside to be honest.
Jahrome Hughes – Round 18 Score – 96 – P2P Average – 81.06 – Captaincy Rate – 1.6%
Just quickly, provided he plays* Hughes gets to come up against the left edge defence of the Cowboys who are allowing the opposing half over 80 PPG. I was high on Sam Walker last week for the exact same reason and while he was quiet for a large part of the game, the kid stormed home to score 120 points. That included, the 5RA of right halves on the Cowboys is a huge 92.4. Massive.
*Hughes suffered that corked calf last weekend and was originally slated to miss a week or two. However, the thought is (from myself anyway) why would the Storm rest Munster if Hughes was going to be an out anyway. Surely you’d wait to rest Munster until after Hughes is ok. So I’m hoping he’s good to go, but prep yourself with a plan B.
Daniel Tupou – Round 18 Score – 54 – P2P Average – 74.12 – Captaincy Rate – 0.1%
There are a few reasons why it’s hard to be a Knights fan, and watching our outside backs continually get destroyed sits somewhere near the top of that list. We know how well fullbacks have been scoring in the PVL-ball era, but left wingers against the Knights have averaged higher than all but five fullback P2P’s in 2021. And finally, FINALLY, my purchase of Daniel Tupou could provide a massive return. And I hate it.
That average includes the last three scores of 28 (Dean Ieremia), 37 (Murray Tualagi) and 24 (Marcelo Montoya) so up until recently, that has been much worse. In fact, from rounds 5 up until round 14 (the week before that three week run), the Knights allowed 104.9 PPG across the 10 week period. Wow. I actually didn’t even realise it was that bad.
And, Tupou was one of those left wingers in that 10 week run. He had his season high score of 102 points in round 8. He also had 138 on the Knights last season. I’m not looking forward to this game.
Tom Trbojevic – Round 18 Score – DNP (rest) – P2P Average – 69.35 – Captaincy Rate – 31.0%
Turbo’s return is a very welcomed sight to the 50% of SuperCoaches who are current owners of the man (and I’m honestly surprised it’s that low). Both us and Manly have been missing the great man during the Origin and subsequent rest periods. Garrick has been serviceable in the spot over the past two weeks, with scores of 78 and 51 and a 1-1 win/loss record. But in the two games before that, Turbo scored 208 and 144 and Manly won both by a combined score of 122-24.(The win and 78 point game came against a depleted Dragons side. Oh baby, that would have been a handy game to have Turbo there for.)
I won’t waste your time with too much talk. We all know how good Turbo is, and at 31%, he’s the most popular captain for good reason. But just to confirm it some more, he had 118 on the Tigers in round 7. It was his second game back and he played 64 minutes.
Brian To’o – Round 18 Score – 88 – P2P Average – 60.59 – Captaincy Rate – 0.9%
To’o has been far and away the top centre/wing option of 2021 and has the added incentive of playing the Broncos this week. They aren’t the leakiest side on the wings, despite giving up more points against than any other side in the NRL (second Cowboys, third Dogs for those of you wondering). They have given up one huge triple figure game, back in round 7 to Reuben Garrick upon Tom’s return (as mentioned above) but otherwise scores have just been better than average for the most part.
But the Panthers present a test that these Broncos haven’t had to face much this year. I mean, almost everyone they play is above them on the ladder but few have the attacking power that Melbourne and Penrith do. In saying that, To’o only had 64 on this side earlier in the year which featured no tries and 1 line break in game where the Panthers only won by the score of 20-12.
He’s been way better than that though and gets his best mate Jarome Luai back for Saturday night’s clash. I’m expecting a much better outing this time around.
David Fifita – Round 18 Score – 68 – P2P Average – 68.24 – Captaincy Rate – 2.1%
After last week’s fiasco (getting no ball, going missing on field and then literally missing), I’m not as confident in this pick of Fifita as a “safe” option, but the matchup suits him far more than the one against the Eels. The Dragons are allowing the second most points to left edge forwards this season and a full 20 PPG more than Parramatta are.
Fifi has never had the greatest success against St George, only ever notching up 56 and 51 from his two career games against them. Not great right? Giving him a very slight benefit of the doubt, one of those games was from round 3 of 2019, and Fifi only played 63 minutes. But still….
What excites me about this matchup though is that the Dragons allowance of 68 PPG to left edge forwards also includes Karl Lawton’s injury game last week when he had 26 points. The three games before that (and their bye week), St George allowed 95 (Eliesa Katoa), 74 (Elliott Whitehead) and 90 (Adam Elliott) to the same position. And Lawton played 38 minutes so could have been on the way to another one of those games.
Just hopefully the shenanigans with his minutes don’t carry on into this weekend.
Dylan Edwards – Round 18 Score – 58 – P2P Average – 97.59 – Captaincy Rate – 0%
Should I just rename this “long shot” section to “whatever fullback is playing the Broncos this week”? In one of my draft leagues, I threw a Hail Mary armband on Daine Laurie and the kid knocked out a ton on the dot, his third of the season and first ton not against the Dragons. In that same draft league, I have Dylan Edwards at fullback. LFG!!!
But for anyone else, the near 100 PPG average the Bronx are giving up to fullbacks is ridiculous. Edwards hasn’t attributed to that but he did have a 75 point game on them last year. It’s a long shot, but it’s a worthwhile one if you need a throw at the stumps.
Jordan Rapana – Round 18 Score – 79 – P2P Average – 53.35 – Captaincy Rate – 0%
It probably goes without saying but I’ve seen a few excited about JR’s move to fullback so I feel it’s worth mentioning. Now obviously you’re not going to straight C him, but if for some reason you have no other options, or you want to captain someone on Friday, then maybe you’d look at him for the VC.
Sure, he scored a very nice 79 last weekend, in a game where the Raiders won 34-18. That was against the Sharks who are struggling to hold onto their spot in the 8. Meanwhile, this week’s opponent Parramatta are firmly entrenched in the top 4 for the time being. It’s not likely to be the same type of game for Canberra.
And this is also just guess work on my part, but I also seem to recall Rapana being named at fullback once or twice this season already, but I don’t think he’s ever played there. And when he has in past seasons, he hasn’t lit the world on fire. Pure conjecture and I could be wrong, but he could be moved pre-game.
Adam Doueihi – Round 18 Score – 154 – P2P Average – 42.41 – Captaincy Rate – 0.2%
After his masterclass last week, I just couldn’t make Doueihi my first choice avoid this week, but boy he went close. And it’s purely because the matchup in round 19 is not a friendly one.
At 42.41 PPG, Manly are the third hardest team to score on from the right halves slot. They’ve kept most of the comp very quiet this season. In fact, only Nathan Cleary (103) in round 4 and Connor Watson (89) in round 12 have put in better than good games on them. And Cleary’s aforementioned score came in the PT era (that’s pre-Tom). Two others, being Chanel Harris-Tavita and Cleary’s second game, scored 69 (lol). But other than that, it’s bad. No one else has even broken 50. That’s four decent games from 17 outings and includes the first five rounds when people were tipping Manly for the spoon. Even with Cleary’s second game, it was his second worst score of the season. So yeh, they’ve been stingy.
To be fair, I would be very surprised if Doueihi is held to that low of a score again, but it’s not worth the risk. Especially, with Turbo playing in the same game.
Despite sprouting on about how bad the matchup is for Doueihi this week, I’m buying the man for the run home. But I still won’t be throwing him out there in his debut game for the side with any added responsibility. Just go out and play your role son. Maybe next week.
It’s shaping up to be a very popular round of Hynes VC and Turbo C this week. Turbo is easily the most captained player of the round and Hynes falls behind only Cody Walker, Nathan Cleary (for some reason) and Teddy in that area. It’s likely the same route I will take but I’m similarly tempted to throw a VC shot on Tupou against my beloved Knights. Hopefully that may ease the pain of the game.
AND WARNING: if you’re wanting to VC Nicho Hynes, make sure it’s in your CTW. Because you’ll be extremely mad if it rules out your Turbo captaincy.
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.