Lakeys’ Captains – Round 7

Congrats to you, Teddy. You’re our new #1 Captain score ever. But can you do it again?

Me in last weeks article. But (in Narrator voice): He could not.

It was yet another SuperCoach week that was dictated by some key injuries and selection decisions. There were a few huge SC injuries that drastically altered the round 6 landscape and your round was likely influenced depending on what side of the fence you were sitting on. Here’s a quick hit list of the sounds that defined the SuperCoach and my own personal weekend.

  • Clink – the sound of pints tapping against each other as we cheersed to being in a pub once again. 
  • F**k – me as I realised Katoa has been hurt.
  • Thump – my head Saturday morning (worth it).
  • Thump 2.0 – Teddy getting buried into the Bankwest Stadium turf.
  • Ping! – Turbo’s hammy on Sunday afternoon.

Excluding the Knights win on Thursday (which I loved), it was a brutal 3 day period that is now causing us all issues for our round 7 squads. Hopefully you can pick the right captain from the (likely) 18 players you have available to you. Let’s take a look.

VICE CAPTAIN

Nathan Cleary – Round 5 score – 76 – 2019 Position Average – 51.2

Cleary looked awesome against the Storm and delivered a comprehensive upset. I can’t say I saw it coming, which was evident by my “avoid” call a week ago, but his class showed through nonetheless. The Bunnies present an easier prospect in the Thursday night game and while it’s still not a walk in the park, it’s pretty damn close.

Souths have been giving up over 51 PPG to right halves this year, and that number was reduced last round due to Blake Green’s 38. Before that, Jamal Fogarty had 56 (in 70 minutes), Hughes scored 47 and Flanagan had 50. Not the big names by any means and still putting up solid numbers. And speaking of solid numbers, Cleary’s career average against the Bunnies is 67 from 5 matches. He’s had scores of 74, 65, 76, 61, 58 and 61 on them. 

Cameron Munster – Round 5 score – 105 – 2019 Position Average – 52.5

And the other starring half from that game last Friday night. Munster had a blinder despite the loss. He set up both of the Storms tries as well as three linebreaks for the match. He was setting guys up all over the place and took a controlling stake in the match. But then again, they lost. So……

Still, it shows what he can do on any given day. He was up against a top side, in a loss, and still tonned up. The words “match up proof” have been thrown around a bit this week and excitement for a Storm bounce back game against the Warriors is growing. BUT, Munster hasn’t dominated them as he should in recent years. You’ve got to go back to 2016/17 to find a huge score he put on them. In those years he had 103, 106 and 51. Since he’s only managed 78, 50, 68 and 40. And despite their lot in NRL life these days, the Australia’s second favourite team is only allowing a middling 53 PPG to left halves, including Cody Walker’s 63 points that was made up of a try, 2 assists, linebreak and also a sin bin. That was a crazy stat line.

I guess the main thing working against the Warriors this week is how the team will respond to the sacking of Steven Kearney during the week. The group appeared to be shattered by the move, especially considering everything they’d gone through this year already. Unfortunately for the Dubs, it’s for that reason alone that Munster is shaping up as a beauty VC play.

Brett Morris – Round 5 score – 72 – 2019 Position Average – 46.2 (FLB) / 55.7 (RW)

This recommendation is being made either way. But I’m also working on the assumption that James Tedesco is rested for the game this week. That would see Bozza shift into the fullback spot to cover for the reigning Dally M medallist and we know what the result was the last time that happened.

Boz will line up against his first NRL club and their careers could not have gone in any more different directions since they parted ways in 2015. They’ve crossed paths along the way, with Boz scoring 50, 29, 56 and 66 as a member of the Dogs and he had 61 against the Dragons last year with the Chooks. However, he played all of these games from the wing. Morris has had limited games in the #1 jersey throughout his career but he had that 114 point game from the back on a (supposedly) better team in the Broncos just three weekends ago. And then since then, he had 144 on the Dogs and 72 on the Eels. He’s in an insane purple patch right now and it’s always best to ride that wave. You can do that with minimal risk this weekend.

CAPTAIN

Kalyn Ponga – Round 5 score – 78 – 2019 Position Average – 48.8

Are you getting sick of me suggesting Ponga yet? Because I will never stop. Never! Ok, not entirely true but I am excited for him this weekend again. The game against the Broncos last week was great for many reasons. Of the top three, I would say were:

  1. The Knights had a big win;
  2. The Broncos got flogged; and
  3. Ponga floated around seemingly doing very little and still scored 78.

The kid is phenomenal and I’m very much looking forward to seeing him on a dry Townsville track on Saturday afternoon. I love a grudge match and while it’s been a few years, I’m sure Ponga remembers when the Cowboys didn’t think he was worth as much as Lachlan Coote and thus let him walk to Newcastle. Now, Ponga has a brand new $4.4M contract and the Knights have their superstar. Tell me which of the three parties is regretting their decision now. Since leaving, Ponga has played the Cowboys twice. He had 64 the first time they met in 2018, but then exploded for 105 points in round 22 last season.

The Cowboys this year, haven’t really had any decent fullbacks play them. The top score was Isaako’s 83 back in round 1. This is their biggest test from both the position and on the ladder. At current standings, the only bottom 8 side they haven’t yet faced is the Dragons (they’re in 10th themselves). The Knights mark their first match against a top 8 side. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Payne Haas – Round 5 score – 54 – 2019 Position Average – 52.1

Obviously Payne Haas right? Dude who’s averaging 77 PPG through the opening six rounds of the league. Who’s got multiple other forwards out suspended or hurt this week (Carrigan, Flegler, Fifita). Who’s been the only good thing to come out of the Broncos in 2020. It’s so obvious, right?

But there is a small catch. And that catch is named Anthony Siebold. Because who the F knows what this guy is doing. He sure as hell doesn’t. I know last Thursday was another rough night in a string of them for the proud Brisbane club, but to hook your best player for over 20 minutes through the middle of the game? That probably wasn’t the best way to stay competitive. Maybe he was just resting him for this week’s QLD derby. After all, they desperately need a win and even though it’s the Titans, they’ll need Haas to be at his best for that to happen. He had 75 and 72 on the Titans last season and should be up around that mark again.

*As with any club that plays the Titans, I looked into a few of the Broncos this week. Milford had 71 and 87 on the Titans last year and they have allowed 70 PPG to left side halves this year. Also, GC allows 72 PPG to fullbacks. I wouldn’t be straight captaining them but maybe a very late VC is an option?

Moeaki Fotuaika – Round 5 score – 75 – 2019 Position Average – 58.6

I’m a huge fan of this kid and so it’s great to see him playing up to his potential. I only wish I had the trades to bring him in. Although, to be perfectly honest, if I had another five trade week I’d no doubt end up screwing up my team like I did last time.

Regardless, there’s no doubting big Moe’s talent. He had a long injury layoff over the preseason, returned off the bench in round 2 and then got a secondary rest. Since resumption, he’s knocked out scores of 87, 67, 57 and 75. He got extended minutes last weekend, and isn’t likely to play 75 again, but every other week he’s pushing out 60 minute games at 1 PPM or more. Front rowers tend to take a bit of time to come on in the NRL. Not everyone is a Payne Haas freak. But even with that, Fotu has always done well on the Broncos. In his first two seasons, he faced them three times for scores of 53, 59 and 60. And this year, they’re giving up 58 PPG to starting props, including 75 and 101 to the Knights boys last week. 

Wallace is back for the Titans but I can’t see him being an issue to Fotu’s game time. If that were the case, he’d have been playing the past few weeks. For now, it’s the Moe Show.

Moe, Moe, Moe. How do you like me? How do you like me?

*I so badly wanted to write up Jai Arrow too. The Broncos are giving up 68.8 PPG to locks this year. But I can’t trust his ribs and / or rotations.

CAPTAIN RISKY

Damien Cook – Round 5 score – 108 – 2019 Position Average – 52.5

Is the Cookie Monster back? I don’t want to get too excited about just one game but he looked good against the Warriors last weekend. He scored a try and set up another in his first MOTM type performance of the season. It wasn’t all that long ago that he was knocking these games out on a weekly basis. The move of Murray back to lock has worked wonders for the Bunnies and for Cook, as we all stated a month ago. It’s funny that these big time coaches take longer to see things sometimes than us mere fantasy players.

Cook has been building to this sort of score since the NRL’s return. He’s had 71, 60, 66 and now 108. But, we’ve become so accustomed to constant 70+ years that these even feel disappointing. Unfortunately, he’s never really had these numbers on Penrith. Over the past few years, Cook has scored 52, 55, 81, 37 and 50. Again, not bad scores but not great either. And Penrith aren’t giving up astronomical numbers to hookers. But that’s why it’s great he plays so early on. It’s another free look at a VC shot.

Jason Taumalolo – Round 5 score – 76 – 2019 Position Average – 60.5

“Hold the phone. Has Semi gone crazy? Ponga is a safe option but Lolo is risky?” Well, to answer both questions, yes. And it’s not just because of my Knights bias. Or his knee. Or the Cowboys current form. All are factors, sure, but there’s a little more to it. Let me fill you in.

We all know about the Knights from the past decade. The club has largely been awful and was once the SuperCoach easy-beats. Both statements that hurt for me to put on paper. But it’s true. They were the team you’d line up your captain against every week. This year’s Titans if you will. But, for whatever reason, Lolo hates to play them. Seriously. HATES it. They are easily his worst team for SuperCoach scoring. He’s played every club at least 9 times with the exception of the Roosters (and the Cowboys of course). In his 9 games against the Knights, Lolo has averaged 36 PPG. His lowest score is just 4, which is pretty clearly an injury game, off after just 1 minute. But his highest score against the Knights is 61 which came back in 2016. His next lowest average vs a club is 53 (Broncos and Storm). I don’t know what it is, but he’s always struggled. I would expect him to beat his previous high mark, but you’ve been warned.

David Nofoaluma – Round 5 score – 78 – 2019 Position Average – 73.2

I mentioned this briefly on the teams pod but to reiterate, this has the potential to get extremely ugly. Unless you’re a Nofo owner of course. In that case, you should be very excited, because Nofo gets to run at that Doggies left edge defence this week. Let’s recap the past few games shall we.

  • Round 3: Reuben Garrick – 75 points
  • Round 4: Mikaele Ravalawa – 33 points
  • Round 5: Brett Morris – 144 points
  • Round 6: Sione Katoa – 107 points

The one score that’s out of place there is Ravalawa’s round 4 effort, which came in the Doggies only win; a 22-2 Dragons bloodbath. I won’t pretend that the Tigers are on the same level as the Eagles or Roosters. They’re not. But they are definitely a step above this year’s Sharks team. Wests just beat them 28-16 in round 3. Nofo’s last 4 outings of 83, 33, 83 and 77 when facing the Dogs looks good enough without also adding in the edge defence. It would be a nice way to bring home your round. Speaking of, why are all Dogs games the last of the week?

AVOID

James Tedesco – Round 5 score – 63 – 2019 Position Average – 46.2

Rumour has it, the Roosters are still excavating the Bankwest Stadium turf trying to locate James Tedesco.

Like with Brett Morris above, this is based on the circumstances. If Teddy does manage to pass all the concussion protocols without a single misstep and then actually runs out to play, I still wouldn’t be risking the captaincy on him. I’ll obviously play him, because we know what he’s capable of, but I don’t like risking a guy straight after such a heavy knock.

I have zero evidence to support my theory apart from the generic eye test. It always appeared to me that following a concussion, the player returned the following week sluggish and not as sharp as previously. This has been lessened in recent seasons due to the stringent protocols in place to ensure said player is 100% before resuming play. I mean, just look at Matterson from yesteryear. So should Teddy pass, you can be confident that the doctors have full confidence in his health. And just to be open, Teddy goes well against the Dragons. He has a four year average of 78.3 when playing them, capped by a 134 last time they met. But it’s still not a risk I’m willing to take. 

Shaun Johnson – Round 5 score – 75 – 2019 Position Average – 45.7

I’ve honestly found it a bit tough this week to come up with some non-obvious and (in my eyes) definitive avoids. A lot of your top names have pretty good match ups. So, I’m only going to give you two. 

Even in this one, the Eagles are an extremely tough match up, only allowing 46 PPG to right halves this year, but there are a few circumstances around why that’s not such a clear cut mark of their dominance. First of all, those names include G.Williams (37), Croft (35), Moses (56), Cogger (28), Flanagan (36) and Hughes (82). Secondly, the entire left defensive edge for Manly is one of the easier to score on and just let Elliott Whitehead score 99. And finally, but most of all, they’re now without Turbo and, to a much lesser extent, Dylan Walker. Who knows how this affects the side. As it stands though, the Eagles are premiership contenders while the Sharks are only a good team on paper. So maybe temper expectations on SJ.

Final Thoughts

Ahhahaha. Can I put the mocker on someone or what? Wrote this up last week and talked myself into a Teddy trade in. Nekminit, he’s in orbit and I’m looking at a week of 17 or 18 players max. What a mess.

As it stands as of Thursday morning, I’m bringing Munster into my team for this Warriors match up. He’s got a tougher game next week but I love his draw after that. He’ll be my VC on debut. And then I cannot go past Ponga again as captain. JT’s phone will be running red hot when KP is banging out a big ton on Saturday arvo. I can’t wait.

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.

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DCE2011
DCE2011 (@dce2011)
Gun
12 days ago

Great write-up, Semi. Agree with your VC Munster / C Ponga combo. If Teddy plays, I won’t be putting the C on him either.

zpazzy
zpazzy (@zpazzy)
Gun
12 days ago

Grant will wear the armband. Still unsure on VC maybe Matto or Teddy.

The Duke
The Duke (@the-duke)
Gun
12 days ago

On your advice, Mr. Semisonic, I shall do a Munster VC/Ponga Captaincy.

BT
BT (@bt)
Gun
12 days ago

Thanks Semi. VC Latrell and Captain Ponga.

I do want to bring in Munster this week, but think I need Teddy more. If I do end up with Munster, he’ll be my VC also

Last edited 12 days ago by BT
BT
BT (@bt)
Gun
Reply to  Semisonic
11 days ago

Wow Latrell. I ended up bringing in Munster so he also turned into my VC. Hoping for a big one!

BT
BT (@bt)
Gun
Reply to  Semisonic
10 days ago

Hahaha OMG what a fail…..!

NovaClarkstrian
NovaClarkstrian (@mojo-risin)
11 days ago

I think Lolos lowlow scores against us (and by us I mean you, me and KP) were in part due to the early rest he would have once the lead got to 36..

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