“It was yet another Supercoach week that was dictated by some key injuries and selection decisions.”I might just leave this up as the opening quote for every round.
Round 7 was an awful weekend. It’s like it looked at the destruction round 6 caused and said “hold my beer”. Moses, Munster, Hopoate, Radley, Verrills, Lodge, Horsburgh….. the list goes on. It even appears to have claimed John Bateman, and he’s not even playing yet. Incredible.
Many of you may have seen on Twitter that the Munster injury got me good. I was out picking up my kids from daycare, rushed home before kickoff and traded him in with just about five minutes to spare. And from there, my round ended.
But I’m looking forward (because behind me is nothing but misery) and hoping round 8 can be a bit easier on us. It does start with a cracker of a game.
Angus Crichton – Round 7 score – 63 – 2019 Position Average – 59.0
Logic might say you’d go with Teddy, who’s the game’s best player. Or with Brett Morris, who has a 5RA of 91.8 and three tons in his past four games. But I’m going with Gussy.
It won’t surprise you to hear that Melbourne are very hard to score Supercoach points against. But what might surprise you is that right side second rowers playing against the Storm score at the 5th best rate in the game. In the last five games, that position has scores of 66, 60, 64, 36, and then Tohu’s 86 last weekend. It was only Liam Martin’s game that has been the failure in that lot. For some reason, big men have more success running at Kenny Bromwich than Felise Kaufusi. Crichton does play well against the Storm usually. In recent years, he’s scored 54, 59, 73, 54 and 79 on them, plus he had 78 points in the Chooks preliminary final win from last season.
Clint Gutherson – Round 7 score – 102 – 2019 Position Average – 50.4
Gutho isn’t going to be highly owned. I know that. He’ll be in a lot of draft sides and Eels fanatic teams. That’s likely it. But he’s looking like a great option for a VC dart throw on Friday night. It’s not that he’s traditionally scored well against the Cowboys. His average of 49 PPG from the last four seasons is mediocre, at best. And it’s not that fullbacks particularly destroy them. The 50.4 average is relatively mid-ranged. I’m simply basing this one off the Eels high powered offense and the fact that Gutho will be the teams goal kicker in Mitchell Moses’ absence. King is already averaging 65 PPG this year. Add an extra 12 points to that (Moses’ GK average) and you’re looking at a nice baseline to a VC score.
Shaun Johnson – Round 7 score – 84 – 2019 Position Average – 63.9
Life, death and Shaun Johnson against the Titans.
This one is creeping into Saturday but it’s for a very good reason. That first Saturday game sees the Titans and their 27.6 points conceded per game (2nd worst in the NRL, just above the Broncos) trying to contain the potent right side attack of the Sharks. In the past four weeks Johnson has been on fire. He’s averaging over 70 points and doing so without scoring a try, but he’s set up eight in the four games. Meanwhile, the Titans left edge defence is giving up heaps of points, you know, to non-Brisbane based teams.
On top of that, SJ loves playing the Titans. Johnson has played in the NRL for a long time and his Supercoach average against the Titans is around 86 points; 12 points more than any other team. He’s played them 15 times in his career too so that’s not a small sample size. His career Supercoach high is 153, which came against the Titans in 2015. His second high score of 147 came in 2017, against the Titans. Third? 141 against the Titans in 2014. There’s a history there. Don’t miss out on the latest installment.
*Double Sharks for you this week. Sione Katoa is also shaping as a hugely intriguing option. The man is a walking score right now. He has six tries in his last three games and now gets the Titans and that aforementioned left edge defence, playing outside the in form Shaun Johnson.
Tohu Harris – Round 7 score – 86 – 2019 Position Average – 71.1
This guy right here may be the one reason that JT is having as good a year as he is. Ironically, in the NRL’s and especially the Warriors toughest season in recent memory, Tohu has been in career best form. A 5RA of 79.8 points including three 80+ scores and a 79 is an impressive run of form, matched only in consistency by elite names like Matterson, Smith and Taumalolo.
It;s a good thing too. Imagine where the Warriors would be without him. And the really good news is that they face the hapless Broncos this week who are giving up over 70 points a game to right side second rowers. Here’s some of those scores:
- Round 1: Coen Hess – 38
- Round 2: Jadyn Su’A – 56
- Round 3: Ryan Matterson – 99
- Round 4: Angus Crichton – 125
- Round 5: Corey Waddell – 64
- Round 6: Sione Mata’utia – 54
- Round 7: Keegan Hipgrave – 62
So as you can see, it’s very promising. The elite names put up elite scores, and the others still put up some very nice scores for their calibre. Hipgrave particularly dominated in his stint. It shapes up as another 80-ish score for Tohu.
Jake Trbojevic – Round 7 score – 84 – 2019 Position Average – 64.0
One of the only right calls of the year to date wasn’t even Supercoach related. It was suggesting on the pod that Jurbo would take on a more ball playing role in the absence of Turbo and Walker. He had a linebreak, linebreak assist and try assist in Manly’s capitulation against Cronulla and looked like his old self. It was easily his best game of the season.
As a Knights fan, I’m nervous of him carrying that form over into this weekend, but can see it happening. Locks have enjoyed playing against us this season. Especially since the return. Over the last five weeks, Yeo (104), Horsburgh (69), Finucane (64), Carrigan (42) and, most recently, Taumalolo (85) have combined for a 5RA of 73 PPG. And that would have been higher still if it weren’t for Carrigan’s sin-binning in round 6. So, I can definitely envision Jurbo getting back to his past best against us. His scores vs the Knights since 2016 have been 105, 48, 65, 59, 62, 75 and 52.
Damien Cook – Round 7 score – 61 – 2019 Position Average – 59.4
Cook hasn’t been his best self this season, but he’s consistently pushing out 60’s and shown he has an incredible ceiling still. So what better team to play him back into another run of form than the Bulldogs. They have surprisingly been middle of the pack with hookers scores but that includes Reece Robson’s 33 in 46 minutes from round 2. However, Harry Grant just punished them for his first career Supercoach ton and Cam McInnes had one of his 80 point games against them too. Those scores are a better indicator for Cook’s potential than the others like Robson, Friend (52), Mahoney (57), Levi (50) and Brailey (41).
Looking back at previous seasons, it shocked me to see that the Dogs have relatively held Cook in check. In the last two years (his Supercoach relevant ones), Cook has scores of 82, 69, 84 and 53. Still solid but not the mammoth Cook type games we’ve seen against teams. But I’d still be backing him in for at least another 80+ to bring you home on Sunday night.
Jai Arrow – Round 7 score – 43 – 2019 Position Average – 74.0
If I’m being completely honest with you, I won’t be going anywhere near Arrow this week as far as captaincy goes. He is the ultimate risky move in round 8. It’s just that, the stats support him this week.
If you listened to the TLT pod this week, I mentioned Arrow’s last few scores against the Sharks. They are 70, 110 and 86 since 2018. Big numbers. But what I didn’t touch on was how well locks go against them this year. They are by far the easiest team for the lock position to play against. Just take the last 4 weeks. Round 4: Josh McGuire, 77 in Lolo’s absence. Round 5: Cameron McInnes, 111 playing mostly lock to accommodate Ben Hunt. Round 6: Adam Elliott, 91. Freaking Adam Elliott. Round 7: Jake Trbojevic, 84. Those are great scores and hopefully Arrow can continue the trend.
Harry Grant – Round 7 score – 101 – 2019 Position Average – 53.7
How good is this kid? The Tigers need to be doing everything in their legal power to keep him beyond 2020. I can’t see the Storm letting him go though. Which is unfortunate, because it would be nice to see him staying in the Black and Orange long term.
I truly doubt he does as well as he did against the Dogs. It seemed like the whole Tiger streak benefited from the match up. But Penrith, while 2nd on the ladder and playing extremely well, are allowing opposing hookers to score pretty well on them. 53.7 is right in the middle of the pack, but young Prince Harry is better than your average hooker. He puts
out in 100% for 80 minutes and should give you a solid score again this week.
*You’ll have noticed by now that David Nofoaluma doesn’t feature this week. I’m not at all suggesting against Nofo, but his matchup this week is harder than any he’s had this year so far. Penrith are only giving up 31.6 PPG to right wingers this year, and Nofo has a 66 average on them recently. There are definitely some big warning signs, but I’m not ready to entirely write him off.
Latrell Mitchell – Round 7 score – 9 – 2019 Position Average – 84.6
Nine? FKN NINE? It’s shit like this which is destroying my SuperCoach season. Well, that and the litany of other screwups I’ve personally made. But it’s easier to blame someone else. Watching the Thursday night game, it was clear that Latrell was trying to get going. He just couldn’t. Everything he touched turned to shit and then he topped it off with a sin bin in the dying stages of the match. It was one of the worst games I’ve seen him play.
Watching it unfold though, I made this prediction; He’ll bounce back to score 150 this week when up against the Doggies. Big call and maybe more wishful thinking than anything else, but there’s a decent chance. He has a 59 point average against Canterbury in recent seasons, including a 97 and 47 last year. But it’s what the Dogs are allowing to fullbacks and down the right edge that really has me tingling. 84.6 points per game. That’s huge. Easily the best in the league. And yes, Teddy has a lot to do with that. His score was an anomaly, but it did happen. Still, if you need to exclude it to suit your narrative, the Dogs still allow 65.6 PPG to fullbacks not named Tedesco this year. That would be good for top five still. Adam Doueihi just put 82 on them in the Tigers win. Surely, Trell can match that?
James Tedesco – Round 7 score – N/A (HIA) – 2019 Position Average – 55.7
So, fullbacks haven’t been overly bad against the Storm in 2020. They’ve averaged just a tick over 55 against them for the season. Melbourne have faced some of the best in the game though. Names like Trbojevic, Ponga, Mitchell, Tuivasa-Sheck, Nicoll-Klokstad. And Turbo only had a 22 point outing on them. So keeping those guys to a 55 average says something in its own right. They aren’t the easiest team to score against, and Teddy knows that. He does have a 134 point game against them in his career, but that came in 2015. Since then, he’s scored 41, 67, 54, 56, 52, 47 and 73 (2019 prelim) when facing them. That’s not the sort of numbers you want to start the round with.
Payne Haas – Round 7 score – 65 – 2019 Position Average – 63.5
Do I really suggest that you avoid Payne Haas? No. I can’t do it. Not definitively anyway. Just more of a warning in regard to minutes and usage. After dominating to start the year and playing 80 just about every game for the first five weeks (all bar one), Haas’ minutes have dropped to 59 and 63 in the past two games. And it’s not because of big Bronco wins. He’s been taken off in times of need. It would be outright confusing if it weren’t being done by Siebold. But now, somehow, it kinda just makes sense. Haas is still pumping out right on a 1 PPM rate, but there’s a big difference between 1 PPM at 80 minutes compared to at 60 minutes. So I’m just flagging that there’s an issue there. And also, any chance I can get to talk about how bad the Broncos are…
Apisai Koroisau – Round 7 score – 52 – 2019 Position Average – 44.7
Api has definitely come back to the pack a little bit since his blazing start to the year. He holds a 3RA of 63.7. Still good but a far cry from the 83.7 3RA he started the year with. I’d suggest it’s simply a regression to the mean for Api. I just hope he can hold steady until he’s able to be cashed out.
Problem with that is that Wests have been holding hookers to under 45 PPG this year. The top score against them in 2020 came by way of 72 points from Jayden Brailey back in round 2. Reece Robson’s 54 in round 6 was next best but then no one else has broken that 45 point barrier. They’ve been surprisingly stingy there. And for his part, Api has never really dominated the Tigers either. He had a 92 back in 2017, but apart from that he’s had 29, 56, 59, 53 and 26. I’m hoping for another decent game but if you’re expecting a big Panthers win and Api to feature heavily, maybe temper those dreams.
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.This quote from Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, perfectly describes my coaching style in 2020.
I have the poison touch at the moment. Whatever I do, goes completely wrong. In round 6, I traded in Teddy; he got knocked to Mars. In round 7, I traded in Munster; he cops a cannonball tackle and strained MCL and will miss 4-6 weeks. I hate SuperCoach. And pre-warning. I’m targeting both Shaun Johnson and Nathan Cleary this weekend.
I love SJ’s match up and will be VC-ing either him or if I’m feeling really ballsy, Katoa. And then since I have nothing to lose, I may chuck the armband on Latrell. My season is well and truly over. So now’s the time for some out there plays.
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.