Thank you Supercoach Gods. We’ve endured all sorts of punishment this year but so many of us had a good round last week with some big scores about. And to help just a little bit more, we get a few gun players returning this week, namely Nathan Cleary, Jai Arrow and Paul Gallen.
Everyone’s favourite rookie, Mahe Fonua, gets dropped though and that hurts double because with the Tigers playing first up, we don’t even get the luxury of using him for the loop if need be. It’s just selfish really. But there’s a ton of great Captain options for you in round 11. Let’s take a look.
Nathan Cleary – Previous Score – N/A – Points to Position – 5
Cleary returns for the first time since injuring his knee in round 3. He started the year on absolute fire recording scores of 83 and 76 but went down at halftime vs the Bulldogs in round 3 on just 13 points. I guess no serious coaches still have the young gun in their side, except maybe the draft players but I’m going to talk about him anyway, because it’s my article and I can. Cleary has played against Daddy’s team 4 times in his career and whooped them with scores of 76, 72, 91 and 108 and while Cleary Snr has tightened up the defences, the Tigers still allow the 5th most scores to halfbacks this year. The past four games have seen Pearce (85), Moses (55), SJ (81) and JT (44) all perform better than they had been to that point. Yes even JT. Just keep in mind that Maloney will keep the goal kicking duties for the meantime.
Simon Mannering – Previous Score – 57 – Points to Position – 1
Manners is one of the most beloved players in both NRL and Supercoach circles. A genuine good guy of the game and a point scoring machine to boot. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case this season as injury, form and role have limited his scoring as evidenced by his 5RA of just 51. But good news. Parramatta are allowing more points to 2R’s than any other side in the comp and Manners traditionally goes ok against them. Check out his scores since 2014 vs the Eels – 98, 102, 113, 83, 81, 93 and 38. I did say he was a machine. He plays too early to just throw the armband on him, but you could do worse than having a VC crack. The way this year has gone, I’d gladly take a 90 score.
Ryan Matterson – Previous Score – 76 – Points to Position – 4
Just under the Eels on the points against table sit the Brisbane Broncos, ranking 4th. Just look what Jake Trbojevic did to Brisbane last weekend. He crossed for a double, and he’s not even a reknowned try scorer like Matto is. Joel Thompson had 86 points also, and the week before, all but 1 2R eligible Bulldog scored over 50 against them. And so I’m licking my lips at this matchup. Matterson has a 5RA of 70 and has only dropped under 60 points once during that time. He looks a chance to score every time he touches the ball, which is often as the Chooks look to him on that right edge as much as possible. And when he doesn’t have the ball, he’s keeping his score ticking over with tackle stats. This year’s Angus Crichton and if all goes to script, this could be his breakout.
Ryan James – Previous Score – 67 – Points to Position – 1
Has Ryan James returned to form? He’s no got a 3RA of 68 on the back of his last 2 scores of 67 and 84 and plays the Newcastle Knights who give up the most points to opposing FR’s. Last week, Reagan Campbell-Gillard scored 82 points and 3 weeks ago was Marty Taupau’s 97 point performance (the Bunnies didn’t do too much damage in round 9 except for on the scoreboard). On top of that is RJ’s recent games vs Newcastle. He’s dominated the Hunter club for scores of 83, 61 and 113 over his past 3 games. Before that were more human efforts of 41, 32 and 34 but they were from the time before he stepped into premium status.
Jason Taumalolo – Previous Score – 58 – Points to Position – 3
A 5RA of 80 points is a little more like what we were hoping for when paying the big bucks for the most damaging player in the NRL. It’s not what we got, but it’s a step in the right direction. Souths are one of the surprise teams of the league, even defeating the table-topping, Storm-thrashing, premiership favourite St George Dragons last weekend. But even so, they’re still allowing the 3rd most points to 2R’s this year. Despite the 14 point loss, Tyson Frizell still had a 105 point outing and Fitzgibbon had 88 in the Knights loss the week before. So even though the Cowboys are struggling badly, there’s scope to expect a big game from Lolo. He’s even got form against the Bunnies to support the theory. His last 7 scores vs Souths have been 94, 54, 43, 74, 53, 75, 43.
Damien Cook – Previous Score – 68 – Points to Position – 1
I’m liking the matchup for the Cookie Monster again this week. The Cowboys are a complete rabble, getting beaten by Tigers 20-12 in a very lacklustre display last Thursday night. In that one, ET and Liddle split duties to combine for 50 points, but the three starting hookers before that were Peter Wallace (76), Siliva Havili (78) and Mitch Rein (74). They men of the north are just bleeding points to average hookers. Cook is anything but average. He’s got a 5RA of 78 that includes games of 100, 92 and 80. He is averaging 73 points per game and has done that while only scoring 2 tries so far.
(in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution)
Kalyn Ponga – Previous Score – 55 – Points to Position – 1
The points have dropped off a little since the Mitchell Pearce injury but the desire and talent is still there. In fact, Ponga is now getting some criticism for trying to do too much. There’s no pleasing some people. In my eyes, you want the ball in the hands of your most dangerous player. The same player who score 90 points on the Titans last year when playing fullback for the Cowboys. The Titans are the easiest side to score on this year (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) and fullbacks have been lighting them up all year. Billy only had 28 last weekend though so it’s not all Guns N’ Roses.
Coen Hess – Previous Score – 69 – Points to Position – 3
Like his clubmate above, Hess meets a side giving up the 3rd most points to 2R’s in 2018. Crazy coincidence, right? What with them playing for the same team and in the same general position. The difference with Hess, apart from playing out wide, is that he’s got a nose for the try line and an uncanny ability to end up on the other side of the defensive line. He runs great lines and his playmakers love to give him the ball in a position to capitalise on some big points. He’s a real boom-or-bust type and with the Bunnies giving up such big scores (see above) Hess could go boom this week.
Billy Slater – Previous Score – 28 – Points to Position – 8
Speaking of Billy, he makes an appearance this week. He won’t feature in a lot of teams due to some combination of Ponga, Teddy and Turbo taking up the majority of spots but for those with the Kid, he’s got a great history against the Sea Eagles. He had 104 on them last season, and scores of 72, 107 and 65 from his pre-injury days (to entice you a little more, Munster had 90 in 2016 when he was playing fullback). Manly haven’t given up huge score to fullbacks in recent weeks (high of 49 from the last 5) but they’ve been up and down all year. This one is down in Melbourne without Cam Smith so I expect Billy to really step up with a vintage performance.
James Maloney – Previous Score – 62 – Points to Position – 7
Just like Marsters last week, this is more of an avoid VC spot. Maloney has helped to turn my season around from dumpster fire to just regular garbage, but don’t forget that when Cleary was running the team to start the year, James here has scores of just 3 and 14. Those aren’t injury affected either. Those are 80 minute game scores. He will still have the kicking duties as I mentioned earlier, so even if he is a train wreck again, the damage should be somewhat limited as long as the Panthers can put on some points. Easier said than done against Cleary’s men who allow just 15.1 points against per game this year.
Mitchell Barnett – Previous Score – 68 – Points to Position – 3
I’m a bit surprised with the amount of interest I’ve seen in Barnett this week. Yes, he had a very good game but it only amounted to 68 points which included a try assist and linebreak assist. And that 68 points was his best score all year, the next being round 1’s 52. It’s not all that pretty. He has got 80 minutes in the last 2 games but the other was a 49 point game, and both were in losses. I’d love nothing more than for Barnett to go back to the beast who exploded onto the scene at the end of 2016, but if you’re going after a Knights back rower, especially as captain, Fitzgibbon is the man you want.
Andrew Fifita – Previous Score – 89 – Points to Position – 8
This one’s not at all about Fifi who has been killing it lately. It has everything to do with the return of Paul Gallen to the Sharks lineup. For whatever reason, PG13 just seems to stunt Fifita’s scoring although it’s hard to truly imagine with the form that the big guy is in and Gal returning from such a lengthy injury layoff. I mean, we all saw how Gallen started the year with no preseason under his belt right? But the history is there to suggest being cautious with this selection. It should be an interesting matchup anyway with Aaron Woods poking fun of his mate Sydney radio this week.
WHY DO I KEEP DOING THIS TO MYSELF?
That’s why I keep doing this to myself! There’s an old saying in golf (or possibly just one I made up) that goes a bit like this – “you can be having the worst round of your life but all it takes is one great shot and you know you’ll be back”. This was that week. It was easily the best week of my season as I topped out at 1,178. It’s really not that great but in terms of my year, it’s an albatross. I still can’t get a captain call right as Smith let me down with his 64 points and subsequent suspension. And I’m still on the wrong side of 10k but it’s a start and I’ll take it. Now I’ve got to build on it.
Alright. After my Debbie-Downer write up last week I’m feeling a bit better about myself. Not top-of-the-world, but I’m on the up. I’ve got some good players coming in this week lead by Jai Arrow who damn well better ton up to make up for the agony he’s caused me all season, but not enough to beat my Knights. A happy medium thank Jai.
For my Captains, I’m very seriously considering running with Matterson at VC. I’m going to this game on Friday and with little interest in the actual teams playing, it will be nice to have something extra to cheer for. Following him up will more than likely be Damien Cook. The only thing stopping me from locking him in is that I’d love to have another run with Ponga. But I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.
As always, you can ask me any follow-ups in the comments below and hopefully I’ll be able to help some more. Good luck.