SuperCoach NRL: Oh Captain, My Captain
So, you've finally managed to lock in your team, no doubt toying with many last minute switches and 'will I?', 'wont I?' moments. Now though, comes the big decision every weekend … Who on earth do we entrust with the all-important 'Orange Armband'?
Double points on offer people!
Each week I will delve into the stats that stick out, the best match-ups, form and even sometimes a gut feel to find you the best skippers of the week.
Without further ado …
Everyone should be aiming to get to 25 starting players for round one, and in the first few rounds with us all having so many rookies (aka auto emergency worries) I would advise against using the VC loophole … Nevertheless, here are a couple of options if you're that way inclined.
Jahrome Hughes HFB | FLB (Storm) vs. Broncos
The newest number one for the Melbourne Storm is a POD at just 2% ownership, and his upside is SKY high - one of his four games starting at fullback last season he scored 120 points against the Dragons in round 17! A game built on tackle busts, good ball playing skills and a nose for the try line, back Hughes in for a big start against the Broncos at home - his first opportunity to lock down the custodian role.
Kalyn Ponga 5/8 | FLB (Knights) vs. Sharks
Yes, Ponga has struggled somewhat in the initial phase of his move to the halves, but if there is anyone who can break that trend in a split second and score HUGE when the actual NRL stuff starts - it's this man! Last season, Ponga started with scores of 81 and 93 in the opening two rounds, and with the goal kicking duties in what should be a very good Knights team I expect Ponga to be a lock for VC duties most weeks regardless of the opposition. Playing at McDonald Jones stadium in the twilight Friday night match is the ideal setting!
James Tedesco FLB (Roosters) vs. Rabbitohs
What a finish Teddy had to the 2018 season! Scores of 113, 108, 57, 57, 74, 85 and a massive 180 in the last seven rounds for a ridiculous average of 96.3PPG shows just how high the ceiling is, and with no major changes to the spine like last season for he and Cooper Cronk, I think we see the Roosters (and Teddy) hit the ground running against their bitter rivals.
Other options … Anthony Milford, Shaun Johnson, Cameron Munster, Lachlan Fitzgibbon
What is it we're looking for here? Well, I think if you were to have a captain score over 70 points (doubled) every week you would be happy - I certainly would be! When it comes to captains this week, it's all about pedigree or 'revenge games' as we can't rely on any meaningful form in round one. So, here are the best picks for the week!
Damien Cook HOK (Rabbitohs) vs. Roosters
Coming up against the reigning premiers with the second best defence in the NRL isn't exactly the ideal start for Cook, but one thing is for sure, last year it didn't matter what his matchup was … He's THAT good. Averaging 77.6PPG over the course of the season, no one had more 'captain worthy' scores above the 70PPG mark, in 12 of his 22 matches and only one score below 50 all year. There are some concerns under new coach Wayne Bennett that his running game will be diminished, but I'm backing Bennett is smarter than changing the dominant game style of Cook. If you paid up for Cook, I'd be locking him in with the C.
Jake Trbojevic 2RF (Sea Eagles) vs. Tigers
Gone are the days where we have ample choices of 80-minute middlemen like Mannering, Gallen, Surgess and Corey Parker for captain each week. One of the few that remain is the Sea Eagles superstar lock, who has been the second highest overall point scorer the past two seasons - incredible consistency - going on to average 71.3PPG in 2018. The matchup this weekend in the Tigers presents a team who Jurbo averages 61.5PPG against across six previous matches, with a high score of 76. I think we see Jurbo eclipse that mark this weekend.
Jai Arrow 2RF (Titans) vs. Raiders
Many will have forgotten just how good Jai Arrow was prior to the nagging back and knee injuries last season. In matches where the Queensland Origin star played more than 60 minutes, Arrow had scores of 76, 138, 74, 77, 60, 90, 105, 72 for a crazy average of 86.5PPG - yes, that's right, and when I say 60+ minutes, only two of those eight matches were more than 66 minutes. With a full preseason under his belt and notably Ryan James not fully healthy with his knee, Arrow should be in line for big minutes to start the season. The best POD skipper for week one without doubt.
Other options … Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita, Nathan Brown, Cameron Smith
Good luck everyone, may the Orange Armband fall on the right man this week!