Croker’s Call: Cook to shine before bittersweet axing

Canberra captain Jarrod Croker shares his Round 2 NRL SuperCoach trades and captaincy choice.

Croker's Call

The opening week of action wasn’t too crash hot for Croker’s Stockmen, but I’m optimistic we’re not far off the mark with some promising signs early.

I had a round score of 921, putting me in the top 39%, and with a few key tweaks to my team I’m confident the boys can rise up the ranks.

Three of my big investments flopped in Latrell Mitchell (17), Damien Cook (47) and Tom Trbojevic (22).

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Trbojevic gets another chance, that Storm match up in Round 1 was always going to be extremely difficult to create points, so he’s a clear forgive.

I’ll have to cash in and part ways with Cook for Api Koroisau next week, but I’m hoping the Rabbitohs rake can go big for me before he gets the axe.

My skipper Payne Haas (74) went large, while my halves pairing of Shaun Johnson (95) and Scott Drinkwater (71) delivered too.

Josh Mansour (65) looks fit and healthy and got through a mountain of work, so he’s another Round 1 pick I’m happy with.

On to this week’s trades.

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TRADE ONE

Latrell Mitchell – Esan Marsters

I have no doubt Latrell will click into gear at fullback which will deliver big SuperCoach points in time, but I probably underestimated the physical toll it takes to shift from centre to fullback.

Latrell played just the 56-minutes against Cronulla before being spelled by Wayne Bennett.

The ground coverage required increases tenfold, so it’ll take time for Latrell’s body to adjust to this demand, but when it does, look out.

Marsters was extremely lively on NRL debut for the Cowboys and was offloading at will.

He had the most runs of the round with 23 and will produce plenty of attacking stats as the season rolls on.

He’s deceptive in how sharp his footwork is. He’s able to beat his opposing centre in a blink, and with the more passive tackle created he’s afforded the opportunity to get the arm free and offload.

Welcome to the Stockmen, Esan.

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TRADE TWO

Toby Rudolf – Pat Carrigan

I feel harsh trading out Rudolf, but I learnt an early SuperCoach lesson in Round 1 to not leave myself short in a position.

I picked three value options in the front-row, which forced me into playing Zane Musgrove (23) who played limited game time, although he looked the goods in the process.

Rudolf did as expected in okay game time, but I need to strengthen this position before leaking too many points, and Carrigan is the man to fill the gap.

At just 22, Carrigan was named co-captain at the Broncos in Alex Glenn’s absence in an enormous show of how highly the club rate him.

He played big minutes in Round 1 and has a strong work ethic, while his spot is safe with my old teammate Tevita Pangai out for four weeks.

Let’s hope my new recruits hit the mark in Round 2.

CAPTAIN

Damien Cook

I know it makes little sense to skipper a bloke I plan to trade next week, but Cook really lights up at Suncorp on that fast dry surface.

Brisbane have a new-look forward pack that’s had a few reshuffles with injury and suspension, so I’m hoping Cook can capitalise on some indecision and do some damage through the ruck.

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