Captain’s Challenge: Round 8 skipper options We run the rule over the best NRL SuperCoach captaincy options to select in Round 8. Captain's Challenge Tim Williams SC Playbook founder, 2nd NRL overall 2020 July 2, 2020 STAT ANALYSIS: Vital numbers to beat the bestCHAMPION PODS: 2019 SC winner’s unique picks As we all know, nailing your captaincy choice is imperative to SuperCoach success be it overall or head-to-head. Our very own Walson Carlos who finished second last year in the overall race clawed back an enormous amount of points on eventual champion Dez Creek with greater selections. 2020 is even harder with no bye period meaning sides are becoming more and more similar at a far quicker rate. This enhances the importance of getting your skipper right, particularly in the case of a POD skipper. Let’s check out the options for Round 8. Help support the site by signing up to SC Playbook for detailed SuperCoach analysis from hundreds of additional articles throughout the 2020 NRL season. Embed from Getty ImagesSafety first James Tedesco Once upon a time captaining a back would have been considered a risky decision. But with the new rules enhancing the potency of playmakers it’s made for a changing captaincy scene. Likewise, captaining anyone against Melbourne was deemed SuperCoach madness. Teddy already has two tons this season in five games and will be fresh from a week off. The key to this clash is that it’s being played at Suncorp Stadium, a fast, dry surface rather than the Melbourne track which was initially assigned that tends to gather more dew at night. What I like about Teddy this week is that many will avoid as they’ll want a crack at the vice-captain loophole, so I’m hoping his numbers will be down as a result. Yes the head knock is a concern, but they’ve got to tackle him first… Ryan Matterson Matto could well have eclipsed Jason Taumalolo as the best second-rower in SuperCoach. Controversial, but the stats back it up. Matterson has five scores over 86 in his past six games, four of which were above 91 points. His base of 56 shows that he shouldn’t be going any lower than 60 points even on a bad day. I’m genuinely concerned Mitch Moses’ absence will impact him pretty significantly, with Dylan Brown’s left edge getting more ball. However it won’t deter me enough to strongly consider Matto who could easily add some major attacking stats to his score against a mediocre Cowboys outfit. Embed from Getty ImagesPayne Haas Normally Haas would be a walk up start to the safety first captaincy picks, but that’s all changing following back-to-back scores of 65 and 54 in 63 and 59 minutes respectively. I like this as it’ll drop his selections significantly from here on out. Brisbane absolutely must win this game, so coach Anthony Seibold surely ramps his minutes up to 65+ again. The fragile Warriors defence leaked 50 to Melbourne last week. Haas is due for an attacking stat, hopefully this is the week. NEXT BEST: Jason Taumalolo, Damien Cook Embed from Getty ImagesRisk it for the biscuit Nathan Cleary You only have to look as far back as Round 25 last season to know how big Cleary can go (186 v Knights). He comes up against the Tigers who are in-form and may put a few people off. However, while they’re now into the top eight, they comfortably have the worst defensive record of top eight sides having conceded 140 points (Knights 7th on 120). The Tigers are racking up points, but they aren’t defending them very well. Cleary is predominantly a left edge half and gets a crack at BJ Leilua, very very nice. Embed from Getty ImagesShaun Johnson SJ has found form, and so have the Sharks, funny that… People are quick to criticise Johnson, but the fact is he leads the NRL with try-assists (10), two ahead of Luke Keary. The Titans have the second worst defensive record in the NRL behind Brisbane with 193 points conceded. The Sharks are playing a stack of their attacking ball down SJ’s edge which is promising. I am concerned they will send plenty of attack at Ash Taylor on the right though, but hopefully not too much. SJ is coming off scores of 84, 75 and 75, hopefully this is the week he goes 100+ with plenty of coaches bringing him in for Munster/Moses. NEXT BEST: Kalyn Ponga, Cody Walker Consensus James Tedesco is the man for me. I’ll very likely be giving him the captain’s armband despite the tough match up with the Storm. If you’re looking elsewhere, Ryan Matterson looks the next best in line. He also plays early in the round on Friday night, so it’d mean dropping the VC on Teddy or someone like Cam McInnes. Help support the site by signing up to SC Playbook for detailed SuperCoach analysis from hundreds of additional articles throughout the 2020 NRL season.