Captain’s Challenge: Round 14 skipper options

We run the rule over the best NRL SuperCoach captaincy options to select in Round 14.

Captain's Challenge

An injured Munster gave me an okay captain score last week, but I can’t help but feel a little cheated out of what was on track to be a mammoth score.

This week I expect Teddy to be demoted as the most popular captain choice, which will make the captain’s choices more interesting.

The wet weather predicted for the weekend looks like it is clearing with only Friday expected to be wet in Sydney and the Canberra game on Saturday.

*Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a key on all SuperCoach relevant abbreviations.

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Safety first

Nathan Cleary (HFB)

Cleary’s form has elevated him to be a safe option each week. He has scored under 51 points once this season and has a 3RA of 92 and a 5RA of 94.

Cleary should be the most popular captain this week as he takes on the Warriors.

The Warrior’s determination and form recently has been great to watch, but they are still leaking plenty of tries.

On the other hand, the young Panthers outfit do seem to struggle to get themselves up for games they are expected to win comfortably, and they may not pile on the points.

It should also be noted that Friday is meant to be a wet game of footy.

It’s hard to get much out of the previous games, as Cleary has only played the Warriors once in the last two years, scoring a miserable 29 points in a very different Penrith side.

Cleary is popping up all over the field with some serious arsenal around him, which is what you want in your captain and is one of many reasons why he is the clear captain choice.

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James Tedesco (FLB)

Is the king dead? He has been demoted this week due to the tougher matchup and the form of other options.

However, Teddy still isn’t going to completely let you down as his workrate is still the best of any back.

Teddy and the Roosters have struggled to put huge points on teams like they were earlier in the season.

You’d have to assume this is a result of their injuries to a number of key players who are still missing from the team.

On the otherside of the field, the Storm have a number of key outs and there is no clear choice of who is going to lead them around the park.

However, the machine-like Storm system isn’t going to completely disintegrate without their key players so they will still put in a great defensive effort.

Teddy is shaping up as a POD captain choice on a dry SCG track and we only have to think back to Round 8 when he managed to put 108 points on the Storm in a very close game.

John Bateman (2RF)

Bateman’s lowest, non-injury affected SuperCoach score since he has been at the Raiders is 49 points.

He is getting a lot of ball from George Williams and has the ability to bust tackles and offload against any opposition.

This week he comes up against the sinking ship of the Brisbane Broncos.

Last year Bateman put on 101 points against the Broncos.

If the Broncos stick to last week’s structure, Bateman will be lining up against Brodie Croft who loves a missed tackle.

It’s scheduled to be a wet game, which might mean the Raiders look to go through the Broncos close to the line rather than around them.

It would be an extremely POD captaincy choice that will have a high floor and the more I look at it the more I want to captain him.

NEXT BEST: Taumalolo, Koroisau

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Risk it for the biscuit

Kalyn Ponga (FLB)

Ponga seemingly instantly clicked with Blake Green coming into the Knights side last week.

Ponga looked great don’t get me wrong, but part of me wonders how much of a leg up he got from the Tigers.

As predicted last week, that Tigers woeful right edge was targeted by the Knights as a clear game plan.

This week they face a Manly team that is also giving up a number of points, although I would say their left edge is the weaker side with Jorge Taufua getting targeted by a number of teams.

The last time they played Ponga put up one of his worst scores of his career with 19 points and has an average of 47PPG against Manly.

You can forgive him for that low score after coping a HIA and the game being a defensive battle.

Manly have regressed since that game and will be without Turbo, Walker, AFB and potentially without Marty.

I am not completely confident in Manly laying down without a fight, but even the best teams have trouble containing KP when he is on.

Ponga is rising as a captain favourite for this game, however should still be behind Cleary and many SuperCoaches will VC Teddy.

Shaun Johnson (HFB/5-8)

SJ has been in great form and even managed to score well last week playing in a pool and missing every attempt at goal.

The last time he played the Titans in Round 8 he scored 78 points and has an 86PPG average against the Titans.

The Titans are finding some form beating the Cowboys comfortably last week and pushing the Roosters the week before.

SJ will still have some success against Kelly and Sami on the Titans’ left edge, but I am not convinced he will go above 90 points.

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David Nofoaluma (CTW)

After being embarrassed the last two weeks, the Tigers are facing some serious questions.

If a Madge rev up doesn’t work for this game against the Bulldogs then it will never work.

The last time they played, Nof put two tries and 116 points on the Dogs.

Nof has an average of 60PPG games against the Bulldogs

The Tigers should get up for this game and I expect Nof to go 80+.

NEXT BEST: Latrell, Gutho

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Consensus

It’s a hard choice between Cleary and Ponga for me.

I am leaning toward following the herd with Cleary as there is so many compelling reasons why he is the favourite.

I also want another look at Ponga with Green in the side before going all in on him as captain.

SUPERCOACH TERMINOLOGY KEY

MPG = Minutes per game

PPG = Points per game

PPM= Points per minute

BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)

POD = Point of difference

3RA = Three round average

5RA = Five round average

BREAKEVEN (B/E) = The score a player must record to earn a price rise.

*Please note all our stats are taken from the geniuses at nrlsupercoachstats.com

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