Captain’s Challenge: Who to skipper in Round 8?

We run the rule over the best NRL SuperCoach captaincy options to select in Round 8.

Captain's Challenge

After taking a hiatus early in the year, our dedicated captaincy column returns for the remainder of the season.

So far we’ve had Walson Carlos giving some insight into the weekly options, now we have the returning Captain’s Challenge article back to dig a little deeper into the vital decision of who to give the armband to each round.

Earlier in the season it looked as though it’d be James Tedesco as just about a set-and-forget skipper with the odd Nathan Cleary choice, but in little time the fullback position, and therefore captaincy decision, has been blown wide open.

Let’s get stuck into the options to consider ahead of Round 8.

Sign up to SC Playbook for hundreds of extra premium articles across the NRL season, including access to our subscriber special question and answer podcast.

Embed from Getty Images

SAFETY FIRST

NATHAN CLEARY and JAROME LUAI

Cleary is the obvious pick this week against Manly who have found form in recent weeks since the return of Tom Trbojevic.

Don’t be fooled, while Manly are definitely a new side with their main man back on deck, the defence of the Tigers and Titans flattered the Sea Eagles.

Cleary’s ability to accumulate points with incredible ease never ceases to amaze.

While I think their game plan to favour the left edge and play out back to Jarome Luai definitely hurts Cleary’s scoring potential, he’s still scoring big and it appears effortless.

If Manly do regress to their form of two week’s prior, he’ll get a stack of attacking stats and also conversions.

I won’t go into Manly’s defensive stats too much as they’re a new side to the one we’ve seen earlier this season so they’ll be fairly skewed.

He has three tons this season and a low score of 76, exceptional.

Luai would always be a risky choice in the past, but his lowest scores this season have been 46 and 65 in a show of his consistency.

As above, Penrith direct a vast amount of their attack around the livewire playmaker, and at far less ownership than his halves partner he looms as a massive choice this week.

DAVID FIFITA

Fifita proved last week that he has a ceiling as high as almost any player in SuperCoach, give or take a few.

He has four tons in seven games, including scores of 153 and 147.

He put 105 on his old side Brisbane in just 65 minutes earlier this season, and he can easily eclipse that this week.

His 46BPG is solid, and his try-scoring potential speaks for itself.

The Broncos have conceded the fifth most points to second-rowers this season and Fifita will be running at either Anthony Milford or Tyson Gamble. Mmmm…

Fifita’s 46 base per game is okay for a second-rower, but when you add in the fact he’s had 57 tacklebreaks and 17 offloads already this season his floor is very high.

CAM MUNSTER

Munster is closing in on a big score, and with Ryan Papenhuzyen out of action the time is now.

Cronulla have key players back on deck, but they’ll be severely outclassed down in Melbourne.

Munster is kicking goals and looks set to explode. He hasn’t tonned up yet this year, but all of his scores have fallen between 59-88.

Interestingly Munster only had one century last year, 105, so maybe it’s a case of Melbourne having too many strike weapons?

Cronulla do defend 5/8s pretty well, leaking the 12th most points to the position, although they do leak the 7th most to halfbacks. Same shiz…

Munster was owned by just 27% of the top 100 ranked sides following the conclusion of Round 7.

Embed from Getty Images

RISK IT FOR THE BISCUIT

CLINT GUTHERSON

I actually don’t see Gutherson as that risky, but if the resilient Dogs side we’ve seen in stages in recent years show up following a win he may score sub 60 without goal-kicking duties in hand.

King Gutho has been remarkably consistent this season. Aside from his 32 against Melbourne, his lowest score all year is 74 and he’s coming off back-to-back tons.

The Bulldogs defend fullbacks okay, conceding the 7th most points to them.

At low ownership, Gutho can deliver against a Dogs side who put in everything last week to jag their first win of the year.

In a show of his ceiling, his scored a monster 166 last season.

Embed from Getty Images

KALYN PONGA

KP has proven fairly match up proof during his career, putting some big scores on gun teams. He put 159 on a red-hot Raiders outfit early last season.

Elsewhere, he had scores of 178 and 152 last season, along with his high of 163 in 2021 just two weeks back.

He did have three scores under 32 last season, so he can go low, and the Roosters concede the 11th least points to fullbacks, but that’s also skewed a little now they’ve found injuries.

CODY WALKER

I see Cody more as a vice-captain pick, but at 20% ownership in the top 100 he’s a serious POD pick.

With Latrell Mitchell out, Cody will get a stack more try-assists to his name as he runs that sweep line out back far more as a fullback.

It’s critical to the judging of try-assists and hence the impact on SuperCoach scores.

The Raiders have been rubbish of late, but they’re just as likely to get up for this game after a wake-up call and show their resilient defence of old.

For that reason, straight skipper is too risky, but boy Cody could go well here if the Raiders don’t turn their form around.

AVOID

TOM TRBOJEVIC

Penrith have the best SuperCoach defensive record in the NRL against fullbacks and Tommy’s injuries speak for themselves, so just don’t risk it despite the upside we know he has.

GET ONBOARD WITH TOPSPORT! Back your knowledge, and follow our NRL market previews throughout the season using their exclusive markets. Use the code SCPLAYBOOK when signing up. Check them out here ahead of the upcoming round of NRL.

VERDICT

It’s a pretty clear cut few choices for me this week.

Nathan Cleary is the obvious pick, while I’d be very tempted by Jarome Luai if I owned.

David Fifita could annihilate the Broncos, so he’s the man for the vice-captain armband. Alternatively, just give him the straight captaincy.

However, the point in VCs is often to jag a POD that can go huge and set you apart from rivals. Cody Walker and Cam Munster look the men for the job if that’s how you want to swing.

For a rundown of last week’s captaincy choices see Adam Druissi’s statistics below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *