Croker’s Call: Make-or-break decision for 2021

Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker reveals his NRL SuperCoach trades and tactics for Round 8.

Croker's Call

My men have started to put together some consistency after seemingly being on an endless rollercoaster of rises and falls since starting SuperCoach last season.

I did see a drop last week, but 1,216 points wasn’t too shabby, leaving me in a decent position of 3,416th overall. Let’s be straight, I’m elated with it!

It’s funny how quickly your goals can change after a decent start to the season.

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Unfortunately I was knocked off in my SC Playbook head-to-head clash by 40 points to Nick Moon, but I’m confident we can bounce back with a victory.

David Fifita was superb for me with 153, my captain Nathan Cleary went well with 96, while Sam Walker is setting the NRL and SuperCoach alight with 125 points.

James Tedesco was a low light with 17 points following an ugly concussion on ANZAC Day, so hopefully he’s recovering well.

I also left Reimis Smith out of my team for 109 points, bugger..

Like everyone it appears, I have a few injury worries this week to tackle, but with $250k in my bank and already owning Josh Curran and Jake Simpkin I can hopefully deal with it alright.

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Injury has the Roosters enforcer in doubt this week despite being named on the bench.

He’s done a really good job for me so far, but with the Roosters getting a few players back it may impact his minutes, certainly in the short-term as his injury is managed.

In comes big Payne Haas who has one of the best motors in the NRL.

He plays serious minutes week in week out, and is constantly a threat close to the tryline.

He adds some security to my front-row position and will be a welcome addition.

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I’m not sure yet if I’ll sell Tedesco or Papenhuyzen, but I’m leaning towards Tedesco following another head knock that has now ruled him out.

I can’t help but feel this decision has the potential to be make-or-break for many SuperCoaches this season with both players so capable of going large.

Tedesco has regressed in recent weeks, while Papenhuyzen hasn’t put a foot wrong. The cash for the Storm fullback is tempting, but I’d hate not to own him when he returns with Melbourne’s form so far this season.

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My concern is that the Roosters have key personnel changes in the spine. While I’m confident they have the talent to overcome key losses, it does take time to gain fluency in new combinations which may hinder Tedesco as we’ve seen recently.

Melbourne have most of their side on deck, and Harry Grant is obviously a huge inclusion that can only bolster Papenhuyzen’s stats with his phenomenal support play.

Kalyn Ponga would be the man to come in for either. He’s looked brilliant since missing the opening stages of the season and continues to develop his game which is frightening for rival clubs.

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I can’t go past Nathan Cleary who has been great for me as my captain most weeks.

He gets a dry day game against Manly in the country and there’s no real reason to suggest why the Panthers and Cleary shouldn’t continue on their way.

We know how big he can go, and this looks another opportunity to bag a big score.

My vice-captain will be David Fifita who has shown his ability to go large of late.

He’s proving unstoppable and will be fired up for another crack at his old club Brisbane.

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