For the first time ever in my whole time playing Supercoach I’m actually starting to appreciate the differences in strategic approaches between being an overall and head-to-head player.
Dropping from a ranking of 827th two weeks ago and spiralling to 7,473rd now I’m starting to consider my approach to the rest of the season.
Normally I would just stick it out and try to rebound up the ladder back into the top 1000, but this year I am in this 16 team TopSport Challenge where the winner gets $5k and gives $5k to a nominated charity of their choice.
I’m pondering whether I should shift my focus to that therefore abandoning the dream of a run at the $50k and the glory of overall champ that so desperately eluded me in 2019.
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.
Many readers will be in head-to-head cash comps with friends and sometimes the more serious ones and will know the same predicament I am in.
You certainly can’t complain that this year’s Supercoach season has been vanilla.
Every week it is tossing up challenges to solve and some injuries and bad runs of form to players (think Teddy and Papi) at the start of the year we all thought were mainstay rolled gold keepers along with the exciting emergence of new Supercoach guns (think Papali’i and Sam Walker) has kept everyone on their toes.
We are not even halfway through the season so there is plenty of time for Supercoaches to get things back on track, but if you’re in the chasing pack some risks must be taken in order to make up ground on the leaders.
This week CHN and Jai Arrow and maybe Liam Martin are emerging as possible mid-rangers that could provide a boost.
All have merit but unless Capewell is ruled out with injury I’d say CHN is probably the only viable consideration and even then the dramas at Canberra do not exactly inspire great confidence.
My trades this week will most likely be finding a way to strengthen my FRF and I’m seriously considering Papi out for Turbo.
After eight rounds here’s the players I’ve identified as PODs (Point of Difference players – less than 10% owned) and Super PODS (less than 2% owned) that should be on your radar.
I’ve listed them in ranking order of who I believe is the best to take the risk on:
PODs (My top-5 ranked)
1. Harry Grant – With the position stacked with people happy to carry Connor Watson and Jayden Brailey to the bye in Rd-13, Harry Grant is the ultimate POD play. Widely considered by Supercoaches to be the highest averaging player in the HOK position at the end of the year. He averages 75 now and in his four games back he’s been well and truly eased back into playing with an average of 55 minutes. If Bellamy decides to unleash Grant for 80 minutes he is an 80-95 points average player in my books.
2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – RTS is quietly putting together a season for the ages in 2021. He’s hit the top of the Dally M count with Cleary and with the added attacking threat of Reece Walsh it has really helped open his game up. Consider the Warriors will get Aitken, CHT, Hiku and AFB back over the next month. This is a side who is going to make a serious run for the Top 8 and with their attacking potency expect RTS to be right in the thick of it.
3. Kalyn Ponga – Yeh I was cursing him last week as he was my captain and whilst I did regret putting the captaincy on him, after some reflection and afterthought I don’t regret the trade in. Ponga will step up and beat up on the weak to middling teams. Raiders, Tigers, Cowboys and Sea Eagles all fit into that category over the next four weeks. No Blake Green means hopefully he gets the ball in his hands quicker. I’m expecting 2 x 100 point games in the next month and an average of 95+ over the four game span. Sure 166 BE might be too high but remember he did score 159 v Raiders last year.
4. Daniel Tupou – Tupou is a bonefied SC gun in the CTW position. You could argue he’s bottomed out and is set to make a run. I like him to finish top 5 CTW if the Roosters can pull through their injury crisis and keep a decent side on the park.
5. Jahrome Hughes – You’re only as good as your last game and Hughes has had some crackers of recent times. A three round average of 107.7 is outrageous, but be wary Hughes has done similar before and historically has not tended to be able to maintain it. If you think he can and will though he’s worth the punt.
1. Corey Harawira-Naera – 80 minutes locked in. CHN locked into my side! Of course we don’t know if the 80 minutes is locked in or not, but it certainly appears that way and to be honest the Raiders need CHN’s point of difference play with angle running and offloading to mix it up for them similar to what John Bateman provided last year.
2. Jesse Ramien – Aren’t we all searching for a secure CTW who doesn’t overly rely on attacking scores? I present to you Jesse Ramien. Four games and scores of 40, 64, 88 and 70 and that only includes one try. Stop the search – Ramien is your man.
3. Adam Doueihi – He’s back. The Tigers have finally delivered and are set to go on a run. Titans, Knights, Warriors and Saints are all winnable games and Doueihi is the main man now at the Tigers. All things run through him. He averages 65.3 and goal-kicking will be handy if the Tigers can start to ignite their attacking game.
4. Adam Pompey – Along the same lines as Ramien, but a bit more attack stat reliant. But in saying that looks dangerous every time he touches the ball. Not a bad shout for a CTW spot.
5. Zac Cini – He had a great debut with 59 Supercoach points, but for those who watched it was actually a lot better than the score might suggest. Cini excelled with limited opportunities and with the Tigers hitting the ‘soft’ part of the draw and his spot secured I expect he will be very popular next week. If it suits, why not get the jump on everyone?
New segment listing the players to keep a close watch on over the next month for their Supercoach prospects:
1. Shaun Johnson – Continue to keep an eye on SJ and wait for him to show something and for his price to come down. Definite trade-in for the run home.
2. Edward Kosi – 29 is not a SC score to write home about, but Kosi passed the eye test and with news that Fusitu’a may be out for an extended period Kosi will come right into calculations for Supercoaches next week.
3. Ryan Matterson – Punched out a quiet 60 whilst not looking like doing much. The sleeping giant will awaken sometime soon so make sure you don’t miss out.
The players I think matchup well Supercoach wise are:
There’s a bit of rain predicted the next couple of nights in Sydney so I’ll steer clear of any match-ups in the Thursday and Friday games I think.
The weather in Wagga looks fine for the Saturday afternoon game with the Raiders taking on the Knights and I expect Ponga, Best and Barnett to match up very well against the Raiders porous defence.
Similarly Doueihi, Nofo, Joey Leilua and Zac Cini get a good match up v Titans.
Dave Fifita would also like his chances lining up against a right side Tigers defence that has struggled all year.
It will be raining points in Townsville on Saturday night I reckon so therefore Holmes, Feldt, Drinkwater, Isaako, TPJ and even Tyson Gamble for those brave Supercoaches who have brought him in is a serious play.
Manly v Warriors shapes as another high scoring game on a dry track.
Look for Reece Walsh, RTS, Pompey, Kosi, Maumalo, Tommy Turbo, Garrick and DCE to score well.
The captain is becoming more and more critical and the great thing about this week is there are so many options. If you like the Panthers match-up then Cleary and To’o are solid VC and C options. Equally I think D Fifita, Tommy Turbo and Kalyn Ponga are the pick of the bunch this weekend.