Captain’s Challenge: Who to skipper in Round 18?

We run the rule over the best NRL SuperCoach captaincy options to select in Round 18.

Captain's Challenge

The bye rounds are over, and we finally have a full plethora of players to pick from as our weekly skipper.

Well almost, Tom Trbojevic is the first Origin casualty and the game hasn’t even kicked off yet, while there’s likely to be other stars rested.

I’ve been very happy with the verdict on captaincy options in this article this season, whether they’ve been obvious or not.

Most have been pretty close to the top scorer of the round – or at least of the main picks among SuperCoaches – and Cody Walker was able to continue the trend last weekend with 130 points against the Cowboys.

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Owners owe Freddy Fittler a sincere thank you for snubbing him in Origin 3.

While Turbo will be a highly anointed skipper most weeks, particularly while Nathan Cleary is out, there should be plenty of high upside options to go with each week.

The moving of all games (Melbourne aside) to sunny Queensland on the points conducive dry surfaces for SuperCoach makes chasing ceiling of high upside backs even more important, further ruling out forwards as options almost every week.

Let’s take a look at the Round 18 captaincy picks which looks fairly wide open.

Thanks as always to nrlsupercoachstats.com.au for their stats on points conceded v position.

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TIER ONE

NICHO HYNES

Ryan Papenhuyzen’s absence is once again great news for those who held Hynes.

The Knights have fielded a strong squad with the likes of Tyson Frizell and Kalyn Ponga on deck, but they’d have to turn a significant corner to match this Storm outfit at home.

Hynes has a 5RA of 101PPG and incredible hasn’t scored under 69 since becoming a regular starter for the Storm in Round 7.

In that time he has eight scores over 80 and three over 137!

While still kicking goals for a red-hot team he’s a terrific option once again.

The Knights do concede the 9th most SuperCoach points to fullbacks which isn’t too bad.

One thing to be cautious of though is that Craig Bellamy, while unlikely, may decide to give his Origin contingent a rest on the three day back up from Origin.

If this did occur I’d probably try to avoid Hynes.

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CODY WALKER

I find it hard to go past Cody Walker once again this week in a dream match up with the Bulldogs on Sunday.

He’s in sublime form with a 3RA of 113PPG and a 5RA of 100PPG.

His only score under 50 this season came against Melbourne when beaten by 50.

The Bunnies should be near full strength and should belt the Bulldogs.

I’d be very surprised if Cody didn’t ton up again this week, and I can see it being onwards of 150 points.

JAMES TEDESCO

Teddy is on the three day back up from Origin and is also likely to be in some doubt.

However, with the Roosters in a fight to make the top four and already being stationed in Queensland I think Trent Robinson will be keen to play his star number one this week provided he comes through Origin unscathed.

There’s always the high risk of players getting early rests if the score blows out, which is likely with Teddy, however I’m banking on him having done enough damage in that time to post a three figure score.

The Cowboys concede the fifth most SuperCoach points of any team to fullbacks, and concede the most or second most in every other position except hooker.

Prior to beltings against the Storm and Panthers, Teddy had a 3RA of 114PPG.

With Victor Radley back, along with a fit and firing Sam Walker, this Roosters outfit is going to start firing heading into the finals and I can see Teddy putting up some big SuperCoach scores.

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TIER TWO

DAVID FIFITA

Personally I’m reluctant to go Fifita as I don’t think he has that 200+ ceiling over most others mentioned in this article.

It took three tries in Round 7 against the Bunnies to hit 153 points which is outstanding, but I think he’d need four of five to get towards 200 which is what others are capable of on any given week.

That being said, in games over 48 minutes this season (12/13), his lowest score is just 60.

Missing Origin due to suspension means he’ll be fit and fired up for a big one against the Eels.

The Eels have the 11th best record defending second-rowers in SuperCoach this season, but Fifita will buck that trend.

However, he’ll be running at Dylan Brown and Ryan Matterson who are fairly stout defenders.

He’s a pretty decent captaincy option, I prefer others as VC.

CLINT GUTHERSON

I don’t mind Gutho as a VC this week at all against a pretty flimsy Titans defensive side who have conceded the fifth most actual points in the competition.

Prior to his last start 28 against Penrith, he was running a 3RA of 103PPG. He has an excellent season average of 82PPG, with four tonnes included.

The Titans concede the fourth most SuperCoach points to fullbacks.

LATRELL MITCHELL

I’m not going into detail on Latrell due to his tiny ownership, but anyone who does have the services of the Bunnies fullback should be very tempted to utilise him as a massive POD skipper.

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CAPTAIN RISKY/PODS

SAM WALKER

Sammy is a serious POD option this weekend against the Cowboys, but realistically his is more of a VC due to his injury niggles and potential to go low.

Firstly, he’s back kicking goals which is vital in boosting his horrible base of 15BPG.

The Cowboys have conceded the second most actual NRL points this season in the competition.

They concede the most SuperCoach points of any team to BOTH halfbacks and 5/8s, crazy.

If you disregard games against top four teams he’s played this season (3/11), he’s averaged 83PPG, and that’s including 11 points against Brisbane!

That gives me plenty of faith in him as a POD skipper against a poor defensive outfit in the Cowboys, especially knowing he already has scores of 163 and 125 this season.

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ALEX JOHNSTON

With four tonnes in five games for a 5RA of 119PPG you have to consider AJ.

The issue is the Bunnies play in the final game of the round so it’d have to be as straight skipper which is obviously risky.

Albeit in wet weather, we did see the Bulldogs concede just 18 points to the Roosters last week.

With a base of just 20BPG, we know how reliant AJ is on scoring tries to score well.

The Bulldogs concede the most points in SuperCoach to CTWs.

His potential to go low will scare off plenty, making him a serious option for thrill seekers.

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AVOID

REUBEN GARRICK and DALY CHERRY-EVANS

No knock on running either of these two as vice-captains, but I’d be vary wary as POD skippers which some will be keen on against a Dragons side missing plenty.

They very well may both go 100+, but the form of the Sea Eagles without Tommy Turbo this season has been deplorable. 

I couldn’t confidently say Manly will win this with either of the two mentioned scoring well in the process.

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VERDICT

It’s Cody Walker for me who I’m backing for a score of around 150 against the Bulldogs.

The Rabbitohs attack is humming and they should be full strength which is a terrifying proposition for opposing defences.

This gives me the whole round to pick a VC, and at this stage I’m leaning towards James Tedesco or potentially Sammy Walker.

Walker kicking goals and likely assured of playing the full 80 (Teddy may well get rested after 60) tempts me towards the young buck, but we’ll see how Teddy comes out of Origin.

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Nicho Hynes is another terrific VC option, or even straight C.

Just on the loophole, with games in Queensland and most squads back to full strength I think you’d want a minimum of 130 points to activate it.

The only exception would be if you know your auto-emergency is good for 40 odd points.

Best of luck to everyone with the vital decision this week!

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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