SC expert, commentator, 2x top 350 overall finisher
August 24, 2023
Hopefully if you’re reading this you’re in a H2H final this week or at least a prelim.
Despite this author missing out on that honour in my main league, I pulled a 1508 in round 25 which I’d like to think was the result of some astute planning over the last 10 or so rounds to build a team with depth and great match-ups for finals time.
Marzhew, DWZ, and new (and final) recruit EKat all came to the party with big tons, and aside from Cody’s 41, no one went poorly.
With trades at a premium, let’s chat the match-ups for Round 26
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Before we do that, let’s start with some accountability. The players we highlighted last week were Semi Valamei vs the Sharks, DWZ vs the Eagles, right-edge Roosters against the Eels, Isaako vs the Tigers, Right-edge Tigers against the ‘Phins, Penrith (basically all of them), and Right-Edge Storm players against the Dragons. So how did we go:
Semi Valamei: 73 points including a try. Very decent but unfortunately now injured
DWZ: hattrick, 126 points and another belter of a match-up this round. You’re welcome Timmo!
Right-edge Roosters: Manu 70, Sualli’i 100+ and Teddy 120 with a couple through that corridor. Big big tick on this one but unfortunately the personnel changes this week might break the flow. A plumb match-up with ‘Phins now awaits
Isaako: 70 with a try and could’ve been more. The ‘Phins flyer is sitting with a 3RA of 87 for H2H Finals time which is behind only To’o and Sualli’i. He’s flying!
Right-Edge Tigers: A decent enough return without any crazy returns. Daine Laurie has the 7th best 3RA of any FLB in SuperCoach and scored a 77 while right-centre Tristain Reilly had a handful of linebreaks on debut and could’ve setup a couple for Nofa with a bit more composure.
Penrith: Couldn’t really go wrong with ‘Riff stars and the Peach was ripe for the picking. Looks another juicy match-up this round too.
Right-edge Storm: Ekat 120+, Hughes 100+ and Warbrick a first-half hat trick. This was an old fashioned fill-up and hopefully you didn’t pick up Marion Seve in amongst the incredible returns here. The Dragons left-edge defense is basically the worst in the comp and we are going to go back to the well again this week with our Warriors getting their chance.
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As we sit in the second last round of games, the obvious weak teams and edges are beginning to stick out for all coaches to see. So while stats don’t always paint the whole picture, they can help be a great indicator of what could unfold.
Moving forward, and looking beyond this round, it’s worth noting what are the most consistently good attacking sides and bad defensive sides. This will help you spot and make your own calls on match-ups you like. The Mecca for coaches is finding a top attack against a poor defence in which case getting a slice of the action can prove fruitful.
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Match-ups we like
To’o and Critta vs Eels
Thursday night footy is always a SuperCoach curse. But up against the Eels who, with a Round 27 bye and a booking for Friday night at the Mean Fiddler, the Panthers could be special this round.
Statistically speaking, this is the best attacking edge vs the worst defensive edge; in the words of the great Gurino, “this could be anything!”. To’o, fresh off a rest, and his running mates in Cleary and Critta could all go big. To’o has a 3RA of 89 which is the best of any CTW and with his base, he won’t let you down.
Don’t need to say much here other than this is juicy, Statistically the third best attacking edge against the fifth worst defensive edge. We thought DWZ would be doing this for the last three rounds until the untimely brain injury to CNK. But with his fullback returning last week, three tries to his name, and a game at home, this is looking like a huge score incoming for DWZ.
Not just probably the best trade target of the week, but a genuine skipper option as well. The 175 points against the same side in round 17 could be under threat.
If you can afford it, it could be time for the Drink trade-in. Goal-kicking against a fading ‘Phins outfit is enticing enough, and when you see where they’re lacking of late it only gets better.
Statistically the Cows have been a fascinating study this season. Early doors, their right-edge defence was the worst in the competition. It led to the dropping of favourite son Kyle Feldt and Semi Valamei earning the spot. Since Drink went nuts though, the right-wing spot at the Cows has been hugely profitable. Over the course of the season,the Cows right winger averages 58, which is the 5th best mark in the comp. Now Feldt is back in the saddle with the injury to Valamei, up against a Dolphins attack who concede almost 64 points per game to right-wingers, which is the fourth worst mark in the comp.
So in turn, we’ve got a great attack against a poor defence, which is just huge ticks for Feldt this round. Now he’s not cheap, but he would be the mega pod to end all pods this week if you fancy it.
If I asked you which player in SuperCoach has scored the most points during H2H finals (since round 23), would you have guessed Jahrome Hughes? The Storm half is averaging a monster 118 per game over the last 3 rounds which is over 20 points clear of Kalyn Ponga in second. Not bad at all! The way he steered his side around against the Dragons last week, you wouldn’t back against him doing it again with the Titans left-edge defence being very poor of late.
Realistically, with Phillip Sami out and second-gamer Tom Weaver on the Titans right, this could turn into the Cameron Munster and Coates show on the Storms left-attack, but I like the Hughes, Ekat combination to continue here, and Warbrick could again prosper with the attention paid to his inside men.
If you paid attention last week to the ‘Final Word’ from the great man Dezzy Creek, he would’ve tipped you into Daniel Tupou against the Eels. This was despite the data (and me) suggesting the Roosters right-attack was the play. Well, Toups went quiet and Manu and Sualli’i went big time. But this week we could see the roles reversed.
Realistically, the Tigers edge defence is poor on both sides. Nofa has to be one of the historically worst defenders in the NRL, and the combination of Junior Tupou and Asu Kepoa – while great in attack – is an abomination in defence. On numbers alone, the Roosters left-edge attack has the marginally better run this week and I’m backing Billy Smith and Daniel Tupou to be in the tries.
With Manu at fullback, Sualli’i has lost his inside man with the silky offloading ability. We do know Sam Walker brings his right-winger into the game fantastically well, which could keep the rugby-bound Rooster relevant, but for me the ball should go left this round. I’ll play Smith over Matterson personally.
Is it just me or is Jason Saab getting bigger? The Manly Flyer looked like he was born in a lab last week. No longer just the fastest guy on the field, his strength, footy nous and DCE’s dominance on the right-edge has culminated in a 5RA of 78 – it feels like 2021 all over again! Up against a Dogs side leaking 1.8 tries to right-edge attacks per game, he’d be a super POD. The change at fullback is a bit of an unknown for the Manly attack but Morgan Harper at right-centre is a handy attacking addition to the Manly side. With a final round game against the Tigers as well, he could finish with a wet sail.
This is one of the original match-ups we loved to target, with the Sharks left-edge defence putting up some historically bad performances this year. Now, yes, they’re better with Graham and Trindall out there. But it’s still far from perfect. Semi Valamei scored a try against them last round and if you’re chasing a flyer late in the weekend, you could do worse than to look at Gagai or Dom Young. Of all the match-ups this round we’re recommending, this is the one I’m least comfortable with. But with the momentum the Knights have in attack and another Sunday 4pm game in Newcastle, you could do worse than to look their way.
And there you have it. Good luck to all the coaches in H2H Grand finals this week! Hope this can give you an edge.