Welcome back to another edition of Captains Call.
The rep round is over and the biggest talking point in terms of NRLCEO is Johnathan Thurston injured in his first game back. No set time frame either is not good news for the coaches who have him. He looked good coming back and could have been on the radar to be named as captain for some coaches.
Let’s look back at round nine and as expected Jake Friend tackled his way to an easy workhorse. Gone are the days where he could be a chance for a double as he only averages two runs a game.
Still with the Roosters and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves also made an easy workhorse with 53 involvements. He is a chance this year of getting his first double since 2013.
James Tedesco ended up being a bust. What didn’t help was a try being disallowed for Paul Gallen flop (I don’t care what other people think he milked that for all it was worth, watching too much A-League). Then Teddy went off under the HIA rule and didn’t return.
Josh Hodgson has been on the up and against the Bulldogs he continued that form crossing for a try and picking up a line break. He also registered a workhorse to bring his tally to 28 points in the last five rounds.
Pick of the round goes to Dylan Walker. Four try assists, two line breaks and a line break assist is a fantastic return if you named him as captain. I wonder how many of you actually did.
With the rep round done we start the build up to the Origin period where choosing the right captain becomes even more important.
Let’s have a look at five more players. Don’t forget to vote or leave comments below.
Josh Jackson (safe bet)
Having picked up a workhorse each game in his last five, Jackson is really looking good for a high scoring season. 28 points in his last five games sees him as one of the best scoring second rowers on recent form. Against a struggling Cowboys he could back up his workhorse with some attacking stats.
Boyd Cordner (safe bet)
With Origin around the corner look for Cordner to start putting his foot down. Has scored a workhorse in all bar one game but it’s his other columns that have been down. Only one try so far this season although running off Pearce and Origin coming up I can see another try coming very soon.
Jarrod Croker (risk and reward)
The highest point scorer from last year has started the season a little slower however he still has four tries in seven games. Last outing against the Knights Croker picked up two tries, a try assist, line break and a line break assist. With a point to prove, the Raiders could pile on some points this weekend.
Suliasi Vunivalu (risk and reward)
Eight tries and nine line breaks in eight games, need I say more. Playing against a Titans team that can leak some points I can see Vunivalu crossing the line for at least one try but wouldn’t be surprised if he scored more. Two tries the last time these teams faced each other, can easily see that happening again.
Nathan Cleary (risk and reward)
This shapes as a massive game for the Panthers and if they are to win it will be on the back of young Cleary. The rep round would have done wonders for the Panthers players that took part and for Cleary I can see him taking another step forward in what will be a long career.