SuperCoach NRL: Fearless predictions Round 8
THERE'S a lot of excitement building for Round 9, which is Magic Round in Brisbane, but we can't ignore there's a week of quality games to get through before then, starting with the long-awaited Broncos v Rabbitohs match-up!
Bring on Round 8, let's get into it.
1. (Vice) Captain Pick - Sam Burgess
This call didn't work out so well last week but any time there's a HIA it's always a lottery as to whether that player is going to come back. It can even impact how they play after they return, as one more head knock and they're off for the remainder of the game, no questions asked. Unfortunately for Sam it limited his time on ground and also his impact afterwards as he certainly seemed more tentative with his involvement afterwards. In any case, I'm doubling down this week with him being a strong vice-captain option, if not just a straight captain option in the first game of the week. Word is, he could be running at a rookie half, with Anthony Milford potentially swapping sides to accommodate the left-sided Dearden. Sam Burgess vs Tom Dearden… a bit of a mis-match on paper!
2. Stud of the Week - Michael Morgan
He's been worrying for a number of weeks now as the Cowboys haven't been overly convincing in any way, but the expected return of the talismanic Jason Taumalolo should result in instant rewards for the remainder of the team; but none moreso than the primary playmaker who should be able to play off the back of Lolo's dominant runs to help his team put on a score against the fellow bottom-of-the-ladder Titans. Morgan might have been sold by plenty for the likes of Cleary or RTS, but I think Morgan has the potential to come close to both of their respective scores this week as he faces the team which has leaked the most SuperCoach points to opposition halfbacks and five-eighths. This might also be a sneak peek into Round 12, when these two teams meet again sans Origin stars!
3. Flop of the Week - Clint Gutherson
I could be tempting fate after Gutho had a down week, and when Gutho burned me last time, but I think the Dragons win this week in a low-scoring, tight defensive battle between two teams desperate to bounce back after a loss last week. Of course, I could be wildly wrong with the Eels dishing out a 40-4 flogging to the Dragons last season, and I have no doubt Gutho has the potential to burn me again if that happens! But with word Gutho is managing an injury too, I'm going to be a bit hesitant to expect a big score from him this week. I'd certainly not captain him this week, that's for sure.
4. SuperCoach Gold Mine
The Cowboys and the Titans have both had their struggles this year, with their respective offences and defences being near the bottom of both categories (i.e. not many points scored, too many points leaked). However, these teams have decent attacking weapons and the potential to rack up a score is there for both teams. Could this result in a bit of a shootout between two bad defences? It might not result in a high quality game for the purists, but it'll make for an exciting attacking affair and plenty of SuperCoach points if it happens!
5. Upset of the Round - the Bulldogs
I have been pipped at the post the last two weeks and for that reason I can't back the Panthers again… even though I think they are a genuine chance at upsetting the Raiders! They've done it a few times recently too. However, I'm going to (potentially jinx) the Bulldogs by backing them to get the job done against an absolutely decimated Sea Eagles' team missing their three most potent backline threats in Trbojevic, Cherry-Evans and Walker. Meanwhile the Bulldogs might be getting back two of their bigger names in Foran and Napa, which can only help them. The Bulldogs will still need to turn up though, as no Des Hasler coached team will ever roll over and not put up a real fight!
Round 8 kicks off on Thursday night
I am absolutely pumped to be watching the Broncos take on the Rabbitohs with the young halfback debuting and of course Wayne Bennett coaching against his old side. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he receives!