Wilfred Zee delivers his fearless predictions for the opening round of 2018.
Wilfred Zee delivers his fearless predictions for the opening round of 2018.

SuperCoach: Round One Fearless Predictions

FORMER SuperCoach NRL - presented by hipages - champion Wilfred Zee identifies the 'safe' captaincy choice you should avoid, the legend poised to ton-up and his flop of the week.

I found this article very challenging last year! I think I had a season low of around 25%, and a season high of almost 80% in terms of my weekly predictions. I'm going to be changing it up a little bit this year to (hopefully) improve my strike rate!

Let's get into it.

1. CAPTAIN PICK

Cameron Smith should be the most captained player of the round … but he won't be. We have all heard about how the changes to the bye period this year ensures that it is imperative that you get off to a good start. On the flip side, picking the wrong captain is going to ensure that you spend a lot of time playing catch-up. For that reason, it makes sense that Cam Smith, Mr Reliable himself, is an incredibly popular captain on top of his high ownership.

However, do these scores scare you? 38, 51, 54, 71, 72 - those are Smith's Round 1 scores from the past five years. A few of us probably remember captaining him for his stinker score of 38 in Round 1 last year. And the memory of a SuperCoach scorned is a long one. I'm sure all of us can recall that one horrible Captain score that cost you a head-to-head win!

2. STUD OF THE WEEK - JOHNATHAN THURSTON

What's that? It's JT's 300th game this week? Oh, it's in Townsville? And it's against the Sharks, the team that features one of Queensland's most hated players, Paul Gallen? Much has been said about JT and his slow return to the game via the trials. He was not so great in his first hitout but the signs of improvement in his second game were obvious. In any case, it's JT. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, right? No way is he going to take a back seat in his milestone game, he's going to enjoy this one. Lock him in for a 100+ score - as long as he's kicking!

Wilfred put's the 'flop' armband on Gareth Widdop for the opening round of 2018.
Wilfred put's the 'flop' armband on Gareth Widdop for the opening round of 2018.

3. FLOP OF THE WEEK - GARETH WIDDOP

This is a big call, considering Widdop averaged over 100 points per game in the four games he played at Jubilee Oval in 2017. But it's going to be the Ben Hunt show after all, right? It remains to be seen how Widdop and Hunt will combine, but regardless I definitely see less SuperCoach points on offer for Widdop with Hunt instead of McCrone beside him. Having said that, Anthony Milford scored some impressive season averages with Hunt alongside so it's not all doom and gloom for the Englishman. But it is this week … hah!

4. HIGHEST POINTS SCORER FOR THIS WEEK

This one is going to be hard, but my prediction is that the highest pointscorer is going to come from one of the following teams: the Rabbitohs, the Roosters and the Raiders. Might be handy to have one of the halves, fullbacks or outside backs in these teams! The Rabbitohs are going to be the lucky beneficiaries of the season opener being taken to Perth - as their opponents, the Warriors, must go through the longest road trip in the game, at a venue where they boast a horrendous record. The Roosters put a combined 62 points on the Tigers in their two games last year, and I'm worried they could eclipse that in just one game this year! Finally, the Raiders enjoyed playing the Titans last year, putting 42 points on them in just one game as Jordan Rapana scored a hat trick on his way to 170 SuperCoach points …

 

 

5. UPSET OF THE ROUND - THE KNIGHTS

Surprisingly, it's not really an "upset" because right now the odds are dead even for the Knights and the Sea Eagles. I would have thought that Newcastle were set to be underdogs at home, given the fact that they are coming off their third straight wooden spoon season. I have a feeling the Knights will announce themselves at home this week, making it clear to the rest of the competition that they won't be easybeats in 2018, and they'll do this with a hard fought, gritty win over the Sea Eagles in front of the Hunter faithful. What does this mean for SuperCoach points? Maybe Tommy Turbo isn't going to ton up … but that's just my guess!

Counting down the hours until the Dragons v Broncos season opener!

I'm bloody excited for the start of the footy season and SuperCoach season, and I can't wait to watch the slowly building rivalry between the Dragons and the Broncos. Sure, they've had Bennett vs. Dragons storyline for a number of years already, but now they can add Ben Hunt vs. his old club.

 

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