The NRL swings into its second week of the season after an opening round of drama and upsets.
The reigning-champion Roosters were knocked off at home by their arch-rival Rabbitohs, Penrith too were humbled at home by the reigning-wooden spooners Parramatta and Warriors showed life after Shaun Johnson would go on. Jason Taumalolo put on a performance for the ages with a 300m, two line-break, one try-assist effort that lifted the Cowboys to a win over the Dragons and he has set the tone yet again for all fantasy players going forward.
Let’s take a look at the Round 2 opener on Thursday.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Dragons wouldn’t be overly happy with the first showing from their new three-headed playmaking beast as it appeared Gareth Widdop, Corey Norman and Ben Hunt all failed to get on the same page. Norman looked the best of the three, which is a small piece of positivity St George can take from the loss, but Widdop’s first performance for the club in the no.1 jersey did little to convince anyone it was the correct move. They face a Souths side that were ruthless against the Roosters last week, physical in defence, clinical in attack and unrelenting in the mental battle. In 2010 Wayne Bennett joined a Dragons side that just needed a little tweaking to get over the line and claim the premiership, and at least after one game it feels as if the master coach may be looking at something similar with South Sydney.
Gun: Cameron Murray ($12m)
Cameron Murray has established himself not only as one of the best PODs in fantasy NRL but also as one of its best emerging guns with a wonderful performance through the middle for the Rabbitohs culminating in a try. Murray is a club favourite with his work ethic, attitude and motor, which directly lend to his fantasy scoring on the field. A relentless tackler, a willing runner and a unifying force, Murray presents a cheaper alternative to Sam Burgess with similar upside.
Dud: Matt Dufty ($10.2m)
Last year I predicted Matt Dufty could be one of the PODs of the year and look to push James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic as one of the elite fullbacks in the game. That day may come, but it won’t be this year. Although Dufty has signed a new deal with the club and presumably will slot straight back into the fullback role next season with Widdop departs, Dufty’s role in this side is confusing and makes him completely irrelevant as far as fantasy goes.
Point of Difference: Braidon Burns ($6.8m)
Previously an irrelevant fantasy player even when consistently starting, Braidon Burns found himself in the unfamiliar position of centre against the Roosters but he showed he may be a long-term option in the role. Burns was fantastic, producing a huge amount of points through base stats, something that plagued his potential in the past. He will benefit from playing in one of the better attacking teams in the competition so attacking stats shouldn’t be an issue, and if he can keep up the work rate he could be a huge play at $6.8 million.
That’s all for our Thursday preview – now be sure to get your lineups in and win your share of guaranteed cash prizes playing daily fantasy NRL.