Round 4 rolls on with two fixtures on Friday. Let’s break down the matchups.
New Zealand Warriors vs. Gold Coast Titans
The Warriors were on the back of an absolute shellacking at Brookvale on Saturday night as Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans ran riot, conceding 46 points in a performance reminiscent of the New Zealand teams of the past that simply can’t be trusted. Their opening week performance against the hopeless Bulldogs was clearly a smokescreen for bigger issues. The Titans managed to avoid being destroyed by the Rabbitohs and welcome back their halves Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts, which will drastically improve their direction. This game could be anything.
Gun: Jai Arrow ($13.5m)
Jai Arrow produced one of his least impactful games of his short career last week, but lightning won’t strike twice. He’s as good a forward as any in the game and a 546 average despite last week’s outlier 298 proves that. This will be a forward’s battle and Arrow will put up another 500+.
Dud: Lachlan Burr ($7.2m)
Despite a strong start, at least fantasy-wise, Lachlan Burr has been relegated to the bench for Papali’i, Harris and Blair to take up the back row, and as such is no longer a play. He’s been handy at a budget price and bringing in 400+ scores but he won’t find the minutes to make him fantasy relevant unless injury arises.
Point of Difference: Bryce Cartwright ($6.4m)
The curious case of Bryce Cartwright continues. A player only a few years ago earmarked as a future superstar of the game, Cartwright’s career went off the rails and it looked as though last year it was unable to be resuscitated. However, a virtuoso performance last week that amounted in 486 fantasy points seems him come roaring back into contention. I’d wait another week but maybe you’re more brave?
Penrith Panthers vs. Wests Tigers
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to remain one of three remaining undefeated teams and instead proved why no one will trust them this season, losing to the hapless Bulldogs. They play a Panthers team that has been no better than the hapless Bulldogs this season, fresh off a 30-point loss at home to the Storm. Hard to argue a case for even watching this game let alone investing in any of their players.
Gun: Viliame Kikau ($12.2m)
Big Viliame Kikau returns for the Panthers in welcome news for a club that has seen early season buzz reduced to regular season speculation over the future of players and even their new coach. He gives them a real line-breaking threat on the edge every time he touches the ball, and was a fantasy stud last year. They will be looking for him, and who trusts the Tigers to stop him.
Dud: James Maloney ($9.2m)
James Maloney appears to have forgotten how to play rugby league. Whether it’s the game catching up to his age or the Panthers’ offensive struggle, or simply his cloudy future at the club, he’s barely managing 250 per game and last week’s 160 was the last straw as far as I’m concerned.
Point of Difference: Alex Twal ($10.4m)
The time has come my friends, Alex Twal is starting! The points per minute machine has been given a start prop role and that should keep an uptick in time on the field and points as a result. Still underpriced for a player of his quality, get on him before everyone else does. A cheaper option for a potential fantasy star and in a game where forwards should dominate. He’ll be in my team.
That’s all for Friday’s preview. Check back soon for this weekend’s picks – but first head to the Lobby and pick your teams to play for a share of guaranteed cash prizes.