With all eyes on one of the most eagerly anticipated openers in State of Origin history, the NRL very much takes a backseat to the build up to a new era of New South Wales vs Queensland. This is certainly one of the games that will be most effected, however a few certainly did slip through the cracks.
Andrew Fifita’s defection to Tonga means he was left out of the Blues team, while Wade Graham missed the cut due to a lack of game time and probably form. The Rabbitohs on the other hand will be missing a plethora of attacking talent, namely Greg Inglis, Angus Crichton and Dane Gagai. They’ve been on a roll of late, but come up against a Cronulla team that is only missing Valentine Holmes. I feel like this could get ugly for Souths.
Gun: Andrew Fifita ($21.4m)
I feel like Andrew Fifita will be stinging to not have been picked for NSW despite knowingly good and well that he was throwing his Origin future in jeopardy by walking out on the Kangaroos. That could be huge trouble for the Rabbitohs in trying to quell the monstrous prop and his near 1500 average. As I’ve said nearly every week, he should be one of the first players on your mind, and with extra motivation to remind Brad Fittler of what he’s missing, I think Fifita goes closer to 1800 than his average.
Dud: Alex Johnston ($16.3m)
I cannot understate this enough, Alex Johnston is a wonderful talent but as far as fantasy goes he relies solely and purely on attacking stats and while missing three of his four most important outlets for attacking stats you cannot justify to me in any way shape or form picking him. The Sharks defence has been very solid, particularly at home and particularly during their unbeaten streak, but even that is all irrelevant. He doesn’t produce without attacking stats and with Inglis, Gagai and Crichton missing you would have to have more than a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock to pick him.
Point of Difference: Cameron Murray ($14.4m)
Cameron Murray replaces Origin debutant Angus Crichton in the back row and that could be huge for fantasy players. We’ve all known he’s been on the pipeline since the rave reviews coming out of preseason but that was derailed by a number of injuries. He appears to be healthy now and with 80 minutes available he should be able to rack up huge base stats against a Cronulla team that will try to overwhelm them through the middle. He is a very safe pick and at a reduced price.
Check back soon for picks and previews for the rest of Round 13’s matches. Good luck!