Following New South Wales’ triumph on Wednesday night, fantasy players now turn their attentions to the slate of weekend games and the potential for their states’ respective stars to be late withdrawals.
Post-Origin rounds can always wreck havoc on fantasy teams, so owners will need to be on the lookout for late changes. It is expected there could be a large number of those who featured in the opener being rested this weekend, but that will be the responsibility of owners to be on top of. The potential for missing players only adds further spice to a round of intrigue, starting with Saturday’s Sea Eagles vs Warriors showdown and capped off by the Storm hosting the Broncos.
Manly Sea Eagles vs New Zealand Warriors
The Trbojevics were asked to jump directly on a flight to return home and maximise their recovery and reintegration with the side ahead of a must-win game against a Warriors team that refuse to slide into their old disappointing habits. New Zealand are entrenched in finals places at the moment, and a win at Brookvale would only further their claims. By the way, they are 4-1 on the road. Who would’ve thought that? If the Sea Eagles lose they can all but kiss their finals hopes behind, so this doesn’t get much bigger.
Gun: Jake Trbojevic ($24.2m)
Jake was not needed to play his normal 80 minutes on Wednesday night, so that will have him primed for the full game on Saturday afternoon. He really is the litmus test for this team, when he gets involved going forward Manly are at their best. Look for them to cram the combo with his brother down the Warriors’ throats in an effort to find points. He’ll need to do plenty of work in defence against this big unit as well.
Dud: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ($19.3m)
In a round clouded by uncertainty over the availability of stars, the reports suggesting RTS is in doubt for the weekend are the reason he is this game’s dud. We simply cannot invest any further money in players who may be late withdrawals, and with Tuivasa-Sheck set to be a game-time decision, I would be steering well clear. Even if he is picked, he is not at 100%. Not this week.
Point of Difference: Peta Hiku ($14.4m)
Another speculative choice here, but should RTS not play, as expected, Peta Hiku will slot into fullback. The former NZ test star has been training in the position all week, further evidence it appears the Warriors captain won’t play, and Hiku has all the ability to be a success at the position. He is averaging over 1100 points in the centre position, and should be able to comfortably match that with more ball and against a team that has shown no ability to defend.
Newcastle Knights vs Sydney Roosters
This game would have been sold around Mitchell Pearce’s second shot at his former side, after the first one went very much awry, but his injury means instead we can focus on the footy. The Roosters have certainly improved from the constipated unit that started the season, clearly identifying they are paying James Tedesco a rumoured $1.2m a season and it would be best to let James Tedesco be James Tedesco if they’re going to do that.
Gun: James Tedesco ($22.6m)
I’m always wary of picking guys fresh off Origin but former players have always said the Saturday games are the ideal time of playing, not too soon for the body to still be in pain and not too late for it to stiffen up, and James Tedesco is young so no excuses. Newcastle’s defence is still suspect and the Roosters have realised they will only go as far as he takes them, re-shaping the attack around him. After a rocky start, he’s a must-have virtually every week. Also, if Wednesday’s performance wasn’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what is.
Dud: Boyd Cordner ($20.3m)
I am still waiting for Boyd Cordner to have a memorable Origin performance, particularly a memorable Origin captain’s performance. He’s always solid, sure, but I’m yet to see anything remotely inspiring to his teammates or his fans. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Cordner is one of the most likely to be rested this weekend, given his injury history, and even if he does play you can be sure his minutes will be restricted. The Roosters can’t take the gamble with sticking him in for 80 minutes if at all, so he’s definitely one to avoid this week.
Point of Difference: Daniel Tupou ($14.3m)
The lanky Roosters winger was one of my best PODs to start the season, but an early injury derailed any possibility of him emerging as one of the top outside back plays. He scored two tries on his return to footy last week, most positively one from a cross field kick off Cooper Cronk, which was the reason why I was so high on him. That combination could push him into the upper echelon of wingers, and his base stats are so impressive he won’t let you down too much should he not score tries.
Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Two of the premiership favourites to start the season, now two of the wooden spoon favourites. The Cowboys have been a real head scratcher, there is way too much talent on this team for them to be so bad. Experimenting with the team’s makeup has provided bandaids, but it seems the overall issue is Johnathan Thurston is not Johnathan Thurston any more and that may be that. Parramatta are a complete embarrassment. No point wasting any more time on them.
Gun: Michael Morgan ($16.3m)
The changing of roles should prove to benefit Michael Morgan the most, as he is given a free roaming responsibility that benefits his fantastic run ability. He has the ability to be a top line fullback for fantasy, but certainly relies on attacking stats to get there. Against this joke of a team, that shouldn’t be hard. Can’t see any way he doesn’t back up, even after Wednesday’s brutal match.
Dud: Any Parramatta Eel
I don’t want to necessarily single any out but I cannot justify spending a second more even discussing this shambles, so you shouldn’t think about investing in any of their players. Maybe Daniel Alvaro, but that’s all.
Point of Difference: Coen Hess ($19.8m)
I’ve noticed ownership in Hess in recent weeks has declined, as his scores have come back to ground a little bit after his flying start to the season. Hess didn’t feature too much for Queensland mid-week, something I think will be changed for game 2, so he will be raring to go against a team with absolutely no confidence. I’m predicting the Loch Hess Monster to cross over for a four pointer and beat his 1284 average.
Check back soon for picks and analysis for the rest of this weekend’s NRL action. In the meantime, be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!