Several of New South Wales’ Origin heroes collide in a matchup many thought could decide the premiership before the season started. Penrith were leapfrogged atop the table by the Dragons on the weekend, and will need a very strong performance to regain that status against a Roosters side that are starting to gel.
All said, this is a must-watch game that could have real implications at the end of the season.
Gun: Boyd Cordner ($19.3m)
This pick is more a reflection of my belief the game will be low scoring and rather defensive, and the lack of workaholic forwards on either side. Boyd Cordner continues to frustrate me at Origin level, failing to put in a truly memorable performance at the level, but like fellow past Origin enigma Mitchell Pearce, he also performs for his club. He is fresh from a week off following the series opener and will need to be heavily involved against one of the league’s best teams. The Panthers’ right edge is very talented, but also quite young, so perhaps Cordner can take advantage of an error or two and drive up that 1345 average.
Dud: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ($14.8m)
The man with the best name in the history of rugby league has actually been surprisingly competent at fullback despite not appearing to carry the abilities required in the modern day incarnation of the position. However, it appears in recent weeks Tyrone Peachey is taking reps as the attacking fullback which is eating away at DWZ’s points, as evident by last week’s 860. He doesn’t have the ball-playing skills or elusiveness of Peachey and while it has been an inspired move for Penrith, it’s destroyed any value DWZ has. Avoid.
Point of Difference: Tyrone Peachey ($17.2m)
Tyrone Peachey is playing the best and most confident football of his career and that is saying something. The new, free-roaming role he’s been assigned with is perfect for his game and the Panthers are reaping the benefits. In a game where both teams are very solid defensively, his x-factor may be the difference. A near 1300 average that isn’t totally reliant on him crossing the line.
That’s all for Friday’s analysis. Check back soon for picks for the rest of this weekend’s NRL games. In the meantime, be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!