Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast Titans @ Sydney Cricket Ground – 3 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Anthony Don – $17
The Gold Coast Titans know they need to shock the Sydney Roosters early if they’re to have any chance of victory. And with the Chooks such heavy favourites to pile up the points, the try-scorer value lies with the underdogs.
From a historical point of view, Anthony Don ($17 – Neds) has scored six tries in his last nine games against the Roosters. He’s crossed the line five times in his last five games this season too. He’s a professional try-scorer, and at times, their only option at the end of sets. If the Titans are to shock the Roosters, Don is likely to be involved.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Sitili Tupouniua ($8,990), Mitchell Aubusson ($10,810)
The new-look Roosters back row carries the value this week. With Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton still sidelined, Sitili Tupouniua and Mitchell Aubusson get another crack in the starting lineup.
Aubusson cashed in for 46.1 points last week with our predictive model projecting him to repeat that again on Saturday. Meanwhile, Tupouniua is projected to better his 37.4 points from Round 11 with 49 points in this one. The elder statesman in Aubusson looks the safer option of the two, but Tupouniua’s versatile running game and willingness to support ball-runners raises his ceiling as a possible try-scorer.
DFS Fade: Luke Keary ($13,190)
There is no denying Luke Keary’s potential to pile up points against this poor Titans defence. Nonetheless, he’s worth considering as a fade option with our predictive model projecting him to score just 46 points.
North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders @ Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 5:30 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: George Williams – $26, Josh Papalii – $34
While the North Queensland Cowboys middle offers plenty with the ball in hand to drag their team up the field, questions remain over their mobility in defence. They’re one of the bigger middles in the NRL and George Williams ($26 – PointsBet) is set to pounce. His step is proving tough to handle with subtle ball-playing often enough for the defence to sit back. If the Cowboys middle become hypnotised, Williams will skip through.
Josh Papalii ($34 – BetEasy) sticks out as a roughie. With three tries in his last four games, he’s finding the line in a variety of ways and will be a good chance again here against a dodgy Cowboys defence.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Shane Wright ($10,220), John Bateman ($13,260)
It’s back to the well with Shane Wright this week. After highlighting him as a value play in Round 11, Wright cashed in with 50.1 points. With a dip in price (from $10,290) and a projected score of 45 points, he’s a value option again on Saturday.
While it carries a little bit of risk given the uncertainties around his recovery and the minutes he will play on return, John Bateman should be considered at $13,260. With a projected score of 59 points, our predictive model projects him to get straight back into his work.
DFS Fade: Dunamis Lui ($11,250)
Our predictive model is tipping an end to Dunamis Lui’s purple patch of DFS form. With 50+ outings in Round 9 and 10 along with 45 points in Round 11, Lui is projected to score just 36 points this week.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Penrith Panthers @ Lottoland – 7:35 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Stephen Crichton – $14
Stephen Crichton ($14 – BetEasy) is quickly becoming one of the best players in the NRL and Viliame Kikau’s return inside him only adds to his try-scoring chances. With ten tries in 11 games this season, Crichton can’t be kept away from the line. Penrith also started to run shapes with Crichton popping up as a fullback on the right side, further adding to his appeal here.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Viliame Kikau ($9,650), Isaah Yeo ($14,490), Jake Trbojevic ($13,510)
Viliame Kikau will be raring to go after a week off and presents as a value opportunity here. He scored 49.9 points in Round 10 and is projected to score 45 points in this one. At $9,650, he’s worth getting in despite the possibility of high ownership.
With only 29% ownership last week, Isaah Yeo produced the goods with 69 points. He’s up against a strong Manly middle on Saturday. Expected to do plenty of work in both attack and defence, Yeo is projected to crack 60 points for the third consecutive week.
Meanwhile, Jake Trbojevic remains a consistent DFS staple. Projected to score 59 points in this one, that will make it nine consecutive 50+ scores with only one over 60.
DFS Fade: Malakai Watene-Zelezniak ($8,200)
Proceed with caution when selecting Malakai Watene-Zelezniak following his 41 points last week. He doesn’t typically play with an exceptionally high work-rate and a try helped him in Round 11. His projected score of 25 points is enough to consider fading him.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels @ ANZ Stadium – 2:00 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Ryan Matterson – $21
Per Stats Insider, the Eels have scored 50% of their tries down the left edge this season. It’s one of the most potent attacking weapons in the NRL. However, the Bulldogs left edge defence is the worst defensive area in the competition. They’ve conceded and NRL-high 26 tries down that side. If Ryan Matterson ($21 – BetEasy) recovers from his head knock last week, he presents as excellent value on Sunday.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Mitchell Moses ($12,520), Josh Jackson ($9,580)
Mitchell Moses wasted no time in getting into DFS form upon his return from injury. He finished up with 46 points in Round 11 and is projected to bump that up to 52 points on Sunday. Given how many points the Eels could pile up against the Bulldogs left edge, Moses could clear his projected score by a distance.
With little value in the Bulldogs, we’re going back to Josh Jackson. He cleared his projected 44 points in Round 11 to score 46.9 points. Our predictive model has projected him to manage a similar output this week.
DFS Fade: Aiden Tolman ($14,720)
While Aiden Tolman did run for 200 metres, he also scored a try, broke a rare tackle, and registered a line break and line break assist on his way to 81.1 points. He’s not doing that again with our predictive model projecting him to come back down to earth with 53 points on Sunday.
Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights @ Sunshine Coast Stadium – 4:05 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Enari Tuala – $15
The Knights know how important it is to start well against the Storm. Conceding early points themselves following an embarrassing loss last week will have a significant impact on their confidence. With the value in this department on Newcastle given Melbourne’s anticipated dominance, Enari Tuala ($15 – PointsBet) is an appealing option. On Kalyn Ponga’s prefered right side, expect the Knights to revert back to what was previously a winning formula as they search for form.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Dale Finucane ($10,440), Kenneath Bromwich ($10,340)
The Storm are a chance of piling up points this week with Dale Finucane and Kenneath Bromwich likely to be involved. Finucane is working well with Cameron and Brandon Smith as a ball-player in attack and handed out a try assist on his way to 44 Draftstars points last week. He’s projected to bump that up to 46 points on Sunday. Meanwhile, Bromwich is an ideal foil for Cameron Munster on the left edge with his willingness to hit holes made more dangerous by his ability as a ball-player. While he’s not projected to reach the heights of Round 11 (61.27 points), Bromwich’s 45 points is still a value play.
DFS Fade: Jahrome Hughes ($13,010)
Jahrome Hughes is a volatile DFS option with scores of 65.4, 72.2, 26.2, 38.9 and 69.5 points over the last five weeks. Our predictive model projects him to have a down week with 45 points. At $13,010, he’s on the pricey side.
St George-Illawarra Dragons v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 7:50 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Ben Hunt – $31
Named in his preferred number seven jersey, Ben Hunt ($31 – SportsBet) will be desperate to retain it. The Dragons have played so well with him at hooker that he’s going to need to produce the sort of performance that forces Paul McGregor into a tough decision when Adam Clune returns next week.
Like everybody, Hunt knows he plays his best footy running the ball. Forget the overly structured play and traditional role of a halfback. Hunt is better served by putting his head down and digging into the line. Expect to see him be a little more selfish with the ball this week.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jackson Ford ($9,500), Latrell Mitchell ($8,510)
His 19.4 points season average (all off the bench this season) won’t appeal to most, but Jackson Ford is an excellent young player. He’s quick, a threatening enough ball-player and he knows how to hit a gap. While he’s named to play in the middle here, he should still see plenty of opportunities in attack. Projected to score 41 points on Thursday night, Ford is a value play.
So too is the much better known Latrell Mitchell. He’s had a few stinkers this season. The new fullback registered scores of just 23.4, 19 and 19.7 points in the three games before his suspension. However, following two weeks on the sideline and a return in his beloved Indigenous Round, we’re sure to see the motivated version of Mitchell. Our predictive model projects Mitchell to score 38 points, which at $8,510, makes him a worthwhile low-cost pick up.
DFS Fade: Ben Hunt ($14,850)
Ben Hunt has been brilliant as a starting hooker to average 72.6 points per game across his last three. But a move into the halves threatens to take away some of his DFS value. Projected to score just 51 points, it’s worth considering Hunt as a fade option in his return to halfback.
Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors @ Sydney Cricket Ground – 6 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Luke Garner – $19, Kodi Nikorima – $41
Luke Garner ($19 – Neds) is forging an excellent partnership with Benji Marshall on the right edge. While Garner missed Wests last game, he linked up with Marshall to score twice in their Round 10 thrashing of the Broncos. The second is what the Warriors can expect to have thrown at them on Friday evening:
As mentioned above with Hunt, Kodi Nikorima ($41 – BetEasy) has looked his best being selfish. A rampaging Eli Katoa on his outside should make that easier. With defences starting to hone in on the impressive 20-year-old, gaps will open up for Nikorima. He has the speed and footwork to skip through them if his intention is to run early and often.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jack Hetherington ($8,500), Adam Doueihi ($8,870)
Jack Hetherington starts at prop for the Warriors again this week. While he only managed 26.6 points in the same spot against the Roosters, he’s expected to improve on that number against the Tigers on Friday. Our predictive model projects the Panthers loanee to score 40 points.
Tigers fullback Adam Doueihi’s scratchy period of form culminated in a 41-minute and 9.4-point performance in Round 11. He’s not produced quite like he did earlier in the season, but our predictive model is tipping a turnaround. With points on offer against a poor Warriors side, Doueihi is projected to score 37 points. The more he hangs around Benji Marshall on the Tigers right edge, the better it will be for his DFS owners.
DFS Fade: Josh Aloiai ($13,680)
In outstanding form this season, Josh Aloiai has become a popular pick with his ownership up to 66% last week. He’s consistently produced around the 50-point mark in eight of his last nine games. While he’s projected to do the same for 47 points in this one, he’s a fade option given his ownership and hefty price tag.
Brisbane Broncos v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks @ Suncorp Stadium – 7:55 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Ronaldo Mulitalo – $10, Briton Nikora – $21, Tevita Pangai Jr – $34
Ronaldo Mulitalo ($10 – Neds) and Briton Nikora ($21 – PointsBet) both jump out as options when looking across these two teams. Mulitalo has scored three tries in his last three games and runs at – while a new-look Broncos right side – and awful edge defence. Nikora, meanwhile, plays beside the NRL’s try assist leader in Shaun Johnson.
Given their struggles in attack, any Broncos player is a roughie. However, Tevita Pangai Jr’s ($34 BetEasy) play of late appeals. He’s running with reckless abandon. It doesn’t always work and he’s still got an error in him. But with what the Broncos have produced in recent weeks, it’s the best they’ve got in attack.
Broncos v Sharks Key Factor: Johnson v Broncos
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Connor Tracey ($8,600), Payne Haas ($17,270)
Connor Tracey takes over from the injured Chad Townsend in the halves for just the third start of his NRL career – his first for the Sharks. Bursting onto the scene with 205 running metres and 15 tackle breaks in his debut last season, the potential for a monster score is there. He’s going to cause the Broncos right edge some problems. While he’s not projected to produce quite what he did on debut, Tracey’s 39 points at $8,600 appeals.
At the opposite end of the price scale, Payne Haas stands out as a value option. He’s been somewhat inconsistent by his standards of late. What do we expect with some of the rabble that surrounds him? But with a projected score of 67 points and the potential for more against a Sharks middle that can be caught out around the ruck, Haas is a must-play this week following just 21% ownership in Round 11.
DFS Fade: William Kennedy ($10,000)
William Kennedy has been in some fine form with two tries and four try assists in his last four games. However, that hasn’t translated into a single score over 40 points. At $10,000 this week and projected to score 31 points, the Sharks fullback is a fade consideration.