Newcastle Knights v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles @ McDonald Jones Stadium – 2:00 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Aidan Guerra – $31, Cade Cust – $26
Aidan Guerra ($31 – Neds) is quietly putting together a nice season and sticks out as a try-scoring option this week. With Kalyn Ponga finding form and likely to attract a lot of attention out the back of sweeping shifts, gaps open up for lead runners. Growing more comfortable on both sides of the field, expect Ponga and the Knights to test the left-edge defence of the Sea Eagles this week.
A regular here given his desire to run the ball and habit of popping up in the right place at the right time, Cade Cust ($26 – BetEasy) deserves a look.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Aidan Guerra ($10,140), Taniela Paseka ($10,130)
Aidan Guerra exploded for 64.5 points in Round 13 and our predictive model is tipping big things again on Sunday. The Knights back rower scored a try, threw a rare offload and broke two tackles last week. He’s unlikely to repeat that performance again. Still, he presents as a value play with a projected score of 46 points.
Named to start in place of the injured Addin Fonua-Blake, Taniela Paseka has a big job in front of him. He’s filling the void of Manly’s hungriest metre-eater. Scoring just 29.7 points off the bench last week, the added minutes of a starter is expected to net him 43 points in this one.
Knights v Sea Eagles Preview: Filling the Fonua-Blake void
DFS Fade: Daniel Saifiti ($14,460)
Daniel Saifiti’s return will have a lot of people excited given his pre-injury career-best form. However, our predictive model expresses caution. He’s projected to score 48 points, which at $14,460 and with the potential for limited minutes, is worth considering as a fade option.
Wests Tigers v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ Bankwest Stadium – 4:05 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Raymond Faitala-Mariner – $34, Luke Brooks – $26
Given the limitations of the Bulldogs attack, the Kieran Foran/Raymond Faitala-Mariner ($34 – BetEasy) combination looms as their best option on Sunday afternoon. Benji Marshall and the Tigers right side were carved up last week. It’s sure to be a target for Foran in this one.
Luke Brooks ($26 – PointsBet) needs to find form and it starts with his running game. He knows it. We know it. Everybody knows it. Look for him to test the line early as he searches for his best footy.
Tigers v Bulldogs Preview: Let Luke Run
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Luke Brooks ($10,270), Ofahiki Ogden ($8,500)
Luke Brooks landed back in the Tigers starting lineup last week. Attracting high ownership, he finished up with 38.7 points. Having already touched on what he needs to do, it’s time for Brooks to produce. Our predictive model projects the embattled half to score 50 points in a return to form this week.
Named to start last week, Ofahiki Ogden found 30.7 points in just 27 minutes of action. Anticipating a bump in minutes, Ogden is a great option here. He’s projected to score 43 points.
DFS Fade: Tommy Talau ($10,420)
Tommy Talau has produced the goods over the last month. However, our predictive model is tipping an end to his promising patch of DFS form. Despite the prospect of a few points being scored in this one, Talau is projected to score just 28 Draftstars points himself on Sunday.
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm @ Sydney Cricket Ground – 7:50 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Mitchell Aubusson – $26, Suliasi Vunivalu – $12
Mitchell Aubusson ($26 – BetEasy) has shifted back into the back row and presents as a value option here. Anticipating a more direct style from both sides given the number of injuries they’re carrying, Aubusson looks set for a few more touches with his hole-running also a target in good ball areas.
With the Sydney Roosters heavy favourites, value lies in Melbourne Storm’s Suliasi Vunivalu ($12 – BetEasy). Jahrome Hughes is all of a sudden the senior player in the spine with Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster both out. No doubt leaning heavily on his preferred right side, Vunivalu shapes as a beneficiary of Hughes’ added influence on the side.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Lindsay Collins ($8,740), Dale Finucane ($11,050)
Awarded with a start last week, Lindsay Collins disappointed on a DFS front to score just 27.5 points. However, he’s been named again to fill in for Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on Thursday night and our predictive model is tipping an improvement. Collins is projected to bump his score up to 42 points for this one.
Adding to the theme of middle forwards likely to benefit from an extended arm-wrestle, Dale Finucane is a value option at $11,050. Not only will he be required to provide yardage and defend an onslaught through the middle, he will also be a key factor in Melbourne shifting the ball given the lack of first-choice ball-players in the side right now. The lock forward is projected to score 46 points on Thursday night.
DFS Fade: Joseph Manu ($13,200)
Hitting 60, 58.6 and 46.3 points over the last three weeks, Joseph Manu has been on fire. Our predictive model is expressing caution with him this week, though. In what could well be a slugfest, Manu is projected to score just 40 points.
New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers @ Central Coast Stadium – 6 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Brent Naden – $8
He’s playing in one of the most blessed positions in rugby league at the moment. Perched out on Penrith’s right wing, it’s only a matter of time before Nathan Cleary breaks down the defence inside for Brent Naden ($8 – Neds) to scoot over in the corner. An improving finisher and with a try in all four games he’s played on the wing in 2020, Naden is a value option here.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Tyrone May ($8,170), Caleb Aekins ($7,000)
Tyrone May is back in the centres this week. His low ownership in Round 13 was justified by his paltry 26.8 points, but our predictive model projects him to score 41 points. Penrith can run up the scoreboard this week. Against a flimsy Warriors edge defence, May is likely to play a hand in sending the likes of Brent Naden across the line.
With the Warriors lacking punch through the middle and coming up against a tough Panthers pack, the Kiwi club will struggle to get up the field. Their countryman, Caleb Aekins, is set to benefit. No stranger to running up metres, Aekins will be presented with regular opportunities to register kick return metres on Friday evening. He’s projected to score 32 points.
DFS Fade: James Tamou ($12,010)
While James Tamou cracked 50 points against the Raiders last week, our predictive model projects him to score just 44 points in this one. At $12,010 on Friday, consider looking elsewhere.
Parramatta Eels v St. George-Illawarra Dragons @ Bankwest Stadium – 7:55 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Corey Norman – $51, Cameron McInnes – $81, Mitchell Moses – $41
The Eels are expected to trample the Dragons leaving the value in the big underdogs. Corey Norman ($51 – SportsBet) is an appealing roughie given his predicament. Playing for his future in the side, he needs to ensure he’s heavily involved from the start. Meanwhile, for Cameron McInnes ($81 – Pointsbet), that’s all he knows. As a high-energy player shifting into lock for this one, he’s going to get his hands on the ball when the Dragons attack from good ball areas.
Given the assumed domination, Parramatta’s outside backs don’t carry any value. That leaves Mitchell Moses ($41 – PointsBet) as a smokey option with the Eels half sure to take the line on.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Shaun Lane ($11,300)
Per Stats Insiders ‘Try Scoring Analysis‘, 25 of the 48 tries the Dragons have scored this season have come through the Dragons right edge. Meanwhile, 23 of the 49 tries the Eels have scored went down their left side. There is little doubt where on the field Parramatta will target this week. With Shaun Lane the key cog to their shape on the left side, he’s projected to score 50 points. Although, his ceiling rises much higher.
DFS Fade: Ben Hunt ($15,790)
Ben Hunt averaged 72.6 points in the three games he started at hooker. It’s sure to be a number that appeals to many as they put together lineups. However, with our predictive model projecting him to score just 53 points on Friday night, consider Hunt as a fade option.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Gold Coast Titans @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 3 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Shaun Johnson – $41, Kevin Proctor – $41
Given his form at the moment and the prospects of running at what is still a somewhat dodgy left edge defence, Shaun Johnson ($41 – PointsBet) has to be an option here. While he’s doing most of his work as a ball-player to lead the NRL in try assists, he’s still stepping in off his right foot and taking on the line against defences that over adjust and slide too early. The Kiwi international will be involved in the scoring in one way or the other.
Meanwhile, Ash Taylor’s combination with Kevin Proctor ($41 – SportsBet) grew legs last week. The duo combined to affect three tries and will no doubt be a focus for the Titans attack again on Saturday. Against a relatively new defensive combination in Johnson and Siosifa Talakai, Proctor is a strong chance.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Siosifa Talakai ($9,690)
Siosifa Talakai has become a regular for the Sharks in 2020 and is now looking to lock down the right edge backrower spot. He’s played 80 minutes on the edge twice in the last three weeks scoring 36 points and 40.8 points. However, it’s no surprise to see our predictive model project him to bump that up to 47 points on Saturday afternoon. Talakai’s partnership with Johnson is developing nicely, and if he can start to hit holes consistently, the big man is going to be a handful.
DFS Fade: Aaron Woods ($14,510)
Following three consecutive 50+ scores, Aaron Woods’ purple patch of DFS form came to an end with 44.6 points last week. Projected to score 48 points and as a high-ownership player, he’s a fade option for this one.
North Queensland Cowboys v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Queensland Country Bank Stadium – 5:30 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Dane Gagai – $14, Reece Robson – $36
With what we know about the Cowboys right edge defence and the prevalence at which the Rabbitohs attack down that side, it’s difficult to look past Dane Gagai ($14 – TopSport). It’s only a matter of time before Gagai is presented with an opportunity close to the line.
Reece Robson ($36 – SportsBet) is a strong option as a roughie. The Cowboys don’t have any consistent weapons in attack giving Robson ample opportunity to put his head down and dart from dummy half. He’s scored five tries already this season.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Mitchell Dunn ($8,430), Bayley Sironen ($9,240)
Mitchell Dunn can’t lock down a position but has an opportunity here after being named in the back row for a second consecutive week. He only scored 26.5 points on the edge in Round 13, however, our predictive model is tipping an improvement on Saturday. He’s projected to score 45 points.
Similarly, Bailey Sironen’s versatility can work as a detriment from a DFS perspective. He has spent time in the halves and centres to cover injuries and only played 56 minutes himself last week. Named on the edge and likely to play big minutes, our predictive model projects him to score 41 points in this one.
DFS Fade: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow ($8,180)
While Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow hasn’t set the DFS world on fire at fullback, our predictive model isn’t anticipating a significant improvement following his move to the wing. He’s projected to score just 25 points and is a strong fade candidate given his recent high ownership.
Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos @ GIO Stadium – 7:35 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Kotoni Staggs – $23, Dunamis Lui – $51
Kotoni Staggs ($23 – BetEasy) features here more often than not. He’s Brisbane’s best attacking weapon and won’t be short of opportunities. Nor will he waste many. It’s the roughie, Dunamis Lui ($51 – SportsBet), that appeals. We’ve seen some soft defensive efforts from the Broncos in 2020, but few have been worse than in Round 13.
Given Lui’s penchant for getting close to the line in recent weeks, he’s going to try it on against this soft Broncos middle.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: John Bateman ($13,080), Ben Te’o ($8,000)
Projected to score 58 points last week, John Bateman went for 58.8 points. We’re going back to the well with the Englishman projected to finish up with 59 points on Saturday night.
While Ben Te’o has offered nothing from a DFS perspective this season, he’s worth a look in this one. He will start in the back row for just the second time. His last start only resulted in 19 points, but he only played 30 minutes. Expecting him to spend more time out on the field here, our predictive model projects Te’o to score 43 points. He demands consideration at $8,000.
DFS Fade: Xavier Coates ($8,130)
The best case for Xavier Coates this week is that he plays while nursing a dodgy knee. He’s named, but in serious doubt after sustaining an injury on Thursday. Projected to score just 24 points even if healthy, fade the young winger this week.