Round 7 is here and it’s a mixed bag this week. The Panthers and Rabbitohs kick things off with what most expect to be a ripper on Thursday night. Who knows which version of the Warriors turns up to play the Storm on Friday night while the Roosters look to continue their dominant run of form against the lowly Dragons.
Melbourne Storm v New Zealand Warriors @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
First Try-Scorer: Brenko Lee – $14, Suliasi Vunivalu – $9.50
Brenko Lee ($14 – Neds) scored his first try for the Storm last week, and it came in a fashion that will send shivers through the spine of Warriors fans everywhere.
The Kiwi club has conceded most of their tries down the right edge, but it’s well-known that Kodi Nikorima is a sub-par defender. If the Storm run this same play with Felise Kaufusi as the lead runner at Nikorima, Munster can expect a similar result.
If it’s not Lee crashing over down the right side, there is a good chance the ball gets out one further to Suliasi Vunivalu ($9.50 – Neds) on the wing. With four tries already this season, the Fijian looks good to bag another against a Warriors defence that has conceded 22 points per game (fifth-most in the NRL).
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Brenko Lee ($8,370), Karl Lawton ($9,370)
The potential of Brenko Lee as a tryscorer has already been outlined and raises his ceiling from a DFS perspective, but regardless of whether or not he scores, the Storm centre is a value play at $8,370. He’s a willing ball-runner and found 190 metres against the Knights in Round 5. With the Storm expected to be doing most of the running in this one, Lee can anticpate seeing plenty of early ball down the right edge when his side is getting up the field. Our predictive model projects Lee to back up his 40.5 points in Round 6 with another 37 points in this one.
Wayde Egan’s suspension allows Karl Lawton to start this week. He’s only started eight first-grade games at hooker but don’t be surprised to see him put in the sort of performance that forces Todd Payten to make a tough decision when Egan returns. An eager runner from dummy-half, Lawton will be out to make the most of the increased speed of the ruck under the new rules. He’s at an appealing $9,370 and is projected to score 44 points in this one.
DFS Fade: Jamayne Taunoa-Brown ($11,880)
Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has been a revelation for the Warriors. Coming from nowhere to now be in the starting 13, JTB has been a mainstay for DFS bargain hunters. However, with our predictive model projecting just 38 points this week, the value is gone at his current price. It’s time to look elsewhere.
Sydney Roosters v St George-Illawarra Dragons @ Bankwest Stadium
First Try-Scorer: Angus Crichton – $19, Jason Saab – $19, Brett Morris – $8.50
Angus Crichton ($19 – BetEasy) had tries handed to him on a plate the last time the Roosters played a low-tier opposition. He simply let James Tedesco run riot before hitting the right hole at the right time. With the Roosters up against a poor, albeit improving Dragons team, the expectations are for something similar on Friday night.
The feelings of a Roosters blowout are further highlighted in the odds of Dragons try-scorers. Despite Brett Morris ($8.50 – PointsBet) standing directly opposite Jason Saab ($19 – Neds), the Roosters wingers’ odds are significantly shorter than his Dragons counterpart.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Matt Dufty ($8,300), Daniel Tupou ($8,800)
Projected to score 44 points last week, Matt Dufty worked overtime to finish up with 50.6 points against the Titans. While the jump in quality of opposition couldn’t be any higher, Dufty will remain the focus of St George Illawarra’s attack in good ball areas. The issue he faces is a potential lack of opportunity. Despite running for the fourth-most metres in the NRL, the Dragons have had the second-fewest number of tackles inside the opposition 20-metre line. Still, our predictive model projects Dufty to maximise limited chances to score 41 points on Friday night.
In contrast, Daniel Tupou can expect to see the ball come his way somewhat regularly. He’s playing brilliant football this season and is always in position to make the most of Sydney’s attacking raids down the left edge. If the Roosters don’t crack the Dragons defence early, Tupou should see a few balls sent his way through the air given Mikaele Ravalawa’s inconsistencies under the highball. A metre-eater and tryscoring machine, Tupou is a value play at $8,800 with a projected score of 41 points.
DFS Fade: Victor Radley ($13,200)
He’s the talk of the rugby league world at the moment, but that may well work against Victor Radley this week. A high-ownership player that only managed 36.3 points last week, our predictive model projects him to score 47 points on Friday night. At $13,200, consider fading the young lock forward.
Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
First Try-Scorer: Campbell Graham – $17, Brian To’o – $10
Campbell Graham ($17 – SportsBet) is beginning to look quite at home in the centres. Preparing to play his fifth consecutive game in the position and ninth overall, the 21-year-old comes in off a 209-metre effort against the Warriors in which he also scored an impressive solo try. While the Rabbitohs have predominantly scored their tries down the left edge, the Panthers have leaked more points down their own left edge than any other. James Roberts is on the bench and if Bennett decides to include him as a starter last minute, Graham could take Alex Johnston’s position on the left wing which would make these odds significantly better value!
It’s a similar story for the Panthers. They have played with a very left-heavy attack centred around Viliame Kikau in the backrow. However, Brian To’o ($10 – BetEasy) has still managed to score in back-to-back games down the less-favoured right side and even though he’s short odds, our model suggests he’s a value option in this one.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Damien Cook ($16,000), Isaah Yeo ($15,290)
Thursday night footy looks set to be a bruiser through the middle of the field with high-priced players Damien Cook and Isaah Yeo likely to thrive on the DFS front. The focus on the centre third is ideal for Cook who will look to expose tired forwards at the back end of each half. With 125 and 162 running metres across his last two games, Cook is in impressive form. He scored a monster 103.2 Draftstars points against the Warriors in Round 6. While our predictive model projects a downturn for 70 points this week, Cookie still presents as a value play at his game-high $16,000.
Should the game play out through the middle as many expect, Yeo will once again feature heavily. Outstanding since switching to lock upon the suspended season resuming, the 25-year-old has averaged 68.95 Draftstars points behind 154.5 running metres and 51 tackles per game. He’s projected to score another 62 points in this one.
DFS Fade: Apisai Koroisau ($14,800)
Excellent in his own right, Api Koroisau shapes as a fade play in this one. With Cook’s dominance already mentioned and Koroisau’s projected score of 54 points, the value isn’t in the Panthers rake at $14,800.