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2023 NRL Fantasy Tips: Round 3 Sea Eagles vs Eels
Round 3 in the NRL sees traditional rivals the Manly Sea Eagles taking on the Parramatta Eels on Thursday night. These two sides have had contrasting starts to the 2023 season, with the Sea Eagles destroying the Bulldogs in week 1, followed up by a round 2 bye. Compare this to the 0-2 start to last year's Grand Finalists, and it’s easy to see why the Sea Eagles are favourites at home. The good thing for Draftstars regarding this contest, is the high totals we’ve seen over the past 3 matchups. Let’s hope for more points on Thursday night.
Draftstars has a $15,000 guaranteed contest for the Sea Eagles vs Eels, with several other contests available. There’s a contest for everyone, so get involved and make this game even more interesting.
The Sea Eagles have made one change from their round 1 victory over the Bulldogs, with Josh Schuster making his return to the team at five eighth. Cooper Johns, who filled in admirably in round 1, drops to the reserves.
As for the Eels, Brad Arthur has once again resisted the urge to make changes after a loss, with the Eels naming the same 17 as their last start loss to the Sharks. A loss here, and the pressure will surely be building on not only Brad Arthur, but the playing group in general.
Manly Sea Eagles ($1.71) vs Parramatta Eels ($2.15)
Points total – 41.5 points
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With basically no data on what an early season bye equates to, it’s hard to quantify who has the edge in this round 3 clash. With a 2.5-point edge for home field advantage, the market is rating the Eels and Sea Eagles as pretty even. The number also hasn’t moved all that much, with the Sea Eagles rated as 1.5-point favourites after the round 1 games. I don’t know if a 1-point drop for the Eels is enough frankly, and I would lean towards the Sea Eagles getting the job done at Fortress Brookvale.
Love It – Reuben Garrick - $17,850
Garrick has the highest ceiling, outside of Tom Trbojevic, in this matchup. He has a history of scoring tries against the Eels, scoring 3 in the Sea Eagles 56-10 romp over the Eels in 2021. Not only does he score tries, but Garrick doesn’t shirk his responsibility in making metres, running for 195 in round 1. Garrick also kicks goals, and is on the end of one of the most dynamic backlines in the NRL. Yes, he’s the most expensive OB in this slate, but he has a tremendous floor, even for a winger, and I believe he will eat against this poor Eels defence.
Love It – Daly Cherry-Evans - $22,500
I honestly don’t mind both halfbacks in this game, however I’ll be playing DCE based on the fact I see the Sea Eagles getting the job done here quite comfortably. In round 1, Cherry-Evans’ score was obviously inflated with the 3 tries, which he obviously isn’t getting every week. Despite this, I believe he will outplay Mitch Moses, who I was wrong about last week (although whose score was also inflated by his 2 tries). DCE doesn’t have a great history against the Eels, so this is more of a gut play than one driven in data, however I’ll stick by it.
Love It – J’maine Hopgood - $15,570
Draftstars has finally caught wind of how good the Eels’ number 13 is, pushing his value up around $1,700. I’m here to tell you, that isn’t nearly enough. Hopgood has broken out and after two weeks, looks like one of the best signings of the season. He’s averaging 77 minutes a game in the middle for the Eels, where he averages 52 tackles and 158.5 metres per game. And it’s not just the dirty work where Hopgood excels, he’s also thrown 9 offloads, and last week showed his attacking stats upside, creating 2 tries, whilst also running for a line break and creating a line break. Hopgood is legit, and should be closer to $18,000+ in my opinion.
Hate It – Jake Trbojevic - $18,120
I don’t see the upside here, with Trbojevic sitting as the 2nd most expensive forward in this slate. I say this, because Jake played 80 minutes in round 1 in the middle, whilst only managing 40.9 points. He made 33 tackles and ran for 119 metres, whilst producing zero other statistics. Granted, the Sea Eagles will more than likely have to play more defence than they did against the Bulldogs, so a 50-point score is likely for Jake, but for this salary I need upside. With the aforementioned Hopgood going for $2,550 less, the decision here is easy.
Hate It – Josh Hodgson - $13,950
There may be some players looking at a cheap option at HH this week looking at Hodgson, and I’ve got to say it’s a bad idea. Despite the price differences, I like the top 3 HHs in this slate in Cherry-Evans, Moses, and Brown, and would encourage players to find the cash to splurge on one of these 3 options. If you want a cheap option, look at the Sea Eagles hooker Lachlan Croker for only $350 more, or if looking at a FLEX option, I much prefer Josh Schuster, who is almost $3,000 cheaper.
Who Knows – Clinton Gutherson - $13,140
I’m not a massive fan of ‘King Gutho’ for Draftstars, but he’s always one of those guys that you are nervous about. With a nose for the try line, Gutherson is never far away from a 4-pointer or two, and he is an important link in the Eels backline. That said, he’s started the season with two sub-40 scores, despite two line-breaks and a line-break assist. Whilst he has a decent ceiling, he’s also a far better ‘eye test’ NRL player, than a fantasy prospect. He’s not priced as a superstar, however he’s someone you should consider if you run a multi-team slate, given his ability to take over a game.
Draftstars Suggested Lineup
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