Jason Taumalolo

This week there is plenty of NRL prize money up for grabs with Moneyball putting up $8,000 for the Thursday night Dragons v Rabbitohs match ($15 Entry) along with $5,000 for the Broncos v Cowboys match as well. Meanwhile, PlayON have their usual $500 Prize pools along with some qualifiers to the $2,500 Anzac Day special. Draftstars have put up $5,000 for the Dragons v Rabbitohs clash as well as $2,000 and $3,000 Guaranteed pools for the remaining games. Although the Thursday night prize pools look attractive, it is the Broncos v Cowboys match that shapes up nicely.

A game that draws everyone’s attention early on in the season is the much anticipated Queensland derby between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys. Having met in the 2015 Grand Final in what will go down as one of the best, just 28 points (3.5 points/game) in total has separated them spanning back to that first weekend in October. With both sides signing some key players in the off-season, including players from opposing clubs (Fensom to Brisbane and McGuire, Kahu and Opacic to NQ), this shapes up as another block-buster with the early markets suggesting Brisbane as slight favourites.

With no Thurston to steer the ship anymore, Morgan ($13,230 DS) guided the Cowboys to a first round victory and 63.6 Draftstars points off the back of 474 kicking metres. Taumalolo ($17.280 DS) was damaging once again, racking up 73.6 points off the back of 7 tackle breaks during a bit over 60 minutes of action. The Broncos put up a gallant fight after losing key centre James Roberts (3.0 points, $9,900 DS) very early on. Returning from a long stint on the sidelines, Gillett (60.0 points, $13,890 DS) defended tirelessly with 57 tackles as the Broncos made a late charge off the back of a couple of Corey Oates tries (76.7 points, $10,140 DS) before eventually succumbing to defeat.

Last year when these two clashed in the second round, both hookers (McCullough 71 points, $15,000 DS and Granville 63 points, $11,400 DS) scored well and so did a destructive back-rower that wasn’t Taumalolo for once. Tevita Pangai Junior (59 points, $12,180 DS) stamped his name as one to watch, off the back of 5 tackle breaks in an impressive performance. When they met again in August, Taumalolo (76 points) got his revenge with an impressive 286 metres, 7 tackle breaks and a try, running rampant in a tight victory that saw Matt Lodge (83 points) also rack up a nice score off the back of 8 tackle breaks and a try.

I’m expecting this match-up to be much the same with the forwards dominating on and off the field.  If Brisbane halves Anthony Milford ($13,800 DS) and Kodi Nikorima ($11,700 DS) are allowed to roam easily, players like Corey Oates and Jamayne Isaako ($9,240 DS) may be in for some decent scores. However, I am expecting some aggression from this strong Cowboys pack looking to chalk up another underdog victory. As betting suggests, the Broncos will enter this match as slight favourites and rightfully so as although both sides flex impressive forwards, The Cowboys back line will be set a tough task here.

The main doubt heading into Friday night’s match will be the fitness of James Roberts. The State of Origin winning Centre looked to be out for some time, but has surprisingly been named to take the field. Should he be ruled out, Kotoni Staggs ($7,170 DS) would represent some value as he is most likely to move from the bench to start in the Centres, with Gehamat Shibasaki ($7,290 DS) the likely bench replacement. With most NRL early line-ups, changes are hard to combat so far out. Should there be some significant changes to the line-up, tread carefully if following the cheat sheet.



Key Backs

Jack Bird ($8,610 DS)

Last week seen the return of former NSW Centre, Jack Bird, after missing most of last year though a sternum injury. Although not clinical in his first official game back, Bird was about as active as can be from a sub $10k player. Despite being on the back foot, it was Bird who was able to attribute valuable metres as the Broncos were exiting their own line, with 6 tackle breaks to pad his stats. With injury looking a thing of the past, expect him to only get better and at the price he is an absolute bargain in this contest.

Jordan Kahu ($7,800 DS)

Returning to face his former club, Kahu heads to Suncorp Stadium after a rather disappointing score in his Cowboys debut, where he was limited to just 65 minutes after exiting field due to a HIA. However, there is plenty of upside in his new role at the Cowboys, with the goal kicking duties being handed to the former winger, along with the added metres that come as default for a fullback. Although not expected to score ridiculous scores, Kahu shapes up as an excellent purchase at the price.


Key Forwards

Jason Taumalolo ($17,280 DS)

Looking at this week’s cheat sheet, Jason Taumalolo stands out once again as the pick of the bunch with his damaging running style and will look to capitalise down the right edge, where Melbourne found plenty of success last week. If you can afford him in your line-up then he is a must have, but he does come at a hefty price. He is generally good for at least 60 minutes and has even played the game out at times, but with McGuire joining coming off the bench, Coach Green may look to rest him at times throughout the year.

Jake Granville ($11,400 DS)

A former Bronco himself, Granville found himself lacking playing time behind McCullough which eventually forced him to move north, eventually leading to Grand Final success. He is a workhorse in defence and if you manage to find many prop markets around, he looks an excellent chance for most tackles. In saying that, he hasn’t always been considered an 80-minute player, but with Mitchell Dunn the utility on the bench, it is highly likely he will play out the game. The cheat sheet suggests McCullough looks a better option but that also comes at a price, with Granville looking the value.

Tevita Pangai Junior ($12,180 DS)

After starting off the bench last week, Pangai Junior will start this week due to Lodge’s suspension and as a player that scores close to a point a minute, he looks a great buy in this match-up. Although not as damaging last week against the Storm, he was constantly looking to off-load, and I don’t expect that to change much this week. It is hard to know how many minutes Seibold will allocate to emerging front rower, Thomas Flegler, but even with a more active role through Lodge’s absence, a mediocre performance from Pangai Junior should still score well at a moderate price.

David Fifita ($10,200 DS)

Another that started off the bench last week, Fifita just keeps on getting better and better and as a result, Coach Seibold has given him the nod to start ahead of Su’a. Fifita is another that goes at almost a point a minute, finding himself involved in most tackles with his aggressive defence. Still only 18, Fifita has a big future in the game and could potentially even challenge for an Origin spot against his rivals in this match-up. I don’t have Fifita pencilled in for the same minutes most back-rowers would do, but even at a basement projection, he will score well and looks great value.


Brisbane Broncos

Broncos Cheat Sheet

North Queensland Cowboys

Cowboys Cheat Sheet


Round 2 Potential Bargains

Adam Keighran ($9,840 DS)

On debut for the Warriors last week, Keighran was a standout in the Warriors emotional win over the Bulldogs. Taking on the kicking duties both in attack and for goal, Keighran also managed to cross over for a four pointer. Although there is little doubt about the security of his position, it is hard to see him repeating that feat against much harder opposition in comparison to the wooden spoon favourites. Regardless, he represents excellent value in the short future and expect him to score well once again here against a Tigers team that looked far from impressive during round 1.

Briton Nikora ($10,590 DS)

Young back rower, Briton Nikora managed to play out the full 80 minutes on debut against the Knights and although they struggled as a team, he was able to amass 40 tackles, 2 tackle breaks and 3 offloads. With the Sharks going with the same squad once again and coming up against a disappointing Titans team, this shapes up as a great opportunity for Nikora to find some easy points around the ruck if he is able to get both the ball and his body free once again. For as long as Wade Graham remains out of the team, expect Nikora to play plenty of minutes in the back row.

Josh Kerr ($6,010 DS)

The Dragons have named impressive youngster Josh Kerr to come off the bench after it was announced Tyson Frizell would be missing through injury for some time. Kerr was ultra-impressive during the All-Star match earlier this year and could be an excellent buy if he manages to hold down a more permanent spot with decent minutes. I’m not a massive fan of the new look dragons back row and the inclusion of Kerr to the bench could prove significant. Although picking bench players is not ideal in the fantasy world, if you are stacked with guns, at $6,010 this could be excellent value.


DFR Dragon's Picks

The Daily Fantasy Rankings "Dragon" has scoured the Australian sports betting markets and found some great value picks for these games. Check out his picks for the day below and click on the links to follow his betting plays!

Dragon's Picks Odds Sportsbook
Melbourne Storm -4.0 $1.90 Bet now at BetEasy!
Penrith Panthers $2.18 Bet now at Neds!
AJ Brimson - Any Time Try Scorer $5.50 Bet now at Sportsbet!
South Sydney Rabbitohs 1-12 $3.00 Bet now at Pointsbet!


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