Welcome back to the NRL! If you’re like me, summer sport makes great on-in-the-background entertainment, but it’s nothing compared to bunkering down all weekend to scream at the TV and sweat multiple DFS slates at once. We launch straight into a blockbuster between last year’s Premiers the Melbourne Storm, and the Rabbitohs who are coming off their third straight Prelim defeat and will be desperate to take the next step in 2021.


A reminder if you have not played NRL DFS before or looking to brush up on your fantasy game make sure you check out our helper articles.



Draftstars is opening the season with a bang, with a record breaking $75,000 slate, with $7415 to first!! There are also some other great contests for smaller stakes players and high rollers. The pricing on the slate is very balanced with no clear must-haves or easy fades. That’s partly because these are two very settled teams, but well done to Draftstars for setting up a wide-open contest to start the season.



Catch Smatho from DFR break down this match right now! Player by player and tips and hints for your lineup! Now below in the video! 


Team News

The Storm have of course lost Cam Smith and regained Harry Grant in his place. Grant is out for this one so Brandon Smith gets a run at hooker. Suli Vunivalu also left, so George Jennings gets his wing, with new recruit Reimis Smith starting at centre in place of the injured Brenko Lee. Dale Finucane is another missing with injury, meaning Nelson Asofa-Solomona starts at lock. The Rabbits are close to full-strength to start the season, with Liam Knight the only clear best 17 player not available. Josh Mansour grabs a wing spot after crossing during the off-season, while Jacob Host takes the second-row spot vacated by Bailey Sironen. Big-name recruits Jai Arrow and Benji Marshall both start from the bench and will have to bide their time in reduced roles to start the season.

UPDATE: Keep an eye out on team news at one our before kick off. Tyson Smoothy could be a bolter at the min price at Hooker. If he gets a start then this flips the slate upside down. However if on the bench then should play 20 mins by giving Brandon Smith a rest. 



Storm $1.95, Rabbits $1.85

Line - 0.5

Over/Under - 41.5



Cool night in Melbourne, light winds, perfect for footy! 


Fantasy Overview

As expected from two of the top 3 premiership fancies, there isn’t much in this game at all. Melbourne are missing some troops, while the Rabbits have competition for spots in their forward pack which leaves their bench looking very healthy. The storm have one big question mark to answer entering their first season in nearly 20 years with Cam Smith leading the way. It’s only their status as premiers and being at home which secures favouritism in the betting markets, there’s nothing in this one.


Love It - Adam Reynolds $12,310


Reynolds is a fantastic fantasy scorer who finished last season a little quieter than usual (but not much). He somehow finds himself as the cheapest of the four starting halves, which presents as great value. He does most of the kicking, including goals, and has the occasional big attacking play in him, so I’m keen to take the savings over everyone else at this position.


Love It - Dane Gagai $10,520


Salaries are tight in the WFB and CTR positions on this slate, but Gagai stands out as an affordable premium scorer, who can be played at either position. Looking at the team lists it stands out to me that Smith and Jennings will be defending together on the right edge for the Storm, and the likes of Walker, Mitchell, Gagai and Johnston could find some success attacking this new combo. Souths love going left in attack, and I don’t think that is about to stop.


Love it - Brandon Smith $12,280


Nearly all the starting forwards can be considered reasonable value for their usual output, but Smith looks like the pick of the bunch. He gets the chance to play his preferred position of hooker and should get at least 65 minutes. That will likely equate to 50+ points. The bonus is that he can be played at FRF if you want to fit Damien Cook into your lineup in a double Hooker stack.


Hate It - Caleb Graham $13,000


I love Graham as a player and had great success betting on him in 2020. Unfortunately, his big breakout means that he is now at an exorbitant price, and it’s hard to justify playing him with the likes of Gagai and a goal kicking Papenhuyzen at much more reasonable prices for their expected output.


Hate It - Jahrome Hughes $13,900


This is a tad harsh, but I’ve chosen Hughes because he’s the 5th most expensive player on the slate, and there are at least 10 guys I’d rather play. In his own positions there is the value of Reynolds, the incredible upside of Cam Munster who effectively now owns the team, and the insane ceiling of Cody Walker. He’s probably not a total fade, but I’m happy to wait until later in the season to invest in Hughes.


Who Knows - Latrell Mitchell $10,080


This spot is made for Latrell. The biggest enigma in the NRL, he’s insanely talented, but it’s hard to trust him to put in his best effort on the day. He turned up to the Charity Shield looking a little rounder than you’d like for a pro athlete and proceeded to tear the Dragons to pieces. The Storm will make it a little harder to find space, and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his effort for the full 80 minutes. The ceiling is still massive but proceed with caution.


Draftstars Suggested Team


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