There are 7 rounds of full-on NRL action left before the finals, and what’s left of teams rosters should be ready to go after the representative period. Round 19 kicks on Thursday at 7:50pm, when the Parramatta Eels (6th) host the Brisbane Broncos (5th) at CommBank Stadium. Both teams are in good shape, and its only the damp Sydney weather that can stop this one being a pearler. With no other football, it’s an extra big slate to sink our teeth into.

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Team News

The Eels had surprisingly little Origin representation, with Junior Paulo the only one (and he backed up last week). That means just one change, with Ryan Matterson fit to return from a rib issue at lock. That pushes Marabta Niukroe back to the bench and Ky Rodwell out of the team. I think this is literally the Eels best 17 players right now, if you can stomach the coach’s son Jake Arthur as the bench utility.

The Broncos make up for the steady Eels, coming in with 6 changes. 3 of those are explained by the return of Oates, Carrigan and Capewell after some no-doubt massive post Origin celebrations last week. Payne Haas is also back in after his Origin injury meant he missed a couple of weeks. Corey Jensen (prop) and Cory Paix (utility) are the lower profile inclusions. The reshuffle sees Billy Walters out, with Jake Turpin moving to starting hooker. Hetherington, Palasia and Flagler all drop back to the bench, and Kennedy, Hosting and Hoeter drop to the reserves. Other than Cobbo and Farnworth, this is pretty close to a full-strength team also.

Betting Odds

Eels $1.60 v Broncos $2.35 - Bet now at Ladbrokes!


The ladder positions can’t split these teams, but I feel confident saying the Eels are the better outfit. Adam Reynolds has done a wonderful job of straightening the Broncos up and adding some class to their play, but they are far from the finished product just yet. Despite that, a tight tussle in the wet doesn’t really lend itself to big stacks, so nice balanced line-ups could be the order of the day.

Love It - Kotoni Staggs $12,030

The pricing is pretty soft on this slate, and as a result there are a lot of good plays all over the board, and particularly at OB. Guessing which one is going to explode is impossible, but Staggs feels like the most explosive play. While the field might flock to someone like Maika Sivo given he’s cheap, the Eels are favoured, and he’s scored 45+ in 3/5 games since his return…I’m hoping Staggs might slip under the radar a tad. He’s posted a handful of 60+ scores this season, something that we just aren’t seeing from players like Gutherson, Blake, Lee Pereira. None of them are fades as such, but Staggs is my pick for the most exposure at the position.


Love It - Dylan Brown $16,630

The soft pricing strikes again at HH, where Reynolds and Moses are too cheap and easy to get to. That makes it less necessary to take a shot at Brown or Mahoney, who’ve both been in mini-slumps of late. In a big game and with less ownership, I think Brown in particular is a great play with his massive 80+ ceiling (3 times this season) and is hopefully less chalky. Mahoney is also tempting but has less ceiling and is a little more expensive.


Love It - Patrick Carrigan $18,040

If there is one player that stands to benefit from his Origin experience this year, it’s the Man of the Series! Carrigan was outstanding, playing around 60 minutes in each game and showing his workhorse capabilities. With Payne Haas carrying injuries, the time for Carrigan to dominate in the middle of the field is now. He’s put his own knee injury behind him after a slower start to the season, and even the price tag is no bargain I can only see it going up. Anchoring your line-up around a safe 50+ with 70+ upside makes plenty of sense on this slate.


Hate It - Thomas Flegler $14,500

Below Flegler on the board, there are four starters with similar scoring profiles and a lot more value. Although it’s often worth trying to find reasons to play bench forwards for extra leverage on the field, in this case I think it’s unlikely that the big prop outperforms enough of the forwards around him to be a slate-winner. Perhaps not a full fade (they don’t exist with pricing like this), but there’s no need to force him in.


Hate It - Tesi Niu $14,980

Even Niu is priced reasonably, but relative to everyone else he stands out. He’s almost 3K more expensive than the next highest OB, and at best level with most of them for scoring potential. Admittedly he’s posted two strong scores at fullback the last two weeks, showing a lot more involvement and tackle breaking ability than we’d seen in previous season. Given he’s very young it could be the dawning of a very good player, but I’m not one to get too excited after such a small sample of improvement. Hopefully the field is drawn to the 54 average from the last two weeks and we can see a regression to the ~40 range I expect him to deliver at fullback.


Who Knows - Jake Turpin $10,160

Finally, the Broncos version of coach’s son is out of the side this week, with Turpin taking the starting spot. The hooker role has not been a lucrative one at this club in 2022, as the starter and utility get something close to a 50/50 split which is hard to predict each week. Presumably with Paix on the bench we’ll see that again. Turpin can score 45+ if getting the majority share of the role, but it’s hard to project him for anything more than 35 if it’s going to be less than 50 minutes. My best guess is somewhere in between, which means he’s definitely too cheap but still might be necessary on such a loose slate, because his ceiling is tiny compared to others at the position.

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