Round 22 gets into second gear on Friday night with an intriguing double header. At 6pm we start with a “dead rubber”, when the New Zealand Warriors (14th) welcome the Canterbury Bulldogs (12th) to Mt Smart Stadium. The game might not mean much, but it still feels nice to see games being played in NZ again, and both teams will be desperate for a good performance. Then at 7:55pm the Parramatta Eels (5th) play host to the South Sydney Rabbitohs (6th) at Commbank Stadium. Both teams are well and truly still in the hunt for a top 4 berth, so this could well be the game of the round.

Draftstars has a $3000 contest with $411 to first place. The single game contests are set at $8000 and $10,000 respectively. There are also several other contests including the Mini and Micro.

Team News

There are three changes for the Warriors. Euan Aitken reverts from centre to 2nd row, replacing Bayley Sironen. Viliami Lailea comes in to fill the vacancy at centre. Similarly, Wade Egan moves back to his hooker spot from 5/8, forcing Freddy Lussick to the bench utility, Taniela Otukolo out of the team, and seeing Daejern Api come in to the vacated halves position. Finally Aaron Pine is out, with Josh Curran promoted to lock and Eliesa Katoa coming onto the bench.

There’s just one change for the Bulldogs. Tevita Pangai Jr is out, with Harrison Edwards replacing him on the bench. The way TPJ’s form has been, it’s no great loss. The team is clearly going better lately, and were right in the game against the Cowboys until the final 15 minutes.

The Eels have a similarly simple single substitution (nice), with Ofahiki Ogden replacing Makahesi Makatoa on the bench. It’s as simple as Makatoa being a little short on form lately, with Ogden a like-for-like player. Clint Gutherson continues to see a little boost in the absence of Mitch Moses thanks to the goal kicking duties, and Jake Arthur showed he can lead the team around with 440 kick metres last week!!

I can’t use the same alliterative line again, but the Rabbits are doing the same thing. Hame Sele in for Dan Suluka-Fifita at prop. A lowish minute starting role which rarely pays off for us in DFS.

Betting Odds

Warriors $2.45 v Bulldogs $1.55

Eels $2.45 v Rabbits $1.55

Bet now at Ladbrokes!


I think the bookies have the first game pretty close to spot on, although the Warriors are getting precious little out of their outside backs and their bench at the moment. I’m inclined to favour the more potent Bulldogs stacks in that game. I’d call the second game a true 50/50, making the Eels a potential value bet. Funnily enough, the first game has actually been priced up a lot, so stacks from the late game look to be a strong play.

Love It - Clint Gutherson $12,290

My first two selections are almost entirely down to the absence of Mitch Moses. I’d be interested in Gutherson anyway, given his average over the last two seasons is 43, which represents value at this price. There’s no doubt he’s extremely volatile and difficult to predict, and admittedly has only averaged 38 this season, which is more in line with the price tag. However, adding a projected 2-3 goals helps a decent amount, and his last two games against tough opposition have returned a 67 & 48. Such a rollercoaster player could easily flop in this spot, but he looks like one of the better OB plays on paper.


Love It - Jake Arthur $10,600

I needed to see it to believe it from Arthur, and he finally showed that he’s not just the coach’s son and deliver on the field as a controlling half. He’s still no Nathan Cleary, but scoring 18 points from kick metres along is a very strong base to lay for a good fantasy score. Presumably he does something similar this week, and while I think 49 points is unlikely, something around the 40 mark is a fair projection and makes him a strong value play.


Love It - Josh Curran / Addin Fonua-Blake ~$15,700

The forwards are pretty mixed up on this slate, and I’m going for two risky Warriors for my selections to get some exposure to the first game. Both Curran and Fonua-Blake have been working back from injuries, and have played some of their recent games off the bench. With the starting roles and normal minutes now back under their feet, it’s time for some of the form that has seen them both be 50+ scorers in the past to reveal itself. The Bulldogs aren’t the most fearsome forward pack they’ve faced lately, so I’m giving them an even chance of upping their output and paying off these price tags that are at least a little bit under. The bench is also very promising for both to play long minutes, which helps.


Hate It - Tevita Tatola $17,610

Not so long ago we were barely playing Tatola at 12-13K, and now we have to cough up nearly 18! And all because he’s scored 4 tries in the last 5 weeks, which is clearly one of the flukiest and most unsustainable things we’ve seen all season. There’s no doubt he and his team are playing well at the moment, but I wouldn’t touch this price tag with a 10 foot pole in the toughest matchup they’ve had for 6 weeks (which was the last time they played the Eels).


Hate It - Shaun Johnson $19,030

It’s a shame that Draftstars priced this game up so aggressively, because a Warriors stack could have been a fun contrarian play on their home turf. Alas, SJ and many of his teammates have close to zero chance of being relevant with price tags like this one. Throw in being not he wrong side of 30, likely to be beaten, and I just can’t get excited despite a couple of 80+ scores against lowly opposition earlier this season.


Who Knows - Jackson Topine $13,560

The young Bulldog flashed his raw potential two weeks ago with 68 points against the Knights in his start of the season, only to grind to a disappointing 31 against the Cowboys last week. I probably should have seen that coming, but we’re slowly starting to get more of a picture of his scoring profile. He’s now started 3 games at 2nd row, averaging around 70 minutes and 42 points. There are no attacking stats in that, with most of his scoring built on an appetite for defence (or other teams having an appetite to run at him). That means there could be more upside than the 42 average, but the sample size is far too small to tell yet. Either way the price tag is reasonable for someone that just had a 68, and he probably should be in our player pools.


Draftstars Suggested Team

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