We finish our first month of NRL footy with two of the more lopsided games of the weekend on Sunday afternoon. At 4:05pm AEST the Melbourne Storm (2-1) host the Canterbury Bulldogs (1-2) at AAMI Park. Then at 6:15pm the Parramatta Eels (2-1) look to continue their dominance at Commbank Stadium when taking on the St George Illawarra Dragons (1-2).

Draftstars has a $5000 contest with $679 to first place. The single game contests are set at $10,000 and $12,000 respectively. There are also several other contests including the Mini, Micro, and the High Roller.



Team News

The Storm have two very positive changes, with Xavier Coates returning from a hamstring niggle, and Harry Grant back from suspension. That forces Nick Meaney out of the team despite performing well so far, and Chris Lewis also back into the reserves. For now Brandon Smith slides back to the bench, but it’s very possible that he could swap with Grant at hooker or even start at lock with another reshuffle involving Josh King. Despite a strong start to the season the Storm backline is yet to hit it’s straps in fantasy, but today could be the day.

Only one change for the Bulldogs, with Jack Hetherington sustaining a serious shoulder injury. That will likely see Tevita Pangai Jr playing at second-row for the entire game, with Luke Thompson starting at prop and Evan Seumanufagai joining the bench. Some of the many new recruits are off to slow starts compared to their fantasy performance at their previous teams, with Josh Addo-Carr, Brent Naden, Paul Vaughan and Tevita Pangai Jr all included. They’ll rise eventually, but perhaps not against the Storm.

Just two bench changes for the Eels. Ray Stone tore his ACL while scoring the match-winner last week, and Wiremu Greig wasn’t used at all. They are replaced by Ryan Matterson and Bryce Cartwright. It remains to be seen if Matterson plays from the bench for a while to regain full fitness. Reed Mahoney is the team’s biggest underperformed player so far this season, but Clint Gutherson and Will Penisini also have a lot more points in them at some stage.

Two changes for the Dragons. The injured Cody Ramsey is replaced by young Mathew Feagai on the wing. Jaydn Su’A is suspended with Jack Gosiewski promoted to the second-row and Aaron Woods returning from a hamstring injury on the bench. Goiewski isn’t very good, so there could be a reshuffle involving Tariq Sims to the second-row and Jack De Belin starting at lock.


Storm $1.15 v Bulldogs $5.50
Eels $1.31 v Dragons $3.50


It’s hard to mount a strong case for either underdog, but this is the NRL. Upsets are constant, and there’s no doubt that both the Bulldogs and the Dragons have more upside than we’ve seen from them so far. For the Bulldogs that comes in the form of a gaggle of new players, many of whom are legitimate stars and will eventually form combinations and be much harder to beat. It might be too soon for that, but it also might be worth a stack or two.

The Dragons are more reliant on unproven youngsters for their upside, with the likes of Sloan, Suli, Feagai and Amone all very talented but extremely volatile in what they bring to the field. A few big plays from that group could set the Dragons on a path to victory, but again it’s not likely.

Love It- Clint Gutherson $11,700

After averaging 46 points/game in 2021, Gutho got off to a slow start this season but got things back on track in last week’s big win over the Storm. He’s always a volatile scorer, but when a price is this far under where it should be, it cannot be ignored. As big favourites it’s as good a chance as any to post another 50+ score and solve a tricky spot in our line-ups.


Love It- Brandon Smith $13,850

Now we have another star player who has seen a big price drop after a nice score (67). In this case it’s because Harry grants return has pushed Smith back to the bench, but that doesn’t mean it’s justified. When sharing the hooking role in 2021, Smith still managed 55 minutes and ~50 points per game whether starting or off the bench. As above, he may also end up starting at lock. Either way this price is far too low for such a prolific player, who doesn’t need big minutes to rack up plenty of points.


Love It- Tevita Pangai Jr $14,690

It’s been a lean run for Pangai in late 2021 and early 2022, when playing as a middle forward at the Bulldogs and Panthers. With this week’s changes, it’s almost certain that he’ll play second row this week where he averaged ~55 at the Broncos. Although injury and discipline issues are always a risk, I’m keen to play him in his best role before the field reacts to the change.


Hate It- Ryan Matterson $17,900

Matterson hasn’t started a game from the bench since 2018, and I’m not even sure he will this time. However, he is returning from a hamstring issue, and this is an absolutely stacked forward pack for the Eels. Whether he starts or not, I’m not expecting big minutes in this game, and I think we can pretty safely fade him at this price tag.


Hate It- Josh King $15,200

While I don’t think the Grant inclusion will hurt Brandon Smith, it has to hurt somebody in this forward pack. King is the one that has been the surprise packet this season, starting at lock and playing big minutes for the first time in his career at the age of 29. He may be shifted to prop or the bench before the game, but even if he isn’t he should see far less than the 65 minutes he’s been getting, and I’d expect a score closer to 40 than 50. That won’t be enough to get it done.


Who Knows- Josh Addo-Carr $10,470

So far the deeply discounted price on Addo-Carr has proved to be justified, with his output at the Bulldogs around 10 points/game below what we were used to at the Storm. But, it’s a 3 game sample size, and the Bulldogs will surely improve as the season progresses. With a bit of a revenge narrative against his former team, I think the Fox could be an interesting instead of those with less Fantasy pedigree like Xavier Coates and Bailey Simonsson. Or, the Dogs could get smashed and he could be a dud, who knows!


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