The Round 5 NRL Friday Night double-header doesn’t have the same “blockbuster” scent that we often see, but could very well be an entertaining night of rugby league. First up the New Zealand Warriors (2-2) take on the North Queensland Cowboys (2-2) at Moreton Bay Stadium in Redcliffe. There’s not really any such thing as a home game for the Warriors in Covid times, so that one is anyone’s game. Then the Brisbane Broncos (2-2) welcome the Sydney Roosters (2-2) to Suncorp Stadium. The Roosters are big favourites but both teams have flashed some volatile form so far this year and there is some chance of an entertaining match.

Draftstars has a $5000 contest with $679 to first place. The single game contests are set at $10,000 and $15,000. There are also several other contests including the Mini, Micro, and the High Roller. 



Team News

The Warriors have reshuffled their forwards pack thanks to a suspension for Jazz Tevaga and an injury for Addin Fonua-Blake. Bailey Sironen comes into the second row with Josh Curran shifting back to lock, and Bunty Afoa is promoted to start at prop. Aaron Pene and Jack Murchie join the bench with Ben Murdoch-Masila also dropping out of the team. We’re still waiting for Shaun Johnson to hit his straps this season, giving the Warriors plenty of upside.

Just one change for the Cowboys, with exciting fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow out injured and Scott Drinkwater taking his spot. It’s not Drinkwater’s best position, particularly from a fantasy perspective, so be careful! Tom Dearden has outscored senior halves partner Chad Townsend in all 4 games so far this season.

The Broncos lose Albert Kelly and Patrick Carrigan to injuries, with Tom Flegler once again suspended. Billy Walters is promoted back into the starting halves, Keenan Palasia shifts back to prop, and Jordan Riki and Kurt Capewell return from injuries as the starting second-row pair. Kobe Hetherington is promoted to start at lock, and Corey Paix joins the bench as utility. The core of the team has been solid, but there is still plenty of upside in the likes of Cobbo, Staggs, Niu, Riki and Robati.

No changes for the Roosters after an easy win in Round 4. The Walker/Keary halves pairing is yet to find a level of consistency, but it’s hard to knock the rest of the team. The tendency to rest senior forwards once the game is won is something to keep an eye on, with Taukeiaho a chalky casualty last week.


Warriors $1.90 v Cowboys $1.90

Broncos $ 5.50 v Roosters $1.15


The bookies can’t split the first game, and personally I only have a slight lean to the Cowboys. Neither team is known for their consistency, so we could see literally anything in that game, which will feature a lot of value options. The second game looks more clear cut, although the odds are a bit surprising with both teams 2-2 and the Roosters not exactly looking bulletproof so far. Plenty of fantasy viable options on all 4 teams so we can go nuts with any type of stack that takes our fancy on this slate.

Love It - James Tedesco $21,080

Teddy scored 70+ on seven occasions in 2021 (22 games), and is off to a much quieter start in 2022. It obviously won’t last, even if the change in game style again this season is hurting the elite fullbacks a little. It’s unfortunate that his price hasn’t dropped at all, but in a game where the Roosters are massive favourites it seems like a good time to pay up and try to access a big ceiling score. There’s plenty of value on the slate to make it happen.


Love It - Billy Walters $10,200

Even if the big Roosters win does pan out, Walters is in a good spot now that’s back starting. We’ve seen a willingness to get very involved from him, running the ball a lot and displaying a very solid defensive game. That could translate to 25-30 tackles and enough of all others stats to get to 40 without any big plays. The price is too good, and if the Broncos manage to make a game of it then there is plenty more upside to be had also.


Love It - Euan Aitken $16,140

There’s plenty of cheaper value plays in the FWD position, but I’m keen on Aitken for a few reasons. One is that he still averages about 55 in the second-row after starting his time there in 2021 with a run of tries. The sample size is still relatively small, so I’m also looking to a real life factor in the revolving door in the right-side second-row position for the Warriors. Bailey Sironen will be the third player in that spot in 3 weeks, so I think Aitken is locked into his 80 minutes as the more dependable option. In a winnable game against the inconsistent Cowboys he could very easily get his first try this season, and become a slightly contrarian value at an awkward price.


Hate It - Scott Drinkwater $19,640

There’s a big enough sample size to know that Drinkwater scores at ~45 in the halves, and under 30 at fullback. The difference is massive, and even if the gap doesn’t stay that wide he’s a very easy fade on this slate. The price is so high that he’d probably still be a fade if he ends up in the halves somehow, but that’s not going to happen. I love him as a player, but he can’t be touched on this slate.


Hate It - Luke Keary $18,270

The Roosters halves situation is a big question mark both in fantasy and real life. Sam Walker has lots of developing left to do before he’s ready to be consistent, and Keary has never really had to lead a team around the way he is now. It’s looked a little clunky so far and Keary hasn’t looked remotely close to the kind of fantasy score needed to pay off this price tag. Still only 12 months removed from an ACL tear and barely running the ball so far this season, it’s an easy no. Walker is much more playable as he’s cheaper, has more ceiling, and is kicking goals in a potentially big win.


Who Knows - Valentine Holmes $10,120

For a player who scored 77 two weeks ago, this is a very low price. The same goes for many other Cowboys, with the likes of Tom Gilbert, Kyle Feldt, Peta Hiku, Griffin Neame, Murray Taulagi and even Heilum Luki all at very generous prices for the upside we’ve already seen from the this seen. Of course the problem is consistency. Personally I think the Cowboys win this game with the Warriors slightly undermanned and Drinkwater provided a spark in attack even if it doesn’t translate to his fantasy output. Holmes can be the poster-boy of this potential upside explosion on this slate, but consider working in a few cheap Cowboys no matter who they are.

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