Round 5 finishes with another lopsided looking double header, after last week brought us two 40 point blowouts. We start with the Cronulla Sharks (3-1) hosting the Wests Tigers (0-4) at PointsBet Stadium, with premiership rumblings starting to surround the team in blue. Then the Canterbury Bulldogs (1-3) welcome a true premiership force to CommBank Stadium, with the Penrith Panthers (4-0) the only unbeaten team and looking better every week.

Draftstars has a $5,000 contest with $679 to first place. The single game contests are set at $10,000 and $12,000. There are also several other contests including the Mini, Micro, and the High Roller. 

Team News

Two minor changes for the Sharks, with Jack Williams and Royce Hunt replacing Braydon Trindall and Aiden Tolman on the bench. That’s good news for Blayke Brailey as they go back to the four-forward bench, although Cam McIness could be used at hooker if needed. It’s also potentially good news for McIness himself as Tolman was getting the most minutes off the bench, so there are plenty available for him to continue to increase his role. Surely Siosifa Talakai can’t repeat last week’s 17 tackle breaks playing in the centres!

The Tigers only change is Stafford To’a in for James Roberts at centre. Jock Madden has looked fantastic so far, and has been doing his fair share of the kicking. Kelma Tuilagi has looked okay as well, but keeps getting hurt and is under a slight cloud after last week’s concussion. Tyrone Peachey and Alex Twal are both volatile bench options.

The Bulldogs also have just a single change, with Kyle Flanagan replacing Brandon Wakeham at halfback. Wakeham moves back to bench utility with Bailey Biondo-Odo out of the team. After a rough 12 months it’s no picnic for Flanagan to make his return against the Panthers!

No changes for the Panthers. It’s been an absurd start for the extremely young left edge combo of Izack Tago and Taylan May. They won’t continue their 50+ averages for ever, but today might not be the time to bet on that. Stephen Crichton is a little less appealing now that Nathan Cleary is goalkicking again.


Sharks $1.10 v Tigers $7.00
Bulldogs $7.00 v Panthers $ 1.10


The odds don’t get much more comprehensive, but it’s really hard to argue. There will always be an upside case for the Bulldogs with so many new faces, but the signs aren’t there yet that they’re starting to form combinations. I feel like the Tigers could be a little closer in the market, but I still don’t feel good about their chances of winning. It might be best just to lean into the Sharks/Panthers stacks.

Love It - Dylan Edwards $12,420

Edwards is one of several fullbacks who have been continuously too cheap so far this season. Unlike some of the higher profile guns, Edwards gets his job done with a thousand paper cuts rather than any big hammer blows. He relies on incredible fitness to get through a pile of work and accumulate run metres and tackle breaks in the process. That does mean that his ceiling can be a little elusive without attacking stats, but at this price and in this matchup, he’s likely to find plenty of those. A slate breaking 80 is highly unlikely, but something 50+ seems a reasonable expectation.


Love It - Nicho Hynes $23,690

This spot comes down to a choice between Hynes and Nathan Cleary for me. Both are expensive obviously, but there is enough value to reach them and they both have 100+ ceilings in soft matchups with plenty of attacking stats and goals to be had. I’m leaning towards Hynes because he’s a little cheaper, has more form going this season, and hopefully might get a little less ownership. Cleary was a little quiet on his return last week, and while I doubt that lasts for long, it would be good to see him dominate before expecting last season’s ridiculous output to continue.


Love It - Max King $9,000

This feels like a bit of a gift for a bench forward who is averaging 40 so far this season. Scoring at better than a point per minute, he just needs to get his usual 35-40 and he should pay this tag off with his impressive workrate. Playing the Panthers shouldn’t hurt, as it will just mean even more defending to be done. With a distinct lack of value in the forwards, this is a very safe way to lock in 30+ points and be able to afford Hynes/Cleary and a couple of the better forwards (Wilton, Pangai, Fisher-Harris etc.)


Hate It - Kyle Flanagan $13,020

I almost put Flanagan in the “who knows” section for this slate, but I just can’t see how he ends up on a winning line-up. A large chunk of his previous scoring has relied on kick metres and goals…both are which are in severe doubt with Matt Burton taking over the reins in this team. I can still them sharing those roles, although whoever kicks goals today probably won’t get many opportunities against the Panthers. Flanagan does generally lay a solid base by making 20+ tackles, but he almost never runs the ball. With a questionable kicking role and no expected attacking stats, the 50+ score needed to be relevant on this slate just seems very unlikely.


Hate It - Luciano Leilua $18,710

Leilua has built up a solid fantasy reputation built mostly on the back of a whole lot of scores in the 45-60 range. In other words, he’s consistently good, but his ceiling is not that great once he starts seeing these top dollar price tags. He hasn’t missed a game the last two seasons, so he is very durable, but I have seen him get banged up a couple of times already this year so that is another minor concern for his ceiling. He’ll need something around 70 to pay off this tag in a GPP, so I think we can safely look elsewhere in a tough matchup.


Who Knows - Josh Addo-Carr $9,630

Every week I struggle with what to do with the Fox and some of his backline counterparts. Dufty, Burns and even Naden have all had good fantasy chops at their previous teams, but between them don’t have a 50+ score this season and have been generally underwhelming. That’s not surprising, the Bulldogs aren’t going so well, but it’s going to turn eventually. While I don’t think the Panthers is the right spot to do it, I still find this price tag on Addo-Carr very difficult to ignore, and the same for Dufty & Burns. If any of them jag a try they’ll probably have enough value to be on a winning line-up. It’s tough to swallow, but it could be a strong pivot from the pricier (and chalkier) Panthers and Sharks backs.


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