For the second weekend in a row, our footy fix is far from over just because it’s Monday. Today we have the traditional Anzac Day doubleheader, kicking off at 4pm with the St George Illawarra Dragons (2-4) hosting the Sydney Roosters (4-2) at the SCG. Then the Melbourne Storm (5-1) and the New Zealand Warriors (3-3) play at AAMI Park in Melbourne at 7pm. It’s a fairly large gulf in class in both games, but this occasion has often given us close games as both teams bring their best stuff.

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 Dragons are unchanged after grinding out a win over the Knights last week. The younger members of the backline in Feagai, Suli and Lomax have all been causing plenty of damage to the opposition lately, despite the forward pack not necessarily overpowering the opposition. Can they do the same against a tough opposition today?

There are two changes for the Roosters. Paul Momirovski comes back into the centres at the expense of Kevin Naiqama, and Sio Sea Taukeaiaho returns on the bench in place of Dan Suluka-Fifita. The Roosters also have a number of form players in the backline, namely Sam Walker, Joseph Manu and Daniel Tupou. James Tedesco has been unusually quiet so far this season, perhaps that changes on this big stage.

There are two changes for the Storm, with the Bromwich brothers (Jesse and Kenny) returning at prop and second row respectively. Trent Loiero and Brandon Smith return to the bench, with Alec MacDonald and Chris Lewis dropping out of the team. If anyone is due for a big game it’s Reimis Smith, and then the other Smith in Brandon has been mysteriously awful for 3 straight weeks after his hand injury.

Matt Lodge returning is the only change for the Warriors, with Aaron Pene back to the bench and Taniela Otukolo out of the team. Reece Walsh is still only 19, but his lowest score of 40 in 5 games this season (without a try) is a reflection of his special talent. There are some big scores to come, but this is a tough matchup.


Dragons $4.25 v Roosters $1.22
Storm $1.10 v Warriors $7.00


Other than on paper there is no real home ground advantage for the Dragons in this one, but I still think this will be a lot closer than the odds suggest. The Roosters have had a pretty weak draw so far and for the most part not been overly convincing while building a winning record. Meanwhile the Dragons have played four really strong opponents and have beaten the two weaker teams. I’d have the Roosters as slight favourites, with plenty of question marks over the make-up of their team.

The Storm are their usual selves with perhaps the most potent spine in the NRL, so I can’t really argue with the massive odds in their favour. The Warriors are close to full-strength though and a Johnson/Walsh/Egan/Harris-Tavita combination can give a good account of themselves on their best days, so I hold hope that it might not be a blowout at least.


Love It- Moses Suli $10,970

One aspect of this slate is that Roosters are priced up, and the Dragons are priced down. If you’re like me and you think this game isn’t far off being a 50/50, then that presents a great opportunity to jump on some Dragons value. Suli looks like the standout after continuing on from some good showing in 2021 and averaging 43 so far this season. Turning 24 this year he is at the peak of his powers, and rack up a good score no matter how this game pans out.


Love It- Ben Hunt $18,330

Hunt is priced a little more appropriately than some of his teammates, but I still like him a lot on this slate. Last year he exceeded 65 points 6 times in 16 games, or nearly 40% of the time. He’s only 1/6 this year, but the next one is coming soon. With Sam Walker likely to soak up plenty of ownership at the HH position, Hunt makes for an excellent leverage play if Walker busts and Hunt dominates while leading the Dragons to an upset victory. With an ability to score in every stat category, we just need to hope he scores his first try of 2022 to really access that big ceiling score.


Love It- Brandon Smith $11,620

It’s a shame Smith is still listed as a HH, because he makes for an excellent GPP play that is a lot more difficult to fit in in the most limited position. Still, that’s all the more reason to find a way to fit him in, as others won’t. Whether it’s his injury or being slightly on the outer in his final year at Melbourne that has caused an awful run of 3 weeks averaging 22 points/game….it can’t last. Usually a ~50 average player, he’s still been getting 45 minutes per game over those last 3 weeks. In his career that would equate to around 40 points, with plenty more upside. The big plays will come soon, and in a great matchup and as cheap as he’s been for a long time there is no better time to bet on that happening.


Hate It- Lindsay Collins $18,260

Continuing the theme of this article, there are a couple of priced up Roosters that look unplayable to me. Collins is the first at a price that demands 65+ points, something he has achieved once (at most twice) in his whole career so far. While he’s clearly good, all of the Roosters middles are available for this one so he’ll have to share the workload and shouldn’t exceed 50-55 points (save for a freak try).


Hate It- Luke Keary $19,400

The Keary price continues to baffle. To keep a long story short, he’s averaging less than Walker this season, and is yet to exceed 47 points. He hasn’t looked particularly good in real life, and is barely running the ball at all. With a score of 70+ needed, I give him almost zero chance, especially if/when the Dragons manage to win the game.


Who Knows- Reece Walsh $14,090

I’ve already used Brandon Smith up, so I’ll go to a Warriors player in this section to even out the article. While he faces one of the toughest matchups possible, Walsh is a top talent and does enough of everything to score points no matter how the game pans out. This price only really demands a 50+ score, which isn’t much more than what he averages (47). He scored 43 points when making his debut in this fixture last year, and has since added goal kicking to his arsenal. It’s not a definite smash play if the Storm win by 50 or something, but it is a good price and could come with fairly low ownership, so I’m very interested in going against the tide with this one.

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