Friday night double headers are back for a much more normal looking Round 8. The action begins at 6pm with the Gold Coast Titans (2-5) hosting the dominant Penrith Panthers (7-0) at Cbus Super Stadium. Then at 7:55pm the South Sydney Rabbitohs (3-4) welcome the Manly Sea Eagles (4-3) to Central Coast Stadium, with both teams looking to reassert themselves as top 4 teams after slow starts.

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


Team News

There are three changes for the Titans. Phillip Sami is back onto the wing, pushing Patrick Herbert to centre, David Fifita back to the second-row, and Kevin Proctor onto the bench. Another reshuffle sees Jamayne Isaako out of the team, with AJ Brimson shifting to fullback, Will Smith into the starting halves, and Tanah Boyd join the bench as the utility. Finally, a much simpler move sees Jaiman Joliffe replaced on the bench by Herman Ese’Ese.

No changes for the Panthers. 16 of these 17 have been playing together for 5 straight weeks now, with Soni Luke as bench utility the only newer face. He ate into Ap Koroisau’s minutes last week as a pure hooker, so be careful in case that happens again.

There are two changes for the Rabbitohs. Taane Milne loses his place in the centres, with Isaiah Tass getting his first chance to show us what he can do in the position for a full game. There are big wraps and he looked good in half a game two weeks ago. Jacob Host is out with injury, with Saliva Havili coming onto the bench. That likely means there are some extra minutes on offer for Liam Knight in particular.

The Eagles have four changes (at least), with Morgan Harper going out after being embarrassed by the Sharks last week. Tolutau Koula moves to centre, with Ben Trbojevic joining the bench as the new utility. All of Taniela Paseka, Andrew Davey and Haumole Olakau’atu are out of the forward pack, with starting props Sean Keppie and Martin Taupau straight back into those roles. Ethan Bullemor moves into the second row, with Kurt De Luis coming in to fill his spot on the bench. Josh Schuster is in the reserves and it sounds likely that he will be ready to play, meaning that Bullemor (or Kane Lawton) will likely revert back to the bench before the game starts.


Titans $7.00 v Panthers $1.10

Rabbitohs $1.60 v Eagles $2.35


The odds look very fair to me in both of these games. The Titans are seeing a slightly lower number thanks to being at home, but they’ve been terrible this year and it’s near impossible to imagine them challenging the Panthers. Panthers stacks are an obvious and viable play despite some big price tags, but I think the second game will produce a lot of good value plays with a more even contest. There are a handful of clearly underpriced players in that game, and plenty who could have a ceiling day if their team can get the upper hand.


Love It - Karl Lawton/Ethan Bullemor  $10,170 / $11,540

If the team runs out 1-17, then both of these guys represent excellent value, with Lawton the clear standout. He averages around 50 as a starting second-rower, while Bullemor can be projected for 40-45 based on a very small sample size so far. The problem is that Josh Schuster could displace one of them before kick-off, and we might not know who that is until after the Friday slate is locked out. In that case it might be prudent to play Bullemor and late swap him to the cheaper Lawton once we know for sure what is happening.


Love It -  Izack Tago $13,280

The Panthers young gun came flying out of the blocks this season with 4 straight scores over 48…before 3 straight scores in the 32-36 range. That still gives him an average score of 48, and I think this price is far too generous against a porous Titans defensive line.


Love It - Liam Martin $13,130

Another Panther averaging high 40s in his 2022 role is Martin, who has always scored well as a starting second rower and is continuing the trend this season. He has managed to score 4 tries in 6 games already, but I can’t see why he can’t do it again with Nathan Cleary pulling the strings on his side of the field. With a similar scoring profile to teammate Viliame Kikau, the price is far too generous.


Hate It - David Fifita $21,570

No-one really hits ceiling scores against the Panthers, so it’s an easy call to fade an expensive forward who is not in great form. Needing 75+ points to beat this price tag feels like a really big stretch. After a terrible performance when asked to play centre last week I can’t see Fifita being fired up enough to turn the tables on the east team in the competition. The same can be said for most of his Titans teammates, although a few of them have slightly more attainable price tags.


Hate It - Apisai Koroisau $16,680

I’m torn between naming Koroisau or Cody Walker here, but Koroisau has a more clear threat to his scoring in the form of utility hooker Soni Luke not he bench. Luke made his debut last week and played 25 minutes in a direct swap for Koroisau. As an older player that is off to a new team next year, there is a concern that his minutes will continue to be watered down as the team tries to groom Luke as his replacement. It won’t hurt him every week, but with the price reasonably high I’m willing to wait a bit longer to find out how the timeshare plays out. For the record Walker is still dangerous, but his attacking numbers are floundering and the Rabbitohs just aren’t as good without Adam Reynolds.


Who Knows - Tolutau Koula $9000 & Isaiah Tass $10,200

Here we have two young gun centres who will likely be running at each other for most of the night. We haven’t seen a huge amount of either of them, but the little glimpses have been encouraging to say the least. Both have the opportunity to nail down a permanent spot in their teams with some big performances, and I feel that both are definitely going to be more expensive than this soon enough. In a tight contest it’s hard to know if either is capable of the 40+ score that might be needed to smash their price tags, but it feels like a risk worth taking.

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