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NRL Fantasy Tips 2023: Round 16 Cowboys vs Panthers
Just the one game of Friday Night NRL this week, with seven teams on the bye due to Origin. The rampant Pentrith Panthers head north, with a slew of first graders missing, to take on the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville. With both teams decimated due to Origin, there is plenty of intrigue on some little-known players for each team in the DFS arena. It makes this contest all the more intriguing.
Draftstars has a $10,000 guaranteed contest for the Cowboys and Panthers, with several other contests available, there’s something for everyone, so get involved and make this game even more exciting!
Five players will miss due to Origin for the Cowboys, with Val Holmes, Murray Taulagi, Reuben Cotter, and Jeremiah Nanai suiting up for Queensland, and Reece Robson being named to make his NSW debut. Zac Laybutt will replace Val Holmes, Kyle Feldt slots in on the wing, Sam Macintyre and Kulikefu Finefeuiaki join the bench, whilst Jake Granville has been named at hooker to replace Robson. Jason Taumalolo returns in a massive boost for the Cowboys.
As for the Panthers, they will be missing five Origin stars also, with Jarome Luai, Brian To’o, Liam Martin, and Isaiah Yeo all named in the Blues 17, with Stephen Crichton named 18th man. They are replaced by Tyrone Peachey (Crichton), Tom Jenkins (To’o), Jaeman Salmon (Luai), Zac Hosking (Martin), and Matt Eisenhuth (Yeo). Luke Garner also joins the bench.
North Queensland Cowboys ($2.25) vs Penrith Panthers ($1.65)
Points total: 40.5 points
It’s tough to tell with so many stars out for each team, but you’d have to expect the Panthers to be too strong for the Cowboys. However, with the added loss of Nathan Cleary, the Panthers are definitely missing more important players in my opinion, and will really need the likes of James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota to lead from the front. If the Cowboys can match the Panthers in the middle, they should have enough points in them to get the upset.
Love It – Tom Jenkins - $9,820
My main concern with picking up Jenkins is knowing who will be playing on his inside. If he has Peachey and Hosking on his inside, he may never see the ball, save for carting it back after a kick. However, he is a tall-ish, strong outside back who could very well be the target for any and all of the Panthers’ attacking kicks this weekend. With the likes of Peachey, Tago, and Turuva the other outside backs, Cogger targeting the 6’2” Jenkins is a decent shout. Could be a poor shout, however he’s not taking up much budget, and I can live with a failure here. But with 12 tries this season in NSW Cup, I trust the young gun to get over.
Love It – Jack Cogger - $17,240
Cogger hasn’t set the world on fire, but in a matchup where there’s not a whole lot in the half/hooker section, Cogger could be the man with the highest floor. With no Luai, Cogger is going to be expected to do most, if not all the general play kicking, whilst also being a chance at kicking goals this weekend. Cogger has been tremendous in NSW Cup this season, setting up tries and steering his team around the park. If the Panthers have any chance at scoring points this week, Cogger needs to have a big game. Like Sean O’Sullivan last year, these rounds could prove critical to the future success of Jack Cogger.
Love It – Matt Eisenhuth - $9,000
Bottom dollar for Matty Eisenhuth is a major error in my opinion here. Eisenhuth has shown in the past, when asked to do so, he can play massive minutes in the middle for the Panthers. He doesn’t shirk his workload, and will make plenty of tackles and take plenty of carries. Last season in this spot, Eisenhuth managed 48 minutes, making a tackle a minute and carrying the ball 8 times for 79 metres. I’ll take that sort of output every day of the week for a bottom dollar purchase.
Hate It – Dylan Edwards - $22,040
Hate, and Dylan Edwards do not belong in the same sentence, however I am going to have to add him to the list this week. Edwards is $3,000 more expensive than the next most expensive outside back, and the most expensive player overall in this game by $2,000. Whilst Edwards does have a solid upside, I can’t spend this coin on a guy who’s averaging 55 this season, and 48 over the past 3 weeks. Yes, the Panthers will want Edwards to step up with the losses of Cleary, Luai, and Yeo, however there will be less opportunities for Edwards because the team lacks their star playmakers. Easy to leave him out at this price.
Hate It – Luke Garner - $13,110
This is more a play on my belief Garner may struggle to get any decent minutes in this clash. With Hosking and Sorensen both 65+ minute edge back rowers, it doesn’t leave a lot of minutes for Garner. The former Tigers backrower has played three games this season, managing scores of 29.7, 70.7, and 23. Garner, without a try or some sort of try involvement, will finish in the 20s in my opinion, and there are other options around this price with higher floors, including Leota, Luki, Leilua, and Taumalolo.
Who Knows – Tom Dearden - $15,300
Dearden has been wildly inconsistent this season in DFS, and against a defence as strong as the Panthers, it’s difficult to see a huge score for Dearden. In his last 5 games, Dearden has two scores above 55, whilst also scoring a 38, 15, and 29. He is intriguing, given his relatively low price, but it’s difficult to pick him and feel confident, with a low floor for a half.