NRL Fantasy

The final round of the 2023 NRL regular season kicks off with what should have been a blockbuster clash, but has turned into a Queensland Cup matchup between the Broncos and Storm. With a host of big names being rested from both teams, there could be some terrific value when playing Draftstars on Thursday night!

Draftstars has a $15,000 guaranteed contest for the Broncos and Storm, with several other contests available, there’s something for everyone, so get involved and make this game even more exciting!


Team News

It’s almost easier to say who’s not playing for each team, but we will go through the changes. The Broncos will be without Reece Walsh, Kotoni Staggs, Herbie Farnworth, and Selwyn Cobbo, and that’s just the backs. They are replaced by Tristan Sailor, Jesse Arthars, Delouise Hoeter, and Jordan Pereira. Further outs include Ezre Mam, Billy Walters, Payne Haas, and Luke Capewell. They are replaced in the starting side by Joshua Rogers, Tyson Smoothy, Corey Jensen, and Brendan Piakura. Kobe Hetherington drops off the bench, with an entirely new crew on the pine, including Blake Mozer, Cory Paix, Xavier Willison, and Martin Taupau.

The Storm meanwhile are resting several key players, with Nick Meaney, Cam Munster, and Harry Grant out. They are replaced by Ryan Papenhuyzen, Jayden Nikorima, and Bronson Garlick. Jahrome Hughes is out injured, replaced at halfback by Tyran Wishart. Also missing from last week’s win over the Titans are Marion Seve, Xavier Coates, Christian Welch, Tui Kamikamica, Trent Loiero, and Nelson Asofa-Solomona. They are replaced in the starting side by Justin Olam, Reimis Smith, Tariq Sims, Tepai Moeroa, Chris Lewis, and Josh King. Like the Broncos, the Storm boast an entirely new bench, with Sualauvi Faalogo, Alec MacDonald, Aaron Pene, and Jack Howarth making up the 17.

Betting Markets

Brisbane Broncos ($1.68) vs Melbourne Storm ($2.19)

Total O/U – 43.5

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Honestly, who knows how this game is going to go. Looking at the teams named, I’d give a slight advantage to the Broncos, and with them playing at home for the Minor Premiership, they should get the job done. Either way, I’d be steering clear of betting this game, and wait for the finals to start.

Love It – Ryan Papenhuyzen - $17,950

Papenhuyzen came back last week and managed 18 minutes off the bench, but this week he’s going to be expected to not only play the full 80 minutes, but he’s going to be expected to contribute heavily in attack. Whilst I don’t expect the Storm fullback to be back to his absolute best, he’s basically coming up against a reserve grade Broncos side here, so I expect him to be able to inject plenty into this attack. Could handle the goal kicking as well, in a nice little bonus.

Love It – Jock Madden - $14,930

Madden has been solid in his four matches in first grade this season, and with a 3-round average of 47.5, and high score of 57.5, Madden is the safest option at half/hooker in this game. I don’t mind Bronson Garlick, who is about a $4,500 discount on Madden, given there is no bench hooking option named. If I could guarantee Garlick to play 80 minutes, he could well be the best value of any player in this slate. But Madden is safer for mine.

Love It – Brendan Piakura - $13,260

Piakura gets a promotion to the starting side once again, and he would have one of the higher upsides of forwards in this matchup. Piakura has 2 tries and 6 line-breaks in his 9 games this season, with the majority of those statistics coming in games where he has started. The Broncos have unearthed another great young edge forward in Piakura, and charging at either Nikorima or Wishart could bring up several try scoring chances.

Hate It – Corey Oates - $15,250

Oates has the ability to go large, however with zero tries this season, I just can’t stomach this outlay (2nd most expensive outside back). Whilst he does have a high score of 63.5, he also has 6 scores under 40 (75% of his games). There’s a chance he can wind back the clock with a hat-trick, but I’d prefer to spend this sort of money on Will Warbrick, or even Jordan Pereira.

Hate It – Eliesa Katoa - $21,770

Katoa has been on fire of late, however he won’t be running off Jahrome Hughes in this game. With 5 tries in his past 4 games, this fade is fraught with danger, however I believe Katoa could very well be one of the most owned forwards in this game. If he falls flat, and you deploy your capital elsewhere, you could be in a great position to take out some cash in these contests.

Who Knows – Everything

This game is crazy. You could almost say who knows for every player in this game, with 19 new faces in the two squads. This could be a crazy week in Draftstars, and anyone can win.

Draftstars Suggested Lineup



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