This shapes as a great clash with two attacking football
sides. The Knights are building nicely leading into finals and I expect them to
prove too classy, but the Warriors have shown in past months they won’t buckle
in the hunt to keep their finals aspirations alive.
I’ll be favouring Knights attacking players and spending up
big on a few gun forwards.
This one is a little on the fence. I thought KP would lose
kicking duties to Mason Lino, but Adam O’Brien said on Friday he’s likely to keep
them with an eye to the future. Regardless, Ponga is in sublime form and should
score well even without kicking.
Mann is by far the best option at hooker in this contest as
the only big minute option. Despite the shift from the halves, he’s still
fancying his running game and is a key point in the Knights attack. Chris
Randall is likely to spell him at some point, so hopefully it doesn’t impact
his minutes too drastically.
Injury free for the first time in a while, Barnett has been
in stunning form over the past month. He’s playing the full 80 minutes and has
been Newcastle’s best player of late.
O’Brien clearly trusts him with big minutes, and he’s proven
capable of finding attacking stats to bolster his tackle/run numbers. The third
gun position could easily go to him, Jazz Tevaga or Tohu Harris, I just like
the fact that Barnett is locked into an 80 minute role, while the Kiwi pair’s
time is more sporadic.
STARS TO AVOID
Absolutely no knock on Big Klem who has been in typically
strong form of late. The problem is there’s a stack of gun forward options who
will score well in this and you can’t have them all.
Klemmer has played big minutes lately due to injuries during
the game, so if the Knights do get out to a lead I expect him to earn an early
Katoa doesn’t have the work rate of the gun second-rowers in
this contest, but his attacking upside is greater than all of them. At just
over $10k he’s a bargain pick up that frees up valuable cash to spend
A day game in dry conditions will suit RTS perfectly. At
just $11.5k he looks a standout pick alongside Ponga in the W/FB position.
Jazz Tevaga and RTS
Tevaga has one of the most lethal offloads in the game, and RTS is one of the best support players in the game. The skipper will be sniffing around the ruck all day and can latch onto Jazz, once he’s in space it’ll take a minor miracle to stop him.
The late withdrawal of Shaun Johnson changes the complexion
of this game entirely. Matt Moylan is also out, while the Cowboys are without
Jason Taumalo, so this game has all of a sudden been harder to get a gauge on.
I still expect the Sharks to win well, but both sides are
throwing out very different outfits to normal. I’ve gone heavy on Sharks
attacking players, and selected the players to benefit in Taumalolo’s absence.
The Moose will almost certainly play greater minutes without
JT. His workrate has gone through the roof in 2020 and hasn’t really looked
like slowing down when given greater game time. Even at just under $16k I
expect him to exceed his value.
STARS TO AVOID
There’s so few guns in this game that there’s none in
particular to avoid. Fitting the better players in your squad shouldn’t be an
Molo should play bigger minutes without JT, simple as that.
With Connor Tracey playing in the halves, Brailey should
return to 80 minutes and is the clear pick of the hookers.
Graham is one of my first picked at just over $12k with
Johnson and Moylan out. The Sharks will direct a large amount of attack through
him on the left edge as a result. This also brings Sione Katoa right into play.
Wade Graham and Sione Katoa
For the reasons mentioned above, I think this pair could link up a fair bit, whether it be a cut ball from Graham or his crafty kick in behind the line.
The ladder leading Panthers are on a tear, while the Tigers
are capitulating. Penrith should stamp their authority and beat the Tigers
well. I’ll heavily be favouring Penrith attacking players here.
My first picked player in Penrith clashes each and every
week, particularly when facing opposition with poor defensive records.
STARS TO AVOID
Grant returns from injury and unfortunately for his
Draftstars scoring Jacob Liddle is on the bench. As a result I don’t expect
Grant to play the full 80 so it’s hard to see him exceeding his value at almost
Mitch Kenny should play 60-80 minutes for Penrith with Api
Koroisau out and is almost $6k cheaper.
Nofa is in career best form, but Penrith are a new level to
what they’ve played this year. He rescued his score last week against the
Roosters with a try on the bell. His stunning try-scoring form in 2020 may come
to an end at the foot of the mountains.
Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o and Josh Mansour
Basically every player in Penrith’s backline could go very
big if the result pans out as most are predicting. You can squeeze all three in,
or even opt for Brent Naden as a lower ownership point of difference.
With Josh Aloiai out, Twal may be forced into decent minutes
on return from injury. Provided they come he’s comfortably the biggest worker
in the Tigers pack.
Crichton and Mansour
I’ve utilised this combo most weeks and it’s paid off of late. As mentioned in previous articles, opposition defences are doubling up efforts on Crichton due to his rapid rise as a young NRL star, so it’s simply a tip on to Mansour who thrives with the open space.