Sunday afternoon offers an intriguing match-up between two teams that displayed promising form in the opening rounds. Both missing key contributors in Nathan Cleary and Kalyn Ponga, we’re going to learn a lot about the Panthers and Knights in this one. Later, the Bulldogs face a tough task if they’re to pick up their first win in 2020 up against the Sea Eagles.
Here, we take a look at who will score the first try and where the DFS value lies for both games.
Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights @ Campbelltown Stadium
First Try-Scorers: Apisai Koroisau – $31, Viliame Kikau – $20, Kurt Mann – $29
Apisai Koroisau has already proven to be an excellent signing for the Panthers and our predictive model has found value in his price ($31 – BetEasy). A maestro out of dummy half, the fatigue we’ve seen in players after nine weeks off plays right into Api’s hands.
With Nathan Cleary out, the focus of the Panthers attack turns further towards Viliame Kikau ($20 – TopSport). Jarome Luai presents as a dangerous runner of the football himself. If he plays at the line and gets Kikau one-on-one with a defender, the big Fijian won’t be stopped.
Kalyn Ponga’s suspension should result in Kurt Mann ($29 – Topsport) seeing more play making duties. However, running the ball comes more naturally for the five-eighth. With one try already this season, our predictive model has highlighted some value in Mann’s price.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Josh Mansour ($8,970), Isaah Yeo ($13,400), Sione Mata’utia ($9,500)
Perched out on the left side where the Panthers are expected to target, our predictive model has identified Josh Mansour and his 38.02 points as a value play here. He’s a big tackle-breaker, and in a match carrying a 44.5 pre-match points total, is a good chance at cashing in outside Kikau.
Sione Mata’utia is tasked with keeping a lid on Kikau’s production. He’s going to have plenty of traffic sent his way and be asked to make a lot of tackles. With that, our model projects the Knights back-rower to score 51.76 points.
Named at lock where he ran for 170 metres and made 32 tackles in Round 1, the model projects Isaah Yeo to continue his hot Draftstars form (77 points in Round 1 and 59.6 points in Round 2) with 67.01 in this one.
DFS Fade: Apisai Koroisau ($15,500)
The most expensive player in this matchup, our predictive model’s 51.49 points suggests looking for value outside of Api Koroisau. His brilliant start to the season is sure to attract high-ownership. However, Connor Watson’s elevation into the starting hooker role for the Knights presents as a strong alternative.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ Central Coast Stadium
First Try-Scorers: Remis Smith – $18, Lachlan Lewis – $41, Josh Jackson – $41
Given the one-sided nature of the game, all the value lies with the Bulldogs.
Remis Smith ($18 – Sportsbet) is worth considering while matched up against Moses Suli. A strong player in attack, Suli can be left wanting on the defensive side. With a few lazy tendencies and lapses in judgement from Suli, Smith has the finishing skills to make him pay.
Lachlan Lewis ($41 – Bet Easy) can be considered for the same reasons down the Bulldogs left side. They scored a beauty from long range to open the scoring in Round 2, so shouldn’t be ruled out here.
On the right side, and despite scoring just 23 tries in his 183-game career, our predictive model has highlighted Josh Jackson ($41 – BetEasy) as a smokey option.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jake Trbojevic ($14,470), Sauaso Sue ($9,610), Nick Meaney ($7,340)
Named to make his first start in first-grade since Round 8 in 2018, our predictive model has projected Sauaso Sue to cash in with 42.67 points. Without Aiden Tolman occupying one prop spot for the 61 minutes he averaged in the opening two rounds, Sue should see no shortage of carries in a tough game through the middle.
Jake Trobjevic is another expected to dominate in the centre-third, projected to score 56.92 points. A focal point for Manly on both sides of the ball, Trobjevic being able to link up with his brother adds another wrinkle to the Sea Eagles attack.
An intriguing and likely low-ownership option, Nick Meaney may benefit most from a Bulldogs upset. He’s expected to kick goals with Brandon Wakeham out of the squad this week.
DFS Fade: Jack Cogger ($11,660)
Jack Cogger replaces Brandon Wakeham in the Bulldogs halves this week. A different name and cheaper price may appeal to some, but our predictive model projects Cogger to score just 30.68 points. Lewis will take most of the in-play kicking duties while Cogger has never offered a lot in the try assist department. Look for value elsewhere.