NRL Round 5 Value Plays (Thursday & Friday)

NRL Round 5 Value Plays (Thursday & Friday)

We’re starting to get into the swing of things now. Both players and coaches will be better off for the two weeks under the new rules and we should expect to see a few more adjustments this week.

Round 5 kicks off with what most expect to be a one-sided affair on the Central Coast before Friday night sees a return to the same stadium as the Warriors and Cowboys both look to bounce back from Round 4 defeats. Friday’s main event, Eels v Panthers, puts two of the three unbeaten sides head-to-head in a game that might end up being the best of the round.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Brisbane Broncos @ Central Coast Stadium

First Try-Scorers: Reuben Garrick – $10, Kotoni Staggs – $17

It came as no surprise to see our predictive model highlight Jorge Taufua and Reuben Garrick here. The Sea Eagles are heavy favourites and expected to cross the line at regular intervals.

Jorge Taufua ($10 – Neds) appealed most but has since been ruled out of this one. The Broncos have conceded an NRL-high 11 tries down their right edge and it’s a side Tom Trbojevic has looked exceptionally dangerous travelling down. Taufua’s replacement, Brendan Elliot, is a good chance at falling over the line.

Manly have scored seven tries down the left edge and five down the right through four games, however, Reuben Garrick ($10 – Neds) still carries value down the right side. With the Broncos sending Herbie Farnworth and Xavier Coates out on the flanks this week, the Sea Eagles can target the youth and inexperience.

The Broncos are up against it this week, but that won’t stop Kotoni Staggs ($17 – BetEasy) from threatening the line. He’s a demon with the ball in hand. If this Broncos makeshift edge can feed Staggs some early ball, he’s going to go close even if the Broncos aren’t in the game overall.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Matthew Lodge ($10,330), Corey Oates ($9,000)

Matthew Lodge returns to the Broncos starting lineup this week following two weeks off the bench. Managing just 26.5 and 21.4 Draftstars points over the last fortnight, our predictive model projects Lodge to score 50 points on Thursday night. He’s a big-minute forward when healthy, and with Brisbane’s depleted stocks through the middle, is a must-play at his $10,330 price.

Corey Oates is going to be a popular play in this slate. He’s been awful DFS value on the wing so far this season but a move into the backrow has inspired selection this week. Oates has always wanted to play in the backrow so will be eager to put his name forward for the long-term with a strong performance here. With the increased work rate and production, our predictive model projects Oatesy to score 45 points. What’s the bet he ends his 11-game try-less streak now that he’s moved in off the wing?

DFS Fade: Marty Taupau ($15,120)

The Broncos edges leave a lot to be desired. It’s an area the Sea Eagles are sure to target which may translate into fewer touches for Marty Taupau. He’s sure to be involved in early tackles, but we can expect Daly Cherry-Evans and Dylan Walker to send the ball wide early on as they look to expose inexperienced defensive combinations on the edge. At his hefty $15,120 price, our predictive model suggests looking elsewhere.

New Zealand Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys @ Central Coast Stadium

First Try-Scorers: Esan Masters – $21, Scott Drinkwater – $23, Jake Clifford – $29

Another game fielding a significant favourite leaves all of the value on one side.

He’s yet to score a try in Cowboys colours, but our predictive model likes the look of Esan Masters ($21 – Neds) in this one. Up against the inexperienced pairing – both in terms of games played and together as a defensive pairing – of Hayze Perham and Adam Pompey, Masters can work to expose the duo. If it’s not him, Jake Clifford ($29 – Neds) is a chance on the right side. He’s growing in confidence and has the dangerous Coen Hess attracting attention outside him.

On the left side, Scott Drinkwater ($23 – Neds) is a real threat to the Warriors defensive line. He’s in excellent form and his experience at fullback makes for a dangerous runner of the football. ‘Thirsty’ won’t need much of a gap to be encouraged to put his head down and try to beat the 34-year-old Blake Green with his feet.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Adam Blair ($9,870), Mitchell Dunn ($8,600), Kodi Nikorima ($9,200)

As mentioned last week, Adam Blair’s “move into the middle paid dividends”. He’s a lot more involved when playing in the middle of the field, and while named to start at lock this week, will likely fill much of the same role he has at prop over the last fortnight. Our predictive model has spied value in his $9,870 price with a projected score of 41 points.

A low-cost option on the edge after only playing 18 minutes last week, Mitchell Dunn presents value at $8,600. As Coen Hess lite, he’s a strong ball-runner and tackle-breaker. He just needs to be given the ball. With the Cowboys expected to occupy plenty of possession on Friday night, Dunn should see more opportunities in attack to at least replicate the 31.9 Draftstars points he managed in Round 3, if not hit the 43 our predictive model projects.

The Warriors attack is bad. Really bad. But if they’ve done their homework and pored over video of the last two weeks, they’ll have noticed they look their most dangerous when Kodi Nikorima runs the ball. He’s been slow to get going in games. He did finish with 12 runs for 73 running metres last week, though. If he can play with some intent from the opening minute instead of starting early into the second half, Nikorima is an appealing low-ownership option.

DFS Fade: Jamayne Taunoa-Brown ($13,100)

A rare try in Round 3 bumped Jamayne Taunoa-Brown’s score up to 54.3 points. A career-high 39 tackles in Round 4 saw him top 50 points again a week later. However, our predictive model projects JTB to regress this week with a projected score of 38 points. In a match not short of high-production middle’s, fading the increasingly popular Taunoa-Brown could be a profitable point of difference.

Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers @ Bankwest Stadium

First Try-Scorers: Maika Sivo – $9.50, Kurt Capewell – $34, Viliame Kikau – $17

The two big-guns for both the Eels and Panthers offer some value this week.

While Maika Sivo ($9.50 – Neds) didn’t score last week, he still handed out two try assists. He’s into everything and is likely to return to the scoresheet in this one. Running up against an 84kg Brian To’o, Sivo will back himself to run right over the top of him when close to the line.

Viliame Kikau ($17 – Topsport) and Kurt Capewell ($34 – BetEasy) are interesting options here.

Kikau is the obvious choice. He’s a key part to the Panthers attack and will have plays drawn up to get him the ball in good ball sets. The Eels have only conceded five tries all season and all five have come down their right edge adding more weight to Kikau in this spot. However, our predictive model also likes the look of Capewell on the right edge. With Nathan Cleary returning this week and surely eager to stamp his authority back on the side, Capwell is an excellent smokey option.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Reed Mahoney ($12,000), Caleb Aekins ($7,000)

Reed Mahoney is a defensive workhorse, but with the Eels dominating so much possession this season, he’s only averaging 36 tackles per game compared to the 46.9 he made per game in 2019. With this game expected to be closer with a more even share of possession, Mahoney’s workload should increase. As a result, our predictive model projects him to score 50 points this week.

He’s not produced at a DFS level so far this season, but our predictive model has projected Caleb Aekins to give his 22.3 points season average a bump up to 31 points on Friday night. He’s an appealing low-cost option at $7,000.

DFS Fade: Apisai Koroisau ($14,800)

In seeing value in Mahoney, our predictive model also suggests fading Apisai Koroisau. He got of to a flier this season. He’s twice hit over 80 for a 71-point season average. However, he’s projected to score just 48 points in this one. Mahoney is the play at hooker.

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