The Titans and Sharks kick off Super Saturday in the NRL before the Warriors and Broncos both look to end horrible runs of form. In the prime time slot, an up-and-coming Tigers side will measure themselves up against a Panthers outfit that are on the cusp of the premiership conversation.
Gold Coast Titans v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks @ Cbus Super Stadium
First Try-Scorer: Briton Nikora – $26, Jesse Ramien – $15
Despite the naysayers and anti-Shaun Johnson rhetoric that circulates NRL analysis, the Sharks halfback leads the competition in try assists and his right side is once again up there as one of the most potent.
As they prepare to play a Titans side that has plenty of experience leaking points in the last 12 months, through their edges, in particular, Briton Nikora ($26 – SportsBet) and Jesse Ramien ($15 – SportsBet) are the first names to jump out as potential try-scorers.
Nikora is yet to score a try by flying onto a Johnson short-ball in 2020, but this might be his best chance to end the drought. Meanwhile, Ramien’s poor 2019 season in Newcastle is long forgotten. The 23-year old is back to his destructive best after scoring a try, breaking seven tackles and running for 122 metres last week.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Mitch Rein ($10,500), Jaimin Jolliffe ($8,700)
Mitch Rein returned to the starting hooker role for the Titans and performed well enough to earn another crack there on Saturday. Scoring 46 points last week, our predictive model projects Rein to score 50 points in this one. The Sharks are terribly lazy in defence around the ruck. Rein has never seen an opportunity to dart from dummy half that he doesn’t like and will take every chance he can get in this one.
Jaimin Jolliffe has reveled in his chance to secure the starting number ten jersey. Named to start in Round 6, Jolliffe has averaged 143.5 running metres in his last two games. Those metres on the ground translated into 30.9 and 50.8 points. Our predictive model projects Jolliffe to split the two on Saturday which, at $8.700, makes him an excellent value option.
DFS Fade: Shaun Johnson ($15,600)
Shaun Johnson is in brilliant form and is preparing to play a Titans side that leaves a lot to be desired in edge defence. Everything points to the Kiwi international dominating on Saturday afternoon. Everything, except our predictive model. With a projected score of only 54 points and as a typically high ownership player, he’s worth considering as a fade option.
New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos @ Central Coast Stadium
First Try-Scorers: Anthony Milford – $26, Blake Green $51
Both the Warriors and Broncos are struggling.
The Warriors are coming off a massive loss to the Storm in Round 7 and prepare to play this one without Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Meanwhile, the Broncos have dropped five games in a row with pressure building around the club both on and off the field. In need of a lift, it’s up to their leaders to set the tone.
Enter: Blake Green ($51 – SportsBet) and Anthony Milford ($26 – SportsBet)
Green is far from a prolific try-scorer with just 20 tries in 167 NRL games, but he’s a hard-worker. No doubt eager to set the standard and do the little things right, it won’t be a surprise to see the veteran in the right place at the right time close to the line.
Milford, on the other hand, is the opposite. He needs to be the creative one for the Broncos. He’s averaging a career-low 71.6 running metres per game in 2020. Milford and Anthony Seibold surely address that sooner rather than later. If he’s told to be selfish and put his head down on Saturday, Milford can play himself into form against an inconsistent Warriors defence.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jack Murchie ($9,520), Tesi Niu ($7,600)
Youngsters Jack Murchie and Tesi Niu are out to solidify their place as first-grade starters in the NRL this week and shape as value options in this one.
Murchie slots into the Warriors back row after scoring 36.4 points on the edge last week. With this game expected to be a lot closer, our predictive model projects Murchie to bump that up to 43 points on Saturday.
It’s Niu that really jumps out here, though. Plenty will be turned off by his paltry 20.2 points in Round 7. However, dig a little deeper, and you’ll see the potential is there for Niu to produce. He managed 102 running metres, three tackle breaks, an offload and a linebreak in only 65 minutes last week. It’s the three errors that hurt him. Expecting to see an improvement in his second start while Jamayne Isaako is no longer on the bench to pinch minutes from him, Niu is a must-play here.
DFS Fade: Anthony Milford ($12,900)
While we’ve talked about the need for Anthony Milford to improve if the Broncos are to get out of this slump here already, that’s been the case for a month. There is little to suggest that this the week he all of a sudden puts it together. Our predictive model certainly doesn’t think it is. He’s projected to score just 41 points at $12,900.
Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers @ Bankwest Stadium
First Try-scorers: Josh Reynolds – $41, David Nofoaluma – $12
The West Tigers are all of a sudden one of the best attacking teams in the NRL. By the numbers, anyway. Only the Roosters score more than the Tigers’ 25 points per game. However, there has been an element of luck to the way Wests score their points. They’ve scored a few freak tries and David Nofoaluma ($12 – SportsBet), in particular, loves an intercept.
But a lot of that comes down to effort; being in the right place to make the most of a favourable bounce or speculating offload. Look up ‘effort’ in the dictionary and you’ll see Nofoaluma and Josh Reynolds ($41 – SportsBet) mentioned somewhere in the definition. In a game the Tigers enter as fairly significant underdogs, expect the Tigers right-side pair to be in the mix early.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Josh Mansour ($9,060), James Tamou ($10,000)
Both Josh Mansour and James Tamou are great players in their own right, but they are overshadowed by the elite talent around them. They’re set to benefit on the DFS front against a Tigers side desperate to pull off an upset and sure to target Penrith’s biggest stars.
Villiame Kikau’s gravity in attack opens things up for those outside him. With Jarome Luai improving every week and not looking so one-dimensional in his distribution to Kikau, Mansour has been the beneficiary for a career-high 203 running metres per game. The winger won’t be short of opportunities with the ball in his hands and is projected to score 37 points.
With James Fisher-Harris announcing himself as one of the best middle forwards in the NRL this season, Tamou has been forced to take a back seat. A reliable enough option to average 34.2 Draftstars points per game in his last three, Tamou is projected to hit 44 points on Saturday night.
DFS Fade: Josh Aloiai ($14,350)
Josh Aloiai isn’t getting the wraps he deserves as one of the better up-and-coming props in the game, and our predictive model isn’t about to start on him this week. Pricey at $14,350, our projection of 45 points is enough to consider him as a fade play in this one.