Punter’s Preview NRL Round 1 2023

Punter’s Preview NRL Round 1 2023

Welcome to Wicky’s Punter’s Preview for Round 1 of the 2023 NRL season. In this article we’ll highlight value plays for try scorer markets in the NRL & help you with your NRL Draftstars teams for some of the biggest contests of the round. Everything on our site is free – whether you want to join our free NRL Supercoach or NRL Fantasy leagues ($500 up for grabs), join our Discord chat or access any of our data tools you can do it all for free here.

If you’re keen to read more about how to best use our free data tools or our approach in general, check out the article we’ve written to help you out here. If you just want the best price & our best value try scorer NRL tips, read on!


Eels v Storm

Thursday 2nd March, 8pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Dylan Brown First Try Scorer (FTS) @ $34 on Neds

Jahrome Hughes Anytime Try Scorer (ATS) @ $3.95 on Topsport

Nelson Asofa-Solomona ATS @ $8 on Sportsbet

NRL Round 1 2023 Try Scorer Odds Comparison Tool
NRL Round 1 2023 Try Scorer Odds Comparison Tool

Dylan Brown is great value to score the first try at $34 whichever way we look at it. If you went by his career strike rate, he’d be priced at $21. Our model has him at $26 and no bookie has him any higher than that aside from Neds at $34. He had a career-best year in 2022 and in what should be a close game, we think he’s a great shout to score the first try of the 2023 season.

Jahrome Hughes’ anytime try scorer odds would be around $3-3.50 if you look at his career strike rate or our model. He’s around that price on most sites making the $3.95 a clear standout on Topsport. He’s a noted ball runner and the Storm will look to him and Munster to step up with half their forward pack from 2022 missing.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona up against an Eels pack missing Lane, Matterson, Papali’i, Mahoney & Niukore from their Grand Final loss in 2022 sounds like a scary proposition. Aside from Welch and King, he’s the only other experienced middle forward so you know he’ll get close to 50 minutes as well. The $8 for him to score a try anytime on Sportsbet is clearly higher than his career strike rate and most other bookies have him lower than $6.

You can check out the team previews including an NRL Fantasy & NRL Supercoach breakdown as well for the Eels & the Storm.

NRL Draftstars – $20,000 Contest


NRL Draftstars Stats Bible
NRL Draftstars Stats Bible

Warriors v Knights

Friday 3rd March, 6pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Lachlan Fitzgibbon ATS @ $6 on Sportsbet

Daniel Saifiti FTS @ $91 on Sportsbet

NRL 2023 Round 1 Odds Comparison Tool
NRL 2023 Round 1 Odds Comparison Tool

Lachlan Fitzgibbon was one of the best hole runners in the NRL a couple of years ago. He had a killer combination with Kalyn Ponga, who prefers the left side in attack. Well now, KP is playing in the halves and they’ll be playing alongside each other. Fitzgibbon has only played 20 games in 2021 and 2022, scoring only 3 tries. But from 2018-2020, he scored a try in 14 of 59 games. Against a Warriors outfit who we think will struggle in 2023, we love the $6 on offer for Fitzgibbon to get over in Round 1.

Daniel Saifiti is one of our favourite value picks for try scorer markets in the NRL. Playing in the middle of the field for a team who is usually around the middle or bottom of the ladder, he’s usually at a good price. $91 for Daniel to score the first try is a crazy price. He’ll be the Knights’ main man in the middle and our model as well as most bookies have him priced at $65 or below.

Also read: Knights, Warriors, Sea Eagles & Bulldogs Round 1 Previews

Panthers v Broncos

Friday 3rd March, 8.05pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Nathan Cleary ATS @ $4.20 on Neds

NRL 2023 Round 1 Odds Comparison Tool
NRL 2023 Round 1 Odds Comparison Tool

Nathan Cleary is priced less than $3.65 on most bookies to score a try at home against the Warriors. Our model and his career strike rate would have him priced around there as well. Neds have him available at $4.20 and we think this is a great value play. The Panthers are missing Koroisau, Kikau & Taylan May from their Premiership side in 2022 and the attack may be a bit clunky to start the 2023 season so we think he’ll look to carry the Panthers on his back in this one.

NRL Draftstars – $25,000 Contest

NRL Draftstars Stats Bible
NRL Draftstars Stats Bible for the $25,000 Panthers v Broncos Rd 1 game

Value Picks – Brian To’o @ $12,170 & Kotoni Staggs @ $11,830. There’s a lot of value in this contest which made picking out value picks quite difficult. Staggs has played well against the Panthers in recent seasons and we’re thinking it’s worth going for his upside in the backs. To’o is a base stat beast and he’ll likely be back to his favoured left wing with his mates Luai & Tago so we think he’ll do much better than the $12,170 price tag suggests.

Fade Option – Nathan Cleary @ $23,540. Hear us out. With Yeo, Haas & Carrigan options in the forwards we think you could pick all 3 of them and pair them with say Mitch Kenny at HH to create a decent POD lineup as you’d think most players would flock to Cleary. Cleary’s easily the most expensive player in this contest and we’re not doubting he’ll go well. If he gets closer to 60 points rather than the 74 our model has him projected for, you’d have a big jump on most other entries if it’s a game played predominantly through the middle of the field and the chance of rain around in Sydney.

Team Composition – As discussed above, we’ve gone with a team that combines the upside of Staggs & To’o with Carrigan & Haas who we expect to play huge minutes. Kenny’s an obvious pick at $9,000 starting at hooker. If you think this game will be closer than the 12.5 point line suggests and with the potential for rain around Sydney, picking the high-priced forwards could be the way to go.

Sample Team for the $25,000 Draftstars contest
Sample Team for the $25,000 Draftstars contest

Sea Eagles v Bulldogs

Saturday 4th March, 3pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Haumole Olakau’atu ATS @ $4.25 on Neds

Fa’amanu Brown ATS @ $7.75 on Sportsbet

Matt Burton FTS @ $34 on Neds

Viliame Kikau FTS @ $23 on Neds

NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool
NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool

Olakau’atu is great value whichever way you look at it. Three green lights – the $4.25 is much higher than what his price should be if you look at other bookies, our model or his career strike rate. He had a breakout year in 2022 and a 3pm home game with Cherry-Evans next to him and Tom Trbojevic back – clear value play.

Burton & Kikau reunite again, this time playing for the Bulldogs. Burton’s historical strike rate is excellent due to his time playing at centres and Kikau’s due to his time playing for the dominant Panthers, however, we think the $34 and $23 for them to score the first try are great prices considering their quality and chemistry.

Fa’amanu Brown had scored at least one try in 8 of his 38 NRL games. That doesn’t sound inspiring. Where it gets interesting is he scored a try in 5 of his 13 games in 2022 for the wooden spoon Wests Tigers! He played at lock, hooker and off the bench and scored a try from each of those positions. Great price for him to get over in an understrength Dogs pack which should mean he plays 45+ minutes.

Cowboys v Raiders

Saturday 4th March, 5.30pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Joseph Tapine FTS, 2nd TS & LTS @ $81 on TAB

Jamal Fogarty FTS @ $51 on Sportsbet

NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool
NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool

Tapine had a career-best season in 2022 and backed it up at the World Cup. He’s now one of the premier forwards in the NRL and will have to play close to 60 minutes with the Raiders losing Sutton and Elliott from the pack and Papali’i being injured to start the season. The $81 on offer on TAB is great value for a dominant forward like Tapine, even if they are outsiders against a settled Cowboys outfit in North Queensland. He’s $51 or less on most other bookies.

Jamal Fogarty had a huge impact on the Raiders in 2022, leading their charge to the finals since he returned from injury halfway through the season. He’s priced at $51 which is significantly higher than the $39 our model thinks he should be priced at. If the Raiders start strong, we can see him scoring off a Tapine offload close to the line!

Also read: Storm, Roosters, Rabbitohs & Raiders Round 1 Previews

Sharks v Rabbitohs

Saturday 4th March, 7.35pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Sione Katoa ATS @ $2.45 on Bet365

Braden Uele FTS @ $67 on Neds

NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool
NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool

Sione Katoa is priced noticeably higher than the price our model and his career strike suggests he should be at. The Sharks are missing Nicho Hynes, although, Braydon Trindall does a reasonable job in attack.

Braden Uele is one of the best try scoring middle forwards in the NRL. He had an up and down season in 2022 fighting some niggling injuries but he should start this game given Royce Hunt is out for the Sharks. He’s scored the 1st try in games 3 times and the first try in the second half 4 times. That’s an incredible strike rate if you assume he’s started in only roughly half his 82 NRL games.

Dolphins v Roosters

Sunday 5th March, 4.05pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Herman Ese’ese FTS 2nd Half @ $101 on TAB (Void – ruled out due to injury)
Egan Butcher & Luke Keary FTS & ATS on Topsport

There isn’t much value in this game considering the Roosters are heavy favourites against a Dolphins side who are playing their first NRL game. The only weakness in the Roosters outfit looks to be their bench – one utility and three rookie forwards. Ese’ese has scored the first try in the 2nd half 4 times in 108 games. They are heavy underdogs but early in the 2nd half, when both teams’ bench forwards are on is likely the only time they can compete. That’s why we think the $101 for Ese’ese is worth a small play.

Update Sun 5th March – Egan Butcher & Luke Keary are priced really well on Topsport at the moment. FTS & ATS are around $30 and $4.50 for both players. The SGM for both of them to score a try is priced at $19, around double what it is on most other sites!

18+ Gamble Responsibly

Check out our fantasy & punting previews in audio and video!

Wests Tigers v Titans

Sunday 5th March, 6.15pm

Try Scorer Value Picks

Jaimin Jolliffe FTS/LTS @ $101 on TAB

Luke Brooks FTS/LTS @ $41 on TAB

Tanah Boyd FTS @ $46 on Sportsbet

Stefano Utoikamanu FTS @ $61 on Sportsbet

Erin Clark FTS2H @ $81 on TAB

NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool
NRL Round 1, 2023 Odds Comparison Tool

Brooks is great value to score the first try at $41 according to our model which has him priced at $30. Most bookies and his career strike rate all have him below $37. We think this a great play at $41 for last try scorer as well.

Tanah Boyd will be playing next to David Fifita and has won his spot on merit over Toby Sexton. He has scored in 4 of 16 games when starting in the halves though, so we think the $46 to score the first try is way too high.

Jaimin Jolliffe isn’t known for his try scorer capabilities but $101 is way too high for him. 3 tries in 61 games isn’t a great strike rate but he is a much improved forward. Stefano Utoikamanu had an incredible 2021 where he scored a try in 6 of his 21 games. He didn’t score any last season but he was dealing with injuries. We love the $61 on offer for him to get over first.

Erin Clark had a great run of form when he moved to lock (from hooker) towards the end of 2022. We think the $81 for him to score first in the 2nd half is a great value price given both teams have poor ruck defences.

NRL Draftstars – $50,000 Contest

Value Pick – Tanah Boyd @ $12,240. Boyd is priced really well for a goal-kicking halfback in what should be a high scoring game. He finished 2022 on fire his last 4 NRL games. Coming up against last year’s wooden spooners, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to continue from where he left off. He’ll also have more class around him with Verrills and Foran in the spine.

Fade Option – David Klemmer @ $18,290. Klemmer had an impressive 2022 averaging over 30 tackles and 150 run metres a game in 60 minutes. There’s not much room to improve on his numbers and if you’re going to pay top dollar for a forward in this contest, you’d want more upside. David Fifita, Isaiah Papali’i & Tino Fa’asuamaleaui are only $2-3k more expensive and have a noticeably higher ceiling range (average of their 3 highest scores from 2022).

Team Composition – These teams had two of the worst defensive records in 2022 and it’s expected to be a high scoring game. Foran, Stimson along with outside backs from both teams are available under $10k. Brooks & Boyd are both rated 9/10 in our value ratings and are priced under $15k as well. Out of the guns we think David Fifita & big Tino are the way to go.

If you want to follow more of our NRL analysis throughout the season or any of our other work at Wicky, please reach out via email or on social media.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on linkedin

Contact us

Book A Free Demo