NRL 2023: Panthers, Sharks, Cowboys & Eels Round 1 Previews

NRL 2023: Panthers, Sharks, Cowboys & Eels Round 1 Previews

The 2023 NRL season promises to be an exciting one for many reasons. We’ll be looking at the changes in each team’s squad and the NRL Fantasy & Supercoach implications of the new recruits as well as the forward pack minutes for NRL Draftstars – for which you can check out our Stats Bible player projections – or Draft players.

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Penrith Panthers

Penrith Panthers NRL 2023 Round 1 team

The Panthers begin their attempt at a three-peat without Kikau, Koroisau & Taylan May. Garner, Kenny & Turuva have been given first crack at replacing them.

Even though he’ll likely get the right wing spot with To’o likely to move back to his favoured left, Turuva’s an excellent choice as a cheapie in NRL Supercoach. Kenny is a better buy on Fantasy rather than Supercoach, given his limited upside.

Check out our try scorer markets odds comparison tool!

Luke Garner would be a good pick up in either game, playing 5 games at 43 minutes or less and 7 games in the centres for the Tigers in 2022. There’s clear upside there given he’s beaten out Hosking to the starting left edge role for the Panthers.

Cleary will continue to be their dominant playmaker & goal-kicker. He’ll be even more popular given Hynes’ injury which has ruled him out of Round 1 and potentially a few more weeks to start the 2023 NRL season.

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

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Cronulla Sharks NRL 2023 Round 1 team

Nicho Hynes has officially been ruled out of Round 1 and unfortunately for the Sharks fans, it could be longer. Braydon Trindall will likely kick goals for the Sharks in a direct replacement for Hynes.

He could be a handy pick up in Draft, however, with the uncertainty around how many weeks he’ll have, we wouldn’t recommend picking him up in season long Fantasy or Supercoach.

Royce Hunt is out for Round 1 so Uele is named to start. Rudolf, Finucane, McInnes & Wade Graham are likely to get most of the minutes for the middle rotation for the Sharks.

Teig Wilton has been talked about in Fantasy & Supercoach circles as a value pick. However, with the chance that Graham played 10-30 minutes on the edge every game, we think Wilton is a player worth avoiding with so many cheapies and value picks around the comp.

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

North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland Cowboys NRL 2023 Round 1 team

Coen Hess starts in the second row with Luciano Leilua and Heilum Luki out for at least the first few rounds

The Cowboys’ squad is largely unchanged with Val Holmes their goal kicker who should be busy in what looks to be a relatively friendly draw for them in the first two months of the 2023 NRL season. 

Taumalolo, Cotter, Nanai & Robson should all play 60-80 minutes and could all be handy pickups for NRL Fantasy & Supercoach season long and draft coaches.

Unfortunately there’s not much value in this team aside from Hess who could be a sneaky value pickup if he gets 80 minutes on the edge for a red hot Cowboys side.

Also read: NRL 2023 Round 1 Punter’s Preview

Parramatta Eels

Parra Eels NRL 2023 Round 1 team

The Eels forward pack looks significantly different from their Grand Final loss in 2022.

Doorey, Cartwright & Hopgood come in for Lane (injured), Papali’i (Wests Tigers) & Ryan Matterson (suspended).

opgood is one of the best picks for 2023 in both NRL Fantasy & Supercoach. Don’t overthink it, just pick him.

Cartwright and Doorey don’t have the best job security given Murchie is on the bench, Lane should be returning in 4-5 weeks and Matterson will definitely be returning in Round 4.

We still think the potential is too good to say no to the ‘Carty Party’ so we’ll be coming along with a case of VB and saying no to Matt Doorey with his limited upside.

Their backline hasn’t changed too much. Gutherson, Sivo & the halves are all class players, however, the Eels will hope their makeshift forward pack can get them through the first 4-5 rounds.

They’ve lost Reed Mahoney & Isaiah Papali’i who are definitely huge losses.

Only time will tell if Hodgson & one of Cartwright, Doorey or Murchie can get the job done to end the longest existing NRL Premiership drought.

That backrow could decide the Eels’ fate in 2023 and your NRL Fantasy or Supercoach season!

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


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.

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