After a 67-day spell, the 2020 NRL season is finally back.
It restarts with a thriller at Suncorp on Thursday night as the Broncos look to avenge their horror 58-0 finals loss to the Eels last season. The Cowboys and Titans fill the pub slot on Friday evening before a new chapter is added to the Book of Feuds as the Roosters host the Rabbitohs.
Here, we take a look at who will score the first try and where the DFS value lies for all three games.
Broncos vs Eels @ Suncorp Stadium
First Try-Scorers: Kotoni Staggs – $15, Maika Sivo – $10, Junior Paulo – $67
He bagged three against the Rabbitohs in Round 2 and our predictive model likes Kotoni Staggs ($15 – BetEasy) to go over first on Thursday night. The Broncos targeted the right side throughout the early rounds and Staggs should see some early ball from Brodie Croft once they’re in good ball areas.
A lethal threat from goal line to goal line, Maika Sivo ($10 – Neds) can score from anywhere. The Eels will be out to stifle a young Broncos pack that thrives on confidence early. If the visitors can get a leg up, Sivo is favoured to cross the line.
Remarkably, Junior Paulo – who scores the first try in every 27th game he plays (3.7%) – presents as an appealing smokey. Despite props only crossing the line first at a 1.3% clip, our predictive model has highlighted Paulo as an option to open the scoring tonight ($67 – PointsBet).
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jamil Hopoate ($9,900), Marata Niukore ($9,320)
David Fifita is a massive loss for the Broncos (suspension) but Jamil Hopoate is the big winner. While only playing in his third first-grade game, the 26-year-old is a powerful runner and not afraid of an off-load. With that, our predictive model projects Hopoate to score 51.6 points.
Similar to Hopoate in style and opportunity, Marata Niukore has been presented with an chance to start in the middle for the Eels while Nathan Brown serves his suspension. Brad Arthur has a lot of faith in Niukore to fill the void, and so too does the model at his $9,320 price with the lock forward projected to score 39.2 points.
DFS Fade: Payne Haas ($19,170)
While far and away the best DFS player on the field in this one, the model has identified Payne Haas and his $19,170 as a fade play this week. Up against an Eels middle that has allowed the opposition to run the fewest meters at 1,365 per game so far in 2020, it might be better to invest Haas’ salary into other areas.
Cowboys vs Titans @ Suncorp Stadium
First Try-Scorers: Kyle Feldt – $9, Scott Drinkwater – $19, Kevin Proctor – $36
Kyle Feldt ($9 – Neds) is always present in these conversations as a professional try-scorer. With the Cowboys averaging three cross-field kicks per game (2nd in the NRL) this season, it won’t be long before one is hung up for Feldt to collect. Scott Drinkwater ($19 – BetEasy) will see a lot of ball too. With Michael Morgan out, he will assume the lead half duties. An excellent runner of the football, expect him to target the very questionable edges on both sides of the Titans defensive line.
Should the Titans get up early, our predictive model has picked out Kevin Proctor ($36 – Sportsbet) to get over the line. Jamal Fogarty is playing just the third game of his NRL career and first since 2017 in this one. As the more experienced half, anticipate Ash Taylor to control the team down his right edge. He will have a short-ball ready for Proctor if a hole presents itself.
DraftStars Suggested Plays: Coen Hess ($9,940), Moeaki Fotuaika ($10,210)
Coen Hess started to show some of that State of Origin form in Round 1 and 2. He’s sure to spend a lot of time running at a flimsy Titans edge defence this week, too. The predictive model has Hess scoring 46.6 points, but his ceiling is much higher given the frequency at which the Cowboys hit the sort ball – an area the Titans struggle to defend.
With Jarrod Wallace relegated to the bench and Shannon Boyd incapable of big minutes, Moeaki Fouaika is worth every cent of his $10,210 price tag. Projected to score 53.9 points, ‘Moe’ put up monster numbers in 2019 (133.3 running metres per game) – most of which he churned out while injured. Now rested and ready, Fotuaika can start chasing down Haas as one of the best young players in the game.
DFS Fade: Jason Taumalolo ($18,590)
The hulking Tonga set an NRL record for most metres run by a forward in Round 2 with 345 metres. While projected to score 58 points in this one, Taumalolo’s ownership will sky rocket even further after his record breaking performance. There might be more value elsewhere in this one.
Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
First Try-Scorers: Daniel Tupou – $9, Joseph Manu – $14, Alex Johnston – $14
With public perception likely to be having a significant impact on prices, value is hard to come by in this Roosters squad. Daniel Tupou ($9 – Neds) has developed into one of the best wingers in the game and should see plenty of action as the Roosters look to attack down Luke Keary’s left edge. However, with Kyle Flanagan feeding Joseph Manu ($14 – TopSport) early down the right side, the Kiwi centre is an option against Braidon Burns who Staggs tore to shreds in Round 2.
While the less likely of the two teams to score first, South Sydney are sure to attack down the left edge. Even without Cody Walker in the team, the fact that the left edge of the Rabbitohs is Latrell Mitchell’s favoured side and Braidon Burns isn’t afraid throw an offload, Alex Johnson ($14 – Sportsbet) may find himself in a try scoring position early.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Isaac Liu ($8,600), Jaydn Su’A ($9,880)
With Sio Siua Taukeiaho unlikely to be available for this game, Isaac Liu will start in the front row. Our predictive model has identified value in his $8,600 for a projected 45.3 points. Meanwhile, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about in how Trent Robinson rotates his forward pack without the luxury of Mitch Aubusson in the side who is missing the game due to personal reasons.
Cody Walker is out of the Rabbitohs side for this week and Jaydn Su’A is one player that may benefit. With a rookie in Troy Dargan replacing Walker on the left, Adam Reynolds should see more action on the right. Given Su’A has looked his best when receiving early ball this season, he’s a strong consideration with a projected score of 43.7 points.
DFS Fade: Latrell Mitchell ($11,140)
Latrell Mitchell hasn’t looked comfortable since joining the Rabbitohs in the off-season. In a position he is still learning and up against the club that knows him best, it won’t be an easy night for the former-Rooster. While some will be attracted to the big name, our predictive model is looking for value in others.