Round 5 of the 2022 NRL season is upon us and so is ‘Your Edge’. This week, we’re pleading with the Broncos to help Haas, digging into Dylan Brown, assessing the Panthers’ yardage, and highlighting the best value plays of the weekend.
Playing Around Haas
Payne Haas averages 171.6 running metres per game.
Only eight players average more metres per game than the 22-year-old as he puts the Brisbane Broncos on his back every week. He can’t do it all, though. Clearly. No other Broncos forward ranks in the NRL’s Top 50 in running metres for the Broncos to rank 15th in the competition overall with only 1,434 metres per game. Adam Reynolds joined the club over the summer but there is only so much he can do behind a beaten pack. Most of what he has done so far has involved his boot to be 4th in the NRL in kicking metres at 464 metres per game – constantly kicking the Broncos out of trouble.
— Brisbane Broncos (@brisbanebroncos) April 2, 2022
Haas will do what Haas does and drag the Broncos up the field as far as he can this week. He’s going to need some help from the forwards around him if they’re to be any chance of beating the Sydney Roosters on Friday night. The Roosters rank 5th in the competition at 1,645 metres per game but it feels as though they’re only just warming into things.
It all begins and ends in the middle for the Broncos in Round 5 as they look to stop the slide following a promising opening fortnight. Perhaps then Kotoni Staggs can get more involved following his lacklustre start to the 2022 NRL season.
Eels Giving Titans A Lesson In Cohesion
The Parramatta Eels spine is looking as good as it ever has at the moment.
Mitchell Moses, Dylan Brown, Clint Gutherson and Reed Mahoney have been developing their combinations for years, but only now are they putting it all together consistently. The Gold Coast Titans, on the other hand, are in the very early stages of developing their long-term spine. They’ve been forced into chopping and changing, and we’ve already seen them blow a big lead in a way teams being led by an inexperienced spine can at times. Frustratingly, Jayden Campbell isn’t available for this week and they’re forced into playing Jamayne Isaako at the back.
Cohesion is crucial Parramatta’s improved level of play shows in the numbers, for Brown, in particular.
The 21-year-old already has more try assists and line break assists in five games to start 2022 than he had throughout the whole 2021 NRL season (21 games). It won’t be long before he catches up in the line break department and you’d be brave to bet against him beating his mark of four tries last year. While other young halves struggle as the faces beside them rotate in and out of the squad, Brown has had the benefit of playing beside the same players in the spine for most of his 58-game career to date.
We’ve already seen teething issues as the Titans spine starts to come together. There is a good chance those teething issues become more painful against a strong Eels outfit in Round 5. However, provided they stick with Toby Sexton, a healthy Campbell and AJ Brimson, there is every chance they can take a similar development path to the Eels.
Panthers Puring Up The Field
The yardage game has long been the catalyst for many a win in rugby league and it’s no different in 2022.
The Penrith Panthers are the only unbeaten side left in the NRL and it just so happens that they lead the competition in yardage with 1,799 running metres per game. Prolific metre-eater Brian To’o and Moses Leota are both sitting on the sidelines at the moment while James Fisher-Harris has also missed time. Still, Penrith have managed to get their way up the field better than any other side.
Taylan May has stepped in to take over the yardage To’o left behind while Charlie Staines has made significant leaps in his game to increase his 87 running metres per game in 2021 to 142 metres per game in 2022. But most impressive has been Dylan Edwards who has run for an NRL-high 1,014 running metres through four games. Tom Trbojevic is 2nd on the list way back at 831 metres. The Panthers back-three continues to start their sets well and it’s an area Matt Burton and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will need to focus on this week.
Burton can put the ball into orbit and is sure to test rookie winger, May, in particular. Trent Barrett has also recalled Kyle Flanagan who, despite all his faults, can kick well up the field.
The Bulldogs are rank outsiders this week. It’s very, very unlikely they keep this one close. Still, their kicking game and how the Panthers work their way out of yardage is something to keep an eye on.
NRL Value Plays
Matt Moylan has been excellent to start this season. Nicho Hynes is making most of the headlines as the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks get off to a flyer, but his job has been made a lot easier by the play of the 30-year-old, Moylan. While Moylan is without a try so far this season, he isn’t far off. His left foot step is moments away from breaking through the line as the defence over-commits to Will Kennedy or Hynes out the back. Against a Wests Tigers side not known for its defence on the edges, Moylan is an appealing value option at $6.50 on Sunday afternoon.
Moylan’s teammate, Braden Hamlin-Uele, is no stranger to finding the line and deserves a look in the first try scorer market at $38. However, Wicky’s Try Scorer Value Finder has picked out Jai Arrow on the South Sydney Rabbitohs left edge as the first try scorer value play of the round. The Rabbitohs left edge looks ready to click into gear any moment and will fancy itself against a Dragons defence that currently concedes more points than any other in the NRL at 30 per game.
Billy Walters stands out as a value option in the Draftstars NRL Stat Bible. He’s into the Broncos starting side this week and profiles as a solid partner for Adam Reynolds in the halves. Walters doesn’t have the experience and footy smarts of Albert Kelly, but he will impact the game in other ways. He’s a willing and elusive runner of the ball which appeals from a Draftstars perspective. Projected to score 42 points, Walters is worth exploring at $10,200. Alternatively, Lachlan Ilias is beginning to look comfortable in first grade and if the Rabbitohs kick on like many think they might, he is set to benefit.