The first of the Sunday games is a Western Sydney derby between the Panthers and the Eels which will be followed up by the Titans hosting the raiders on the Gold Coast. It is important to note that there is a chance of rain at both venues but Sydney will most likely cop the worse weather of the two cities. Although the Titans vs Raiders is tipped to be the higher scoring of the two games on this slate, I expect the Panthers to put in a solid performance against the Eels coming of poor trials showing a fortnight ago, here are my NRL fantasy tips for Sunday.
Josh Hodgson ($6,900) and Reed Mahoney ($4,400) appear to be the best options at hooker on this slate. If you are looking to spend up at hooker, I believe that Hodgson will get through a similar amount of work to Nathan Peats ($5,900) and offers more in attack than peats for only $1,000 more. Of the cheaper options, Mahoney is my favourite play. I am a big fan of Wayde Egan ($3,500) and if he had been named to start over Sione Katoa ($4,300) he would have been one of my top selections. However, with Egan on the bench, neither Katoa or Egan will see enough minutes to temp me into rostering them.
There are plenty of high-priced forwards who interest me on this slate. Shaun Lane ($8,000), Jai Arrow ($7,500) and Isaah Yeo ($7,100) are my favourites of this group. Lane was a damaging runner close to the try line for Manly last season and should see more minutes in this Eels pack this year. If he combines well with the Eels halves, expect him to score plenty of tries this season. Arrow had a breakout year last year and I particularly liked his form early in the season before he struggled with injuries and head knocks as the season progressed. I Expect Arrow to replicate his 2018 early season form over the first 5 or so rounds of this season. Isaah Yeo will be the beneficiary of a new look penrith attack. Cleary got a lot of production out of his second rowers at the tigers last year, particularly Chris Lawrence and Yeo will likely see an increased role in offensive patterns this season under the new coach. It is also worth mentioning that Jack Hetherington ($3,500) will slot into the starting side for the injured Kikau. At $3,500 Hetherington will not need to do much to be a valuable play.
Nathan Cleary ($7,900) will play his first game of NRL football under his father Ivan Cleary and for mine, looks to be the obvious choice in the halves. I expect Panthers to score 4 or more tries against the Eels and if thats the case, cleary will most likely be good for a few try assists and as a bonus, kicks goals too. The only other option I am considering in the haves is Dylan Brown ($4,000). There is a fair bit of hype around Brown ahead of the season and rightly so, Brown is an athletic young talent who will be exiting to watch for years to come and I am confident he will be a solid value play at this price. If you have paid up for players in other positions, Brown is a great option in the halves.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ($5,000) will be the first outside back I select on this slate. Nicoll-Klokstad’s solid offseason has seen him be named as the fullback for the raiders season opener. Nicoll-Klokstad should gain a lot of running metres in this game and is a chance of racking up some attacking stats particularly if he plays outside of Jack Wighton. Waqa Blake ($7,500) is one of my favourite players to roster in DFS. He has the ability to rack up a large number of fantasy points in a single play and I expect him to run all over this parramatta defence. Maika Sivo ($3,500) is worth considering if you need to save some coin. Maika Sivo has been a prolific try scorer in the lower grades and gets his chance in the NRL this week. At $3,500, 1 or 2 tries from Sivo, which is not outside the realm of possibilities, could put your team in poll position to take down the contest.