The first game of this weeks Friday night double header will feature a bolstered Knights team hosting the Sharks. The Sharks beat the knights convincingly in both of the meetings last year and again, beat the Knights in a trail in Maitland a fortnight ago 30-6. However I am tipping this game to be a much closer affair considering the game will be played in Newcastle and despite the Knights poor form in recent years, they have played well in the opening round over the last few seasons.
Neither of the starting hookers will play 80 minutes here as Mann has been named on the bench for Newcastle and Blayke Brailey has earnt a spot in cronulla’s 17. I think that both Jayden Brailey ($3,700) and (Danny Levi $5,700) will play similar minutes in this game and although I think Danny Levi has the potential to nab a few more attacking stats in this game, I believe Jayden brailey is better value given the fact he is $2,000 cheaper.
There is no shortage of quality options in the forwards under $6,000 in this game. My favourite player to fall into this category is Briton Nikora ($3,500) who looked promising in the trial match he played against the Knights earlier this month and he is a chance to run over for a try or two off a short ball from Shaun Johnson. The knights have new defensive combinations on both edges this year and this only helps Nikora’s chances of grabbing a few extra attacking stats. Andrew Fifita ($9,600), David Klemmer ($7,900) and Lachlan Fitzgibbon ($7,900) are the other forwards I would be trying to fit into my team. Expect Klemmer to get through a lot of work in his debut for Newcastle whereas Fifita and Fitzgibbon are bound to play enough minutes and both have the ability to cross the line for a try.
In my opinion, this will be were the contest is won or lost. Both Shaun Johnson ($9,000) and Kalyn Ponga ($8,000) are great options in the halves and as an added bonus they will both be given the goal kicking duties for the respective teams. It is worth noting that the sharks were the only team able to shut down Kalyn Ponga last season. However, this was mainly achieved through outstanding defensive efforts from the now retired, Luke Lewis. If you do think the sharks will be able to shut down Ponga despite the fact that their second row is significantly less experienced than last year and Ponga Likes to attack the edge of the field, Mitchell Pearce ($6,300) is worth considering as a contrarian option as he would take over the offence if Ponga struggles.
Matthew Moylan ($6,200) is the first back to Jump off the page at me. He tore the knights apart in Newcastle last year and now shifts back to his preferred position at fullback. Likewise, Connor Watson ($7,600) is worth considering now that he is back at Fullback. We don’t have a large sample size of games were Watson has started at fullback but he has always looked dangerous running through the middle and will gain plenty of meters off kick returns. Hymel Hunt ($4,500) could be a sneaky play here as he will play centre on the left side of the field and could be the beneficiary of some Kalyn Ponga brilliance. Sione Katoa ($4,300) is also worth considering as he averaged over 30 fantasy points in the games in which he scored a try last year.