The Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra Dragons will kick off the final bye round this weekend. Both teams are heavily affected by Origin so the outcome of this match is very uncertain. I’m predicting a high scoring affair with the Storm walking away with the two points at home.


Cameron Smith ($9,500) and Cameron McInnes ($9,000) are the two starting hookers for this match. Both teams have a back-up hooker on the bench but I can’t see either of their minutes being significantly affected. I’m going to spend the extra $500 to hopefully benefit from plenty of goal kicking points.


Numerous forwards have been brought into the starting sides in the absence of the Origin representatives. Blake Lawrie ($3,500) will be my first picked forward. He’s starting at lock and will control my spending due to the expensive hookers. Joe Stimson ($4,300) has come into the second row and I can’t help but think he’ll produce an attacking stat or two against the Dragons’ weakened pack. James Graham ($6,600) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona ($6,200) are the safety picks this week and I’ll probably bring in the former to keep the points ticking over. Christian Welch ($5,200) is the most appealing mid-ranger to me. He’s been brought into the starting side and should produce a base output superior to his worth.


Gareth Widdop ($7,500) is the only original half from the two teams that isn’t playing Origin this week. He should be your choice if you’ve got the money to spend. Darren Nicholls ($3,500) will play his first NRL match this season while Ryley Jacks ($4,200) returns to the side after his inconsistent stint at the beginning of the season. Jacks may be worth a punt if you’re predicting the Storm to win convincingly.


Young Tonumaipea ($5,200) is Billy Slater’s replacement at fullback and should be considered for your outside backs. Euan Aitken ($7,400) and Tim Lafai ($6,900) will bring some consistency to your side but it’s difficult to predict whether they can justify their price tag. Jahrome Hughes ($5,700) is named in the halves but is available for our outside backs this week. I’m going to give him a miss as I prefer his attacking potential at fullback.