Get the inside running on your fellow coaches and get amongst the glory and cash on offer in the 2nd annual Sports Fantasy Pro NRL Championships!
BRONCOS V TITANS
Game Info: 7:55pm (AEST) Friday September 9, Suncorp Stadium
FANTASY FOOTY SHORTS
What a way to kick off the 2016 NRL Championships with ‘little brother’ Gold Coast heading up the M1 to face big brother Brisbane in what looks on the stats-sheets an absolute fantasy belter!
Most coaches will start in the front row in this Challenge with James (517k) and McGuire (488k) almost must-have men. Both averaging over 30pts this season and both will try and lead their team to victory through sheer workrate.
Milford will be extremely popular but there is a strong case for young Taylor ahead of Hunt especially for those coaches who like to take a playmaker from each side as a rule.
Taylor’s 23pt season average doesn’t look great but Hunt has only averaged 27pts for 2016 after coming off a very dismal 13.6pt game against the Roosters last Friday.
Roberts (44pts) and Kahu (40pts) both in good touch while Paasi off the bench at 262k looks a steal especially if injury strikes one of the Titans starting forwards.
Hayne v Boyd might just decide this Challenge – with both averaging 16pts a game this season and only 3k splitting them on the cap this call really does come down to whether you think Hayne has a big game in him.
There is some very light showers (around 5-10ml) forecast for Friday afternoon/evening so be aware. Will impact things if it falls so re-visit selection late and if it does look rain-effected, be sure to save cash on the wingers and spend big on the forward workhorses.
Matt Gillett (Broncos – 2FR – $384,000)
Coming off a season-low 14.6pt game against the Chooks is not great form heading into an elimination final but we’re backing in the big back rower to respond here. Season average dropped to just over 30pts after last Friday’s ‘effort’ so there is clear improvement. Will be out to make amends. Cleans up his discipline and defence (6 missed tackles, 3 penalties and one error) and he is straight back into the mid 20’s. Ran for just 31m last Friday – expect that can triple here. Really like him for a big 35+ game and at 384k he really is (in the backrow at least) the best a coach can get.
RAIDERS V SHARKS
Game Info: 5:35pm (AEST) Saturday September 10, GIO Stadium
FANTASY FOOTY SHORTS
Toughest Championships Challenge of the weekend in terms of salary cap with coaches really forced to leave a couple of guns at selection.
Big question is will those guns be backs or forwards?
Eight players over the 500k price tag with four clearing 600k means some decisions need to be made – will it be free-flowing footy or a forwards grind with very little opportunity for the outside men?
Answering these questions will help make it easier to leave out a gun like a Rapana or a Whitehead who have both been tearing it up all season.
Hard to leave out Fifita or Gallen – both a class above their opponents.
Ennis looks value at 296k coming off a 24pt game that included 5 missed tackles – Hodgson in fine form but will share the hooking duties and comes in overpriced after last Sunday’s 40.1pt game.
Clay Priest presents great value coming off a 12.5pt game. That’s his average this season.
Expect this game is a lot less free-flowing than many have predicted. Place a premium on defensive work rate and base run metres.
25ml predicted Friday night so you’ll need to wake up Saturday morning and get on the phone to that one person you know in Canberra and tolerate talking to them for a few minutes to discern exactly how much has fallen because if they get 25ml or more it will start to impact on (and limit) expensive attacking footy.
Jack Bird (Sharks– Centre – $391,000)
Ok so I’ll be the first to admit that Croker’s defence has improved. Dramatically. But finals is a different beast and no doubt the Sharks will target the Canberra captain. Bird will be the man and the plan will be to give him time and space to work his magic. Averaging 27pts for 2016 is by no means premium, but given Croker and Leilua’s price tags (both over 600k!) Bird looks exceptional value for such a potent attacking weapon. Has a great ceiling and gives you over 200k to splash elsewhere throughout your list. Expect he improves on his last-start 18.8pts sharply. Can clear 30pts here.
STORM V COWBOYS
Game Info: 7:55pm (AEST) Saturday September 10, AAMI Park
FANTASY FOOTY SHORTS
Hands down the fantasy game of the round with both sides sitting #1 and #2 for defence throughout the home and away season this Challenge will be one for the fantasy purists!
Offensive points will be at an absolute premium here in a game where no more than 4-5 tries will be scored. If that.
Has 13-12 written all over it.
So instead of trying to pinpoint which edge is weaker or stronger and where points will come, select on base work rate.
Who will run for how many, who will get me 30+ tackles, which forwards will get what minutes and which backs will be strongest out of dummy half – these are the questions that need answering in this Challenge.
Hard to leave Smith at selection despite the price tag after another 40pt return. 39 tackles, plays 80mins – there is just too much upside to him.
Savings can be made elsewhere particularly on the bench and in the outside backs.
As with Canberra heavy rain is predicted on the Friday night in Melbourne (approx. 20-30ml). Has the potential to impact so make sure your checking the pre-game coverage to get a sense of how firm the track is.
Gavin Cooper (Cowboys– 2FR – $298,000)
Crossed for a meat pie against the Titans to end a huge drought of fantasy form with an impressive 42pt game. Still averaging 27pts for the season but most importantly is as a result of his poor recent form he is cheaper than Andrew McFadden’s next coaching contract! IN a position with four solid options Cooper must be strongly considered on price given cash needs to be saved to afford superstars like Smith and Bromwich. Expect a solid 100+ run meters / 30+ tackle game from Coops at a stellar price.
PANTHERS V BULLDOGS
Game Info: 4:10pm (AEST) Sunday September 11, Allianz Stadium
FANTASY FOOTY SHORTS
What is better than Sunday afternoon finals footy??? Winning cash watching Sunday afternoon finals footy that’s what!
Penny are flying and expect they have a gear to go to that even they don’t know in this finals series – be a brave coach who takes more Dogs than Panthers in this one.
Can really see the young Panthers pack aiming up here – Fisher-Harris appeals strongly after a last-start 29.6pts. 35 tackles and 124 run metres shows the work rate is there, he got no huge offensive stats and he missed 5 tackles and conceded 2 penalties.
Cartwright/Mbye will be a popular halves combination.
Big Kasiano is back which will impact Klemmer’s minutes making Merrin even more appealing while Akauola (20.7pts) and Hardaker (18.9pts) both enjoyed season-high games against Manly.
Note Merrin and Wallace will not be minding the pine for over 30mins each in this one so the Panthers benchies won’t see the game time they did on Sunday.
Dry, hot track expected in Sydney on Sunday giving coaches value for money in premium backline selections while simultaneously sapping the whinging capabilities of Graham and Reynolds. Should be a cracker!
Brett Morris (Bulldogs – FLB – $380,000)
Somewhat of a left-field selection here, going for a ‘gets his favoured gate’ approach with Morris. Horrid 5.5pt return against the Bunnies to go with his 5.7pts against the Cows the week before says he is horribly out of fantasy form but (literally) by the grace of god he gets a positional change up here back to his preferred position of fullback. 135k saving by taking Morris over Moylan (who is averaging 40pts last three games!). The almighty has orchestrated this switch and the portents are strong that in a free-flowing game where he will be highly involved, Morris will find plenty of metres. Like him for a 30pt game which means Moylan would have to clear 44ish to be value.