13 days until kick off for round 1 and as always we have run our eyes over the Friday slate and picked out a bit of value. With this being a lot of experienced bodies 1st hit out and with it being unknown how many minutes teams will roll out their superstars for, the plays will be based around matchups, try scorers and 1st half markets. There is spots available in all four best 17s, and potentially 100k on the line for the chooks across the week so expecting some high intensity football in patches and excited to see how some of the high profile off-season acquisitions will look in their first official game in new colours.
KNIGHTS vs EELS
Greg Marshew Anytime tryscorer $2.10
Paramatta have some fresh faces on the edges due to injuies and with Kaylyn Ponga looking to form a new connecting on his favoured left side I would expect the big unit to cross for at least 1 try in his first hit out for the Knights coming down from the titans. Edrick Lee has been the beneficiary of Kaylyns work scoring bags of tries over the last few years so this seems a fairly safe play.
Paramatta – 1st Half Winner $1.50
Paramatta are generally a good trial team, they excel in games where the intensity of the oppositions defence is not 100% which is generally what this time of year entails. I expect them to get to the sheds at half time with the lead before giving their spine and big boys an early shower. The Newcastle spine on the other hand is likely to have trained together for the first time this week with Lachlan Miller only signing 3 weeks ago and Kaylyn being sidelined with a calf.
ROOSTERS vs SEA EAGLES
EGAN BUTCHER Anytime Tryscorer $4.75
Egan Butcher is a name that could quickly rise into representative conversations should he get a prolonged crack at this left edge spot pending the availability of Angus Crichton early in the season. Egan looked great in his first hit out last week and went close a few times to getting over the line. Look for him to sneak over at good value on a high velocity left edge for the Roosters.
Roosters – 1st Half Winner $1.45
Roosters have a much stronger team on paper and I expect them to start fairly quickly. Despite missing Keary, Manu, JWH and Crichton the Roosters still have elite players all over the park and with manly choosing to rest 3/4 of their spine I can’t imagine this game going against how the bookies have mapped it out.
Good luck to all having a play in the pre-season competition, hopefully we get an injury free couple of games with a sprinkling of class to amp up the excitement heading into Round 1.