It’s Prelim finals time!!! Get the inside running and get amongst the glory and cash on offer in the 2nd annual Sports Fantasy Pro NRL Championships!

Sharks v Cowboys

Game Info: 7:55pm (AEST) Friday September 23, Allianz Stadium

2016 NRL Championships: Game 7

Fantasy Footy Shorts

Two big questions face coaches going into Game 7 of the NRL Championships – Have the scars of 2015 healed for the Sharks and just how much petrol will the Cows have left after last week’s epic in Townsville??

A week ago last year the Sharks went to Townsville for a knock-out semi-final and were utterly demoralized by the Cowboys 39-0.

A week ago on Friday the Cows won a 90-minute marathon while the Sharkies have had the week off and will be fresh.

Coaches will need to assess whether the Sharks will be able to hold the Cows and have the petrol late to pile on some points, or whether the Cows will get the jump on the Sharks early and defend stoically until the end.

Morgan will be absolutely licking his lips coming off a monster 50.7pt game and up against the team he destroyed last finals series (admittedly it was Robson but Maloney is not much better at times so consider Cows right side attack very strongly).

Ditto O’Neill he destroyed Leutele last year.

Matchup of the game is in the lock forward position with ageing fantasy god Paul Gallen coming up against the in-form all-conquering heir apparent in Jason Taumalolo.

Lolo is coming off a 48.5pt game included 265 run metres and 11 tackle busts – simply amazing the numbers he produced against what was one of the best defences in the comp in Brisbane.

Gallen does come in 60k cheaper and has had two weeks off so should be very fresh and raring to produce, however injury clouds will likely steer many to the safety of Taumalolo.

Coen Hess at 395k looks a steal on the back of an impressive 44pt game (played all 90mins as well) – solid point of difference from Graham/Cooper considering the traffic they will run down Maloney’s edge.

Fifita goes straight in as does JT but coaches will have a tougher time at fullback.
Coote’s 19pts last start looks excellent given his price however Barba is capable of fantasy brilliance and will be devastating late in the game if the Cowboys start to tire after last week’s game. Tough one.

As is Ennis v Granville – the old Shark won’t want to finish his career this Friday so coaches can expect high work rate. Granville capable of a big game third up though. He didn’t spend as many tickets as his teammates last week so could be pivotal when the Cows need a spark.

On the bench Bukuya for the Sharks is always a solid choice – will get his 20-25pts from his 35-odd minutes and if there is an injury to the backrow (Gallen) he will be the man to play big minutes.

Weather
Bit of a spit about early but come kick off should be a very dry track conducive to expansive attacking footy.

Stats View

sharks-v-cows
 

Player Focus

Justin O’Neill (Cowboys – Centre – $350,000)

We backed Morgan in last week and he delivered in spades with a huge 50pt game. Sticking with that dangerous right edge of the Cows and taking Justin O’Neill this week to deliver. Game-high 50.8pts from the rep centre last week thanks to two tries but it was his five tackle busts and two offloads which really signals his form turn. Made just 7 tackles was well down on his usual 18-22. Last year O’Neill toweled up Leutele thanks to some great inside work from Granville/Lowe/Morgan and i can really see history repeating here. Cheapest centre option is just icing on the cake.

Storm v Raiders

Game Info: 7:40pm (AEST) Saturday September 24, AAMI park

2016 NRL Championships: Game 8

Fantasy Footy Shorts

Smith, Bromwich, Whitehead, Harris, Papali, Rapana, Cronk, Leilua, Munster, Croker – there’s more stars than an Avengers movie running out onto AAMI Park for this second Preliminary Final!

The problem is, coaches can’t pick them all.

Backline, forwards, halves, bench – at some point at selection you will have to make a few calculated downgrades to fit your team under the cap.

Good place to start these calculations is in your mind’s eye and by asking the question – how will this game be played?

Will it be a free-flowing try-fest? If so you are probably going to want to pay for those gun backs while leaving the expensive forwards out.

Will it be a low-scoring forwards grind? Then you guessed it, leave those flashy backs at selection and spend on your forwards.

Who will be dominant? This will largely decide who you take as your hooker for example, or your fullback , it could help you decide between Koroibete or Rapana, on saving with Chambers or splashing on Leilua.

Usually a home prelim celebrating a club champion’s 300th game (Cronk) would be shut the gate but the green machine are coming make no mistake.

Coaches get a great sighter here with these sides having played each other in R23 (see below stats)

Be a brave coach who doesn’t take many Raiders into this – when last they met the Storm played really good footy and never even got a chance at it because the Raiders were near flawless.

Weather
No rain Friday or Saturday so coaches can expect a very fast, free-flowing game here which brings the Raiders backs right into contention.

Stats View

storm-raiders raidersstorm-r23

Player Focus

Joseph Leilua (Raiders –Centre – $614,000)

If there is one outside back you spend the big dollars on make it BJ Leilua. Destroyed the Storm on the right edge when last these two sides met in R23, racking up a massive 56.7pts with 2 tries, 2 linebreaks and a whopping 12 tackle busts. Pay the money!