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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

GameDay Squad NRL 2023: Round 2 Review

Can J'maine Hopgood keep up this pace? Can Reece Walsh string those performances together consistently? Can we expect Hudson Young to bounce back? There are so many questions coming out of round 1 and some of them were answered in round 2. But let's turn our attention back to fantasy footy for a second and identify some risers in form and others who should be falling out of favor with all fantasy coaches. Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.

J'maine Hopgood, Reece Walsh and Hudson Young in a NRL round 2 fantasy review


J'maine Hopgood's legend GameDay Squad player card

J’maine Hopgood – EDG, Parramatta Eels (67 points)

What a start to the 2023 season this man has had! After changing clubs from the Panthers to the Eels in the offseason, Hopgood has been putting up some great numbers since the move. In only a small sample size at starter in the NRL, Hopgood has shown that he is a work horse. This season he averages 52 tackles and 170 running metres a game, that’s 69 points in base points right there. He has also shown his hand in attack with a couple of try assists and has a decent offload in him. If he continues his early season form, I may become the number one edge forward in fantasy for 2023.

Jacob Kiraz' platinum GameDay Squad player card

Jacob Kiraz – WFB, Canterbury Bulldogs (99 points)

Kiraz had a career game as the Bulldogs went on to torch the Storm on Saturday night in Melbourne. He crossed over for 2 tries, ran for 235m, broke 10 tackles and got 5 offloads away. This performance backs up his solid game in round 1 against the Sea Eagles. He scored 47 against the Sea Eagles in an underwhelming Bulldogs performance.

Kiraz has never been fantasy relevant before due to what the Bulldogs have offered up in attack last year. He is now relevant after two strong performances and is a player to monitor over the next few weeks. It looks like Kiraz should offer a good base for a winger this year. With his try scoring and tackle break ability, he may soon be in the mix for your starting WFBs.

Reece Walsh's diamond GameDay Squad player card

Reece Walsh – WFB, Brisbane Broncos (58 points)

Walsh had a memorable Broncos debut as he featured heavily in attack and went over for a late try. He looked great with the ball in hand, with his agility and speed I believe he will be a handful for any defence. This year he has a better forward pack in front of him than he has in the past and this will help with front foot ball. With Adam Reynolds steering the team around the park, it opens up Walsh’s natural game. This is great for fantasy! Walsh may be in for a breakout year and at only 20 years old, I would be doing what I could to acquire his card as soon as I could.


Scott Drinkwater's gold GameDay Squad player card

Scott Drinkwater – WFB, North Queensland Cowboys (18 points)

Drinkwater had a game to forget against the Broncos on Friday night. In an attempt to stop Corey Oates crashing over in the corner, Drinkwater caught Oates high and made direct contact to the head. This saw Drinkwater see ten minutes in the sin bin and Oates be taken from the field with a broken jaw. Drinkwater has been charged with a Grade 3 Shoulder Charge offence and is likely to be served with a suspension. When Drinkwater is in the Cowboys starting lineup, he is a candidate to start for your team most weeks. This may be a good opportunity to pick him up if he’s on the transfer market.

Hudson Young's bronze GameDay Squad player card

Hudson Young – EDG, Canberra Raiders (9 points)

Young didn’t have a great day out against the Dolphins on Saturday and his fantasy output was severely hampered by 21 points in demerits. He gave away a couple of penalties, with one of the penalties resulting in him being sent to the sin bin. His base stats were down as well and ended up with only 69 running metres and 20 tackles. This is concerning as Young had 22 points in demerits in round 1 and was only able to muster 71 running metres against the Cowboys. After a 2022 average of 47 points a game, these performances this season have been rather underwhelming. It may pay to avoid putting Young into your starting teams until he turns his form around.

Kalyn Ponga's silver GameDay Squad player card

Kalyn Ponga – WFB, Newcastle Knights (0 points)

Let’s put fantasy on the back burner for a second after Ponga went off with an HIA in the opening exchanges against the Wests Tigers. He had a sickening head clash with Asu Kepaoa and didn’t return to the field. He was spotted on the sideline celebrating the Knights win, this was great to see. With Ponga’s concussion history, I seriously doubt we will see him taking the field next week. In all seriousness, I’m concerned for the poor guy’s future in the NRL and future after the NRL. I’m no expert, it’s just my opinion! On the fantasy side of things, it may pay to have him in your reserves for the foreseeable future.



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