NRL Grand Final

It’s the big dance, the 2023 NRL Grand Final, and we couldn’t have hoped for a better matchup, as the clear two best teams all season go head-to-head at Accor Stadium for the NRL Premiership. The Panthers will be looking for their 3rd straight Premiership, and 5th overall, whilst the Broncos will aim for their first Premiership since 2006, and their 7th overall.

This should be a fitting end to the season, and Draftstars are bringing you a massive $60,000 guaranteed contest for the big one, with the winner pocketing a cool $5,910. It’s your last chance this season to get involved in Rugby League at Draftstars this season, and we will bring you all our tips to give you the best chance to win.


Team News

The Panthers and Broncos are both unchanged from their huge Preliminary Final wins last weekend. Whilst the Broncos have had the standard Grand Final week injury scares, both teams are expected to go into the clash with the same 17 as named.

Betting Markets

Penrith Panthers ($1.67) vs Brisbane Broncos ($2.25)

Total O/U - 38.5

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These teams met twice in the regular season, with the Broncos beating the Panthers at BlueBet Stadium in Round 1, 13-12. The Panthers repaid the favour in Round 12, getting by the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium 15-4, with the Broncos missing inspirational captain Adam Reynolds. Looking at the statistics in both matchups, the Panthers dominated statistically, both times running for far more metres than the Broncos, however the Broncos were able to shut the Panthers down time and again. If the Broncos can manage to do this again, whilst also staying a little closer to the Panthers throughout, then they can definitely win this game.

This game kind of has the same feel as the 2020 Grand Final, with the Broncos the cocky upstarts and the Panthers now the seasoned veterans, whereas in 2020 it was the Panthers as the young cocky squad, and the Storm as the seasoned finals juggernaut. The Broncos may still be 12 months away from a Grand Final win, but they have the talent to win. 


Love It - Herbie Farnworth - $15,470

Farnworth’s stellar 2023 campaign culminated in him being named in the Dally M Team of the Year last night, alongside fellow Grand Finalist Stephen Crichton. It was well deserved, with Farnworth being a huge reason behind the Broncos’ ascendancy this season. Farnworth had a huge Prelim Final, scoring twice whilst running for 232 metres. Not only has he been in tremendous form of late, but he had two great games earlier this season against the Panthers, scoring 54 and 65 in the two games against the Panthers. I love his matchup with Izack Tago this week, who looked a little lost in defence last week. If the Broncos are going to win, they need one last huge performance out of Farnworth.

Love It - Adam Reynolds - $19,370

Whilst Cleary is the more obvious choice here, given his higher upside and far superior Draftstars form, I can see this being a matchup of attrition, and a game where the Broncos are going to target Cleary early, and often. With Reynolds being a $7,000 saving on the premium price of Cleary, I’d prefer to keep my powder dry to pick up a premium forward, a premium back, and also have enough salary to get a half/hooker with solid upside, and a great floor. Reynolds will no doubt take a backseat to the likes of Reece Walsh when it comes to creating on the fly, but Reynolds will be touching the ball several times a set, will kick goals, and his general play kicking will serve to keep your score ticking over all game. Reynolds scored 70 in the round 1 clash, and you’d take that every day of the week in a Grand Final.

Love It - Patrick Carrigan - $18,140

The Broncos know they must win the forward battle against the Panthers if they’re to win the Grand Final, and whilst Payne Haas is thought of by most as the leader of this pack, it is actually Pat Carrigan. Carrigan has proven himself in the big arena, often playing huge minutes and getting through mountains of work. There’s a chance, if this game is tight throughout, that Carrigan plays 70+ minutes in the GF, and if he does, you can expect upwards of 70 points without attacking stats. With scores of 66 and 96 in the two earlier games with the Panthers this season, shows exactly how hard Carrigan is willing to push himself against the best the league has to offer.

Hate It - Izack Tago - $16,340

Tago made a horrible defensive read in the prelim final, allowing Justin Olam to stroll over the line for the only Storm try of the night. Whilst Tago showed himself to be one of the best young outside backs in the game through most of the season, he looks underdone, and I truly believe the Broncos will target him in defence all night. If that’s the case, he will no doubt struggle to be his best in attack. The Panthers will more than likely spend most of their time attacking down their left edge, with Crichton and Turuva scoring tries against the Broncos in the earlier games this season, leaving Tago with not a lot of quality ball to score big points for your squad.

Hate It - Jarome Luai - $12,970

Much the same as the Tago write up, Luai is clearly not 100% fit and this is no doubt affecting his attacking flair. Luai will be there to do his job, of that I have no doubt, however he will run the ball less and will have the ball in his hands at crucial times in the match less than he normally would. Came back last week and managed 27 points in 58 minutes, and I expect something fairly similar in the Grand Final. If the Panthers are up late, there’s a good chance Luai will be replaced by Cogger in the halves. Can’t be in your team this week, with so much uncertainty over his role, and minutes.

Who Knows - Ezra Mam - $10,010

Mam had a cracking game in the Prelim final, scoring 63 points in Draftstars with a try, line-break, and line-break assist. He should be high on confidence, after being named Dally M five eighth of the year, and helping guide this young squad into the Grand Final. There’s talk Mam will sign a well earned multi-year deal at the end of the season, to help keep this nucleus together. However, he has been inconsistent during the season when it comes to Draftstars. His price is low, and given his game-breaking ability he is someone to carefully consider, however with 10 scores under 30 this season, his floor is low. Has a solid ceiling for someone at this price, and is someone I’ll look at in teams for the Grand Final.

Draftstars Suggested Lineup



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