Matt Trodden, NRL.com
The start of the season is just days away, and that means renewed hope for all you NRL fans out there. It also means renewed hope for those big name stars returning from long lay-offs the season before. Often they’re your best value buys, and 2013 will be no different, as we’ve spotted six Dream Team darlings who might just be the best buys of the season.
Kurt Gidley | HLF | $231,300
Gidley begins 2013 at his lowest price since 2010 after playing just five games in 2012. He is likely to slot in next to Jarrod Mullen in the halves and could be the difference between finals and bust for Newcastle this year. As a Dream Team player his high work rate will mean points are never far away, particularly with the additional points for attack, and he looks to have taken the goal-kicking duties back from Tyrone Roberts too.
Origin may be a factor, but if the Knights fire this year Gidley will be the best value Dream Team player in the league.
Tariq Sims | 2RF | $161,800
A lesser light in Dream Team terms when compared to Gidley, but Sims has the potential to create havoc this year. A horrific leg injury ruined his 2012 season and while there are a plethora of options in the back row up north, Sims playing style suits the Dream Team scoring system. He will bust tackles, break lines, offload the ball and get over the line on a consistent enough basis to justify the investment.
With the Cowboys tipped as dark-horses by many pundits, Sims will be a great returning Dream Team player providing he stays fit.
Terry Campese | HLF | $262,000
Campese’s asking price may seem steep considering he’s played just eight games in the past two seasons, but his ability to completely dominate a game in the scoring sense makes him a very good Dream Team player. His 89 (using old scoring systems) from 2008 against the Panthers is still talked about in Dream Team circles as one of the best performances ever. The big question with Campese is where he fits in with the form of Josh McCrone and Sam Williams, but as captain, he will be there and in control of the team.
He may not be there in round one, but when Campese returns to the Raiders line-up he will be their main point scorer.
Michael Gordon | WFB/CTR | $285,200
A move from the foot of the mountains to the Shire won’t be altering the scoring potential of Flash Gordon, and neither will his return from a broken leg. Gordon played seven games last season after breaking his leg in round one, and never really found his feet properly at the back. A full off-season out of the rehab room will do him wonders, as will the change of environment and a mortgage on the number one jersey.
When at full fitness and goal-kicking, Gordon is a Dream Team gun either on the wing or at fullback. With the licence to roam at Cronulla and dual position in DT, he is very good value.
Jeff Lima | FRF | $204,600
He may not be returning from injury, but his signing at Souths has gone completely under the radar this off-season. After departing the Storm for Wigan in 2010, Lima has grown into a big impact player and he’ll be looking to bring this to the Rabbitohs in 2013. His ability to bust tackles and get offloads away will produce points, let alone what he will do with metres gained.
If you need the impact front-rower to compliment your workers, then Lima is the man to go with.
Sonny Bill Williams | 2RF | $322,500
Last, but not least,is the man everyone in rugby league is talking about… SBW, OMG! He will take to the NRL field for the first time in five years on Thursday evening (provided he passes a fitness test). More importantly however, what kind of impact will he make on the Dream Team field? Early on, he’s probably not going to give you $322,500 worth of value due to minimal time on the field, but his ability to bust tackles, break the line, offload, set-up tries and score them himself will make him Dream Team gold later in the year.
Not the best selection first up, but when his price drops and form rises, SBW could be the ultimate cheap mid-season pick up.