Matt Trodden, NRL.com
It's crunch time in the Dream Team season - we've got who you must have, who could be your point of difference and the risk takers that could win it all.
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Paul Gallen | 2RF/FRF | $483,200
It used to be a given that you’d have Paul Gallen in a full strength Dream Team, but the past 18 months has seen other candidates step up. In the run to the finals however, the old Gal has returned, with scores of 98, 60, 80, 54 & 73. Whilst the first of those was heavily aided by 33 in tackle breaks, the remainder were built on the traditionals: tackles and metres gained. There is a reason most other coaches still alive in the game will have him - he’s that good!
Adam Reynolds | HLF | $398,100
When Souths are performing (and these days that’s a regular occurrence), Reynolds is dominating. The most impressive thing for him is the range of statistics that are contributing to his points - goals, try-assists, tackles, metres gained and kick metres - with the occasional try and burst of tackle breaks. A soft game against the Tigers should produce big numbers, before the pressure cooker of a local derby brings out the best in him in Round 26.
Point of Difference
Ryan James | 2RF/FRF | $309,000
He was an early season cash cow, and those that hung onto Ryan James are cheering at the moment as he rakes in the points as a starting prop. For the last month, John Cartwright has named James on the bench, then pulled the late switcheroo and started him, resulting in scores of 48, 55, 52 & 71. Over 12,000 coaches still have James, but he could be the point of difference you need for the finals.
Shaun Johnson | HLF | $405,500
Johnson could quite easily sit in the category below, but he’s found a bit more consistency recently. He’s doing a lot more kicking than earlier in the year, but also getting involved in defence with tackle counts in the late teens and early 20s. The unpredictable Warriors have the potential to score big (particularly at home), and while there are definitely safer halves options, Johnson always scores well when the Warriors win.
Take a Punt
Will Chambers | CTR | $309,400
The Melbourne centre has a habit of producing big scores, based mainly around tries and tackle breaks, but with the Storm hitting their straps ahead of the finals Chambers is the kind of player you’d love to have in your side. He does have some missed tackles in his game, but the Storm love working to him on the left hand side, and coming off a score of 94 it definitely works.
Matt Gillett | 2RF | $390,500
The bustling Broncos back-rower has become a Dream Team weapon of late, scoring over 45 in the past five weeks straight. His work rate in attack has increased on the left hand side, and has a particularly good record against the Knights. While other back rowers will deliver a consistent 50-55 points, Gillett’s attacking prowess makes him able to deliver 65-70 points with ease, definitely worth the risk.
Round 25 Captains - players to consider
Corey Parker | 2RF | $495,000
Paul Gallen | 2RF/FRF | $483,200
Cameron Smith | HOK | $534,900
Andrew Fifita | FRF | $554,600
Robbie Farah | HOK | $464,900
Wildcard: Anthony Milford | HLF | $366,300