Andrew Bryan, NRL.com
The highest score in Toyota NRL Dream Team so far this season has been a combination of bankable stars mixed with a few surprises.
Dream Team is not an exact science, but there are certain things you can do to increase your chance of a good score, and one good round score could make you $1,000 better off.
When looking at the highest individual scores it is interesting to note that the five highest scores this year have come from five different rounds. Which means for every Dream Team coach that has a horror round of injuries and suspensions, there is another coach who should rush out and buy a lottery ticket.
Sometimes things just click, everything falls into place and you are left with an unbelievable feeling as your team all peaks at the same time.
Let’s look at Horries Heros – who currently boast the highest Dream Team score in a single round this season with a whopping 1,095 points, scored in Round 16.
How did they do this?
Eels skipper Nathan Hindmarsh put on a virtuoso performance against rivals Penrith with 106 points and Brisbane's Corey Parker was at his usual best against the Rabbitohs, clocking 86 points. These Dream Team guns are expected to post big scores week after week, but it gets more interesting when you look at the other contributors in the round.
Ben Barba’s remarkable effort against the Melbourne Storm certainly helped to the tune of 99 points, while Jarryd Hayne’s 66, Chris McQueen’s 60 and Anthony Watmough’s 70 were well above their average scores. This is where the fun of Dream Team coaching happens. You have your bankable stars and then a host of players who can produce big scores on their day.
Each week there is a $500 cash prize, 2 x NRL Week 1 Final tickets and a replica NRL trophy to be won by the Toyota NRL Dream Team Coach with the highest weekly fantasy points. Anyone can win, so sign up and play now!
It certainly all clicked for Horries Heros – even despite the usually metronome-consistent Cooper Cronk only managing 37 and Josh Reynolds scoring only 34!
The scary thing is that Horries Heros could have scored more had they done what most coaches presumably would have done and captained Nathan Hindmarsh. But who are we to make comment on a team that scores 1,095 points in a single round?
So what can you do to maximise your chances of a big score?
Looking at the top five highest individual scores this season, four of the teams play a hooker as a reserve. This is a no-brainer. Make sure you get someone in who scores well in this position; they touch the ball more than anyone on the field and are usually good for a high tackle count. With options like Cameron Smith, Robbie Farah, Issac Luke, Isaac De Gois and Josh Reynolds – you need to get two of these guys in your team pronto!
Also, it is interesting to note, all five top scores this year have involved three or more halves, which means you should have a decent half or five-eighth on your bench that you can use as a reserve. Again, these guys are the playmakers and if they have a big game with try assists, line break assists and goals, they have the potential for some massive scores. Four of the five teams have both Daly Cherry-Evans and Cooper Cronk in their line-ups. Translation – GET THESE TWO IN YOUR SIDE! They are instrumental to everything their team does on the field. The best thing? They are consistent performers, no matter the opposition they are facing.
Second-rowers – this is an intriguing situation – as the usual suspects aren’t across all the teams. You would expect names such as Paul Gallen, Nathan Hindmarsh and Corey Parker to feature across all the top teams. But this is not the case. Gallen is only in two of these sides! He just happened to crack 100 in that round, add the captain’s arm band and lucky Dream Team coaches were laughing to the tune of 208 points! Other than that, it is an eclectic mix of point-scoring machines. So the message appears to be: get creative. Corey Parker, Nathan Hindmarsh, Gallen, Shaun Fensom, Liam Fulton, Sam Burgess, David Taylor, Simon Mannering, Jayson Bukua… the list goes on and they are all capable of pulling out humungous scores.
Don’t have Gallen? Can’t afford him? Don’t fret – he isn’t the be-all and end-all of point scorers in the position. Sure, if you are playing for overall honours guys like Parker and Hindmarsh are no-brainers. But if you are looking for a one-off massive score, you can still achieve this without them.
Finally, don’t skimp on your outside backs in an attempt to field more back-rowers on the bench. While in former incarnations of Toyota NRL Dream Team this was all the rage, the modern game requires big scoring outside backs. These top five teams all have big scoring players in these positions. Todd Carney and Corey Norman appear in three of the top five teams, while Greg Inglis, Jamie Lyon, Konrad Hurrell, Tony Williams and Jarrod Croker are amongst a host of names you should look at for massive scores.
It is all about finding a balance. You need to be able to trust your players to score consistently, but you also need players with the potential to blow a game open and come out of the blocks with huge scores. How you go about that is ultimately up to you.
The joys of being a coach.
Remember, there are still great weekly prizes up for grabs, including $500 in cash every week, so if you have family or friends that are yet to sign up there is still time to get them involved. The Dream Team coach who achieves the top weekly round score over the entire season, as well as receiving the weekly prize pack in the round they achieve the best score, will also win at the end of the season the BONUS cash prize of $1,000 and 4 x NRL Category 1 Grand Final Tickets!
Here are the five highest scorers in a single round and how their team lined-up.
Horries Heros - Round 16 Team
WFB - Ben Barba - 99
WFB - Jarryd Hayne (CAPTAIN) - 132
WFB - Josh Dugan - 60
CTR - Jamie Lyon - 52
CTR - Chris McQueen - 60
HLF - Daly Cherry-Evans - 48
HLF - Cooper Cronk - 37
HLF - Adam Reynolds (RESERVE) - 52
HLF - Aiden Sezer (RESERVE) - 43
FRF - Aaron Woods - 48
FRF - Trent Merrin - 47
HOK - Cameron Smith - 66
HOK - Josh Reynolds (RESERVE) - 34
2RF - Nathan Hindmarsh - 106
2RF - Corey Parker - 86
2RF - Anthony Watmough (RESERVE) - 70
2RF - Shaun Fensom - 55
Total = 1,095
The Quite Achiever - Round 9 Team
WFB - Todd Carney - 74
WFB - Corey Norman - 37
WFB - Konrad Hurrell - 37
CTR - Greg Inglis - 98
CTR - Dene Halatau - 53
HLF - Daly Cherry-Evans - 50
HLF - Cooper Cronk - 65
HLF - Adam Reynolds (RESERVE) - 40
FRF - James Tamou - 40
FRF - Aaron Woods - 59
FRF - Josh McGuire (RESERVE) - 36
HOK - Josh Reynolds (RESERVE) - 63
HOK - Robbie Farah - 77
2RF - Liam Fulton - 61
2RF - Corey Parker (CAPTAIN) - 132
2RF - Feleti Mateo - 52
2RF - Matt Ryan (RESERVE) - 43
Total = 1,017
Pommy - Round 13 Team
WFB - Billy Slater (RESERVE) - 78
WFB - Todd Carney - 67
WFB - Corey Norman - 28
WFB - Jarryd Hayne - 55
CTR - Dene Halatau - 36
CTR - Konrad Hurrell - 51
HLF - Daly Cherry-Evans (RESERVE) - 89
HLF - Cooper Cronk - 55
HLF - Benji Marshall - 72
FRF - Aaron Woods - 40
FRF - David Shillington - 37
HOK - Cameron Smith - 77
HOK - Robbie Farah (RESERVE) - 60
2RF - Corey Parker (CAPTAIN) - 130
2RF - Liam Fulton - 48
2RF - Shaun Fensom - 34
2RF - Sam Burgess (RESERVE) - 51
Total = 1,008
Eagle Rock - Round 4 Team
WFB - Kyle Stanley - 41
WFB - David Williams - 17
WFB - Tim Moltzen - 18
CTR - Jarred Croker - 98
CTR - Greg Inglis - 48
HLF - Todd Carney - 44
HLF - Terry Campese - 73
HLF - Adam Reynolds (RESERVE) - 47
FRF - Sam Burgess - 51
FRF - Kade Snowden - 49
HOK - Issac Luke - 54
HOK - Issac De Gois (RESERVE) - 46
2RF - Paul Gallen (CAPTAIN) - 208
2RF - David Taylor (RESERVE) - 54
2RF - Simon Mannering - 48
2RF - Zeb Taia (RESERVE) - 62
2RF - Bronson Harrison - 48
Total = 1,006
Harleys Hogs - Round 6 Team
WFB - Todd Carney - 64
WFB - Corey Norman - 61
WFB - Jordan Rankin - 25
CTR - Mitchell Aubusson - 50
CTR - Greg Inglis - 49
HLF - Daly Cherry-Evans - 96
HLF - Cooper Cronk - 76
HLF - Peter Wallace (RESERVE) - 49
HLF - Adam Reynolds (RESERVE) - 58
FRF - Josh McGuire - 47
FRF - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (RESERVE) - 34
FRF - James Graham - 45
FRF - Justin Poore (RESERVE) - 34
HOK - Issac Luke - 63
2RF - Paul Gallen (CAPTAIN) - 146
2RF - Jayson Bukuya - 51
2RF - David Stagg - 56