NRL Dream Team guru the Lone Scout answers your questions ahead of round seven of the season.
Tim Ross (Victorious Secret) - Trades: 22, Bank: $46k
Q: I have used a lot of trades so far, though I'm not too worried because I'm playing for the private leagues. I'm trying to make my 2RF stronger and I plan on getting rid of Tariq Sims for someone who averages about as good as Michael Luck does. I have a fair few cash cows gathering money for me, money really isn't a huge issue. So who would you suggest going all out and trying to get? Paul Gallen, taking a few weeks and maybe a few trades depending on price changes or go for someone like Bronson Harrison, then use more money elsewhere say for a better back-up hooker?
A: Ultimately you should hold out and wait for Gallen. He's a better long-term prospect and, barring injuries, you have enough cover to ensure you have four decent reserves each week. He's also a better option than a back-up hooker.
I also think that Tariq Sims has some more dollars to earn.
All indications are Gallen's DT form has been down due to instructions to lower his defensive output, but this appears to have been reversed as he played to his usual 'beserker' plan against the Knights and scored 60+.
It's probably worth taking a couple of weeks to be sure though and waiting will also give you a more solid view of how Origin, byes and the ineviatble injuries will affect your starting 17's make-up.
The alternatives to Gallen are Liam Fulton (give him a couple of games to get back into form) or Shaun Fensom, who average about what you want. That said, I'd hold out for Gallen.
Personally, if I was coaching the Secrets I'd be looking at targetting Cam Smith first. As many of the less gracious of my Facebook crew will tell you, any team without Smith will suffer in 2011 (they are much less polite on Facebook).
You are going along okay and I don't know the make-up of your private league, but I do know (from bitter experience) that with every passing week Smith's mega scores are making your target harder, if you don't have him.
And while we're on Paul Gallen, Brian Holloway asked a relevant question and, although he did not give me his team name nor trade and bank details, I thought I should answer it.
Q: I have a question and I wouldn't be surprised if you're asking yourself the same thing ... what to do with Paul Gallen? With Shane Flanagan demanding that the rest of the team take some of his workload from previous seasons and already a loss of around 55k not to mention Origin duties coming up are we better to cut out losses now and bring in Shaun Fensom or Andrew Ryan? Or do you think his scores are likely to get back up to the 50s 60s and 70s of last year? 300k+ is an awful lot for a player with an average in the low 40's.
A: Indeed I was asking myself this very question last week and I chose to drop him to make money as I must get Cam Smith in ASAP.
My reasoning was that (despite telling everyone to hold him the week before) he had returned successive 30+ scores, due to his low tackle count and minimal offloads - apparently a specific instruction from the coach - and if I had to sacrifice someone "300k+ is an awful lot for a player with an average in the low 40s".
A 61-point game against the Knights, with 34 tackles and five offloads, sent me a clear message; wrong choice. Still he did drop another $11K, so I take some comfort.
So, what to do this week? I say keep him, at least for another few weeks. With a BE around the high 30s to low 40s over the coming weeks, Gallen's price has likely bottomed. No harm watching him until Origin time.
To my mind the only legitimate alternatives are; Parker (likely to drop about $10K over the next few weeks), Johnson (almost at the top of his price climb), Hindmarsh (also likely to drop about $10K in the coming few weeks thanks to the sin bin) and Fulton (one match only to go on).
I don't know the make-up of your team, but I can see a legitimate reason to trade Gallen for any of the first three, only if your strategy requires it (as mine did).
Zoza Treloar (Stormgirl's army) - Trades: 24, Bank: $27.1K
Q: I was wondering if I should trade Robbie Farah for Nathan Friend because Friend won't be playing in Origin and this would give me a hooker during State of Origin? I already have Cam Smith.
A: I can understand why you'd want to do this as Farah has been very inconsistent this year, is carrying a groin that needs an operation some time and is in the frame for the Blues (they will give it to Ennis for mine).
Grabbing an apparent extra 10 to 15 points a week, and no significant cost, looks tempting and having Friend as back-up when Smith goes to rep footy, is another good reason to make the trade.
That said, I've had a look at your 'Army' and I reckon you also need to do a bit of thinking about how to strengthen your halves (Foster and Orford are vulnerable back-ups), frontrow (fingers crossed Ben Ross doesn't suffer anymore) and centres (four starters only and three from one team is dangerous).
If you are keen to make the Farah-for-Friend trade do it now. The player's BEs (Farah - 46, Friend - 43) indicate you will likely save yourself about $5K, if they play to form. And, for the reasons mentioned above, I'd make it your only trade this week - you should use the rest of your trade bank and head speace to plot a strengthening strategy.
Luke MacDonald (Mac's Men) - Trades: 18, Bank: $3.5K
Q: I was wondering why I can not find Tyrone Roberts who came off the bench for Newcastle last week or the debutant for the Rabbits this week James Roberts? I noticed this was the case for William Hopoate when he came in for Brett Stewart earlier this year also.
A: The answer is simply operational constraints.
The players you mention were last-minute inclusions that no-one knew about.
Initially the Dream Team developer receives a 25-man squad list, with positions specificed, from each club. These get entered and they go from there.
When the first round team lists are issued, missing names (from the team lists and obvious ommissions) are added to the system. Doing it this way minimises the list of random names and also the possibility of informational errors. (position, price, double-up).
In the case of Tyrone Roberts he was not named prior to the match and had not been referenced by the club, so he only gets added to the system after the lock-out of the round he played in. From memory (and it's not great these days) Will Hopoate was a similar scenario, but someone really should have had him included earlier.
The Roberts (James & Tyrone), plus a couple of other new names are all in now, so knock yourself out, but if I was you I'd ease off the trading for now Luke.