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Lone Scout's Q&A: Round 2

One week down, 25 to go.

The first round of the NRL Dream Team season started with a bang last Thursday night, with George Burgess stealing the show in Sonny Bill Williams' Roosters debut, and ended with Akuila Uate putting on a show for Knights fans with a three-try, 93-point bonanza.

Dream Teamers have asked a lot of questions this week (see below) but my first bit of advice after round 1 of any season is: don't get carried away with the round 1 scores. Some big names flopped, one winger scored 93, but this was just one week in a 26-week season.

When deciding on what trades to make, try to look deeper than just a player's score. If a guy scored big, was it because of a rare try or two, or an unusually high defensive workload? If he scored badly, was he affected by injury, or didn't get many scoring chances? If you thought a gun player was a keeper last week, should one bad score change your mind?

As always, watching games and/or reading up all you can is the best way to research how your Dream Team's travelling. But if you're got a question about a particular player, you might get your answer below...

From Michael Sharpe on Facebook
Can you reverse trade during rolling lockout if your players haven't played, or can you reverse trade your second trade if the first trade has already played?

No. Rolling lockout continues to run all through the weekend, but the reverse changes button won't. That means any trades locked in before kick-off on Thursday night can't be reversed. So if you plan to leave a trade late, or aren't 100% sure on a trade before Thursday night, then don't make the trade before then. (Of course, you'll have to make any Eels/Bulldogs trades before then, but you get my point.)

From Jonah Mckenzie on Facebook
Is George Burgess worth all the fuss?

George had a simply massive game off the bench against the Roosters last week, scoring 65 points in 29 minutes. That included a try, a line break and six tackle breaks, which won't come every week, but the potential is there for him to become a great cash cow this year.

In saying that, he will still wear the No.17 this week (with Jeff Lima starting in place of the suspended Sam Burgess) so is likely to remain a low-minutes impact player. That means if he doesn't get as involved as he did last week his scores could be down around the 20-point mark as they were last season.

If you don't have a solid front row (including big scorers like Merrin, Tolman, McGuire, Lawrence and/or cash cows Jack Buchanan, Martin Taupau, David Klemmer or Sam Rapira) then snap him up, otherwise I suggest holding off a week at least to see how consistent he's going to be.

From Daniel Wright on Facebook
Is Jacob Miller going to earn me some money? Got him cheap but he only got a score of 7.

To earn cash in Dream Team a player has to score points, and there are no guarantees Miller will be doing much of that this year. He's got a very scratchy scoring history from half a dozen games (last year's one-off 27 is his best) and will be playing a back seat to Benji Marshall at the Tigers. On Monday night he got nothing to do with the Tigers getting thrashed by the Knights (and having none of the ball) so his scores should improve a little when Wests get some closer games or start winning.

He's in my squad, if only because of the lack of genuine rival cash cow options with Josh Drinkwater not getting a run yet at the Dragons. My plan is to hold him in the hope he hits one or two decent scores and gets a little price boost, before trading him out for Drinkwater or upgrading to another cash cow. I'll give him a week at least.

From Callan Lowes on Facebook
Is Jack Buchanan going to do another 43 this week or was that a once off?

Monday's game was a pretty unusual situation for the Tigers as they only had 37% of possession in Newcastle, meaning they spent most of the time tackling (hence Buchanan's 30 tackles in 41 minutes). I don't expect him to score quite so high every week, but on the positive side he did play 40 minutes (a lot for a rookie prop) and he's been named to start again this week. He's looking good as one of this year's big cash cows.

From Daniel Rusling on Facebook
Konrad Hurrell didn't get the ball and so he scored terribly. Is he a keeper long term?

It's hugely tempting to sell a player with Hurrell's price tag ($288,800) when they hit a horror score, but you've got to take the good with the bad with an attacking player like him. Last year Hurrell had a lowest score of 8 but a highest score of 83. With the Warriors hosting a rusty Roosters side at Eden Park this week, don't be surprised if Hurrell gets back to his old ways.

In saying that, the Warriors looked very ordinary against Parramatta and it could be an indication of things to come from them this year. So my advice: if you can't see the Warriors scoring too many points this season, dump Hurrell, but if you're simply going off his first-up score, keep him. He can be a weapon on his day.

From Andrew Holmes on Facebook
Feleiti Mateo has been dropped to the bench after an average first game. Is he worth hanging on to or is he a bad decision and cut my losses early?

The Warriors are playing under a new coach this year, but Mateo's minutes on the field shouldn't change too much whether he starts or comes off the bench. He's got a long history of being an impact interchange player and still playing 60 minutes a week, so I wouldn't worry too much about his demotion this week. He is an inconsistent player though, so if you don't have the patience for up-and-down scores from him then now could be the time to cut him loose.

From Sam Anderson on Facebook
Who is the best replacement for Josh Dugan? Worth punting on Uate to score big again leading to a handy price increase after round 3?

The two best replacements for Dugan are Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne, but they might be out of your price range. Otherwise, Uate is the best of the genuine wingers (but don't expect him to score 93 every week) while Billy Slater, Matt Bowen, Michael Gordon, Darius Boyd or even Dugan's replacement at the Raiders Reece Robinson could be worth a shot.

From Anthony Price on Facebook
Do you think Turner or Low will start at fullback this weekend for the Bulldogs?

In a bid to take the pressure off young fullback Drury Low, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler named veteran winger Steve Turner at fullback last week, put Turner in the No.1 jersey, and then played Low at fullback anyway. Replacing Ben Barba is a big task, but Low looked pretty sharp on the weekend and is almost certain to play fullback again this week.

From Jordan Cappadona on Facebook
Is Tariq Sims set to improve?

Maybe. I decided against him in the end because of the depth in the Cowboys' forward pack and the fact he's still getting back to full fitness after a broken leg. That forward depth counted against him on the weekend, when he got less than half an hour off the bench, missed three tackles and made an error (hence his disastrous -3 score). He could have a few big games this season but they might not come for some time. Consider a trade to Nathan Smith, Jamie Buhrer, Chris McQueen or Ben Lowe.

From Nick Jebrail on Facebook
Will Corey Parker still average high scores without goalkicking duties? Or should I trade him before his price drops?

Parker's lack of goalkicking and the fact he's no longer an 80-minute player are the reasons I didn't buy him in the first place, but now you've got him is it worth trading him out? He's still one of the best back-rowers in the game, points-wise, so you'll presumably want him in your squad at the end of the season. Trading him out and picking him up when he gets cheaper will save you some money, but it will also cost you two trades. Only consider if the rest of your squad doesn't need attention first.

From Michael Finley on Facebook
Are Cameron Smith and Paul Gallen worth their price?

I'd say Cameron Smith yes, Paul Gallen no. Smith is the best scorer in Dream Team and is just about guaranteed to hit 60+ every weekend, which is a priceless asset for your squad to have. Gallen's a former 80-minute player who will get some bench time this year (he played 68 minutes on the weekend) and will mix some lower scores with his usual higher ones. There's also obviously a bit of doubt about Sharks players in general at the moment. But if you've got him already he's obviously worth keeping after a first-up 65.

From Tim Bussoletti on Facebook
Who are the best halves to get into your team? Is it too early to jump on Sandow?

Dream Team's best halves are Daly Cherry-Evans and Cooper Cronk, but Sandow is definitely an interesting one after his great start to the season. He's got the goal-kicking duties this year and already is showing better form than he did last year, so he's looking at some nice price rises. Still, I'd hold off a week before making the plunge on one of the NRL's most notoriously inconsistent stars.

From Rob Evans on Facebook
Seems like the overall DT scoring is lower this year (except for DCE, Uate this week).

Not really a question Rob, but I'll answer it anyway. The scores were generally low last week, for a couple of reasons. Most teams were a little rusty in what was their first genuine competitive game of the season, in hot conditions as well. As teams start to get a little sharper and the temperatures start to go down, the quality and tempo of games will lift – meaning more Dream Team scoring chances. That's my theory anyway.

That's it for this week, good luck with your trades and keep Dreaming.

LS

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