Matt Trodden, NRL.com
The second round of the head-to-head finals is upon us along with the crunch rounds for overall players. If you’re still alive in the head-to-head league or chasing overall glory, this week’s teams are crucial with a number of important changes.
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Each Wednesday, we take a look at the teams named and give you the rundown on what this means for the wonderful world of Dream Team.
Panthers v Broncos - Centrebet Stadium 7:35pm 23/8/13
The Panthers' only change is fairly DT significant, with Tim Grant ($295,500) returning to the starting side in place of Jeremy Latimore ($237,000), who is moved back to the bench. Matt Moylan’s ($171,300) demotion back to 18th man for Lachlan Coote ($188,500) caught out a lot of DT coaches, while Josh Mansour ($205,300) was back to his best scoring 67 with tries and tackle breaks leading the way.
The Broncos have named an unchanged side, meaning not much changes from a Dream Team perspective. Josh Hoffman ($270,200) had a very good game at fullback last week, and might be a good point of difference investment at this time of year, however Corey Parker ($511,000) is the must-have in this lineup. Ben Hunt’s ($239,700) dream run at halfback came to an end as well with -2, but amazingly he managed to go up in value anyway.
Rabbitohs v Bulldogs - ANZ Stadium 7:35pm 23/8/13
Another suspension for the Rabbitohs opens up a possible DT option, with Ben Lowe ($238,100) back starting at lock and Jason Clark ($162,400) on the bench, although neither is a noted big scorer. Dave Tyrrell ($160,400), Justin Hunt ($200,100) and Matt King ($205,300) have all been added to an extended bench, although none are expected to play. Again the Burgess twins George ($421,900) and Tom ($170,900) are good options at either end of the scale.
The Bulldogs have stuck with the same 17, and despite former Dream Team gun Tony Williams ($245,200) being named in the starting 13, don’t be surprised to see Josh Jackson ($252,300) move into the starting lineup again. Josh Morris ($267,800) has been named at fullback for the first time after playing there for the past two weeks, with scores of 28 and 61.
Dragons v Tigers - Sydney Cricket Ground 3:00pm 24/8/13
No changes at St George Illawarra, with Will Matthews ($162,300) and Craig Garvey ($101,600) added to the bench. Ben Creagh ($283,600) has been very good (50 & 52) since moving to the front row, and could be a great bench option for your team in the finals. Jason Nightingale ($241,400) enjoyed his move to fullback, while Brett Morris ($250,000) was very good against the Sharks as well.
The Tigers have moved Bodene Thompson ($182,400) to the centres to replace Blake Ayshford ($141,600), although given his previous form and the Tigers inconsistent attack, he’s probably not the best option this week. Captain Robbie Farah ($464,900) is (still) missing, with the same squad named from Monday night’s defeat at the hands of the Roosters.
Titans v Warriors - Skilled Park 5:30pm 24/8/13
The Titans have 2013 DT superstar Albert Kelly ($319,200) returning at halfback, a bit of relief for the 24,505 coaches who hung onto him over the past month. If you sold him, you won’t have to rush him back in as his last score of 50+ came in Round 15, so he hadn’t been in top form before injury anyway. He might take some points off Aidan Sezer ($382,600), however not enough to sell the former Bulldog, while Ashley Harrison ($264,200) will become much more valuable at lock. Again, don’t be surprised to see Ryan James ($260,000) start ahead of Luke Douglas ($319,100) despite them being named the other way around.
The Warriors’ changes have a significant DT impact this week, with Feleti Mateo ($202,000) out of favour with Matt Elliott and back on the bench, and Todd Lowrie ($244,800) back into the starting lineup. Jerome Ropati ($150,500) also returns, but should probably be avoided considering his last game yielded just 8. Shaun Johnson’s ($386,300) form continued as well, scoring 76 last week, and he should definitely be considered.
Cowboys v Knights - 1300SMILES Stadium 7:30pm 24/8/13
Only changes on the bench for the Cowboys this week, but they don’t have a major Dream Team impact. Kyle Feldt ($146,500) has been a revelation in the back three for those who needed a cheap replacement for suspended or injured players, and you can still get him at a relatively cheap price if you have the trades. Ray Thompson’s ($287,400) form continues to rise, and as a third half option he could be great value. He’s playing 80 minutes, making a lot of tackles and still getting involved heavily in their attack.
Just the one change at the Knights, with Neville Costigan ($195,500) returning on the bench in place of downgrade option Korbin Sims ($127,200). Neither is a great option at this time of the year, particularly with both only starting from the bench. Kurt Gidley ($299,000) is again on the bench with point of difference Jarrod Mullen ($458,300) at five-eighth after scoring 60 last week against the Storm.
Raiders v Sea Eagles - Canberra Stadium 2:00pm 25/8/13
New coach Andrew Dunemann has made plenty of changes at the Raiders even within minutes of being appointed to the job. Anthony Milford’s ($327,500) move to five-eighth will be an interesting one, with more scoring potential but also the risk of missing tackles in the front line. It also opens up fullback for Reece Robinson ($167,600) to return, although current form says stay away from him. Paul Vaughan ($198,600) moves to lock and immediately opens up his scoring potential, although Josh Papalii ($382,500) is the man to look at in their pack. Terry Campese ($272,000) is missing again with a facial injury.
The Sea Eagles have named Anthony Watmough ($285,100) despite him being ruled out for two weeks last week, and after re-injuring his knee against the Rabbitohs on Friday night. They have made no changes to the side, with Jamie Buhrer ($278,100) back on the bench and not a great option any more. Expect Daly Cherry-Evans ($385,800) to have a big game this week, averaging 63.33 against the Raiders.
Storm v Eels - AAMI Park 3:00pm 25/8/13
The Storm’s unchanged side again means not much movement on the Dream Team market, something that is becoming as consistent as their line speed. Aside from the big three of Cameron Smith ($559,600), Billy Slater ($310,500), Cooper Cronk ($355,900), Ryan Hinchcliffe ($297,900) returned to form last week with 62 in their come-from-behind win. As the big games come around, he could be a vital contributor, with consistent defence and underrated attack.
There is no Jarryd Hayne ($291,900) for the Eels, with his replacement at five-eighth Ben Roberts ($288,300) back in the six jersey where he’s topped 50 on three occasions in the past six games. Semi Radradra ($118,800) and Vai Toutai ($172,400) are downgrade options on your bench if need be, but only as a last resort. Reni Maitua ($275,000) returned to form with 63 last week, although it was only his second 50+ score of the season.
Sharks v Roosters - Remondis Stadium 7:00pm 26/8/13
A couple of changes at the Sharks, with Wade Graham ($272,600) returning in the second row and significantly lowering the scoring potential of Chris Heighington ($266,800). Andrew Fifita ($555,300) is named to start but could start off the bench despite Sam Tagataese ($176,300) being named as 18th man. Don’t be surprised to see either Jayson Bukuya ($251,700) or Anthony Tupou ($273,800) miss out on a bench spot as Shane Flanagan goes for another tight forward.
The Roosters have named Luke O’Donnell ($243,300) despite a Grade 3 Dangerous Throw charge hanging over his head. Dylan Napa ($101,600) is onto the bench and is another good downgrade option for your bench, should you need an emergency reserve, while Mitch Aubusson ($240,500) should probably be avoided after moving back to the centres.