Matt Trodden, NRL.com
We’ve reached the penultimate round of the 2013 season, and if you’re still alive in your head-to-head league or within reach of glory in the overall stakes, this week’s team changes will be crucial to your success.
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.
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Broncos v Knights - Suncorp Stadium 7:35pm 30/8/13
The Broncos one change could have an impact on Dream Team scoring this week, with Alex Glenn ($327,400) returning in the centres for their must-win clash with Newcastle. Glenn hasn’t played since Round 20, but was in good scoring form prior to injury. His move to the centres may take some scoring off Matt Gillett ($390,500), who has been scoring well with attacking points on the edges. David Stagg ($221,200) has probably been given his last rights by Dream Team coaches, moving back to the bench this week. Those who jumped on Corey Oates ($195,000) early will be laughing again after he scored 41.
Just the one change again for the Knights, with Willie Mason’s ($195,200) return causing headaches for 3,501 coaches with Kade Snowden ($328,300) suspended for seven weeks following his jaw-dropping shoulder charge on Ray Thompson. Jarrod Mullen ($457,100) had his fourth straight 50+ week against the Cowboys, while Kurt Gidley ($301,000) returned to form with 55 in just 53 minutes.
Tigers v Rabbitohs - Allianz Stadium 7:35pm 30/8/13
The Tigers have delivered a Dream Team gift to 23,950 coaches this week, with captain Robbie Farah ($464,900) returning for a club record 202nd game. He will be crucial to the strategy of many coaches over the next two weeks, and in a sign he’s certain to play both back up dummy-halves Joel Luani ($135,300) and Masada Iosefa ($245,200) have been named in NSW Cup. Benji Marshall ($233,000) also moves back to five-eighth, which hasn’t been helpful for his scoring this season, while Curtis Sironen ($172,800) grabs a starting spot in the back row and Ben Murdoch-Masila ($169,000) becomes a solid option, moving to lock.
Finally some good Dream Team news out of the Rabbitohs, with Sam Burgess ($399,400) returning from suspension to make up the full quartet of British brothers. If you were smart enough to hang onto him, Burgess should be a big contributor this week while the young twins George ($384,600) and Tom ($185,600) will probably battle for minutes. Adam Reynolds ($398,100) is again the star Dream Team scorer in this side, and is close to a must in the final few rounds. He also scored 88 last time they faced the Tigers.
Warriors v Raiders - Mt Smart Stadium 5:00pm 31/8/13
No changes at the Warriors but still plenty to get your teeth into from a Dream Team perspective. Feleti Mateo ($202,000) still managed 32 from the bench, however it was Konrad Hurrell ($324,000) who provided the most for coaches with 68 points in their big win. He doesn’t have a great record against the Raiders, but is back in form and busting tackles. Definitely consider Jerome Ropati ($175,000) as well if you need a cheaper option to fill a hole for the rest of the year.
New coach Andrew Dunemann has made plenty of changes again for the Raiders, but most importantly Terry Campese ($272,000) is returning at five-eighth. Anthony Milford’s ($327,500) move to the halves was very positive, scoring 70, while Josh McCrone ($162,400) could benefit from the added defensive workload at hooker. A backline reshuffle will probably drop Joel Thompson’s ($247,300) numbers as he moves to the centres, while Paul Vaughan ($193,100) should benefit from a starting spot at lock.
Bulldogs v Panthers - ANZ Stadium 5:30pm 31/8/13
Only one change at the Bulldogs, with Frank Pritchard’s ($178,400) two week suspension making both Josh Jackson ($240,200) and Tony Williams ($214,800) better prospects starting in the second row. Lachlan Burr ($101,600) is set to make his NRL debut from the bench, however he is no sure thing to get on the field after Martin Taupau ($138,800) was left warming his seat for the full 80 minutes last Friday night.
The Panthers’ made the same change as last week, but doesn’t really impact your Dream Team, with Tim Grant ($301,600) and Jeremy Latimore ($241,900) swapping places again. Grant was massive off the bench, scoring 51 last week, but their real gun was James Segeyaro ($314,000) who managed 105 including a hat-trick. He may be a great point of difference in the finals, but is the ultimate risk as a 50-60 minute hooker/utility.
Sea Eagles v Storm - Brookvale Oval 7:30pm 31/8/13
The Sea Eagles have named Brett Stewart ($203,700) at fullback, meaning those relying on Peta Hiku ($216,600) as an emergency will be disappointed. Anthony Watmough ($278,300) hasn’t been named, but as we saw against the Rabbitohs that could mean nothing, so those with Jamie Buhrer ($278,900) shouldn’t get too excited by his elevation to the starting side. Tom Symonds ($171,000) also returns to the side on the bench, a relief for the 4,907 coaches who held onto him as a reserve back rower.
A sigh of relief for 25,135 Dream Team coaches, as Tohu Harris ($306,200) is named for the Storm in an otherwise unchanged side. Tim Glasby ($101,600) has still been named as 18th man, but would seem unlikely to play. Billy Slater ($354,300) was the big surprise last week, scoring 67, however you couldn’t go past Will Chambers ($309,400) for value as he tore the Eels apart to score 94. Don’t expect that this week up against Jamie Lyon.
Sharks v Cowboys - Remondis Stadium 2:00pm 1/9/13
Some positional switches at the Sharks make for interesting Dream Team decisions, with Sam Tagataese ($150,600) starting in the front row and Paul Gallen ($483,200) back at lock. While that shouldn’t impact Gallen’s numbers dramatically, it certainly dents Jayson Bukuya’s ($239,100) scoring potential as he’s shifted back to the bench. With Bryce Gibbs ($224,800) named 18th man, expect Andrew Fifita ($554,600) to play more minutes and pump out some big scores.
A couple of changes for the Cowboys this week, most notably the loss of Ray Thompson ($319,600) for the remainder of the season with a broken jaw. Rory Kostjasyn ($161,700) is in at hooker, but won’t play 80 minutes with debutant Jayden Hodges ($101,600) named on the bench. Late season NRP king Kyle Feldt ($146,500) is missing again through injury, but there isn’t much use trading him out at this time of year. Tariq Sims ($224,200) is again on the bench, having faded away as an option in the second row.
Roosters v Titans - Allianz Stadium 3:00pm 1/9/13
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ($228,200) shifts to the wing for the Roosters this weekend, accommodating the return of Anthony Minichiello ($178,500) at fullback but limiting his ability to score regularly on kick-returns. It does help Shaun Kenny-Dowall ($200,800) however, who will definitely see more action moving to the centres.
The Titans have named just 16 players for their trip to Sydney, but the return of Luke Bailey ($301,100) and Greg Bird ($258,300) will definitely dent the scoring potential of Ryan James ($309,000), who has been in tremendous form of late. He could still swap with Luke Douglas ($311,400), but probably won’t have as much of an impact. Albert Kelly ($308,800) made a solid return last week with 46, while Ashley Harrison ($244,600) and Mark Minichiello ($230,800) will miss the final two games of the season.
Eels v Dragons - ANZ Stadium 7:00pm 2/9/13
The return of Jarryd Hayne ($291,900) is the big story at the Eels, but named at fullback he may not be as heavily involved as his 68 two weeks ago at five-eighth. Jake Mullaney ($161,600) makes way, however he’s been disappointing this year after showing some promise in 2012. It will also impact the scores likely by Ben Roberts ($280,700) and Luke Kelly ($203,100) in the halves, as Hayne likes to get his hands on the ball as much as possible.
St George Illawarra have only made one change, and it’s interesting for Dream Team coaches with Josh Drinkwater ($101,600) on the bench replacing Craig Garvey ($101,600). Drinkwater is a common NRP across many DT coaches (18,849 to be exact), and in crucial head-to-head games when players pull out late, his score could be important. Ben Creagh’s ($318,700) form in the front row continued, with a season-high 64 against the Tigers.