It’s now time for Dream Team coaches to start thinking strategically with the Origin period looming around the corner. The haves and the have-nots are starting to form both on the NRL ladder and on the Dream Team ladder, and with a number of big-name injuries and suspensions, what changes could you make this week?
Each Wednesday, we’ll take a look at the teams named and give you the rundown on what this means for the wonderful world of Dream Team.
Broncos v Rabbitohs - Suncorp Stadium 7:35pm 3/5/13
The Broncos are unchanged from the team that defeated the Tigers, with Josh McGuire ($295,200) making a successful return last Saturday. Nick Slyney ($139,000) drops off the bench after being 18th man last week, however plenty of hype surrounds Justin Hodges ($341,700) this week after his remarkable Rd 7 performance. He scored 90 points, jumping by $48,500 and most likely putting him out of most coach’s price range. His consistency is the big question.
The Rabbitohs are again unchanged as well, going with the same 17 that defeated the Sea Eagles last week and adding Justin Hunt ($194,100) and Jeff Lima ($205,300) to the bench after the latter was a late exclusion for personal reasons. Greg Inglis ($406,400) did have some bumps and bruises after the clash, but is fit to play this week, however might be one to stay away from (only if you don’t already have him) until post-Origin with a break-even of 67.
Bulldogs v Tigers - ANZ Stadium 7:35pm 3/5/13
At the Bulldogs English prop James Graham ($361,600) returns from suspension on the bench for his first game of 2013. Keep an eye out for him over the next few weeks because if he performs like he did in 2012 he is a keeper. Aiden Tolman ($318,900) owners should also be wary of the impact Graham’s return might have. Don’t forget - Sam Kasiano ($246,900) is also expected to return as early as this week. Tim Browne ($129,200) is on an extended bench, with Frank Pritchard ($216,300) named in the starting side (as he has played recently) and Josh Jackson ($295,200) moving to the bench.
The Tigers have plenty of injury-forced changes this week, with Tim Moltzen ($194,800) out for the season, and Matt Bell ($213,700), Blake Ayshford ($205,200) and Chris Lawrence ($157,900) out for extended periods. Marika Koroibete ($254,700) returns on the wing, with Joel Reddy ($130,500) and Bodene Thompson ($127,700) moving into the centres. Jacob Miller ($144,200) returns at halfback, while Liam Fulton ($354,200) and Shaun Spence ($101,600) start in the second row. Tim Simona ($127,700) and Ava Seumanufagai ($103,300) are on an extended bench, alongside Suaso Sue ($101,600) who with Spence is playing his 3rd game and is set for a very good price rise.
Storm v Raiders - AAMI Park 5:30pm 4/5/13
The Storm are unchanged from the team that defeated the Warriors on ANZAC Day, with the only addition Kenneath Bromwich ($116,100) on an extended bench. Justin O’Neill ($192,800) returned in the centres last week and will start again this week, with Junior Sa’u ($175,300) losing his spot. The big three of Billy Slater ($289,200), Cooper Cronk ($390,300) and Cameron Smith ($523,200) all have significant break-evens and are probably starting to level out in price.
The Raiders make a couple of significant changes, most notably moving Terry Campese ($262,000) to five-eighth and Josh McCrone ($236,900) to halfback leaving Sam Williams ($335,200) back in NSW Cup. Jarrod Croker ($296,700) is also out with a knee injury, with Jack Wighton ($143,600) and Blake Ferguson ($253,000) pairing up in the centres. Joel Thompson ($272,000) is again out injured, as Anthony Milford ($101,600), Joe Picker ($133,600), Jarrad Kennedy ($127,700) and Shaun Berrigan ($185,600) all join an extended bench.
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Eels v Cowboys - Parramatta Stadium 7:30pm 4/5/13
The Eels have welcomed three debutants into their side this week, with Cheyse Blair ($182,500), Ben Roberts ($163,500) and Ben Smith ($244,100) dropped to NSW Cup and Jacob Loko ($221,900) out injured. Ryan Morgan ($272,000) returns in the centres alongside one of three new players, Api Pewhairangi ($101,600). Kaysa Pritchard ($101,600) and Peni Terepo ($101,600) are the other two debutants on the bench, while Joseph Paulo ($220,800) starts at lock and Kelepi Tanginoa ($183,400) retains a starting spot in the second row. Fuifui Moimoi ($241,000) returns from suspension, starting in the front-row, while co-captain Tim Mannah ($305,600) is out with a suspected broken leg.
The Cowboys welcome back Dallas Johnson ($330,300) this week at lock, with Joel Riethmuller ($171,500) dropping back to an extended bench. Ashton Sims ($210,100) and Jason Taumalolo ($254,000) are also on the extended bench, with Tariq Sims ($184,000) holding his starting spot. Antonio Winterstein ($199,500) is out with a groin injury, and Kalifa Faifai Loa ($166,900) maintaining his place on the wing.
Warriors v Titans - Mt Smart Stadium 2:00pm (12pm AEST) 5/5/13
The Warriors welcome Manu Vatuvei ($192,900) and captain Simon Mannering ($331,000) back to the starting side from injury, with Ngani Laumape ($163,100) dropping back to the extended bench and Konrad Hurrell ($298,100) dropped to NSW Cup. Ben Henry ($262,100) moves to the centres, with Mannering taking his starting position in the second row. Glen Fisiiahi ($127,700) also moves back to NSW Cup after being a late exclusion last weekend.
The Titans are forced into a number of changes after Matt Srama ($285,800), Ashley Harrison ($316,700) and Luke O’Dwyer ($179,700) all ruled out with injury. Brad Takairangi ($149,700) returns in the centres, Beau Falloon ($296,200) starts at hooker and Luke Bailey ($279,800) starts at prop, with Nate Myles ($368,200) moving from prop to lock. Debutant Mark Iaone ($101,600) grabs a spot on the bench aside Sam Irwin ($101,600) and Steve Michaels ($122,100), who is 18th man.
Knights v Sharks - Hunter Stadium 2:00pm 5/5/13
The Knights name an unchanged squad from the side that took down the Titans last Sunday, with Neville Costigan ($192,300) back on the bench and Korbin Sims ($109,300) on the extended bench in jersey 18. There are also some positional changes, with Kurt Gidley ($255,100) back at hooker, Tyrone Roberts ($297,700) at halfback and Travis Waddell ($193,000) on the bench. Adam Cuthbertson ($330,700) is getting close to his peak price with a break-even of 37 this week.
The Sharks are unchanged despite falling to the Bulldogs in Gosford last weekend. Todd Carney ($310,200) has his second game back after an ankle injury, and Sam Tagataese ($128,300) is added to the extended bench. Chris Heighington ($328,700) again switches with Wade Graham ($304,100) back to the bench after starting against the Bulldogs, although he could revert back to the second-row at kick-off.
Roosters v Panthers - Allianz Stadium 3:00pm 5/5/13
The Roosters have named an unchanged side again after demolishing the Dragons on ANZAC Day last Thursday. Sonny Bill Williams ($416,900) continues his scoring form with 44 last week, and will be primed for a big game against Penrith, but not so much as Michael Jennings ($357,700) who takes on his junior club for the first time in his career.
The Panthers have also named an unchanged squad from their big win over Parramatta at Centrebet Stadium last Monday. Matt Moylan ($101,600) is at fullback following up his man-of-the-match debut, while Nathan Smith ($148,100) is on an extended bench after losing his place to Mose Masoe ($151,200) last week. Nigel Plum ($266,800) moves back to lock with Adam Docker ($149,000) moving onto the bench.
Dragons v Sea Eagles - WIN Jubilee Oval 7:00pm 6/5/13
St George Illawarra are unchanged from the 17 that fell to the Roosters on ANZAC Day, although they welcome Michael Weyman ($279,000) and Will Matthews ($192,400) onto an extended bench. Jack Stockwell ($183,300) is again starting at prop, and still has some price rises to come, so don’t jump off yet! Damien Cook ($101,600) is named on the bench again, however he lost his place to Matthews last week and could do so again this week.
The Sea Eagles are forced into a number of changes, with Richie Fa’aoso ($149,300) suspended for eight weeks and Steve Matai ($188,600) for one week, and Jason King ($214,400) missing with a shoulder injury. Tom Symonds ($237,700) grabs a starting spot in the centres, while Peta Hiku ($101,600), Jesse Sene-Lefao ($101,600), Esi Tonga ($127,700) and George Rose ($149,000) are all on a six-man bench. Glenn Stewart ($305,100) also plays his second game of the season after returning from knee surgery a week early last Friday.