With the Origin teams now selected for Game II, it's time for YOU to play selector and salvage some crucial Dream Team wins in the toughest period of the season.
So you're missing your superstars. I get it. You can't possibly win without Smith or Farah or Hannant or Johnson? You can't possibly climb the ladder with byes cleaning out half your line-up?
Wrong. It's possible. In fact, there's a very good chance that the lucky bloke or lady who drives away a brand new Toyota (or two) at season's end will be the coach who manages this period the best.
How? Listen to the Lone Scout.
Savvy Dream Team coaches should use the bye structure to their advantage. If you're a serious player, start strengthening your squad, over the next few weeks, with players that WILL be able to play the remainder of the season uninterrupted, barring injury of course.
The Bulldogs and Raiders have both had their byes for the year, making a number of players from both sides (who aren't in the Origin teams), Dream Team gold at this tough stage of the year.
From the Bulldogs:
- Michael Ennis ($261,600) - Has been down on form in recent weeks, but has been impressive for much of the year. WARNING: With Robbie Farah no certainty to overcome a rib injury in time for Origin II, Ennis may get a late call up. Best to hold off at this stage.
- David Stagg ($313,100) - Among the Dogs most consistent Dream Team performers every week. Relatively expensive but worth every cent.
- Andrew Ryan ($269,700) - No David Stagg but rock solid in his own right.
- Greg Eastwood ($178,400) and Gary Warburton ($173,900) are both relatively cheap and can provide solid returns as bench forwards.
- Brett Kimmorley ($192,000) - Has been consistently outscoring his halves partner Ben Roberts (except for last week, when Roberts had an absolute blinder), and is cheaper.
Having said that, Roberts ($216,700) isn't a bad option either.
- Josh Morris ($160,600) - Has been electric this season and looks to have overcome a foot injury that sidelined him earlier in the season. We all know wingers can struggle in the scoring department, but when you're notching up as many meat pies as Morris, the points will flow like tommy sauce from a new bottle. WARNING: He's been named as a shadow player for the NSW side.
- Luke Patten ($127,700) - 'The General' is playing as well as at any stage of his career. He doesn't put up big numbers, but Patten's not bad as a back-up fullback. DON'T FORGET: Back up players in singular positions - like fullback, halfback and five-eighth - will be vital late in the season. If you have trades up your sleeve, start bolstering your ranks with cheap players that are regular starters.
- Hazem El Masri ($131,800) - Perennially underrated, but is solid and kicks goals, well.
- Jamal Idris ($139,900) and Bryson Goodwin ($128,300) are both more than capable of finding a try-line.
From the Raiders:
- Bronson Harrison ($258,700) - Has been a revelation for Canberra since moving from the Tigers at the end of last season. He shot out of the blocks like a greyhound in the first three rounds and I have to admit that, even though I thought he'd fade late, he just keeps proving me wrong.
- Tom Learoyd Lahrs ($179,100) - Has really upped his involvement in recent weeks and is developing into a very damaging forward.
WARNING: New South Wales selectors have noticed his recent form spike, and made him a shadow player for the Blues.
- Josh Miller ($216,800) and Alan Tongue ($213,900) are both ultra-consistent performers.
Terry Campese ($301,300) - Looks to have done his dash with Origin selectors and is an excellent Dream Team scorer. Worth the outlay.
Players from all other clubs will miss at least one game due to the bye, while some will miss multiple games.
They may be flying, but avoid trading in players from the Dragons and Knights at this stage.
The reason? Both teams still have two byes remaining, so steer clear until the end of the rep season, then bring them back in.
Lone Scout Tuition
While I'm not off scouting ... and being alone ... I'm more than happy to cure all of your Dream Team headaches.
Email me your queries by clicking here.
Don’t forget to paint me a picture (how much money do you have in the bank? How many trades remaining? Where is your team ranked? Which players are under-performing?) and I'll have crack at a solution in my next column.
Till then, good luck, but more importantly, good coaching!
PS. Stay tuned for my weekly ‘value picks’ tomorrow.
Manage your Dream Team by clicking here.