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So did everyone survive the split round?

With Origin players unavailable and so many teams with the bye - if you managed to field a full 17... well done, you've just entered the Dream Team elite!

So now for the fallout... and Thomas Coyle has asked the question facing so many of us.

Thomas writes:

I only have four trades remaining and Jamal Idris looks like he is hurt so should I trade him or just leave him until he returns? Who would be a good replacement - I've only got $7,700 left in the bank.

Thomas Coyle

Unfortunately for the bulldozing Bulldog, medical reports are hinting at a Round 24 return as a best-case scenario. (click here for details)

Unfortunately for us, Idris hit a bit of a form slump in the weeks before his injury and his value dropped $30,000 accordingly.

So to trade or not to trade?

Without looking at the rest of his team, my advice to Thomas (and the 26% of coaches who have Idris in their squad) would be to bite the bullet and axe the big unit.

There's a good chance he won't earn you another Dream Team point all season - so why let him waste your bench space?

But you’re low on trades? Have a look at the remaining centres/wingers available to you. After benching Idris - do you have four starting centre/wingers which you are confident can perform consistently? If the answer is 'yes' - save the trade.

If (like me) the answer is 'no' - it's time to shop.

So you're short on cash, Thomas. My tip would be Jarod Crocker from the Raiders. He's certainly within your price range at $124,500 and is averaging 21.90. Sure, he's a rookie and a gamble - but he can find a try-line, he has genuine speed and isn't afraid to get involved. He bagged 27 points in a losing outfit in Round 15 - and is capable of racking up a big score (40 in Round 11).

Another plus - the Raiders have no byes remaining.

Alternatively, Tiger Blake Ayshford will only get better and is in the same price bracket.

For the rest of you, I'd suggest an up-scale. Idris is valued at $126,100 - and you won't get too much quality in that price range at this stage of the season.

My suggestion would be Brett Delaney ($198,200) from the Titans. He doesn't score quite as well as Beau Scott or Luke Lewis - but Lewis is injured and Scott will miss two games in the next four rounds thanks to suspension and byes.

Delaney's 41 last week was his third score of 40 or above for the season - serious scores for a centre.

Trent asks:

I was wondering what happens in finals footy with Dream Team? Do all the teams who don't make it stop getting points while the top eight keep scoring? I haven’t got many trades left and wasn't planning on making anymore till the ending of this season if this is right. My team is ranked 13,234 and I only have $4100 spare.


Good question, Trent. In week 23, Dream Team finals kick off. Your league will be divided into a 'Top Eight' and a 'Bottom Eight' - based on your ladder. These two groups then play through the McIntyre system until, at the conclusion of Round 26, you have a League Champion, and a Minor Champion (winner of the second tier).

As I've said before - you want at least four of five trades for the finals.

Barbara writes:

I only had eight trades left and just had to trade Chris Heighington out and get Corey Parker in. So that puts me down to seven trades - is it possible to still be competitive? If so, do you see anyone in my team that would make a smart trade option e.g. Gallen out for Stagg.

Barbara Maguire

In short - yes... and NO!

You can certainly remain competitive with less than ten trades remaining - so long as you save your trades for legitimate reasons (injury, suspension, player dropped). Swapping a player like Paul Gallen for a player like David Stagg is a waste of one of your seven valuable remaining trades.

Sure, Gallen will miss one more game due to Origin commitments - but he is a 50-pointer and will bust his guts to keep the Sharks in touch with the eight. Stagg, with no byes remaining and no origin commitments, is a still a brilliant buy - but only if you can pick him up by trading lesser players.

Scott writes:

I'm currently first in my league ladder and my team averages 630. I've got trades organised to get rid off Mickey Paea for D.Oreagen to free up some money. Then I'm getting rid of Anthony Tupou for Dallas Johnson, then Steve Price for Robbie Farah. Who should I get after Campese or Soward after I free up some money from Scott Porter?

Please help,
Scott Wilds

Mickey Paea. He's an interesting one. Since playing his first game of the season in Round 9, his value has leapt up $45,000. He’s fiery and runs hard, with strong metre gains. Certainly worth keeping as a strong back-up bench player at only $146,000. My only concern would be surrounding Bennett's plan for the return of Jeremy Smith. Will he keep his spot?

The other trades sound reasonable - all except for the Scott Porter one. You, like many a Dream Team addict, seem to have become a slave to the 'cash cow'. Like playing the stock market, you want to buy cheap, sell high - and make your millions.

Fair enough. But my advice to you is 'be careful'. Scott Porter is averaging 48. Sure, he's made you a stack of money - but can you be sure another halfback will bring you similar returns, regardless of his value? Stick with him. He'll keep increasing in value and after his blinder against the Broncos - Ricky Stuart assured us he's here to stay.

Lewis asks:

Hey Lone Scout - what do you think about Willie Mason for a possible trade. Is he worth the money??

Many Thanks,
Lewis Voisin

In short... no. He's out of form, over-priced and in a team which can't complete a set. Steer clear.

Annette asks:

Thurston has dropped form significantly over the last few weeks. Is this a good sign to trade him in for a more consistent halfback? Or should I stick with the number one halfback in the game?

Annette Mayhew

Tough one. He is capable of brilliance both on the field and on the Dream Team scoreboard but has been distinctly hot and cold. If you watch him play club football during the Origin period, you'll notice he tries to avoid as much work as possible - running less and tackling less. This results in weak scores. You have to decide whether or not he can come home strong AFTER Origin finishes. I'm tipping he will - but is it worth the wait when someone like Scott Porter is half the price? That's up to you.

Jack writes:

Alex Glenn. Will he come good or do you see him getting worse? I have $200k in the bank with 12 trades left. Should I buy one top player ($350k +) or get two players around 300K?

Jack Boote

Glenn bagged a handy 35 against the Sharks - but keep in mind he was playing in a team of rookies. I doubt he'll continue to score that well moving forward when he's coming off the bench. In my mind, he's a handy bench player you can call upon to fill a gap - but he's not a regular starter.

I think there is real value in buying players around that $250-$300k mark. Guys like Dean Young and Luke Douglas are consistent starters, often 80 minutes players and don't seem to get injured. Trading Glenn for two like that would be my suggestion over stacking up on Cameron Smith, for example.

And finally, Jae writes:

I want to add a few more players to my team but after reading your column I am thinking otherwise. I have eight more trades and $160k left. I want to buy Gallen, Hannant and Crocker but don't want to sell my big guns who are Harrison, Smith, Farah, Johnson, Luck, Stagg and Hindmarsh. I want to swap Taufua for Gallen and Wapau for Crocker.... and in time either Latimore or Manu for Hannant.

Should I hold fire until further down the track?


Hold fire, Jae. But not for long. Gallen and Hannant are brilliant buys - but only after the Origin period. Save your money until Round 19 - then unleash hell in the run to the finals.

Remember - 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!

Scouts honour,
Lone Scout

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