Lone Scout: Mum's the word

My dear mother, Mrs Scout, was a Dream Team pioneer. She lived and coached by one simple, yet ultimately effective strategy.<br><br>"Good things come to those who wait."<br><br>For years she was nigh on unstoppable... until that ill-fated 2007 season when she simply refused to accept that her Dream Team halfback and captain Andrew Johns had hang up the boots for good after injuring his neck in the opening round.<br><br>With her captain in a neck brace, she should have committed to the trade. But as they say, hindsight is 20-20.<br><br>She missed the finals, lost the eliminator and de-registered her Dream Team account, never to coach again.<br><br>But her legacy lives on... and her advice to me still rings as true as ever.<br><br>So when Lincoln and Ethan emailed me their concerns about Darren Lockyer's long-term effectiveness in this competition, I couldn't help but pass on her words of wisdom.<br><br>Boys... good things come to those who wait.<br><br><b>Lincoln writes:<br><br>Hey Lone Scout,<br>Should I keep Darren Lockyer or trade him? If I do trade him, who should I trade him for?<br>I have 10 trades, a bit over $20,000 and I'm coming around 17,000th. I'm also leading my league but there are better teams than me in there.</b><br><br><b>Ethan writes: <br><br>Lone Scout,<br>I have $20,000 in the bank and six trades left. I'm sitting comfortably equal 1st in my comp, but I have my doubts about Darren Lockyer. <br>I know his rep duties have probably downed his points and his value by a lot, but I was wondering if I should stick with him?<br>Could you suggest another option? <br>I'm not worried about trades because I have pretty much finalised my team barring injury or a massive form drop. Any help would be much appreciated.</b><br><br>You raise some valid concerns, guys, and they're concerns facing the 23% of coaches who have Lockyer in their team.<br><br>In fact, they're concerns facing all coaches who rely on the attacking brilliance of Lockyer, Thurston, Smith, Gidley etc to keep their points ticking over.<br><br>Let's be honest - these guys WILL miss games and WILL drop in Dream Team form during the Origin period. You knew that when you selected them.<br><br>Even if they manage to back up in the matches following Origin games, they're either rested with less game time or, like Thurston and Lockyer, they greatly reduce their personal workload to compensate.<br><br>This, in turn, will result in lower points and a lower price tag.<br><br>Let's take Darren Lockyer. He didn't back-up after Origin I, and put up a measly 21 points in Round 14. When you delve into his scoring trends, you'll see he was docked seven points in that game for missed tackles... his highest number of missed tackles for the season.<br><br>His kick metres were noticeably down and he ran just 20m for a two point gain. He didn't set-up a try, or even produce one line-break assist.<br><br>His slump didn't evade the glare of the salary cap auditor and he dropped almost $6000 as a result. And the Broncos? They had 44 points piled on them by the Bulldogs.<br><br>Now you've got to ask yourself - will the Broncos find some form heading into the finals? Will their attacking machine finally click into gear? Of course it will. Will their defence fall into place? History says yes.<br><br>So, at $190,000, is Lockyer a waste of space? Or what about Thurston? He's dropped from $314,000 to $258,300 during the Origin rounds. But will the Cowboys finish the season strongly on the back of his game-breaking attack? Will he kick goals from the sideline and again start posting scores like his Round Seven 65 when we reach the business end of the season?<br><br>These questions are for you to decide... My advice? Well, as my mother used to say, "good things come to those who wait."<br><br>Alright Lincoln and Ethan - so you're hell bent on ditching the legend. Here's my tip - Daniel Mortimer (Eels). I put him forward as my 'Value Pick' two weeks back and since then he's jumped up more than $70,000 - but there's still value there. His 47 last week is testament to that. Ask yourself though... if the Eels hit the wall, will his Dream Team scores share the same fate?<br><br><b>Chris writes:<br><br>Hey Lone Scout,<br>I've got 17 trades remaining and have Michael Jennings and Jerome Ropati on the bench. Since they haven't played for a while, would it be worth swapping them for a cheaper but yet still high scoring centre/wing to free up some money to spend later on?</b><br><br>Great question, and timely! Why? They're back, baby! Both of them. This week. Michael Jennings is fresh, rested and ready burst back onto the scene in Penrith's local derby against Parramatta while Ropati has just been recalled by Ivan Cleary.<br><br>Save your trades, old son - and use them when you need them.<br><br><b>Chamath writes:<br><br>Hi, I'm Chamath aka Lie To Me<br>Just wandering whether Will Matthews, Jeremy Latimore and Daniel Mortimer will play the rest of the NRL season and whether I should keep them in my team?</b><br><br>Will Matthews is an interesting one, Chamath. Luke Bailey is due back for the Titans in a few weeks and there are some question marks around whether Matthews will retain his bench spot when that happens. To be honest, he's a strong-scoring front-rower and he's $119,000. Keep him as a handy fill-in in case injury strikes.<br><br>Jeremy Latimore has come up and but me on the backside. I originally shrugged him off as a one-game wonder but the big fella is playing good football and presents phenomenal value at just $127,000 (averaging 26). Stick solid.<br><br>That leaves Daniel Mortimer. This kid is showing enormous promise and, while his form holds up, there is more chance of Daniel Anderson winning Tuesday's $90 million lotto than there is of him axing Mortimer.<br><br>Keep him in - you won't regret it.<br><br><b>Lachlan writes: <br><br>Hey there Lone Scout,<br>My team, 'qld champions', is equal 1st in my league, and is consistently scoring in the high 500's. I still have 13 trades left in the bank.<br>My wingers and centers are always scoring pretty low. Is it worth hanging on to Jamal Idris, Israel Folou and Greg Inglis with their injuries? Their replacements in my team (Esi Tonga, Kevin Gordon, and Wes Naiqama) are scoring considerably lower than the three.</b><br><br>You raise an interesting point, Lachlan. I'm getting of plenty of mail from punters who are worried about their centres and wingers letting down their team. To be honest, my outside backs are the least of my concerns. They’re never going to score in the same range as your 80-minute forwards, no matter how much you pay for them.<br><br>You see, where you just KNOW your typical workaholic forward like Hindmarsh and Stagg will make 40 tackles and 100m each week - outside backs are erratic. Both Morris brothers have posted scores well into the 30's after putting on try-scoring exhibitions. Both have also struggled to make 10 on occasion.<br><br>To my way of thinking, you have two options when selecting your outside backs.<br><br>1. Try to find players that are actually playing in the forwards and making tackles (eg. Simon Mannering and Ben Smith). Yeah, it's not in the spirit of the game... but what do you care when you're driving your mates to the game in your brand new Toyota!<br><br>2. Ride the highs and lows of individual brilliance (eg. Josh Morris and Michael Jennings). Take Jennings for example. He bolted in for a massive 43 against the Roosters in Round 11. The week earlier against the Sharks? 11.<br><br>Getting back to your squad, Lachlan... punt Idris. He mightn't play again, so he's a waste of space. Israel Folau is generally a weak Dream Team performer so I'd axe him too. And Inglis? He'll be back this week so I'd keep him in the fold. He’ll come home strongly after Origin.<br><br>Other centres / wingers to impress me lately include Joel Reddy (38 last week and playing well), Jarryd Hayne and Alex Glenn (although Glenn's score was down last week as he was playing on the wing).<br><br><b>Jae writes:<br><br>Hey mate,<br>Just wondering who you think would be a descent replacement for Dallas Johnson as he is not really performing as well as he was in the first half of the season?<br>Other than Gallen, Luck, Hindmarsh and Stagg who I've already got plans for, I'm stuck trying to find a good replacement?</b><br><br>Jae, I tend to agree with your Dallas Johnson assessment. While he's still grinding out 40-odd tackles per game, he isn't making metres and he's certainly not breaking the line. This could be an Origin slump although it does date back to Round 8.<br><br>You've long missed the boat for the Bronson Harrison money grab but he is still posting good scores and worth a look at. The Raiders have no more byes, plus he's not an Origin player. Corey Parker is under-rated in my opinion - he's a goal-kicking, hard-working, 80-minute lock... and while he doesn't do amazing things, he is consistently up there. A nice reliable bench backrower to supplement your powerhouse starting three (assuming Gallen will miss more game time).<br><br>Apologies to all the emailers I didn't get to this week... scouting is a busy business and I always work alone. Keep them coming and I'll do my best to get to them in Friday's 'Game-Day' column.<br><br><b><a href="mailto:lonescout@nrldigital?subject=Dream%20Team%20query">Email me your queries by clicking here.</a></b><br><br>Stay tuned for my Round 17 Late Mail and Value Picks on Friday... but until then, good luck, but more importantly, good coaching!<br><br>Scouts honour,<br>Lone Scout<br>