Lone Scout: The Late Mail

Soward. Out.<br><br>The two words every Dream Teamer has been dreading all season.<br><br>The good news? It's precautionary.<br><br>The rumour mill has been in over-drive all week... but here's the deal. Jamie Soward is suffering from a shin injury he carried through last week's match... and despite being named, he'll be rested by Wayne Bennett to ensure he's tip top for Round 23.<br><br>The verdict? Don't you even think about touching that 'Trade' button, people!<br><br>Now on with the rest of this week's 'Late Mail'. With so many players in doubt, I've broken it down game-by-game.<br><br><b>Panthers v Dragons</b><br><br>Panthers: The Penny Panthers will welcome back Luke Lewis and big Frank Pritchard this week. Lewis will need to pass a late fitness test, but the team should be as named.<br><br>Dragons: Soward is expected to drop out of the seventeen, with either Nathan Fien or Dean Young to replace him in the halves. Meanwhile, Jeremy Smith will make his long-awaited return, with Jon Green the man to fall off the extended bench. PS. Welcome back Matt Cooper!<br><br><b>Storm v Cowboys</b><br><br>Storm: Ryan Hoffman was in some doubt with a persistent hamstring injury but is expected to play. Of course, Sika Manu is out of action after that horrific broken leg last week.<br><br>Cowboys: Rookie winger Donald Malone has been called into the North Queensland squad to make his debut against Melbourne after Michael Bani pulled out with back problems.<br><b><br>Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs</b><br><br>Sea Eagles: Manly should be as named.<br><br>Rabbitohs: Winger Jamie Simpson is battling with a hip injury. No word on a possible replacement.<br><br><b>Bulldogs v Raiders</b><br><br>Bulldogs: David Stagg (thank God!) is back from his little visit to Disneyland. The rest of the Dogs' line-up should be as per program.<br><br>Raiders: Forget the rumours about Tom Learoyd-Lahrs making a shock return. They'll run out as named.<br><br><b>Roosters v Tigers</b><br><br>Roosters: No changes here. Anthony Minichiello has been named at five-eighth... could be some value here if you have in him your squad. Expect an improved performance.<br><br>Tigers: Chris Lawrence is in doubt with a quad strain. The Tigers seem pretty certain he'll play... I'd still be wary. If you have other options, consider using them.<br><br><b>Warriors v Titans</b><br><br>Warriors: Yet again, no Steve Price. If you haven't traded him yet, now might be a good time. Just a reminder that Wade McKinnon has been dropped for the game after turning up late to training. I wonder if, using that criteria, the whole Warriors squad should be dropped? They haven't turned up all season. Other than that, these guys should be as named.<br><br>Titans: Chris Walker was named on the Titans bench, but he's yet to prove his fitness. If he's fit, he'll play. Can't help you any more than that, sorry! Keep in mind that Mat Rogers is back in action this week. 100% certainty.<br><br><b>Eels v Knights</b><br><br>Eels: Rumours circulating about the possible return of Feleti Mateo and Kris Keating. Don't bank on it. Don't pick them in your squad.<br><br>Knights: Should be as per named.<br><br><b>Broncos v Cronulla</b><br><br>Broncos: Brisbane’s bid to reverse a dramatic form slump has been boosted by the likely return of Peter Wallace, Sam Thaiday and Nick Kenny from injury... expect all three to play.<br><br>Centre Steve Michaels has been dropped for the match, meaning Mr-Fix-It Alex Glenn gets a shot in the centres.<br><br>Sharks: Reece Williams wasn't named and certainly won't be playing after doctors discovered a blood clot on his brain. If you have him, could be time to trade the poor bloke. I wouldn't be expecting a shock return with that type of injury.<br><br>Meanwhile, the Anthony Tupou saga continues. His bung hammy was given a fitness test during the week, but word on the street is... it flunked. Hamstrings are dodgy things. At this point in the season... I'd be trading. Now.<br><br>So who should wear the 'C' this week?<br><br>Not Jamie Soward, for one! Cam Smith enjoyed a hearty return to form against the Dragons last week... expect that trend to continue at Olympic Park on Friday night.<br><br>David Stagg? Had a rough trot with injuries lately... and against the Raiders, the game is more likely to become expansive - therefore less of the dirty work.<br><br>The Tigers need Robbie Farah to have a big one against the Roosters to keep their finals hopes alive. I'm tipping he'll produce it.<br><br>And what about Terry Campese? The Raiders aren't playing the Broncos this week. They're playing the Dogs. He'll have to work for every point.<br><b><br>On that basis, I'll be handing my captaincy to:</b><br><br>1. Cam Smith<br>2. Robbie Farah<br>3. Nathan Hindmarsh<br>4. Trent Waterhouse<br>5. Anthony Watmough<br><br>Don't forget, this is your last chance to tweak your team before the finals begin next week. I'll be back on Tuesday to discuss finals strategies.<br><br>In the meantime, <a href="mailto:lonescout@nrldigital.com">click here</a> to email me your dilemmas and I'll do my darndest to find a solution in my next column.<br><br>Scouts honour,<br>Lone Scout<br><br>Did you know you can check your Dream Team LIVE scores on your mobile?<br><br>Just visit <b>nrlwap.virtualsports.com.au</b> on your compatible handset.<br><br><a href="http://nrlwap.virtualsports.com.au" target="_blank">Click here</a> to check out how it works.<br>