Lone Scout: It's a marathon, not a sprint

Okay guys and girls, I’ll admit it: Lone Scout's XXV didn't get the Round 1 score I was hoping for. Trent Waterhouse, Greg Bird, John Sutton... you're killing me.<br><br><b><a href="http://nrl.virtualsports.com.au/?p=other_teams&amp;tid=36814&amp;lid=1" target="_blank">You can click here if you want to check out Lone Scout's XXV squad for Round 1.</a></b><br><br>But this is a new week... and some of my value picks left me with plenty to get excited about.<br><br>If, like me, you are a long way off the round’s top score of 808 points, don’t give up just yet. Toyota Dream Team is a marathon, not a sprint – and you have plenty of time to climb back into the top echelon of coaches.<br><br>Some of the kids – like Corey Norman and Gerard Beale at the Broncos – were massive value for money, while other big names like Brett Stewart (just four points) and Ryan Hoffman (four points) were subdued by injuries. Then there were the outright shockers from strike players such as Michael Jennings. His dismal six-point haul has more than 16,000 people wondering whether a trade is on the cards. <br><br>(Seriously Michael, that was less than ordinary! This from an Origin player – more galling is the fact your team is on top of the table thanks to a big win and you barely had an impact. Please, show your fans some love!)<br><br>Other disappointing and somewhat surprisingly low numbers came from Luke Patten (six points), Greg Bird (11 points)… even Greg Inglis’ 19 points was below expectations. <br><br>What about the supposed Dream Team guns, like John Sutton and Michael Ennis? Sutton had just 26 points and Ennis missed every shot at goal he had to tally a measly 28 points. Sheesh, a 40-plus score was expected from both! <br><br>Okay, enough about the shockers… what about the good news? <br><br>Well, Corey Parker topped the round with a whopping 72-point haul, Jamie Lyon came in second with 61 and Johnathan Thurston’s 58 was good enough for third. Nate Myles had a cracking game at lock for the Roosters to be fourth best with 57 points, while 15,714 prospective coach ‘geniuses’ with last year’s MVP Jamie Soward in their ranks would’ve been happy with his 56 points and fifth place.<br><br>The absolute best-performing bargain buy was Liam Fulton, whose long-range try against the Sea Eagles helped him to a 54-point haul. Costing just $120,300, Fulton looks like a must-have. Three other $120K buys who did the business were Jason Ryles (44), Todd Carney (43) and Dream Team’s most popular player, Sam Burgess (41). An honourable mention also goes out to Cory Paterson (46) for only $118,600. Superb value.<br><br>Raiders prop Scott Logan ($162,100) and his 49 points was another worth keeping an eye on when thinking value for money – but what about part-time player Matt Gillett from the Broncos? He cost a pittance at $84,100 but notched an impressive 40 points on his NRL debut.<br><br>So, what about the players to trade at this early stage? Whether it is for injury or form, some guys just have to go before being given another chance. Brett Stewart, out for five months – punt him. Dragon Nathan Fien – gone. Poor old Shane Shackleton – tear up his contract (with sympathy). Lee Te Maari – in the doghouse. ‘Wolfman’ David Williams – his dislocated collarbone means it’s time to shave his deal. Eddy Pettybourne - you'll have to cop his injury on the chin, just like he did.<br>&nbsp;<br>Oh, and if you listened to me earlier and picked Bronco Ashton Sims, punt him too – he doesn’t appear set to play first grade any time soon, thanks to the form of their rookies. And Cowboy Willie Mason? With just 11 points, better think about that decision… <br><br>There are a few guys in the corner of my eye to think about maybe drafting in this week, or to at least keep a watch on. One is Cameron Ciraldo at the Knights; he is named on an extended bench and might not get a run but it shows he is in the mix for first grade football. At just $91,100, he is a potential value buy. <br><br>Another is Ben Jones from the Roosters. At just $102,300 he is a good back-up half, as he plays a bit of a roving commission in the forwards and outside backs at times. Depending on how Brian Smith uses him, he could be a nice addition to your squads. He's more likely to get the call up with Tom Symonds out.<br><br>If you're chasing some value up front, young Warriors hooker Aaron Heremaia should also get a look in. At $130,400, he's shaping as a very solid back-up hooking option while Ian Henderson is in the casualty ward. He knocked up 38 points against the Titans.<br><br>And finally there's unheralded backrower Shaun Fensom from the Raiders. An absolute bolter at $112,200, he slid under the radar with an impressive 39 in Round 1. He's been named at lock this week, though may be shuffled back to the bench once big Tom Learoyd-Lahrs makes his return in the coming weeks. If you're a value-hunter, it looks to be a sound gamble.<br><br>But here is the disclaimer: each could end up ‘doing a Nick Emmett (Dragons)’ – which means they could be one of those players picked who barely plays and constantly ends up with low or even single-figure scores. It’s hit and miss… a bit of a gamble – but you definitely need some luck in this competition!<br><br>I’ll be on Facebook throughout the week, and I'll start posting some of the best questions and comments in coming columns, so make sure you become a 'Fan' and join the chat.<br><br>Scout’s Honour!<br>Lone Scout