Lone Scout: What to do with Jamie Soward?

Jamie Soward, where art thou? Where is the MVP from last season, who constantly put up scores around the 60s and kept us flying all season long? <br><br>We forgave you for your moderate 26 points against Melbourne as it was, after all, a really tough match and scoring opportunities were limited. But to back it up with just 18 –&nbsp; yes, 18! – in your side’s convincing win over the Broncos… well, it has plenty of us worried. <br><br>The question has to be asked: Are you just in a minor slump, or will your returns continue to slide? Are you like a bad stock we should sell, sell, sell, and cap our losses at the current $59,900? Or is a turnaround on the cards? <br><br>Jamie, enlighten us, are you being coached to stay out of the game more? In reality you’re not playing poorly, but in fantasy – which is what we are all dealing with here – you are killing us! I for one backed you to bounce back this week; even nominated you as my skipper. I’ll be thinking long and hard before doing that again. <br><br>So what should be done with Mr Soward? Should you keep him, or send him to the scrap heap? Here are some of your comments, followed by my objective pros and cons list (well, at least I’ve tried to be objective).<br><br><b>Campbell Weal writes:</b> I gambled on Soward as captain again, hoping he’d come through with a big game. Year after year he has been my one consistent captaincy choice; I’ll never forget having him as captain last year when he scored 98 points, equating to a tasty 196 from one player alone. But this season Hornby steals his kick metres, and when Fien is playing, he does too. I think Soward misses Wendell a little bit this season, but it is only a matter of time until he hands out some big points, gets some Soward-esq typical break away tries and kicks goals with more consistency.<br><br><b>Nick Grandjean-Thomsen writes:</b> I reckon Soward will come good later in the season. I haven’t bought him because I could see that he was dropping in price week by week. Everyone is moaning because he scored two bad scores in a row – before that he had three games that were about 50.<br><b><br>Cameron Williams writes: </b>I captained him the last two weeks and won’t be doing that again for a while!<br><br><b>Byron Long writes:</b> I don't think last weekend was a typical Dragons game. Bennett was trying different options in the attacking department, with right-side attack and ruck scooting rather than the strong left-side attack. Plus, Hornby was much closer than normal to do the kicking duties – as I said, not a normal Dragons game book. But yes, I will agree, Soward is a little down on form.<br><br><b>Sheree King writes:</b> I just bought Campese :) Soward isn’t worth the risk!<br><br>So here they are... my pros and cons.<br><b><br>The Pros…</b><br>* Soward won’t play representative football. While everyone was talking him up to do so last season, the same hype isn’t around in 2010. This means he will be available throughout the season, won’t be burned out by extra high intensity games that often provide injuries, minor and major.<br><br>* For those of you shooting for the major prize in NRL Dream Team, Soward will play in Rounds 9 and 11, when there are only four and five games respectively. While others are scrambling for players, you have a guaranteed starter. If you're more of a head to head player - then this shouldn't impact on you as much.<br><br>* The Dragons’ five-eighth has already plummeted in price, losing you $59,900 – but if you drop him, you take away the chance to win it back. Over the first three weeks Soward scored 56, 55 and 47, which saw him drop just $3,400 in value, so we know he can boost the money back up, if given time. <br><br>* He was last season’s MVP, the best possible player to have all season. Surely this is reason for some loyalty? The Queenslanders don’t drop Darren Lockyer after two average games. Champions always bounce back. <br><br>* Titles aren’t won in April. It is a long season and you only have so many trades to work with. Do you really want to waste a trade on someone who could start scoring 50s and 60s again real soon? It appears the Dragons will have a good season after all. Will one trade turn into two when you want him back?<br>&nbsp;<br><b>The Cons…</b><br>* The cash is likely to keep plummeting. Having already lost $59,900 in value, Soward is almost guaranteed to keep shedding cash with his last two scores still hurting his average. He has the Titans this week and considering it’s a tough match with a weakened side, the chances are low he’ll post a huge number and as such, more value is going to be stripped. Do you get out while you can?<br><br>* His form is down on last season. While Soward isn’t playing poorly, he certainly isn’t setting the field on fire like last season. By this time last year we were seeing try assists, tries and length-of-the-field breaks as common occurrences. Is he now settling back into his ‘true’ form? That is, a genuinely good player who just had an extraordinary year last year?<br><br>* His kick metres are down from last season as the Dragons look to mix things up to keep opposition teams guessing. As a major component of his big scores this could signify a much lower average continuing in 2010. Last season Soward averaged 532 kick metres a match (around 26 Dream Team points) while so far this season his average is 445 metres a match. With Ben Hornby’s kick metres up from 91 to 157 and the team’s hookers also using the boot, plus less time to kick thanks to the ‘Downtown’ rule, Soward might not be as valuable after all…<br><br>* He has made fewer and missed more tackles over the past fortnight. Are the Dragons hiding him in defence? Is he carrying a niggling injury? Last season, despite being targeted by opposition teams, Soward put his body on the line and came up with results the majority of the time. If he continues to miss tackles, the deducted points could kill you.<br><br>* The Dragons’ forwards are dropping like flies. Weyman is suspended this week; Jeremy Smith and Matt Prior are missing for some time. Can Soward fire behind a second-string pack, or will the side struggle without their usual go-forward and aggression? <br><br>* There are better-scoring halves on the market. You can get Terry Campese for $338,000, Benji Marshall for $273,300 and even the injured Johnathan Thurston for $271,000 (but wait until he is due to return). Then there are the cheap, value grab options like Tim Smith, Ray Thompson and maybe even Tigers rookie Blake Lazarus.<br><br>Okay boys and girls. There are the facts. <br><br>As for me... well, I'll be using up every single minute before Friday's lockout to contemplate my next move. I suggest you do the same! Good luck!<br><br>PS. Big shout out to the man with the best name of all my Facebook fans. I promised him a mention... so here's to you, Brad Paradise Esposito!<br>