Lone Scout: Preparing for the 'death rounds'
First things first… I’m back, baby! <br><br>A nice 725 points last round to rank 35th for the week – and I’m darn sure there aren’t many of you boasting head-to-head wins over me this week. <br><br>But now that I’ve had my little moment in the sun, let’s have a look at the <b><i>real</i></b> ‘rock stars’ after the first six rounds to see if we can find a trend in their selection policies, and whether or not you feel that they’re on a sure-fire winner, or if the dreaded upcoming rep season could be the death of them. <br><br>Of course, when analysing these line-ups we don’t know who is selected each week and we have no clue how many trades have been used, but we can still get some idea.<br><br>Topping the pile after six weeks is Mike’s team ‘killa’. Here is his squad:<br>FLB: Todd Carney, Tom Humble; CTW: Mitchell Aubusson, Ben Smith, Yileen Gordon, Nathan Gardner, Matthew Duffie, Jayson Bukuya, Joe Vickery; HLF: Terry Campese, Trent Hodkinson, Ray Thompson, Shaun Johnson; FRF: Aiden Tolman, Luke Douglas, Sam Burgess, Jason Ryles; HOK: Robbie Farah, Cameron Smith; 2RF: David Stagg, Nathan Hindmarsh, Shaun Fensom, Liam Fulton, Cory Paterson, Matt Gillett.<br><br>This team has a total value of $4,962,000 and is averaging 698.33 points per round. Great going so far… but… will these results will continue, or are we about to see ‘killa’ do himself in through lack of depth and forced trades? <br><br>Already we can see he has six players who are not playing first grade, obviously selected as throw-away players with low value, leaving him just a squad of 19 to pick from. He has stacked his side with forwards, with zero depth in the backs and he’s even risking it by relying on an emergency player. Shaun Fensom has some injury and game-time concerns now, Matt Gillett will be out for a month, while Tolman, Farah, Smith, Stagg, Carney and Hindmarsh are in the mix for rep football this season. Can he possibly survive? It’s going to take some impressive trade management to keep this run going… enjoy it while it lasts Mike!<br><br>Coach Kerry is currently running second in the Dream Team competition, with the team ‘John Stamos’ (really Kerry… really?). It looks like this:<br>FLB: Todd Carney, Corey Norman; CTW: Mitchell Aubusson, Beau Scott, Luke Lewis, Ben Smith, Yileen Gordon, Isaac Gordon, Matthew Duffie; HLF: James Maloney, Trent Hodkinson, Tim Smith, Albert Kelly; FRF: Aiden Tolman, Luke Bailey, Luke Douglas, Jason Ryles; HOK: Nathan Friend, Luke Priddis; 2RF: David Stagg, Shaun Fensom, Anthony Laffranchi, Sam Burgess, Liam Fulton, Matt Gillett.<br><br>This team’s value runs at $5,080,900 and is averaging 697 points a week. <br><br>Only Matthew Duffie is yet to taste first grade this season, although Corey Norman and Albert Kelly have been dropped in recent weeks. With minimal disruption upcoming for this side, is this the new favourite for the title? There appears to be depth to cover Tolman, Stagg and Laffranchi if they make rep teams, Gillett can be traded out to make cash and replace with another non-rep player like Cory Paterson (who’ll play the first two bye rounds) and if necessary Corey Norman can be booted also… To me, this squad looks much stronger than the current leader. Do you agree?<br><br>Shane coaches team three. ‘Hano’s Bronc’s reads this way. (Shane, if by chance you are a Brisbane supporter… at least your fantasy team might play finals footy!)<br>FLB: Todd Carney, Josh Hoffman; CTW: Mitchell Aubusson, Luke Lewis, Ben Smith, Matt Cooper, Matthew Duffie, JP Du Plessis, Jayson Bukuya; HLF: Terry Campese, Trent Hodkinson, Aaron Heremaia, Ben Jones; FRF: Aiden Tolman, Kade Snowden, Jason Ryles, Daine Laurie; HOK: Cameron Smith, Robbie Farah; 2RF: David Stagg, Shaun Fensom, Sam Burgess, Liam Fulton, Cory Paterson, Mark Flanagan.<br><br>The value here is $5,015,500 and the average is 695.17 points per round. <br><br>Once again we have little depth in the backline, though his starting centres are pretty formidable. With both hookers a strong chance of playing representative football, therein is the issue – but if there are trades up the sleeve, this side could still compete strongly through the rep season and beyond.<br><br>Now, just for good measure, here is my ‘current’ squad. Lone Scout’s XXV finished round 6 in 1,227th place overall averaging 641.17 points per round:<br>FLB: Todd Carney, Corey Norman; CTW: Mitchell Aubusson, Luke Lewis, Ben Smith, Yileen Gordon, Joseph Tomane, Blake Ferguson, Gerard Beale; HLF: Jamie Soward, Trent Hodkinson, Tim Smith, Ray Thompson; FRF: Aiden Tolman, Sam Burgess, Jason Ryles, Jason Cayless; HOK: Cameron Smith, Luke Priddis; 2RF: David Stagg, Shaun Fensom, Liam Fulton, Cory Paterson, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker.<br><br>As you can see, each of my players has played first grade (though not particularly well in some cases!) but I still have four to six possible rep players. At this stage, I’m aiming for about 15 to 16 starting players in the first bye round. I’ll leave it to you to speculate on my next move… But I’m building to something big people, so look out! <br><br>So all this analysis begs the question… what is the better strategy? Is it wise to sacrifice numerous players to afford more ‘guns’, or are you screaming out for problems come the ‘bye season’? <br><br>Maybe these guys have no intention of winning the main prize and are in fact just out to annihilate their buddies in head-to-head? Time will tell – but in the meantime, let me know which strategy you’ve adopted by commenting on my <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nrllonescout" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>. <br><br>Do you have a better strategy than the current leaders, or a team you think can get into the top 10 anytime soon? Or are you one of these current leaders and feel like enlightening us with your thoughts?<br><br>I’ll publish the best posts in next week’s column.<br><br>Oh, and by the way, what did you all do re: Jamie Soward? He scored 55 on the weekend in a return to Dream Team form – but there’s some mail circulating that he could be reducing his role at the Dragons. I have it on good authority he will continue to kick less and have fewer touches this season. <br><br>Soward talks in Big League this week about his form and the inside oil is coach Bennett has asked Ben Hornby to be more dominant, and for Dean Young to share playmaking duties. Does any of this change the debate?