Lone Scout: Overcoming that final hurdle

One thing we haven’t really discussed following the Origin II result is how all your careful planning to have non-Origin players could now be thrown into chaos following the Blues’ capitulation. <br><br>Plenty of reports have the Blues making a fair few changes as they look to blood some talent for the future. With this is mind, maybe we should look at potential “smokies” for this third game, and as such, discuss whether you should hang tight during these next two bye rounds… or else use what by now must be precious little trades. <br><br>It all depends on who is going to suit up for the Blues in the dead rubber…<br><br><b>Fullback</b><br>Word is Jarryd Hayne will keep his spot at the back for this clash, which of course means he will miss the Round 17 game against the Warriors. After a very slow start to the year, (he had dropped his value by $50,000 at one stage) Hayne is back on track, averaging 33.25 points – and more than 40 in the past five rounds. <br><br>The verdict? Hang on to him if you have him; you will miss points next week but as the Eels make a charge for the finals, his points will be high.<br><br><b>Wingers/Centres</b><br>Of the four in Origin II, Brett Morris and Beau Scott seem potentially safe but Matt Cooper (injured) is gone and Joel Monaghan appears unlikely. <br><br>Morris looks set to survive for another crack at the Maroons; he’ll miss the next two Dream Team weeks, first for the Origin and then the bye. With this is mind, perhaps he is a player worth trading if you have some banked cash. Wait till after this week though, as he might tear apart the Wests Tigers. <br><br>Maybe trade for a cheaper centre with similar averages and use the excess to beef up your pack. Or the approximate $170,000 you can get for Morris might be worth adding to a sly $50K you have banked to pick up Mitch Aubusson. <br><br>Scott is another you will have to think long and hard about should you have him. You have likely lost a bit of cash on this man and with a two-week break coming up, it could be time to cut your losses and run… especially with Mark Gasnier returning. Scott could be on the bench… it’s certainly a toughie, since his 42 last week showed what he is capable of.<br><br>We know Timana Tahu won’t be picked due to suspension and his late replacement in Game Two, Monaghan, is no certainty to be retained either. Sources are throwing up Nathan Merritt, Michael Jennings, Michael Gordon, Jamal Idris, Beau Champion, Chris Lawrence and Josh Morris as candidates to fill the two vacant spots. My money would be on Josh Morris playing centre with his brother on the left side and throw Merritt a jersey on the right wing. I have my doubts on Merritt’s ability to take it up a notch but it is certainly worth giving him a crack at this level to see what he can do. <br><br>Gordon and Jennings are reasonable scorers, so benching them for one week is probably the option if they are picked – unless of course you have the cash to upgrade them. Merritt has been up and down in Dream Team this year and you might be able to trade him for like-scoring players if you have a spare trade or two in the bank. (The Bunnies have the bye during Origin, so you wouldn’t be able to use him anyway…)<br><b><br>Halves</b><br>Mitchell Pearce should remain as New South Wales halfback – but Trent Barrett’s place next to him isn’t certain. It’s not that Barrett was poor in Game Two, it’s just time to look to the future. <br><br>Terry Campese and Jamie Soward have been mentioned in dispatches and if either is picked it would put a dent in plenty of sides – particularly Round 17 where both the Dragons and Raiders are playing in a shortened round. <br><br>As most of you know, I already traded Soward out for Campese earlier this season but I know plenty of you are still trying to carry both. If you are, maybe it’s time to punt Soward (if you do it this week for Isaac John you will gain money to play with to bolster your forward pack and still get around 40 from the Warrior). But of course, he might not get picked for New South Wales… and then you could be using him next week. Another tough one to think about! <br><br><b>Hooker</b><br>Robbie Farah is odds-on to replace Michael Ennis for the third game, ruling him out of the Round 17 action. <br><br>Hopefully your back-up hooker is reasonable, like a Luke Priddis or Andrew McCullough, and you can just bench him without concern. <br><br>Regardless of his selection or otherwise, Farah is a keeper. <br><br><b>Second Row</b><br>This is a contentious area and one that could blow some Dream Teams apart. <br>Ben Creagh, Nathan Hindmarsh and Paul Gallen started Game Two. None of these guys is certain to be retained. The bench had Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Luke O’Donnell and Trent Waterhouse. Once again, O’Donnell is already gone (suspended) and the other two aren’t certain of recall. <br><br>Potential replacements are likely to be Luke Lewis and Anthony Watmough – both popular Dream Team men. Then there is a huge list of contenders. Anthony Laffranchi, Dean Young, Chris Heighington, Glenn Stewart, Ben Smith, Willie Mason, Mark Minichiello and Cory Paterson head the possibles. <br><br>Would any of these selections hurt your team? Do you need to think trades now, while you can get value out of some cheap buys, and then stock back up post-Origin?<br><br><b>Front Row</b><br>Michael Weyman and Brett White were the Blues’ ‘big boppers’ in the last Origin… they may not be again. <br><br>Kade Snowden (despite a one-game suspension), Luke Douglas, Tim Mannah, Jason King, Josh Perry, Keith Galloway, Tim Grant, Luke Stuart, Dane Tilse and Matt Prior are under scrutiny this weekend. <br><br>Is your head in a spin yet? What are you planning to do if any of these guys is picked?<br><br>As usual gang I have maybe posed more questions than I have answered! But these next two weeks loom as crucial for those going for the big bucks. <br><br>I’d love some more round table discussion from the fans on facebook… which trades are must-do and which ones are fraught with danger? <br><br>Good luck this week!<br>Lone Scout<br>