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We forgive you Corey Parker. Yes, you turned in a disappointing score in Round 5 of Toyota Dream Team and it did cost The Magicians victory in a couple of Private Leagues this week but we’re willing to give you another chance.

You’ve been good to us so far, and even with your season low score of 48 points last Monday night, you’re still averaging 58 for the season.

And that’s been very handy because as the Magicians’ captain, you’ve delivered up to 136 points in a single game. They say you were lucky to even make it onto the field against the Knights. Climbed out of a hospital bed, they said, like Trevor Gillmeister did all those years ago to play in an Origin game. Thanks Corey.

We must admit we did a double take when we heard you were in doubt for the game because of suspected meningitis. That didn’t sound promising at all. Of course we were concerned first and foremost for your welfare but we have to admit the ramifications of you not playing for the Magicians did cross our mind.

It would have been a disaster! There goes 100 points or more from our score and we’d have been wallowing in the Dream Team cellar.

Thankfully you pushed on and inspired your team-mates with your gritty effort and produced a commendable Dream Team tally under the circumstances.

Middo’s Magicians had already experienced a couple of setbacks in Round 5. We were counting on Casey McGuire playing for the Eels in Melbourne but he was a late withdrawal. It meant for the second week in a row our auto emergency was required, but unlike last week when we got lucky with 24 points, our AE contributed only eight points.

And what was going on with Luke Burt at AAMI Park? The veteran Eel is usually good for at least 15 points but last Sunday he was clean bowled for a duck!

Even Blake Ferguson managed 17 points in an error-riddled performance for the Canberra Raiders the night before.

The Magicians’ ongoing saga to field a competitive team in Round 9 (when eight teams will sit out the round with the bye) continued this week and we’ve now disposed of 10 of our 30 trades for the season. This week we finally lost patience with injured Bulldog Greg Eastwood and traded in Jamie Buhrer from Manly, and we swapped Shaun Kenny-Dowall for the feisty Joel Thompson from Canberra.

That will give us 15 viable players for Round 9 with three weeks (and a maximum of six trades) to shore up our squad. There is a potential pothole a couple of weeks further on with six teams sidelined with the bye in Round 11. At this point we will be required to make further trades to field 17 scoring players for that round.

And I get the distinct feeling that we are going to be running short of trades by the time the business end of the season rolls around.

The return of Ashley Harrison for the Titans should provide a timely boost for the Magicians in Round 6. With him missing for two weeks our back row depth has been stretched and reserves such as Eels Shane Shackleton and Mitchell Allgood returned only moderate totals. We’re counting on a big score from our back row of Dallas Johnson, Harrison and Parker and we’re hopeful that our wingers and centres (Burt, Thompson, Ferguson and Lewis Brown) will make a more meaningful contribution this week.

On a positive note, Englishman Gareth Widdop came up trumps as one of last week’s trades. He scored 38 points as our fullback and once again halves Daly Cherry-Evans (57) and James Maloney (45) were good for a combined tally of over 100 points.

Add me to your Dream Team League and go head-to-head with Middo’s Magicians this weekend.

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