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As forecast Round 9 lived up to expectations as a weekend when there were massive fluctuations in scoring among Dream Team players.

Those who had their plans in order to cope with eight teams sitting out the round owing to byes made some giant strides up the leader board while those who didn’t were sent for a rather severe tumble.

Middo’s Magicians worked hard to position ourselves for Round 9 and while our score of 553 was reasonable, it could have been much better. Like everyone last weekend we were at the mercy of players suffering injuries during Friday night’s representative matches and as a result we were stuck with Sam Rapira and Nathan Fien as non-scorers after both were injured playing for the Kiwis.

To make matters worse, Titans prop Luke Bailey withdrew on the morning of the game against the Warriors last Sunday leaving us with three non-scoring players. We did manage to get lucky with our Auto-Emergency. Hooker James Segeyaro was not named in the original Cowboys line-up for last Sunday’s clash with the Dragons but was called in late and managed to boost out score by 16 points when he came off the bench after halftime.

But the loss of Bailey, Rapira and Fien may have cost us 100 points and a far more impressive total for the round. In some respects we paid the price of too much trading over the early rounds of the season. If we had selected our team at the start of the season with the Round 9 byes in mind, we would have been in a far better position to make late trades after Rapira and Fien were injured in the Test.

Now we are down to 16 trades remaining leading into Round 10 and at present we are likely to have four non-scorers when the next series of byes take place in Round 11. Our “gun” scorers like Corey Parker, Dallas Johnson, Ashley Harrison, Luke Bailey and Daly Cherry-Evans will all be sidelined that weekend so for us to come up with any sort of score we have little option but to draw further on our trades over the next fortnight.

This week we have traded out the injured Sam Rapira for his replacement Russell Packer and we couldn’t be happier to trade in another Warrior, Elijah Taylor, for injured Dragon Nathan Fien. Even though it has left us in a dangerous position in Round 17 when Manly and the Warriors both have the bye (leaving us with three non-scoring halves), we think Taylor will be one of the best trades of the season.
The fact that he is playing second row is a bonus in itself and he is a player that looks to have star quality written all over him.

That will get us closer to a full complement of players for Round 11 with a decision still to be made on a captain. State of Origin selection will complicate matters further with one of our front-rowers Aiden Tolman likely to be unavailable to play for the Bulldogs. But with a heavy contingent of Warriors, a team that looks to be on the move, and an absence of many Origin contenders, Middo’s Magicians may be able to negotiate Round 11 without too much concern.

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