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This week the Lone Scout answers your Dream Team questions on Matt Srama, cheap forward options, Thurston, Laffranchi and the latest Twitter rumours.

Round 13 2011 will go down as the first mega-scoring round of the year, with plenty of teams (1,123 to be precise) scoring 900 or more, and the same number hitting the high 800s. Thankfully I was one of those to push 900, but I am still somewhat short of the pace – this week set by Deb's 17 with a massive 957.

Round 13 will also go down as the week the scoring went haywire. Unfortunately, the final data from MNF didn't transfer to where it was meant to, meaning certain scores (players' and teams') were not correct when the lock-out re-opened. Thankfully, the volunteer Scout brigade on Facebook were straight on to it (they miss nothing) and the IT glitch was quickly rectified. It may have sucked for you (I know of at least one team that went from a one-point win to a two-point loss), but it was an unavoidable accident and, just like a stinger, it only stopped the DT juggernaut for a moment. All should be as it should be.

So, moving on and speaking for the Facebook hardcores, here are a few choice queries grabbed from the social network that I hope will address some of this week's burning issues.


Q: I'm trading Allgood for dollars and don't know who to get from $84,100 downward. I was thinking maybe Boyd Cordner or maybe a $73,600 like Daniel Penese. I did think about Jack Bosden, but he only got two last. Any thoughts?

A: The right answer here (as ever) depends on your current squad make-up, bank balance and the number of trades left. It also depends on your objective. You can't have a large cash injection and an uber-cheapie who will play regularly and score points (except for Titans hooker/half Matt Srama – get him Friday, if you haven't already jumped the gun).

So, let's assume this is a cash play as the bank reserve is low and that trades are above double figures (otherwise I'd be advising holding Allgood and the cash manoeuvre).

In that case, my suggestions for the Allgood sale are:

 1) FRF

- David Gower: He is on Dragons bench this week, $73.6k and will have a price rise this week as has played 2 matches;

- Vic Mauro: Vic is $74.1k and dropping, but does play (will get a run this round) and occasionally gets 20ish;

-  Tinirau Arona: $90.2k and has played a few. Can score 20+ and has the current 'Mataka advantage' re injuries (see below).

2) 2RF

- Tony Williams: Sits at $100.4k, but is finally getting time in the pack. He starts this week, is dual-position player & is capable of the odd 30-40;

- Willie Mataka: At $84.1k and only playing game 2, but is a backrower slotting into starting centre while the Chooks have big injury problems, meaning he may score better than most other options over a longer period. Scored a 31 from his single game so far;

- Boyd Cordner: $84.1k, is a Rooster therefore also has the in-for-injuries advantage. Scored a serviceable 19 in his only game so far and comes to 1st grade with massive wraps on him.

If I was choosing between these guys I'd go Cordner (I think he will play a bit now that they've blooded him) or Willams (a random, but very useful option) but that's just me, and I've got things wrong before...


Q: Anthony Laffranchi is back this round. Is he worth getting?

A: Laffranchi is DT gold when he's playing well as he gets plenty of minutes and converts those minutes to points, but he has been a massive problem in 2011. After an expected slow start (35 points) in his first game (R3), he showed his usual DT credentials in Round 4 and went for a 61. Unfortunately, this was followed by an injury-hit 26 and he hasn't been sighted since.

There is an argument that his imminent departure at the end of the season will mean he gets less opportunity, especially if the Titans' slim chances of a spot in the eight become zero. There is merit in this, but I suspect he will be played if fit and available, if only to give the Titans fans a win or two to celebrate (got to keep those turnstiles turning) and to hand the players of the future with niggles a better chance to rest and heal.

What does all that amount to? Avoid him at his current $281.5k, but if he falls significantly (and he will fall in value) by the closing rounds, he may be the perfect 5th or 6th 2RF smokey for your finals team.

Note, Laffranchi's return also has implications on the scoring of DT stalwarts Ash Harrison and Bull Bailey, as he is a worker and will likely take work from these two, especially once he finds his lungs.


Q: I'm tempted to shed Thurston for Srama in anticipation to Thurston's post-Origin drop. It was my plan from the onset and I already have Cherry-Evans and Soward, so do I need a third playing half?

A: No you don't need a third playing half, but that trio all have claims to being a regular reserve, so why lose a trade by dumping one of them? Can you pop Srama in for the 4th HLF or as HOK?

Going back to the trade 'in principle', as ever, it's hard to give a solid answer without a complete picture of your team and status, but in general I think the Thurston price drop will be a myth (or it will be marginal at best). For mine, what you're really looking at doing is giving up his 50+ points for Srama's 40 points. (Plus a little certainty – JT always plays if fit, Srama should. There's a difference). So as long as you will use the money to get an extra 15+ regular points a week, it is a good trade.

But before you push the button, make sure you work out whether the extra points are necessary now (who are your upcoming H2H opponents?) as a similar trade in the future may end up being more beneficial to you. Also, with players like Parker and Soward out in R18, getting rid of JT without covering the points may be the difference between winning and losing.


Q: Lone Scout, just wondering whether it is time to trade-out Jayson Bukuya, since Jeremy Smith is due back in Round 15? I'm thinking of getting Dallas Johnson as his price is low.

A: If you want to jump up to DJ, then that's what you should do. It's a good long-term move for mine. I've been asked a lot about his current form and I reckon he will come good again (a la Fensom) and be a perfect 5th or 6th 2RF.

Do you trade out Bukuya now? Jayson will likely go to the bench if/when Smith returns and score reasonably, meaning he still has value to give as his break-even is very low and he converts minutes played to points. You've likely got until about R17 or R18 (which just happens to be post-Origin zone) to make a decision about upping him, so there's no rush.


Finally, I reckon it's worth repeating this one ... no offence intended to the anonymous poster (he is a great bloke and we love having him on my Facebook page), but his query and my answer is a great way to remind the many of how I'm moderating the FB page.

Q: LS I noticed that my post has been removed. All I asked if the Eliminator could have started a few weeks early to avoid these dud rounds. What is so wrong with that ? Surely you haven't gone the way of the gestapo ? If there was something wrong feel free to let me know so I can avoid it next time.

So I did ...

A: Yes, you are correct. It is a good question, but it is also a question I have answered many, many times. In short (as you asked so nicely) it could've, but that would spoil the fun. The Eliminator is what it is (primarily to avoid the same people winning everything), so best to accept that and play on.

To finish the explanation, I remove posts that are rude, profane, senseless bragging (although these may stay for a short while), out-and-out whinging or a rehash of a question asked many times. No offence intended, but I'm trying to get people to read other posts and my articles, rather than going all knee-jerk, look at me I had an opinion. The aim is to make it a valuable resource.


Also, there's been a lot of chatter on the Twitterverse and plenty of rumour and innuendo floating around this week. Here's a short summary of the best bits, with a proviso that it is not confirmed, meaning it's just ideal talk for now. Should that change we'll let you know (as will everyone else) as we did with the who-didn't-see-that-coming move up the F3 for Darius Boyd.

- Injury Rumours: It's not in the late mail as their teams aren't playing this week, but the Tweet network says the Dogs' Paea and Payne are out indefinitely, while Tolman is three weeks from playing. At the Knights, Tolar and McManus are out for three weeks.

- Rumours from the Twitterverse 1: Ryan Hoffman is in the frame to return to the Storm in 2012, if Adam Blair moves elsewhere.

- Rumours from the Twitterverse 2: It's no secret the Tigers are keen on Blair and looking for cap space, with the cashed-up Sharks (bye bye Douglas and Snowden) now seen as home for all off-contract players. It's meant plenty of unconfirmed (at time of writing) rumours about Sharks signings this week, including that Bryce Gibbs has signed on for three years, Andrew Fifita is close to a deal, Mark Taufua has agreed to two years, Isaac DeGois is heading back and Jeff Robson has also signed a two-year deal. The Sharks are also rumoured to be chasing Ben Ross and will apparently release Anthony Tupou.

- Retirements: There has been some conjecture that the announcement of Daniel Conn's retirement was a bit premature.  It's not, Conn is retired.

- Rumours from the Twitterverse 3: Speaking of conjecture, there has been a bit of chat about Ivan Cleary's future this week. As of today the rumour mill has him at the top of the Panther's list AND signing on again at the Warriors.

- Rumours from the Twitterverse 4: Joseph Tomane has been struggling with injury and form and hasn't played much this year. Big Jamal is due on the Gold Coast in 2012, so the ACT Brumbies have apparently targeted the former Australian Schoolboy union star for a code switch.