We doff our hats this week to Euge whose Dream Team “come.get.some’s” has top-scored in successive rounds. Euge followed an 898 in Round 19 with a monumental 998 in Round 20 to carry off a tidy $1000 for two weeks’ work.

Scores boomed across the board last weekend, a combination of Friday night’s golden point thriller between the Eels and Bulldogs and the heavy rain which resulted in a series of slogging battles.

Euge, who is placed at 63 in the overall Dream Team rankings, dwarfed Middo’s Magicians’ score of 758, so we thought it was time to investigate how Euge managed to achieve such a total.

For a start he (or she) has been astute in identifying players whose values have risen steadily throughout the season. The value of Euge’s team has increased to $5.877 million since Round 1 and that figure is typical of the leading teams. By comparison, the Magicians’ combination is valued at $5.092 million. Among our forwards we have five players in common – Cameron Smith, Corey Parker, Shaun Fensom and Mitchell Allgood along with injured Rooster Boyd Cordner. The Round 20 scores of a number of our other forwards tended to cancel each other out last round – the Magicians’ Ben Hannant, Keith Galloway, Andrew McCullough and Dallas Johnnson totalled 193 points while Euge’s Luke Bailey, Jake Friend, Andrew Ryan and Nate Myles tallied 192. It was the scores of three remaining forwards where Euge blew the Magicians out of the water. Aiden Tolman, Ben Ross and Nathan Hindmarsh tallied 181 for Euge while Ben Matulino, Mose Masoe and Ashley Harrison scored a meagre 41 points for the Magicians. A combination of limited trades and salary cap pressure – a failure of the Magicians to identify players whose value will increase – was responsible for the difference.

There was a similar imbalance in our backlines. Euge’s backs tallied 395 for Round 20 while the Magicians scored just 259. And we had only one player in common, Warriors rookie Elijah Taylor. Across the board, Euge’s backs offered better value than the Magicians. Euge’s fullback Jarryd Hayne scored 58, the Magicians’ Gareth Widdop just 28. Euge’s best four three-quarters – Alex Glenn, Ben Smith, Elijah Taylor and Nathan Smith  – scored 129, the Magicians’ four – Joel Thompson, Luke Burt, Jack Reed and Blake Ferguson– managed just 54. Euge’s halves Daly Cherry-Evans, James Maloney and Matt Srama tallied 148 while the Magicians’ halves Jamie Soward, Elijah Taylor and Chad Townsend scored only 91.

It is a humbling exercise to realise how far off the pace the Magicians are compared with the leading Dream Teams, especially considering that Euge, despite amassing the top scores over the past fortnight, has over 450 points to make up on the outright leader Jared (team ATT), over the final six weeks of the season.

We have made minor adjustments to our squad to improve our performance this week, using one of our three remaining trades to bring in Canterbury’s Dene Halatau to our three-quarter line for Canberra’s Joel Thompson. We figured that Thompson was a risk this week after playing only 41 minutes against the Dragons last Monday night.

Our other moves were to sub out Elijah Taylor, whose scores have dipped in recent weeks, for St George Illawarra’s Nathan Fien, who has been selected at hooker; and we’ve subbed in Sam Tagataese, who scored 27 last week, for Blake Ferguson, who managed just eight for the Raiders.

We don’t expect to rival Euge and we’re tipping that we won’t break 800 this round but steady improvement would suit us just fine.