Lone Scout's Dream Team Q&A: Round 12
So, how about that Origin game, eh? Don't worry, there will be no mentions of referees here – I'm here to talk about the main game, particularly for Blues fans like me who need a distraction from yet another NSW defeat: Toyota Origin Dream Team.
Robbie "not an Origin player" Farah proved to be the top dog in Game One, notching 60 points with a strong all-round effort, with Blue skipper Paul Gallen and Queensland try-scorers Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd all posting 55. Queensland skipper Cameron Smith and risky NSW selections Jarryd Hayne and Michael Jennings also impressed with scores in the high 40s.
The disappointments? Todd Carney was underwhelming at best, scoring just 20, while Maroons fullback Billy Slater had a nightmare of a game under the high ball and scored 28.
Despite fears of plenty of carbon-copy teams dominating the rankings, nobody actually picked the best possible team for Game One, with 477 the top score. That means there's still a big chance of anyone taking home the major prize of $3000, which will go to the overall Origin Dream Team winner after Game Three. Get involved if you haven't already.
Now, back to the NRL and onto this week's most talked about players in the Dream Team world...
I mentioned this last week, but snap up Burgess now if you haven't already. He's got a break-even of 20, is a genuine keeper, and can be picked in the front or second row. His only concern is a susceptibility to injuries. Which brings us to...
Incredibly frustrating news this morning – for Williams, Manly and Dream Team coaches – that the man they call T-Rex will miss up to six weeks with the back injury he suffered in the Blues' loss in Origin I on Wednesday.
He's a must-have in the long run, after notching a massive 10 tackle breaks in just 23 minutes against one of the greatest teams in history on Wednesday night. If you've been waiting to bring him in to your side then it's simply a case of holding off for now. But if you've been holding onto him during his seven-week suspension (as I and plenty of other coaches have) then it's a really tricky decision now – can you cop another six weeks with a $200,000 star on the sidelines?
If not, then there are a few options out there to replace him with. Greg Inglis is the only other centre scoring 50 points a week, and his price is still rising, although he's hardly cheap at $284,900. Of the other genuine centres, Jamie Lyon ($260,800) is the next best option, followed by Josh Morris, with Origin stars Justin Hodges and Michael Jennings and must-have cash cow Konrad Hurrell all out this week through injury, suspension or the bye.
The in-form Dene Halatau and Rooster Mitchell Aubusson are both strong options as dual position centres/second-rowers, who give you a bit more versatility for trades down the track. On the cheaper side of things, Jarrod Croker, Matt Cooper and Dane Nielsen are all under $200K. Like all trades, it's really about finding the right fit for your squad, and on your budget.
Of course, for head-to-head DT coaches, Williams's six week absence actually only means he'll miss four head-to-head matches, with byes falling in round 14, 17 and 18. Maybe it's in your interest to not trade at all?
Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday & Petero Civoniceva
All three Maroons stars were left out of Brisbane's initial team for Friday night's clash with Melbourne, with only Ben Hannant and Matt Gillett to back up for the Broncos under Anthony Griffin's safety-first strategy over the Origin period. These guys do look like players to avoid if you're in the race for overall points. If you're playing head-to-head, then consider taking the hit this week – particularly with Hodges, who remains a genuine keeper in the centres.
Corey Parker & Josh McGuire
Should be big scorers this week (and in rounds 14, 15 and 17) without the Maroons stars in the Broncos pack. Parker's the obvious choice for captain this week, in the absence of Paul Gallen and with Cameron Smith expected to play about 60 minutes rather than his usual 80 for the Storm. The one question mark is over his goalkicking – he missed four attempts last week, with Corey Norman taking the final shot for the Broncos. Is Norman a chance of taking the role on full-time?
Still a bargain at $285,100, with his price actually dropping slightly last week, the Raiders tackle machine is one of few must-have second-rowers in the game this year.
Yes, he's likely to only play 60 minutes this week after Origin, probably off the bench. Still, he's such a strong scorer that it's worth including him in your team, and only consider trading him out over Origin if you've got no better trades to make elsewhere – particularly if you're focusing on head-to-head. There's no guarantee his price will drop enough over the Origin break to justify the two trades you'll need to trade him out and then trade him back in. For overall points players, avoiding Origin players in general is a wise move at this time of year.
See Smith. As I wrote a fortnight ago, my basic advice is: if you're playing head-to-head, keep him, if you're playing for overall, trade him. Over the Origin period, Corey Parker – not Gallen or Smith – will be the most reliable captaincy option, so do what you need to do get him in your side.
Cameron Ciraldo, Clint Newton & Nigel Plum
The return of Plum to Penrith's lineup could spell trouble for the scores of fellow back-rowers Ciraldo and Newton. Ciraldo has peaked in value after $88K in price rises and is ready to be sold, while Newton has another couple of rises in him.
After meandering on with a spate of average scores this season, Moltzen produced a quality 66 last week out of nowhere and is suddenly someone I recommend holding on to. His price will jump for another couple of weeks, so delay trading him out until then if you've held on this long.
He had a big game off the bench last week, scoring a season-high 78, leading many of his Dream Team fans to question why he hasn't earned a starting spot this week. In fact, there are some whispers he may get a shot at the five-eighth role, with Blake Austin rumoured to be shifted back to the NSW Cup. Either way, Burns has another few weeks of price rises in him before you should look for an upgrade to one of the big guns in the halves.
The cash cow of the week, after being named to play in the centres (covering for the injured Shaun Kenny-Dowall) in what will be his third NRL game. Snap him up if you want to free up some cash in the centres.
Good luck with your big decisions this week, and keep dreaming.
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