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It’s now time for Dream Team coaches to start thinking strategically with the Origin period looming around the corner. The haves and the have-nots are starting to form both on the NRL ladder and on the Dream Team ladder, and with a number of big-name injuries and suspensions, what changes could you make this week?
Each Wednesday, we’ll take a look at the teams named and give you the rundown on what this means for the wonderful world of Dream Team.
Rabbitohs v Cowboys - ANZ Stadium 7:35pm 10/5/13
The Rabbitohs are again unchanged, with the same seventeen that defeated the Broncos at Suncorp last Friday included in a 19-man squad. Justin Hunt ($194,100) and Jeff Lima ($205,300) are again added to the extended bench, although it seems unlikely that either will play unless injuries strike.
The Cowboys are also unchanged from the side that beat the Eels last Saturday, with just two additions to the interchange. Scott Bolton ($243,600) returns on an extended bench alongside English hooker Scott Moore ($185,100). Gavin Cooper ($282,700) has retained his starting place, with Glenn Hall ($226,800) on the bench, while Antonio Winterstein ($200,500) is on the wing. Jason Taumalolo ($254,000), again left out, can’t seem to work his way back into the side.
Tigers v Sharks - Allianz Stadium 7:35pm 10/5/13
While no more injuries struck the Tigers, they’ve made a few positional changes for their clash with Cronulla. Benji Marshall ($286,200) is at five-eighth, pushing Curtis Sironen ($201,800) to halfback. Tim Simona ($127,700) will start in the centres, Eddy Pettybourne ($171,800) at lock and Suaso Sue ($143,100) at prop, with Bodene Thompson ($144,300), Shaun Spence ($111,400) and Jack Buchanan ($223,700) on the bench. Sue is where the money is to be made, with a break-even of -8 and average score of 33.67.
The Sharks will be missing one big name in Paul Gallen ($409,100), the inspirational captain and Dream Team legend ruled out with a knee injury. He is replaced at lock by former Tiger Chris Heighington ($322,200), who might be a good pick up with the opportunity for more game time. Jayson Bukuya ($204,900) has been added to the bench, while Sosaia Feki ($101,600) retains his spot on the wing ahead of Nathan Stapleton ($143,000).
Warriors v Bulldogs - Westpac Stadium 5:30pm 11/5/13
The Warriors have been forced into a couple of backline changes this week, with Kevin Locke ($171,600) and Jerome Ropati ($150,500) both missing through injury. Glen Fisiiahi ($127,700) has been named at fullback while Konrad Hurrell ($298,100) comes into the centres. They have also named Carlos Tuimavave ($163,600) on an extended bench, while Sam Rapira ($201,700) is in the starting side despite a hand injury.
The Bulldogs have named an unchanged side from the one that smashed Wests 40-4 last Friday night. Martin Taupau ($181,700) and Tim Browne ($129,200) have been added to an extended bench for the trip to the Kiwi capital, while Sam Kasiano ($249,600) and James Graham ($361,600) are starting and on the bench respectively after returning last week. Halfback Trent Hodkinson ($175,500) is again starting, and great value with a negative break-even and the kicking duties on his shoulders.
Eels v Broncos - Parramatta Stadium 7:30pm 11/5/13
The Eels have named an unchanged side after their heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys at home last week. Api Pewhairangi ($101,600) is the only addition after missing out on a debut for the return of Jacob Loko ($261,500). Peni Terepo ($101,600) will start at lock again after an impressive debut, with Joseph Paulo ($219,800) on the bench alongside Kaysa Pritchard ($101,600), and Tim Mannah ($310,700) starts at prop after making a miraculous return from a leg injury.
The Broncos welcome back three players for their trip to Parramatta, with Justin Hodges ($341,700), Josh McGuire ($295,200) and David Stagg ($253,800) all named to return from injury. Hodges starts in the centres, with Jordan Kahu ($101,600) pushed to the wing and Lachlan Maranta ($125,900) dropped. McGuire and Stagg are on an extended bench, with Jarrod Wallace ($132,200) retaining his spot after replacing McGuire last week.
Raiders v Knights - Canberra Stadium 2:00pm 12/5/13
The Raiders have lost Glen Buttriss ($250,100) and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs ($188,900) to injury this week, but welcome back QLD Origin prop David Shillington ($224,500) from a rib injury. Matt McIlwrick ($154,700) starts at hooker, with Anthony Milford ($101,600) and Shaun Berrigan ($185,600) both on an extended bench. Dane Tilse ($246,800) will start at prop, with Shillington making his return off the bench.
The Knights are forced into one change this week, with Jarrod Mullen ($387,800) ruled out with a knee injury. Kurt Gidley ($272,600) is shifted to five-eighth, with Travis Waddell ($185,000) now starting at hooker. Matt Hilder ($217,100) has also been recalled on the bench with Neville Costigan ($192,300), who was a late exclusion again last week. After starting from the bench for the last few weeks, Tyrone Roberts ($279,000) will start at halfback, and with only a second hooker on the bench, could be a valuable acquisition.
Titans v Dragons - Skilled Park 3:00pm 12/5/13
The Titans have three players return from injury this week in their 18 man squad as they host St George Illawarra. Kevin Gordon ($152,200), David Mead ($190,000) and Ben Ridge ($188,800) have all been named, with Gordon and Mead occupying each flank and Ridge on five man bench. Anthony Don ($119,400) and Steve Michaels ($111,100) have both been left out, while Mark Ioane ($127,700) is on the extended bench after making his debut in Auckland last weekend, as is Sam Irwin ($101,600), who is playing his third game this week and is in for a decent price rise.
St George Illawarra made just one change to the team that lost to the Sea Eagles on Monday night, with Matt Cooper ($284,200) recalled after missing the clash with a toe injury. He takes the place of Nathan Green ($203,900) in the centres, while Brett Morris ($270,900) has been named on the wing, but is in serious doubt with a knee injury suffered in the game. Jack Stockwell ($203,900) has found a starting spot again after starting from the bench last week, while Michael Weyman ($282,800) is on the bench after a successful return from injury.
Panthers v Storm - Centrebet Stadium 6:30pm 12/5/13
The Panthers have named two debutants for their Mother’s Day meeting with Melbourne at Centrebet Stadium. Issac John ($148,600) replaces Tom Humble ($159,800) at five-eighth, while Sam Anderson ($101,600) is on an extended bench. Nigel Plum ($280,800) will start at prop, with Adam Docker ($163,000) at lock and Mose Masoe ($151,200) back on the bench. This is also the third game for fullback Matt Moylan ($101,600), who is in line for a solid price rise.
The Storm are unchanged, despite their home loss to the Raiders last Saturday. They have added Kenneath Bromwich ($116,100), Lagi Setu ($163,800) and Slade Griffin ($128,400) to the bench, which also includes Maurice Blair ($143,400) and Brett Finch ($228,900), both of whom played their first game last weekend.
Sea Eagles v Roosters - Brookvale Oval 7:00pm 13/5/13
The Sea Eagles welcome back Steve Matai ($188,600) from suspension for their clash with the Roosters, named in the centres. Tom Symonds ($237,700) moves back to the bench, alongside Jamie Buhrer ($209,700), who missed Monday night’s win over the Dragons with a knee injury. James Hasson ($101,600), Esi Tonga ($127,700) and George Rose ($149,000) join them on the bench after playing their first game of 2013, while Brett Stewart ($237,500) was named despite a back injury.
The Roosters are forced into once change from the side that ran through the Panthers last week, with Sam Moa ($236,400) out with a knee injury. Martin Kennedy ($274,100) replaces him in the starting front row, with Frank-Paul Nuuausala ($212,500) returning to the side on the bench. Look for the Roosters’ stars Sonny Bill Williams ($437,400), James Maloney ($441,800) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($380,400) to step up as they attempt to win at Brookvale for the first time since 2004.