We're officially into the second half of the Holden NRL Dream Team season. That means DT coaches aiming to win their head-to-head leagues should be starting to save up trades for finals time (while also battling to sure up a spot in the top eight) while those chasing overall points should be keeping an eye on those pesky bye rounds coming up.
Everybody should be looking to trade out their early-season cash cows about now, either for bargain-basement cheapies or genuine keepers. Try to avoid mid-priced players at this time of the season, especially if you're getting low on trades, unless you plan to keep them all year. A Dream Team with 17 quality players at the end of the season will always beat a team with 25 middle-of-the-road scorers.
Now, onto this week's questions.
From Jason Murray
Have I missed the boat on Nofoaluma? Will his spot be secure now with Koroibete injured?
You've missed out on $71,200 in cash from David Nofoaluma's first price rise, and the 61 points he scored last week, but I don't think the ship has sailed just yet. The Tigers winger still has a break even of -47, and is currently averaging just over 50 points a game (with about half his points coming from tackle breaks).
He won't keep scoring like that all season (surely) but he does look like a very handy cash cow and a decent scoring option for the troublesome winger/fullback position. He's in some doubt this week with an ankle injury, but his spot in the Tigers team is pretty safe in the short-term now with Marika Koroibete out for about six weeks after dislocating his elbow. Job security had been his biggest problem before that, and that now seems to be a non-issue.
Remember though, buying any new cash cows now will cost you two trades (one to bring them in, one to cash them out) so try to plan how many trades you'll need for the rest of the season before making the decision.
From Damien Hudson
Time to lose Michael Gordon?
My instinct says no, for a few reasons. One, I had already identified Gordon as a keeper, and I usually like to stick with those calls rather than make sideways trades to another "keeper". Secondly, it's worth keeping in mind that all wingers/fullbacks will be inconsistent scorers in Dream Team – even Greg Inglis has his quiet games. He's struggled in the past fortnight, but three weeks ago Gordon scored a very handy 49.
And thirdly, there simply aren't too many options for keepers at winger/fullback this season. Inglis, Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne are probably the best options, and behind them there are a lot of players averaging scores in the mid-30s (including Gordon). So unless you expect his run of low scores will continue all year, I'd keep him.
From Adam Skinner
What's the story with no Loko this week?
Jacob Loko's been dropped to the NSW Cup for disciplinary reasons, with Cheyse Blair replacing him in the centres for Parramatta this week. Blair's one of the dozen Eels players who have been told to find a new club next season, so expect to see Loko back in the side soon (ie. next week).
From Nathan Gray
How many trades do have left LS?
14, before this week's trades.
From Adrian Estrich
Matt Moylan: will he play again this season? Is he worth hanging on to?
Moylan's stuck in a very unusual situation – the rookie Panthers fullback was forced out of last week's game because if he had played it would have put the club over their second-tier salary cap. Phil Gould's newspaper column on the weekend suggested Moylan could still play if Penrith have more injuries at fullback (Wes Naiqama played there last week) but other than that Moylan is not allowed to play again this season, at this stage. I'll be holding onto him for now on the off chance he does get another game or two, as he still has some cash to make.
UPDATE: Wes Naiqama has been ruled out of this week's game, meaning Moylan will return to fullback for Penrith for this week at least.
From Jonny White
Hey LS, should I be getting on Paul Gallen at all this season? Just seems like he only plays every second game.
I'm planning to bring him in after State of Origin. His price will fall a lot between now and then, and he's an established Dream Team gun – even if he isn't playing 80 minutes.
From Matthew Pepper
Is it worth hanging onto Lewis Brown now he is back in the second row?
Hard to say – Brown should definitely score more this week than he has been, but he still needs to hit the 50s to avoid a price drop. There's a good chance his price has peaked, so now's still a good time to trade unless you consider him a keeper in the centres.
From Anthony Barr
Is it time to get rid of SBW, and who would be a good trade for him?
I'm keeping Sonny Bill Williams, for now at least. He's a solid 80-minute back-rower, who makes 30-something tackles every week and is capable of breaking open a game in attack. He hasn't done too much in attack in the past few weeks, so his scores have dropped down from the 50s to the 30s and his price has fallen as well.
Still, he averages 50 points a game, meaning he qualifies as a keeper in my book.
Of course there are other, higher-scoring back rowers out there (Shaun Fensom, Corey Parker, etc) but I'd be looking to upgrade another player to one of those guys rather than trading one keeper for another. Every trade needs to count from here on in, and having a few spare trades at the end of the season could be crucial if any major injuries hit your squad.
That's it for now, good luck to your team this week.