NRL Fantasy club profile: Dragons
There have been some major changes at St George Illawarra this season, particularly in the halves, but expect the Dragons' proven performers to be their most in-demand players in Holden NRL Fantasy in 2014.
Josh Dugan ($445,400) starts the season as the most expensive winger/fullback in NRL Fantasy after putting in some dominant performances following his mid-season switch to St George Illawarra last year. He's capable of doing just about everything – he's safe at the back, has a damaging running game, can create tries and is a strong long-range kicker – but his lofty price tag and a worrying injury record could scare a few Fantasy coaches off.
Trent Merrin ($394,900) is arguably a safer bet – the hard-running, tough tackling forward is even more valuable this season after being given dual position status as a prop and a back-rower. With unlimited positional switches allowed during trades this year, having flexible players in your team could save you a few trades down the track.
Hooker Mitch Rein ($291,300) is one of the busiest dummy-halves in the game but has traditionally been a little inconsistent in fantasy due to the fact he didn't play the full 80 minutes every week. That could change this season following the exit of Cameron King to the Cowboys. Youngster Craig Carvey ($107,000) is a chance of getting a bench hooker spot, but Rein is capable of playing big minutes and could be a big Fantasy winner if coach Steve Price opts against playing a bench dummy-half.
The departure of Jamie Soward and Nathan Fien means the Dragons are likely to field the new halves combination of Sam Williams ($265,600) and Gareth Widdop ($253,000). Both Williams and Widdop were junior partners in the halves at their former clubs, and if one of them becomes a dominant playmaker at the Dragons they're likely to become a big mover in NRL Fantasy.
Kyle Stanley ($124,000) comes at a great price and is available in both the centres and the halves, but with Williams and Widdop having been recruited and centres Dylan Farrell ($151,200) and Gerard Beale ($144,300) at the club Stanley could be battling to find a spot anywhere in the backline. As always, keep an eye on the Round 1 team lists.
If injury strikes down Widdop or Williams then promising youngsters Harry Siejka ($107,000) and Josh Drinkwater ($107,000) could come into calculations – although several fantasy coaches have been burned before by Drinkwater who spent the bulk of last season in the NSW Cup despite being the subject of plenty of hype.
Dragons player prices
Josh Dugan (WFB) $445,400
Trent Merrin (FRF, 2RF) $394,900
Mitch Rein (HOK) $291,300
Ben Creagh (2RF) $282,600
Jason Nightingale (WFB) $272,000
Sam Williams (HLF) $265,600
Jack De Belin (2RF, FRF) $263,100
Gareth Widdop (HLF) $253,000
Bronson Harrison (2RF) $249,300
Joel Thompson (2RF (CTR) $242,700
Dan Hunt (FRF) $240,400
Jack Stockwell (FRF) $239,800
Brett Morris (WFB) $238,000
Tyson Frizell (2RF) $237,500
Leeson Ah Mau (2RF, FRF) $235,200
Charly Runciman (WFB, CTR) $192,600
Mike Cooper (FRF) $188,200
Nathan Green (CTR) $179,500
Adam Quinlan (CTR (HLF) $154,600
Dylan Farrell (CTR, WFB) $151,200
Gerard Beale (WFB, CTR) $144,300
Kyle Stanley (CTR (HLF) $124,000
Michael Witt (WFB, HLF) $110,700
Atelea Vea (2RF) $107,000
Will Matthews (2RF, FRF) $107,000
Harry Siejka (HLF) $107,000
Matt Groat (FRF) $107,000
Peter Mata'utia (WFB) $107,000
Josh Ailaomai (FRF) $107,000
Josh Drinkwater (HLF) $107,000
Craig Garvey (HOK) $107,000