Scout Report: Round 3 teams wrap
Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Friday night
Tigers: Tackle-busting centre Tim Simona ($262,400) and hard-working back-rower Liam Fulton ($320,619) return from injury. The Tigers routed the Gold Coast on Sunday but are likely to have to spend more time defending against Souths this week. Luke Brooks ($178,863) repaid the faith of the Fantasy coaches who held onto him with a 51-point display, playing a starring role in a surprise Tigers win and burying the memory of his single-digit Round 1 score. His partner in crime James Tedesco ($253,929) grew in value by a whopping $36,000 after a sensational 72-point effort. It's early days but Tedesco's starting to look like a genuine gun at fullback this year, although his price is rising fast for those who don't have him yet. And of course the rock-solid Rabbitohs may well bring Tedesco and Brooks back down to earth on Friday night.
Rabbitohs: Joel Reddy ($157,100) replaces Beau Champion ($176,727) in the only significant change, with Kirisome Auva'a and Kyle Turner likely to drop off the extended bench. Greg Inglis ($414,670) continues to fire and remains a good bye for head-to-head Fantasy coaches, but those aiming for overall points should keep in mind the fact he'll go missing for at least five games during the Origin period.
Broncos v Roosters at Suncorp Stadium, Friday night
Broncos: Josh McGuire ($322,661) will sit out this week through suspension, with Ben Hannant back in the starting side. Andrew McCullough ($389,476) is being dubbed Cameron Smith's successor after his super start to the season and he is equally hot property in NRL Fantasy after notching 135 points in two weeks. Corey Parker ($464,468) remains rock solid with 64 points in Round 2.
Roosters: No changes for the Roosters this week, with hat-trick hero Anthony Minichiello ($224,831) riding high from a 79-point score that he probably won't match again this year. Most of the Roosters' backline benefited from the team's romping win over Parramatta on Saturday night, and normal service should resume against an in-form Broncos outfit in Brisbane. Cash cow prop Dylan Napa ($122,508) keeps a bench spot ahead of French recruit Remi Casty and continues to make money.
Panthers v Bulldogs at Sportingbet Stadium, Saturday
Panthers: Jamie Soward ($304,214) was a late withdrawal on the weekend and is back in action against the Bulldogs, along with prop Tim Grant ($306,800). Jamal Idris ($294,299) made a strong start to life as a Panther with a 46-point effort against the Storm and he could be a handy alternative to the likes of Simon Mannering and Jamie Lyon in the centres. Elijah Taylor ($355,884) has played the full 80 minutes both weeks and is averaging 57.5 so far.
Bulldogs: No changes this week to the 'Dogs team that thumped Cronulla on Monday, with halfback Trent Hodkinson ($323,913) doing just about everything in an 82-point performance. Prop James Graham ($370,691) has the highest break even of any Bulldogs player this week (53) but he's as reliable as they come so is worth holding onto for the long run.
Sharks v Dragons at Remondis Stadium, Saturday night
Sharks: The Sharks were horrible without their three superstars on Monday, and one of them – Todd Carney – is thankfully back this week. With Andrew Fifita (suspended) and Paul Gallen (injured) on the sidelines again, David Fifita ($111,384) is a chance of holding his spot after being named on an extended bench while fellow rookie Michael Lichaa ($115,731) gets another shot at the bench hooker role. Popular cheapie Tinirau Arona ($167,592) continues to make money but has been bumped to the bench this week with Chris Heighington ($290,837) starting at lock.
Dragons: Englishman Mike Cooper ($221,000) was a strong performer in the Dragons' win over the Warriors and is averaging 46.5 points after two weeks, but he faces some stiff competition in the forwards with Jack de Belin ($251,308) and Jack Stockwell ($239,800) both added to the bench this week. Gareth Widdop ($297,761) played better than his 39-Fantasy score suggested on the weekend, and his price will rise again if he scores 20 or more this week.
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Cowboys v Warriors at 1300 Smiles Stadium, Saturday night
Cowboys: Semi-popular Fantasy lock Joel Riethmuller ($278,352) misses out again after being a late exclusion on the weekend, with Tariq Sims ($221,663) getting his chance at starting lock. Jason Taumalolo ($263,874) is doing his best impersonation of Tony Williams circa 2012, playing 80 minutes a game and busting plenty of tackles. James Tamou ($306,159) showed signs of becoming one of Fantasy's dominant front-rowers with 60 points in 44 minutes last weekend.
Warriors: Popular centre Konrad Hurrell ($294,300) is back, but only as the fifth name on a five-man bench. Manu Vatuvei ($263,795) and Sione Lousi ($107,000) are also back. Underwhelming rookie John Palavi ($114,920) hasn't been getting big minutes and has now been dropped back to the bench after starting at lock for the opening two rounds. Speaking of underwhelming, their usually reliable skipper Simon Mannering ($285,312) is averaging just 25 despite playing the full 80 in both games so far, and with a lot of cheaper options out there a trade looks tempting this week – but only if there aren't more pressing problems in your squad. The Warriors' defence generally has been woeful this year (conceding a combined 67 points to relative lightweights the Eels and Dragons), so if and when that situation changes you can expect to see Mannering's scores go up.
Sea Eagles v Eels at Brookvale Oval, Sunday
Sea Eagles: Glenn Stewart ($236,307) returns to the Manly side at lock, after Jamie Buhrer ($259,381, 68 points) filled in admirably in last week's win over the Rabbitohs. Cheap props Dunamis Lui ($130,759) and Josh Starling ($124,350) are both making steady cash with scores in the high 20s, while Anthony Watmough ($370,839) and Matt Ballin ($354,558) have both put together back-to-back half-centuries. Prop Brenton Lawrence ($301,518) is failing to live up to the pre-season hype and is probably a sell this week.
Eels: Popular cheapie Nathan Peats ($145,494) is back after his club-enforced suspension, in a welcome sign for most Fantasy coaches, while Darcy Lussick ($189,545) makes way after copping a four-game suspension for a reckless high shot on the weekend. Manu Ma'u ($151,754) is the success story at Parramatta so far, getting another $26,400 price bump this week after scores of 44 and 39.
Raiders v Titans at GIO Stadium, Sunday night
Raiders: Star back-rowers Josh Papalii (ankle) and Shaun Fensom (suspension) are both out, with Jarrad Kennedy and Paul Vaughan getting starting berths this week while David Shillington ($220,000) and Matt McIlwrick ($174,300) join the bench. Anthony Milford ($321,335, 76 points) was in stunning form against Newcastle on the weekend while Jack Wighton ($177,390) repaid patient Fantasy coaches with an impressive score of 53, including two try assists and the bulk of Canberra's kick metres.
Titans: Maurice Blair ($232,566) has been replaced in the centres by Brad Takairangi ($156,200) but the big Fantasy news could be the quad injury that has Aidan Sezer ($372,607) in doubt this week. The star pivot has been overshadowed by halves partner Albert Kelly ($366,492) so far this season and the injury issue could have Fantasy coaches looking for alternatives. Starting hooker Beau Falloon ($241,848) is also battling a knee injury. Ryan James ($267,300) returned from his shoulder injury for Tweed Heads on the weekend but only just squeezes into the side as 18th man at this stage.
Storm v Knights at AAMI Park, Monday night
Storm: Melbourne are unchanged after securing their second-straight one-point win, and will be primed for a big one against the team that knocked them out of last year's finals series. As predicted, five-eighth Ben Hampton ($228,220, 17 points) saw his score drop in Round 2 after the return of Cooper Cronk ($363,177, 50 points) while most Fantasy coaches will want a little more from everyone's favourite captain Cameron Smith ($513,752, 53 points) this week.
Knights: The addition of David Fa'alogo ($220,600) on the bench is the only change for the Knights, who could find themselves winless at the bottom of the ladder at the end of Round 3. Jarrod Mullen's replacement Michael Dobson ($152,638) is proving to be a very handy cash cow in the halves, while Matt Minto ($113,226) made a solid start to his NRL career at fullback on the weekend and holds his spot in the absence of Darius Boyd (hamstring, Round 4).