Scout Report: Round 12 teams wrap
Here are all the key ins and outs and in-form Holden NRL Fantasy stars heading into Round 12 of the NRL season.
For a refresher on which teams are the best bets for this season's bye rounds, check out my bye analysis article from the start of the year. And before you plan this week's trades, make sure you pick your six-man line-up for Origin Fantasy ahead of Wednesday night's series opener.
Panthers v Eels at Sportingbet Stadium, Friday night
Panthers: Elijah Taylor and Lewis Brown return, in the back row and on the bench respectively, with Isaah Yeo dropping out of the squad and Matt Robinson named 18th man. The Panthers play in both the remaining major bye rounds (Round 14 and 17) so will be handy pickups for those coaches aiming at overall points. Josh Mansour ($342,212) remains their best Fantasy option with his 50.25 average score a massive return for a winger.
Eels: Ryan Morgan replaces the injured Willie Tonga in the centres for a week while Englishman Lee Mossop has been named 18th man after coming back from injury through the NSW Cup. Jarryd Hayne ($395,305) is scoring close to 55 points a game and could crack the $400K mark with another big score this week, while Nathan Peats ($267,44), Manu Ma'u ($284,247), Semi Radradra ($249,440) and Will Hopoate ($192,534) have peaked. With one bye out of the way Parramatta will play every other round this season bar Round 17.
Roosters v Raiders at Allianz Stadium, Saturday
Roosters: Origin trio Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings and Aidan Guerra have been named to play, with Nene Macdonald, Samisoni Langi and Kane Evans dropping out and the injured Boyd Cordner not due back until July. Sonny Bill Williams ($331,721) had been worryingly inconsistent this season but he produced his best performance of 2014 on Friday night with a whopping 87-point effort, earning a $20,080 price rise in the process. He once again looks a good option for the bye rounds. The same goes for Jake Friend ($372,140) who scored 56 last week, while James Maloney ($302,548) only managed 26 despite a strong performance against the Bulldogs.
Raiders: A win at last! Canberra's bigger names stepped up with a string of quality scores from their thrashing of an under-strength Cowboys outfit, with Anthony Milford ($316,537), Jack Wighton ($249,898) and Shaun Fensom ($417,058) all cracking the 60-point mark while eight more players scored 40 or better. Rookie half Mitch Cornish now costs just $98,694 after scoring just 9 from the bench, where he'll play again this week, with Maroon Josh Papalii replacing Shannon Boyd in the 17 Canberra's only change.
Cowboys v Storm at 1300 Smiles Stadium, Saturday night
Cowboys: Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Brent Tate and James Tamou have all been named to back up from Origin I, with Fantasy cash cow Curtis Rona ($168,848) among those dropping out. Jason Taumalolo ($259,809) is back in the starting line-up after scoring just 18 off the bench last week – he'll need 51 or better this week to avoid another price drop – while Scott Bolton switches from prop to lock to cover for Tariq Sims after his two-match suspension. Sunday's loss to Canberra was a game to forget for most of the Cowboys' side, with the exception being young back-rower Ethan Lowe – who played the full 80, scored a try, made several tackle busts, kicked two goals and finished with 72 Fantasy points. At $202,308 he could be good value if he maintains some big minutes. It appears Lowe and Taumalolo have the next two games to prove they deserve to keep a starting spot in the back row before Sims returns in Round 15.
Storm: Ben Roberts replaces the injured Joel Romelo at five-eighth, with Cameron Smith ($504,598) returning to his usual hooker position and Mitch Garbutt added to the bench in jersey 18. Kurt Mann ($125,320) has a break even of just 8 after a solid start to his NRL career. Smith is the most likely of Melbourne's Origin players to spend some time on the bench this week if the Storm build up an early lead in Townsville.
Warriors v Knights at Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday
Warriors: Shaun Johnson ($408,794) has been named despite doubts over an ankle injury, which didn't hurt his scoring too much on the weekend as the halfback racked up another 61 points. The Warriors only rate him a 50-50 chance of playing this week though. Sam Rapira has recovered from his back injury and is on the bench, with Ben Henry dropping out with a knee injury, Suaia Matagi starting at prop and Ben Matulino in the second row. Simon Mannering ($312,319) is back in form as the safest centre in Fantasy with a very solid 59, while Sam Tomkins ($268,245) continues to perform well (on the field at least) with another 51 points last week.
Knights: Jeremy Smith, Joseph Leilua, Beau Scott and Darius Boyd are all named to return this week, with the in-form Adam Cuthbertson ($350,755) dropping back to the bench with Smith resuming his usual role at lock. Rookies Jake Mamo and Joseph Tapine are out. That means the only truly relevant Fantasy players at the Knights these days are five-eighth Jarrod Mullen ($374,266) and centres Leilua ($291,187) and Dane Gagai ($283,400), with Cuthbertson having hit his peak despite an achievable break even of 30 this week.
Broncos v Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium, Sunday
Broncos: Brisbane have named their Origin trio, despite a tendency to rest their Maroons in previous years, with Sam Thaiday also named to return from a calf injury. They do have a few options up their sleeves though with an extra four players included on an extended bench. A start in the back row for youngster Corey Oates ($141,644) paid off nicely last week, with 58 points and a $20K price bump, but he's back on the bench this week and should stay there if the Broncos remain at full strength. Fellow cheapie Jarrod Wallace ($120,696) remains a risky proposition after scoring just 16 and dropping out of Brisbane's top 17, while props Josh McGuire ($344,514) and Ben Hannant ($305,290) both cracked 50s in Round 11.
Sea Eagles: Kieran Foran and Jamie Lyon are back, which means rookie Jack Littlejohn ($194,087) drops back to 18th man and David Williams is bumped out of the side. Littlejohn could be back in Round 17 when Daly Cherry-Evans is on Origin duty, but that might be it for him this year if Foran and Cherry-Evans stay injury-free. Jorge Taufua ($309,099) is one of only six winger/fullbacks to score more than 45 points a game this season (Hayne, Mansour, Inglis, Milford and Tedesco are the others).
Rabbitohs v Dragons at ANZ Stadium, Monday night
Rabbitohs: Queensland trio Greg Inglis, Ben Te'o and Chris McQueen should back up from Origin but the big news is the possible late inclusion of Issac Luke ($333,762), who wasn't named on Tuesday but is a good chance of reclaiming the hooker role from Api Koroisau ($245,399) on Monday night. Burgess brothers Sam ($412,841) and George (412,981) continue to reign supreme with scores of 64 and 58 respectively in Round 11.
Dragons: New interim coach Paul McGregor has resisted the temptation to shake up his squad significantly this week, with Peter Mata'utia ($110,917) being switched from the wing to centre as Joel Thompson returns to the back row and Jason Nightingale returns on the wing. There's no return date set for first-choice Dylan Farrell, who is out with a pectoral injury, so Mata'utia could get an extended run in the backline. With the Dragons playing in both major bye rounds 14 and 17 they are now a team to watch for overall points players, with Josh Dugan ($343,765) set to be a popular buy over the next few weeks. Benji Marshall ($211,244) will fall in price in the short term after scoring just 7 on his Dragons debut.
Byes: Bulldogs, Sharks, Titans, Wests Tigers
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