Scout Report: Round 21 teams wrap
Paul Gallen is facing another couple of weeks on the sidelines, Sam Burgess is in some doubt, a couple of Fantasy guns are back and Jarryd Hayne is hitting new heights. Here are all this week's key moves for Holden NRL Fantasy.
Sea Eagles v Broncos, Friday night at Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles: Jorge Taufua returns on the wing for Cheyse Blair this week. Daly Cherry-Evans ($360,716) is back in form after an underwhelming Fantasy season so far, smashing out 85 points on Sunday. Jamie Lyon ($267,567) is Manly's most popular player and remains one of the most solid centres in the game, hitting 50 for the first time of the season over the weekend.
Broncos: Daniel Vidot and Jack Reed will line up on the wings while Jake Granville has been named on an extended bench in jersey 14, suggesting he could take minutes off Andrew McCullough (although he was also named there last week and dropped out of the final 17). Don't panic about Ben Hunt's lowly 28-point return on the weekend – it was easily his worst score of the season and he still has two 70+ efforts from his past four games. His break even is close to 80 this week if you've got $400,000 to spend on a star half in the next week or two. Corey Parker ($398,140) remains one of the top players in the game and won't get any cheaper than he is right now. New five-eighth Ben Barba will get dual position status in Fantasy this week and is coming off just his second 50+ score of the season.
Bulldogs v Panthers, Friday night at ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: Josh Reynolds and David Klemmer are back, with Tony Williams returning to the second row and Dale Finucane dropping back to the bench with Greg Eastwood starting at lock. Josh Jackson ($285,596) is a cut-price keeper now that he's back to his busy best, and Tim Lafai ($270,503) is also holding his own in Fantasy with another seven tackle busts and 158 run metres last week.
Panthers: Tackle break machine Josh Mansour ($334,477) returns on the wing, bumping Dallin Watene-Zelezniak out of the side, while debutant Will Smith (insert Fresh Prince jokes here) replaces Peter Wallace in the halves. Adam Docker and David Simmons also return, bumping out Isaah Yeo and Kevin Naiqama. James Segeyaro ($380,258) is averaging 60 from his past three games and is among the best of the second-tier hookers (along with Jake Friend, Issac Luke and Andrew McCullough, and just behind Fantasy superstars Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah). Bryce Cartwright is still cheap at $200,094 and remains a solid 40+ option in the back row. Jamal Idris ($276,854) needs to hit a half century to avoid another price drop this week.
Sharks v Eels, Saturday afternoon at Remondis Stadium
Sharks: Paul Gallen is now expected to be out until Round 23 with his biceps injury, so those who haven't sold him yet need to seriously consider doing so now. His absence means fellow barnstorming workhorse Andrew Fifita ($383,936) is rapidly approaching must-have status after a scoring run of 48, 60 and 88 in his past three games. Wade Graham ($348,697) is a point-of-difference option in the back row after averaging 60 in recent weeks.
Eels: What a second half it was from Jarryd Hayne ($450,315) on Saturday night. At half-time he was sitting on 15 points and on track for his worst score of the season; by full-time he had won the game for his team and racked up a staggering 91 points – his best score of 2014. Peni Terepo replaces Kenny Edwards in Parramatta's only change this week, while Isaac De Gois ($231,918) continues to provide solid impact as a reserve Fantasy hooker.
Cowboys v Titans, Saturday at 1300 Smiles Stadium
Cowboys: Matt Scott ($374,353) is back in a major boost for North Queensland, while James Tamou has been named despite picking up a neck injury last week. Matthew Wright has been switched to centre with Tautau Moga moving onto the wing. Johnathan Thurston ($386,189) doesn't get huge numbers from base stats but is still averaging in the high-50s from pure brilliance in attack, leading the league in try assists.
Titans: David Mead replaces Kalifa Faifai Loa on the wing. Greg Bird's return last week ended Mark Minichiello's run as the Titans' 80-minute back-rower, resulting in a mediocre 25 points – his worst return since Round 9. Daniel Mortimer ($219,421) remains a handy 40+ scorer in the halves or hooker, while Dave Taylor ($294,200) is a solid enough centre option thanks to his try-scoring feats in his new position.
Roosters v Dragons, Saturday night at Allianz Stadium
Roosters: Sonny Bill Williams is out for a month with a broken thumb and is a sell, while Mitchell Aubusson will miss a week or two with an ankle injury. Michael Jennings is back at centre, Aidan Guerra returns to his usual second-row position, cheapie Nene Macdonald starts on the wing and Heath L'Estrange is back on the bench. Jake Friend ($401,008) made a stunning 69 tackles in the loss to Newcastle to hit a season-high 93 last week, and is now one of just eight players to cost more than $400,000 in Fantasy – but his minutes may take a hit with L'Estrange back in the side. Boyd Cordner ($320,288) is averaging 63 over his past three games, well up from his season average of 47, and he could potentially get more to do without Williams in the side.
Dragons: Trent Merrin ($335,653) returned from injury off the bench last week and scored just 25, dropping $20,000 in price and becoming the perfect straight swap for Sonny Bill Williams this week. Expect his scores to lift as he gets more minutes in the next few rounds. Gareth Widdop ($324,112) was superb against the Tigers in scoring 74, but he's just one of several hit-and-miss Fantasy options in the halves right now. Unsurprisingly there are no changes for St George Illawarra after last week's win.
Raiders v Warriors, Sunday afternoon at GIO Stadium
Raiders: No changes for Canberra despite their lacklustre showing against Souths. If you haven't got Shaun Fensom ($425,320) in your squad, buy him now.
Warriors: Shaun Johnson's late withdrawal on Sunday with a groin injury had plenty of Fantasy coaches fuming, but he's back this week along with Feleti Mateo. Thomas Leuluai is on standby for Johnson though as one of six names on the bench. Sam Tomkins ($356,960) continues to impress at the back while Simon Mannering ($377,789) can't stop scoring tries.
Rabbitohs v Knights, Sunday afternoon at Barlow Park, Cairns
Rabbitohs: Sam Burgess is expected to play despite leaving the field with a shoulder injury last week, while John Sutton will miss four to six weeks with a knee injury despite being named on Tuesday. Ben Te'o is likely to miss out this week as well through suspension. Sutton's injury means Adam Reynolds ($361,058) is now a definite hold, with the halfback returning to the Fantasy good books with a two-try 64 against the Raiders. Dylan Walker ($384,209) is in outrageous form – his scores have only dipped below 50 just once since Round 8, and that was a 49. Winger Alex Johnston ($251,040) isn't far behind with four tries in the last fortnight.
Knights: Kurt Gidley is back, replacing Jarrod Mullen who has an abdominal injury. Tyrone Roberts ($241,479) had a blinder in the absence of Gidley and Mullen on Friday night with a two-try 68, but can't be expected to repeat that kind of effort every week. Joey Leilua ($251,791) is in good touch in the centres after grabbing the match-winner against the Roosters, while rookie Sione Mata'utia ($119,784) started his NRL career with a bang with 51 Fantasy points first up.
Wests Tigers v Storm, Monday night at Campbelltown Stadium
Wests Tigers: Unchanged. Not a great game for the young guns on Sunday, with Luke Brooks (4) and Mitchell Moses (15) struggling to make any impact against the rampant Dragons. At least popular cheapie Dene Halatau ($98,477) provided 45 bonus points for his Fantasy owners after being moved into the starting side and playing the full 80 minutes. He's a handy cash-out/back-up option in the second row for Fantasy coaches now. Robbie Farah ($472,510) is the only player to average better than 70 points a game this season. Centre-turned-winger Keith Lulia will get dual position status this week for anyone interested.
Storm: Mega-cheapie Dayne Weston and cash cow Kurt Mann have been added to an extended bench in the only Melbourne changes this week. Nothing else new here, with Cameron Smith ($443,964), Cooper Cronk ($362,492) and Jesse Bromwich ($324,454) all looking as solid as ever.