NRL Fantasy club profile: Dragons

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Dragons Verified League code: SLFMPPW2
Who will be in your team?

Paul McGregor starts his first full season in charge of the Dragons, with a couple of question marks hanging over two of his star players. One: where will Josh Dugan play in the backline? Two: is Trent Merrin going to commit his playing future to the Dragons? Both will have an effect on the star pair's NRL Fantasy scores, but there are a few value buys to be found elsewhere in the St George Illawarra squad as well.

Fantasy Guns

Josh Dugan ($385,000) – A mid-year switch to the centres didn't hurt Dugan's Fantasy scoring ability significantly, but Fantasy coaches would be happy to see the Dragons star back in his old role in the Round 1 team lists. Dugan enjoyed a dominant first season at St George Illawarra after making a mid-year switch from Canberra a couple of years ago, and while he is no longer the only go-to man in the side thanks to the presence of Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall, Dugan can still produce match-winning performances from fullback. He does have a patchy injury record and will play Origin - but with Hayne gone - Dugan could rival Greg Inglis as Fantasy's top fullback.

Trent Merrin ($450,000) – The star lock has been holding out on a new contract with the Dragons and there's good reason why he'd be in demand, having led the club for run metres and offloads and ranked second at the Dragons for tackles last season. He's capable of playing 80 minutes but never did it in 2014, even dropping back to the bench for seven games in the middle of the season. He averaged a superb 62 points a game after half a dozen rounds but only 46 after that, so Fantasy coaches will be hopeful the NSW rep regains his old touch at the start of 2015. If his contract negotiations continue to drag on though he may find himself on the bench a little more than usual.

Wild Cards

George Rose ($142,000) – One of the game's cult heroes and a throwback to a bygone era, Rose arrives at St George Illawarra after a year to forget at Melbourne, where he averaged 15 Fantasy points over nine games. Those performances aren't a great sign for the 31-year-old's prospects this year, and he's hardly a workhorse forward, but he's been signed to add size and experience to a Dragons pack lacking both, so if he gets a decent run in the side he's every chance of improving on last year's showings. 

Joel Thompson ($313,000) – It's all about minutes for Joel Thompson. Like any 80-minute back-rower, Thompson is a solid Fantasy scorer capable of hitting 50+ scores – as he did four times last season. He starts 2015 a little undervalued due to a slow start to his last campaign; he didn't start playing the full 80 minutes in the second row until Round 12, and that made a significant difference to his Fantasy scoring. Before Round 12 Thompson averaged 25 points a week, and after that he scored about 42 per game.  Assuming he plays close to the full 80 all year this season, his value should climb.

Potential Cash Cows

Eto Nabuli ($128,000) – Nabuli is a rookie with tons of potential, having been spotted by Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler in Fiji a few years back and now recruited by the Dragons after struggling to break into an impressive Panthers backline. Brett Morris's departure means a wing spot is up for grabs, and while Nabuli will be battling the likes of Charly Runciman and Peter Mata'utia for a first-grade spot, the hulking speedster could be a (very cheap) tackle-busting machine if he gets a run. He can play at centre too after playing there for the Junior Kangaroos at the end of 2014.

Heath L'Estrange ($137,000) – The former Rooster will be challenging fellow recruit Kris Keating for the bench hooker spot behind first-choice rake Mitch Rein, and his low scores last season (about 15 points a game) mean he starts at close to the minimum price this year.  He's hardly going to be a big money-winner while Rein is starting in the No.9, but any player with his experience and starting price is capable of being a good value buy. 

Dragons 2015 NRL Fantasy prices
Trent Merrin, $450,000
Mitch Rein, $420,000
Josh Dugan, $385,000
Jason Nightingale, $374,000
Gareth Widdop, $371,000
Leeson Ah Mau, $351,000
Mike Cooper, $326,000
Ben Creagh, $325,000
Jack de Belin, $314,000
Benji Marshall, $313,000
Joel Thompson, $313,000
Tyson Frizell, $302,000
Peter Mata'utia, $251,000
Will Matthews, $251,000
Charly Runciman, $239,000
Kris Keating, $239,000
Dane Nielsen, $223,000
Dylan Farrell, $223,000
Dan Hunt, $220,000
Craig Garvey, $207,000
Beau Henry, $203,000
Adam Quinlan, $195,000
Jake Marketo, $150,000
George Rose, $142,000
Heath L'Estrange, $137,000
Nathan Green, $137,000
Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, $128,000
Eto Nabuli, $128,000
Rory O'Brien, $128,000
Rulon Nutira, $128,000
Shannon Wakeman, $128,000
Euan Aitken, $128,000
Shannon Crook, $128,000