Scout Report: Round 2 teams wrap
The first batch of NRL Fantasy scores are in and now it's time to reshape your squad – snapping up those fast-moving cash cows, ditching the early flops and setting your starting team up for the first stretch of the 2015 season.
Here are the key changes and Fantasy talking points for every NRL club heading into Round 2.
Bulldogs v Eels
Bulldogs: Josh Reynolds could miss up to eight weeks with a fractured arm, with Moses Mbye coming into the side at five-eighth. An explosive finish helped Brett Morris's score skyrocket to 78 in his first stint as a Bulldogs fullback – an encouraging sign for B-Moz owners and very possibly the highest score he'll see all season. James Graham was as solid as ever up front with 50, cash cow hooker Michael Lichaa did well with 43, while Sam Kasiano could be another bargain buy with 53 points first up. Josh Jackson's 20 will probably be among his lowest scores of the year – he's still a chance of becoming a 50-point player this season.
Eels: Semi Radradra just loves playing in Round 1, doesn't he? Another hat-trick helped the Fijian flyer to a whopping 82 Fantasy points, while Chris Sandow turned a few heads with a 70-point effort against Manly's highly-rated halves. Will Hopoate was solid at the back with 39, but fellow mid-range buy Tepai Moeroa looks like a sell after finishing with just 3 – thanks to four missed tackles, two penalties conceded, an error and just 30 run metres. Junior Paulo faces a lengthy ban for a dangerous throw, with new signing Danny Wicks and fellow forward Pauli Pauli both added to an extended bench.
Sharks v Broncos
Sharks: No changes despite Sunday's loss to Canberra, although Valentine Holmes and Sami Sauiluma are both on an extended bench. Still no sign of popular rookie Jack Bird. Usual suspects Andrew Fifita (66) and Paul Gallen (53) were the Sharks' Fantasy stars in Round 1, with solid returns as well from Chris Heighington (51), Sosaia Feki (43) and Michael Gordon (42). David Fifita is Cronulla's fifth-most popular Fantasy player but didn't get much action off the bench and only managed 13.
Broncos: A few big changes here, with Sam Thaiday benched, last week's Fantasy standout Matt Gillett into the starting side, and cheapies James Gavet, Mitchell Dodds and Aaron Whitchurch all dropping off the bench. Dodds has a calf injury so could be worth holding. Kodi Nikorima gets his chance in the 17, where he'll be expected to spend some time at dummy-half. Gillett's 68 was the best thing about the Broncos in Fantasy last week, with Corey Parker's 37 a bit of a worry – although the hot conditions in the first game of the season, plus some time spent at dummy half that's unlikely to repeat this week, suggests his score should improve on Friday night.
Panthers v Titans
Panthers: James Segeyaro was superb against the Bulldogs, playing the full 80 in hot conditions in the busiest role on the field while also picking up two line breaks, a try, seven tackle breaks, five offloads and 30 tackles. He looks a tempting buy at $468,000, even if his average score will be closer to 55 than 79. Cash cow George Jennings climbed $23,000 in one hit, but he could be on borrowed time in the side when Josh Mansour returns from injury in a couple of weeks. They're unchanged this week.
Titans: Cash cow Lachlan Burr is into the starting side in the back row, with Matt Robinson going back to the bench. No other team changes this week. Explosive speedsters James Roberts was the Gold Coast's best last week with 57 points, while Ryan James is close to a must-have after scoring 48 and jumping $20,000 in price despite being sin-binned. In a weakened forward pack, workhorses Luke Douglas and Nate Myles both scored 47, while halves Aidan Sezer (42) and Daniel Mortimer (33) should both continue rising in value with those kinds of scores.
Sea Eagles v Storm
Sea Eagles: Kieran Foran and Clint Gutherson are out injured, with Jack Littlejohn coming into the halves and Steve Matai back at centre. Ligi Sao and Justin Horo are the last two names on a five-man bench. Foran's injury may leave more of Manly's playmaking in the hands of future Gold Coast Titan Daly Cherry-Evans, who managed 53 Fantasy points last week, while cash cow Blake Leary jumped $16,000 in value after scoring 37. Keep in mind though: Leary was given more minutes than usual in the Manly pack after fellow back-rower Tom Symonds moved into the centres to replace the injured Gutherson.
Storm: The Storm have named the same team that got the job done on Monday night, including captain courageous Cameron Smith who not only returned from injury but played the entire game and scored 60. He's been somewhat overlooked by Fantasy coaches in the pre-season but will be as reliable as ever this year. Dale Finucane looks like a solid mid-range money-maker with 47 points first up, and Tohu Harris looked promising as well with 45 points – despite six missed tackles – in an 80-minute performance.
Cowboys v Knights
Cowboys: Cheapie Kelepi Tanginoa replaces Glenn Hall on the bench, with Lachlan Coote named 18th man – suggesting he may be some chance of slotting into the backline following last week's humbling home defeat at the hands of the Roosters. Only one Cowboy – 80-minute forward Ethan Lowe – managed more than 40 points last week, but that will change when North Queensland start winning. Jake Granville's 24 from the bench suggests there are better options at hooker out there.
Knights: Kurt Gidley's return from a hamstring injury means Sione Mata'utia drops back to 18th man. Dane Gagai was the star of the show against the Warriors with two tries and a huge 82 Fantasy points, while Jarrod Mullen is among the most consistent halves in Fantasy with 57. Robbie Rochow also scored 57 in an 80-minute effort in the pack, while Joey Leilua hit 50 and Akuila Uate notched 48. It's early days, but could the Knights be a Fantasy-relevant team again this year?
Rabbitohs v Roosters
Rabbitohs: Souths have named an extended bench but are unlikely to change much about the team that belted the Broncos last Thursday. Adam Reynolds was sensational in that game, picking up 80, with George Burgess, Greg Inglis, Glenn Stewart and Tom Burgess all worth holding despite slightly lower-than-expected scores.
Roosters: The Tricolours are unchanged for this blockbuster. They were terrific against the Cowboys, keeping a start-studded team quiet on their own turf and running in the tries – with two of them going to top Fantasy scorer Boyd Cordner (64). Halves James Maloney (57) and Mitchell Pearce (55) cashed in with strong scores, while Aidan Guerra (55) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (51) could both be on track to become Fantasy guns this season. Cash cow Siosiua Taukeiaho made a solid 25 from the bench, while Mitch Aubusson may be worth cutting at his price after scoring 26.
Raiders v Warriors
Raiders: Canberra are unchanged. Super-reliable lock Shaun Fensom and new full-time fullback Jack Wighton both scored 53 in the Raiders' win over Cronulla, despite Fensom spending a few minutes on the bench in his return from injury and Wighton spending 10 minutes in the sin bin for throwing a punch. Iosia Soliola looks like a steal as a dual-position centre/back-rower with a cool 43 on his club debut, while cash cow Mitch Cornish made a slow but steady start to 2015 with 27.
Warriors: Sam Tomkins is back, meaning Tui Lolohea moves into the centres after his stunning 67-point effort at fullback in Round 1, while fellow cheapie Solomone Kata should get a little bit more action after shifting in from wing to centre in place of the injured Konrad Hurrell. Ben Henry, who played in the centres last week, has been named on the bench. Lolohea has the smallest break even of any player in Fantasy this week (-17), meaning he's guaranteed another decent price rise after climbing $37,000 at the end of Round 1. Fellow cheapies Albert Vete and Solomone Kata are also making money, while Shaun Johnson's 41 is nothing to worry about for those who have him.
Wests Tigers v Dragons
Tigers: Chris Lawrence returns from injury, with rookie Kyle Lovett dropping back to 18th man. Robbie Farah remains the safest captaincy option in Fantasy after securing a rock solid 63 points first up, while Aaron Woods could be among the elite props this season with 58 points from a performance featuring more than 200 run metres. Kiwis Four Nations star Martin Taupau hit 49 (with five tackle breaks) from lock, while James Tedesco is a hold after a decent 34-point effort from fullback.
Dragons: Josh Dugan's long-term injury might not be so long-term after all, with the star fullback named to bounce back immediately this week. The other possibility is the Dragons have just named the same team that went down to Melbourne on Monday night. Jake Marketo and Heath L'Estrange are the new names on an extended bench. Cash cow Eto Nabuli made a cool $15,000 in price rises first up with 34 points, while Rory O'Brien didn't make anything with a disappointing 11.