Scout Report: Round 4 teams wrap
All the key ins and outs for your NRL Fantasy team heading into the fourth round of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership.
Eels v Rabbitohs
Eels: No changes. There's not a lot on offer Fantasy-wise from the Eels this year, with last year's cash cow Manu Ma'u their best performer and Anthony Watmough the only other Eel averaging better than 40 points a week – and he's dropped $36,000 in value so far. Will Hopoate looks set to be a 30-point player this year so his price may have pretty much settled, making him a decent trade out option.
Rabbitohs: Daryl Millard is back in the NRL for his first game since 2009, replacing Dylan Walker in the backline with the star centre to miss a month with a broken hand. Adam Reynolds continues to be the most reliable half in Fantasy (although Daly Cherry-Evans is giving him a run for his money) while usual suspects George Burgess and Greg Inglis are both scoring at better than 50 points a game. Glenn Stewart has made $64,000 and is still rising in price with a break even of zero, while Chris Grevsmuhl probably needs to poach a try or two to become a genuine cash cow.
Wests Tigers v Bulldogs
Tigers: Delouise Hoeter gets his debut on the wing this week, with the suspended Pat Richards to return next week. There is some great value in the Tigers pack this season, with Martin Taupau and Sauaso Sue both posting good scores and making fast money. Taupau made nine tackle busts in a monster 83-point effort last week and Sue has just one missed tackle this season from 109 attempts. Aaron Woods is flying this season with more than 200 run metres in all three games so far, but is an injury doubt this week. Robbie Farah scored 75 last week and James Tedesco is scoring nicely at the back, while halves Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses have both dropped in price this season.
Bulldogs: Unchanged. Brett Morris scored just 17 last week but is still averaging better than 50 points a game this year, while Michael Lichaa is not only a great cash cow but also the Bulldogs' second-best scorer so far this season. James Graham remains as solid as a rock with an error-free 45 last week, while Josh Jackson has bounced back from a quiet Round 1 with two straight mid-40s scores.
Knights v Panthers
Knights: Korbin Sims is suspended, with David Fa'alogo at prop and Paterika Vaivai added to the bench. Sione Mata'utia has again been named 18th man despite being included in the side in the past two weeks. Dane Gagai, Jarrod Mullen and the impressive Kade Snowden are all scoring better than 50 points a week this year, with Snowden looking like an undervalued keeper in the front row.
Panthers: No changes. James Segeyaro bounced back from a badly cut lip to score 63 on the weekend and is still shading Cameron Smith as the highest-scoring hooker so far in fantasy, while Jamal Idris and Matt Moylan are looking like solid keepers at centre and winger/fullback. One definite keeper at the back is Josh Mansour, who was instantly back to his explosive best in Monday night's return from injury with nine tackle busts and 219 metres for 62 Fantasy points. George Jennings won't play while the backline is fit and firing but is a hold anyway as he's guaranteed another price jump the next time he plays.
Sharks v Titans
Sharks: We've got our first sighting of popular rookie Jack Bird on the bench, with a couple of changes to Cronulla's starting side. Ben Barba has copped a two-match suspension, with Wade Graham moving to five-eighth and Anthony Tupou starting in the pack. Chris Heighington also replaces Sam Tagataese, with Matt Prior returning on the interchange alongside Bird. Paul Gallen is going great guns as usual. Michael Gordon managed just 17 last week but is probably worth holding – he remains a potential gun, although if the Sharks play well with Graham at five-eighth they could be tempted to bump Barba back to fullback when he returns.
Titans: Daniel Mortimer's three-week injury has given former under-20s star Kane Elgey his first shot in the halves. Elgey is a tricky one for Fantasy coaches – he's a bargain priced half (a rare sight this year) but he's also likely to be out of the team in a few weeks unless he plays the house down before then... although Daniel Mortimer's wayward performance with the boot against Newcastle wouldn't have hurt Elgey's chances. Aiden Sezer bounced back into form in a big way with 68 last week, Luke Douglas still scored well with the big guns back with 44, while Ryan James is a hold this week with a break even of 18.
Dragons v Sea Eagles
Dragons: Rookie Euan Aitken keeps his centre spot after an impressive debut, while Trent Merrin's already huge Fantasy output this year could actually improve after he was named to start at lock following three games off the bench. George Rose is back on an extended bench, while Jack de Belin is now on the interchange. Tyson Frizell scored 70 on the weekend to take his average past 54, and is among a group of high-scoring mid-priced second-rowers. Josh Dugan will bounce back from last week's 18 (including a sin bin) while Eto Nabuli is a few tries away from making some decent cash.
Sea Eagles: Two big boosts for Manly with star half Kieran Foran and captain Jamie Lyon both named to return, with Feleti Mateo shifting back to the pack, Tom Symonds named on the bench and Justin Horo named 18th man. Foran's return might mean Daly Cherry-Evans loses a few kick metres, but he's playing so well anyway that he remains a great buy.
Warriors v Broncos
Warriors: Sam Tomkins is out for six weeks with a knee injury, giving young gun Tuimoala Lolohea another shot at the fullback role where he excelled in Round 1 against Newcastle. Matt Allwood gets his club debut in the centres with Konrad Hurrell still in the casualty ward. Dominique Peyroux is on an extended bench. Simon Mannering hasn't scored a try yet and is still averaging 64 points a game, making him a definite keeper. Shaun Johnson will almost certainly start hitting 50s soon. Cash cows Solomone Kata, Sam Lisone, Albert Vete and Lolohea all still have more price rises in them.
Broncos: Todd Lowrie has been included as 18th man in an otherwise unchanged side. Jordan Kahu (48) and Jarrod Wallace (38) both enjoyed healthy price jumps this week, along with two-try hero Lachlan Maranta, while Corey Parker and Ben Hunt cemented their roles as Fantasy keepers with 79 points each.
Roosters v Raiders
Roosters: No changes to a winning 17. Back-row duo Boyd Cordner and Aidan Guerra remain the Roosters' best Fantasy scorers, while cash cow Sio Siua Taukaiaho continues to be a great prospect on the back of his best performance so far for the Tricolours on Monday. A lot of Fantasy coaches will be kicking themselves for selling Blake Ferguson before his two-try, 64-point effort against Penrith, and he could yet join Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Michael Jennings as keepers in the outside backs.
Raiders: Jack Wighton returns from injury earlier than expected, while Glen Buttriss is on the bench in place of Josh McCrone. Bill Tupou drops out of the side for Wighton, while Shaun Fensom and Dane Tilse have been named to start after both played from the bench last week – although Fensom is facing the judiciary on Wednesday night and faces a one-match ban. Wighton is Canberra's third best Fantasy player this year behind Fensom and Sia Soliola, who is a must-have in the centres or the back row.
Cowboys v Storm
Cowboys: Two changes to the North Queensland backline with Matthew Wright and Antonio Winterstein back in the side at the expense of Justin O'Neill and Kyle Feldt. Johnathan Thurston may have had an underwhelming start to the season in a losing side but the same can't be said for second-rower Ethan Lowe, who is scoring close to 60 points a game thanks to good numbers for tackles, run metres and tackle breaks. Jason Taumalolo hasn't been the success story many Fantasy coaches hoped for and is probably a sell with so many value options available in the forwards at his price. Lachlan Coote scored 20 first up and will improve.
Storm: Melbourne are unchanged. Cameron Smith will probably be the king of Fantasy again this year, stealing a cheeky try in an 80-point display against the Sharks. Tohu Harris actually outscored him at the weekend with a two-try 83 and is proving to be an absolute bargain in the back row, while Jesse Bromwich remains a hold despite underperforming a little in Fantasy so far this season.