The big talking points from a brutal week in NRL Fantasy, including the fallout from Souths v Bulldogs, the Sharks' star in the making and this week's best buys.
Sharks unveil a new superstar
The new name on everyone's lips is Cronulla's rookie sensation Jack Bird, who lived up to the pre-season hype with a stunning man-of-the-match effort against the Roosters. With two tries, a try assist, seven tackle busts and 124 run metres, Bird finished with a staggering 83 Fantasy points from his second game in the NRL. It raises a massive question about whether the young gun will keep former Dally M Medal-winner Ben Barba out of the Sharks' five-eighth spot this week, and with a negative break even Bird is set to keep rising in value for a little while yet.
He's still reasonably cheap at $189,000 but only available in the centres at this stage, although if you haven't got him yet you might have more important trades to make after a bit of a horror weekend on the injury front...
The bad news... there's a lot of bad news
The controversial Rabbitohs v Bulldogs blockbuster has proven to be a bit of a disaster for NRL Fantasy coaches, with a spate of injuries and potential suspensions coming out of Friday afternoon's clash. Adam Reynolds' injury caused after James Graham's charge down might not be as bad as first feared, but he's still set to spend some time on the sidelines, Graham himself is facing a few weeks out through suspension along with fellow Bulldogs forwards David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano, Brett Morris is out for a few months with a hamstring injury, Tim Lafai will miss an estimated eight weeks, Glenn Stewart and Issac Luke had concussion concerns, and George Burgess faces a one-week ban for a dangerous contact charge.
And that's before we get to the rest of the weekend's injuries. Aidan Guerra was on track for a hefty score with 32 points from 40 minutes before spending the second half on the bench with a fractured jaw which is likely to rule him out for six weeks. If you managed to dodge this weekend's injury/suspension bonanza, you're a lucky coach.
On the bright side...
Getting back to the positives, Lachlan Coote continues to improve at the back for the Cowboys, registering scores of 20, 48 and 68 in his three games this year to jump $73,000 in price to $210,000, and that will keep rising. Meanwhile fellow cash cow Kyle Lovett has gained $105,000 in value in total, Reagan Campbell-Gillard is up $82,000 after scoring 55 this week, and Roosters bench man Sio Siua Taukeiaho has gained $101,000 on his starting price and is providing consistent scores in the winger/fullback position as well.
If you need to make a trade, there are a lot of in-form options. Trent Merrin's move into the starting side this week resulted in 80 minutes on the park and 83 points in Fantasy, Johnathan Thurston is well and truly back with 75 points on Monday after last week's 68, Elijah Taylor has become an 80-minute tackling machine at Penrith, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck could become the best fullback in Fantasy this year after averaging 55 in the past three weeks.
Good luck with this week's trades, and stay tuned to NRL.com for all the key team lists – revealed at 5pm AEST today.