In a wild week for NRL Fantasy, here are all the key changes from all 16 teams heading into Round 6 of the Telstra Premiership season.
Broncos v Roosters
Broncos: No real changes here with Sam Thaiday named to start and Jarrod Wallace moving back to the bench. Ben Hunt is averaging 66 over the past three rounds and is a solid replacement for Adam Reynolds. Corey Parker's 52 may have let down some Fantasy coaches who had him as captain last week (yours truly included) but he still averages an impressive 61 points a game this year. Prop Mitchell Dodds has a break even of -2 so has a few more decent price rises in him. Kodi Nikorima (hooker) and Corey Oates (wing) have been given dual position status.
Roosters: Aidan Guerra is out for six weeks with a fractured jaw in one of many injury blows for Fantasy coaches this week. Mitch Aubusson replaces him (reminder: don't forget the Mitchell Aubusson rule) while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns to the side and Dylan Napa drops back to the bench. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is looking terrific at the back, racking up 68 points last week and averaging almost 50. Dual position bench player Sio Siua Taukaiaho keeps making money and has been one of the unsung Fantasy heroes so far this year. Issac Liu is now a dual position front-rower/second-rower.
Sharks v Knights
Sharks: Ben Barba is back but after rookie sensation Jack Bird's man-of-the-match effort against the Roosters the youngster keeps the five-eighth spot with Barba named on the bench. Michael Gordon is again named on the wing but spent a lot of time at fullback last weekend, swapping places with young gun Valentine Holmes. Bird has a staggering break even of -31 so will make a ton more cash, but he's unlikely to score 83 anytime soon unless he scores another couple of tries. Paul Gallen spent some time off for a concussion test against the Roosters and still managed to return and hit 52 points.
Knights: Beau Scott's ankle injury means Chris Houston starts in the pack, with Korbin Sims starting alongside his brother at Newcastle for the first time after last week's suspension. Kade Snowden remains the team's top Fantasy scorer after four straight 50+ efforts, while Jarrod Mullen struggled kicking into a monster breeze against the Dragons and finished with just 28 in Round 5. Kurt Gidley's injury record may be horrendous but in his new fullback/hooker role he's averaging 50 points a game in the last three weeks.
Eels v Titans
Eels: Reece Robinson is back on the wing, with David Gower dropping back to the bench and Peni Terepo to 18th man. John Folau is making some handy cash but elsewhere there's not a whole lot to love about the Eels in Fantasy this season.
Titans: Dave Taylor has been named to start ahead of Eddy Pettybourne in the Titans' only change. Ryan James just keeps rewarding those who have held onto him this long, producing a barnstorming 59-point effort against the Broncos. Kane Elgey has a break even of 7 so will be a nice little money earner.
Warriors v Wests Tigers
Warriors: Albert Vete replaces Dominique Peyroux on the bench in the only change this week. Konrad Hurrell's return on Monday didn't quite go to plan, with the Warriors losing to the Storm and Hurrell finishing with just 15 Fantasy points thanks to three missed tackles and four errors. Simon Mannering proved he was human with a still-very-good 52 after averaging 70 for the previous three weeks, while Shaun Johnson finally outscored halves partner Chad Townsend and has almost bottomed out after dropping $125,000 in price this season.
Wests Tigers: No changes for the Tigers. Their big guns keep on firing in Fantasy, with Robbie Farah hitting 66, Aaron Woods adding 64, James Tedesco scoring 65 and Martin Taupau crashing his way to 55. Sauaso Sue's bench role resulted in just 28 points on the weekend, and he could now be a sell.
Panthers v Sea Eagles
Panthers: Dean Whare's hamstring injury means Jamal Idris is back in his usual centre spot after playing in the pack last week, with Sika Manu back and starting in the second row. Waqa Blake holds his spot in the centres, which is not great news for George Jennings owners. Lock Elijah Taylor made a stunning 77 tackles on Monday for this second mid-70s score in a fortnight, and still looks good value at $424,000. James Segeyaro kept his average above 65 with another try-scoring effort against the Cowboys, and will keeping playing the 80 while Api Koroisau is playing five-eighth, while Reagan Campbell-Gillard has gone under the radar as a cash cow – scoring 55 on Monday to take his total price rise to $82,000, and he still has a negative break even. Josh Mansour is a proven keeper so is a hold despite scoring just 10... although he'll be great value for Fantasy coaches to swoop on in a few weeks.
Sea Eagles: No changes for Manly despite their loss to Canberra last weekend. The Sea Eagles were pretty poor against the Raiders but Daly Cherry-Evans still managed a respectable 40 in the halves, despite Kieran Foran getting more kick metres (and a better score). Tom Trbojevic burst onto the scene with a two-try effort on debut worth 63 points – it means he's now available at a $162,000 price but is guaranteed to keep rising with a break even of -15. Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai are still sidelined at this stage, with Jorge Taufua a few weeks away from returning.
Raiders v Storm
Raiders: Jordan Rapana has copped a one-week suspension, with Jeremy Hawkins coming into the side on the wing. Shaun Fensom is back, playing about 70 minutes and scoring 75 points. Blake Austin outclassed the Sea Eagles' star halves with a 73-point effort featuring a try, try save and a couple of assists, while even Jarrad Kennedy managed to hit the 70s. The other key performance from that game was Austin's halves partner Sam Williams, who was impressive in his first game for the Green Machine this season and looks set to keep popular Fantasy cash cow Mitch Cornish out of the side for the short term at least. After a string of games at prop, Josh Papalii is now a dual position forward.
Storm: No changes for Melbourne after their comfortable win over the Warriors, although Billy Slater is in doubt with a shoulder injury after being blindsided by a Manu Vatuvei bone-cruncher on Monday. Marika Koroibete scored two big tries to take him to 71 points at the weekend, but he's hardly cheap and I'd still trust fullbacks to outscore wingers in Fantasy in the long run. Meanwhile Tohu Harris had a rare quiet game with 35, Cooper Cronk continues to struggle Fantasy-wise with 33, while Cameron Smith remains Mr Reliable with another 60.
Dragons v Bulldogs
Dragons: The Dragons are unchanged and running hot in both the NRL and Fantasy, with their rock solid defence earning them three straight wins. Their forwards are getting through a lot of work as well – Trent Merrin scored 83 in 65 minutes against the Knights and could be the most valuable player in Fantasy this year, Tyson Frizell still cost less than $400,000 (just) despite averaging 55, Jack de Belin is one of this year's top props with an average of 50.4, and Mike Cooper's not far behind. Josh Dugan is also starting to warm up at fullback with 63 last week, although he's looking more and more likely to fill the NSW fullback spot in Origin this year.
Bulldogs: Last week's loss to the Rabbitohs has wreaked havoc with the Dogs' side, with James Graham, David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano suspended and Brett Morris (hamstring) and Tim Lafai (leg) both suffering long-term injuries. Morris and Graham are both trades – although Graham is a possible hold if you've got bigger problems elsewhere. Moses Mbye starts in the centres for the new-look Dogs, Sam Perrett goes to fullback, Corey Thompson is on the wing, and Tim Browne, Lloyd Perrett and Antonio Kaufusi replace the suspended forwards. On the bright side, Michael Lichaa continues to hit scores in the high 50s while Aiden Tolman could get through a ton of work over the next month as the club's remaining workhorse prop.
Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds is out with a knee injury – for either five months or three-to-four weeks, depending on who you ask – so John Sutton comes straight into the halves after recovering from a broken jaw. George Burgess is challenging a one-match ban at the judiciary on Wednesday night. They were South Sydney's only two players to score more than 45 against the Bulldogs on Friday, although Glenn Stewart and Chris Grevsmuhl continue to get solid scores and price rises for their Fantasy teams. Joel Reddy is now a dual position centre/winger-fullback.
Cowboys: No changes to the Cowboys' 17. Johnathan Thurston was always likely to get his Fantasy mojo back when North Queensland started winning again, and lo and behold he's now led his team to back-to-back wins with scores of 68 and 75. That change of fortunes has also coincided with the shift of Michael Morgan to the halves and Lachlan Coote to fullback – Coote has jumped $73,000 in value so far with 45 points a game and has a break even of -21 this week. It's also coincided with Jason Taumalolo living up to pre-season expectations with his first two 50+ scores of the season. The winning run hasn't hurt Ethan Lowe's workrate in the pack, with the second-rower again passing the 60-point mark on Monday.