Scout Report: Round 6 NRL Fantasy recap
Winning halves firing, carnage continues on the injury and suspension front, Bird is still the word and an old favourite back on top the Fantasy player rankings.
Winners are grinners in the halves
It should be no surprise that halves are generally at their best in Fantasy when their teams are winning. Ben Hunt saved the day for Brisbane with a two-try effort on Friday night and was rewarded with a whopping 90 points, Johnathan Thurston has led the Cowboys to three straight wins and averaged 70 points a game in that time, Aidan Sezer helped engineer a surprise Titans win over the Eels and earned 57, while Michael Morgan and Chad Townsend both hit 50s in winning efforts this week and even the struggling Shaun Johnson gave a glimpse of what he can do with a season-high 48.
At the other end of the scale this week were Jarrod Mullen, who had his second poor showing on the trot with 17 in Newcastle's second straight defeat, and Daly Cherry-Evans' fine-but-not-great 39 in a losing Manly effort.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule, with some halves just not cut out for Fantasy even when their team wins (Kieran Foran is usually the best example) and others (Corey Norman, Mitchell Pearce and Sam Williams this week) managing good scores in losing sides, but there's no denying a team's overall performance makes a big difference when it comes to a half's Fantasy prospects.
Fantasy carnage continues
Injuries and suspensions combined to wreak more havoc for unlucky Fantasy coaches this week – with some legitimately good buys from last week suddenly becoming sells. Jamal Idris is facing a season-ending ACL injury after a positive start to the year in the centres, but there has been carnage for a few Fantasy favourites in the forwards with Andrew Fifita facing four weeks out with suspension, Tyson Frizell facing a two-game ban, and Shaun Fensom and Elijah Taylor both facing about a month out with injury.
NRL Fantasy can be a cruel game at times, especially for those who just traded one of these guys in last week, but handling injuries and suspensions is one of the jobs of the Fantasy coach – just like the real thing.
Old legends back in race for No.1
The start of the 2015 season had appeared to be a changing of the guard for the best Fantasy players in the NRL, with the likes of Simon Mannering and Trent Merrin threatening to take over the No.1 mantle. After years of dominating the game, rival State of Origin hookers Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah were being overshadowed by young upstarts James Segeyaro and Michael Lichaa... but no longer.
With both Segeyaro (42 – a pity for those of us who had him as captain) and Lichaa (27... ouch) struggling this week, a few old stages reminded us what they can do. Farah is one of just five players averaging 60 points a game this season while Smith and fellow Fantasy legend Corey Parker are hitting their straps with 70+ efforts at the weekend. Parker is back on top of the overall leaderboard for most points this season, ahead of Merrin and Mannering, with Smith just four points off top spot himself.
Jack Bird looking the goods
At the other end of the experience scale, Sharks rookie Jack Bird is living up to expectations so far with 50 points at the weekend – including another try, five tackle busts, and 23 tackles. He'll need to keep producing those attacking stats to continue those big scores but with a breakeven of -20 he's guaranteed another hefty price rise next week, after making $53,000 this week and $114,000 for the season already.