Scout Report: Round 7 teams wrap
With a couple of key suspensions, good and bad news on the injury front and yet another Jennings getting a run at Penrith, there's plenty to digest in this week's NRL ins and outs.
Bulldogs v Sea Eagles
Bulldogs: Josh Reynolds has been named to start after playing off the bench for the past couple of weeks, with Moses Mbye on an extended bench in jersey 17. Mbye's presence is not great news for Michael Lichaa owners, with Lichaa playing just 53 minutes for a season-low score of 27 at the weekend. Tim Browne (concussion) and Chase Stanley (knee) are both in some doubt this week. Aidan Tolman (68) got through a ton of work last week in the absence of suspended trio James Graham, Sam Kasiano and David Klemmer, although the fact he played 74 minutes was also partially due to Browne's concussion. He'll probably score well while Graham is away but is likely to drop back to the pack a little after that... although in saying that he was already coming off scores of 62 and 58 in previous weeks. Josh Jackson has scores of 61 and 56 in the past fortnight.
Sea Eagles: Jamie Lyon is back, with the injured Tom Trbojevic (ankle) dropping out and Brayden Wiliame moving to the wing. James Hasson replaces Jesse Sene-Lefao (shoulder injury) on the bench in the other change. Manly's poor footy form is hurting their Fantasy scores as well, with Jamie Buhrer the only Sea Eagle to score more than 40 from their loss to Penrith. Daly Cherry-Evans still averages 55 despite a sub-par 39 last week and is a hold, even with Origin coming up (he's set to only miss three games in total if he gets the utility spot on the Maroons bench). Prop Jake Trbojevic has made $57,000 in price rises and has a break even of zero.
Dragons v Broncos
Dragons: Tyson Frizell is facing a one or two-match ban (he'll be at the judiciary on Wednesday night) with Will Matthews is named to start in the back row. Trent Merrin is one of the best scorers in Fantasy but continues to play just 55-60 minutes a week, scoring 42 in the romp over the injury-hit Bulldogs. Jack de Bellin is as consistent as they come this season when it comes to hitting 50s, while Josh Dugan has an average of 63 in the past three weeks.
Broncos: Justin Hodges returns from his hamstring injury in the centres, with Dale Copley moving to the wing, Corey Oates dropping to the bench and Jarrod Wallace out with a one-week suspension. Corey Parker is back on top of the tree in Fantasy land with his third 70+ score in the past month and a price above $500,000 for the first time this year. Ben Hunt proved to be a super buy for those trading out Adam Reynolds last week with a stunning two-try 90. Kodi Nikorima is proving to be more trouble than he's worth in Fantasy with an average of 11 from five games.
Titans v Panthers
Titans: Beau Falloon is back from suspension and into the starting side ahead of Kierran Moseley, although the duo are set to share the hooker role fairly equally this week. Eddy Pettybourne has a one-match ban. James Roberts has been one of the best outside backs in Fantasy this season, scoring intercept tries for fun last week in a huge 75-point effort. Aidan Sezer is also starting to live up to pre-season expectations, averaging in the mid-50s over the past month.
Panthers: A new potential cash cow has arrived in the form of Robert Jennings – another talented Jennings brother from Penrith – who has been given first shot of replacing Jamal Idris in the centres. Idris is out for the season but with Dean Whare's return not too far away Robert Jennings might find himself back out of the side soon (and stuck in Fantasy cash cow purgatory like big brother George). It appears George is down in the pecking order behind Robert and Waqa Blake, or at least considered a winger only, meaning he could now be a sell. Elijah Taylor's knee injury might not be as bad as first feared, with the human tackle machine named in the back row again. The absence of Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace hurt James Segeyaro's score at the weekend, with the dynamite hooker leaving a lot of the dummy-half running to Api Koroisau and taking more of a playmaker role instead. Soward should be back next week.
Cowboys v Warriors
Cowboys: No changes for the now red-hot Cowboys. In case anyone forgot how good Johnathan Thurston was, the North Queensland superstar has been providing a few reminders during his side's winning streak. He'll miss a minimum four games over Origin but with a low break even is still a great buy for Fantasy teams chasing head-to-head league glory. Ethan Lowe's mega scoring run hit a snag with a mediocre 33 last week – his first performance of the year without any tackle breaks. His run metres have dropped in the past three weeks as Jason Taumalolo's have taken off, with the barnstorming lock hitting three straight 55+ scores. Lachlan Coote has jumped $106,000 in price and still has a break even of zero.
Warriors: Also unchanged, although young forward Raymond Faitala-Mariner has been included as 18th man. Shaun Johnson finally scored a try at the weekend and notched a season-high 48, suggesting his price may have bottomed out at a very affordable $352,000. Simon Mannering still averages more than 50 tackles a game this year. Cash cow Solomone Kata still has some price rises in him but Tui Lolohea and Sam Lisone have peaked.
Storm v Roosters
Storm: Melbourne have named a monster bench with four extra names – Ben Hampton, Kenneath Bromwich, Hymel Hunt and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs. Cameron Smith has dropped $62,000 in value but is still the most expensive player in the game. Tohu Harris and Jesse Bromwich are both keepers, with the latter smashing a superb 83 including 259 metres and seven tackle busts against the Raiders. Cooper Cronk just isn't Fantasy material this year with Blake Green sharing the kicking and playmaking duties. Cheapie Cameron Munster did well in Billy Slater's absence last week but doesn't have great job security in the long run.
Roosters: Jake Friend is back into the starting side, with Matt McIlwrick dropping to the bench. Young forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho is also getting his first start for the year at lock after impressing from the interchange so far this season, making the dual-position Fantasy cash cow a potential keeper (especially as he's available in the tricky WFB position). Dylan Napa also starts for the suspended Sam Moa. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck continues to carve up defences from fullback.
Wests Tigers v Raiders
Tigers: No changes for Wests. Martin Taupau had a rare tackle-break-free weekend but still made 36 tackles and is a keeper for now – especially over the bye period if you're playing for overall points. James Tedesco has been a great scorer this year, but Sauaso Sue's bench role has wrecked his scoring potential and he's a sell.
Raiders: Despite early fears of a month-long ankle injury, Shaun Fensom has been named at lock and will be given every chance of playing on Sunday afternoon. The same goes for hooker Josh Hodgson and his foot injury. Jordan Rapana has been named 18th man. The only Raider to go close to Fensom's 58 at the weekend was halfback Sam Williams, who appears destined to keep Mitch Cornish out of the side for a while yet. Iosia Soliola may have almost peaked in price but he's a keeper in the centres.
Knights v Eels
Knights: The usual Newcastle squad has been named, with the perennially unlucky Tyler Randell in 14 and bench fullback Sione Mata'utia in 18. Kade Snowden remains the Knights' leading Fantasy player in 2015 with regular 50s, while Jarrod Mullen will surely bounce back from his horrible scores from the past fortnight when he plays in dry conditions. His price will fall again this week, but he could be great value in a week or two if he gets his groove back.
Eels: The addition of Richie Fa'aoso as 18th man is the only change for Parramatta this week. Danny Wicks scored a try and made seven tackle breaks in a 60-point effort against the Titans, but that performance was about all there was to smile about at the Eels. Parramatta are one of three teams to play in all three major bye rounds, along with Souths and the Tigers, but they don't have any consistent big scorers this season. Anthony Watmough scored a season-low 23 after a month of scores in the mid-40s and has dropped $75k in value, suggesting his days as a Fantasy keeper are behind him.
Sharks v Rabbitohs
Sharks: Andrew Fifita is facing a few weeks out through suspension (final ban to be finalised at the judiciary on Wednesday night) with Sam Tagataese starting in his place this week. David Fifita's injury means Jayson Bukuya comes into the 17, with Tinirau Arona as 18th man. If Fifita is out for six weeks it should mean big scores for Paul Gallen, but if he's successful at the judiciary Fifita could just miss a fortnight. Jack Bird has made a staggering start to his NRL career and still has a break even of -20.
Rabbitohs: With John Sutton and Adam Reynolds still out, Glenn Stewart has been named five-eighth as he was on Monday night, with Chris Grevsmuhl starting again and Cameron McInnes the 18th man. With another Monday night game this week, Sutton (jaw) or Dylan Walker (hand) could be late inclusions if they overcome their injuries. George Burgess (71) and Issac Luke (66) were both terrific at the weekend, and Grevsmuhl (41) impressed as well. Expect Souths players – apart from the Origin-bound Greg Inglis – to be popular Fantasy picks over the bye period.