Scout Report: Round 12 teams wrap
Origin stars aren't the only big names set to return to action in the Telstra Premiership this weekend, as head-to-head NRL Fantasy leagues click back into gear following the first major bye round. Here are this week's key ins and outs and in-form Fantasy buys.
Panthers v Eels
Panthers: Penrith are boosted by the return of Josh Mansour and Peter Wallace, while George Jennings is out of the side with a broken leg. Apisai Koroisau is named 18th man in a good sign for James Segeyaro's minutes at hooker. Mansour's a renowned Fantasy scorer at winger/fullback but has had a slow start to the year and has dropped $125,000 in value – and will drop further with a break even of 74. He could be ripe for the picking after Penrith's bye in Round 14.
Eels: Chris Sandow returns to his usual halfback role, with Luke Kelly dropping out of the side and Reece Robinson back in the custodian role. Richie Fa'aoso (shoulder) is out indefinitely and Peni Terepo (pectoral) is out for the season. Nathan Peats scored 56 last week and should remain a solid contributor throughout the Origin period while fellow hooker Isaac De Gois remains on the injured list.
Titans v Rabbitohs
Titans: David Mead is out with a hamstring injury, replaced in the backline by Kevin Gordon. Lachlan Burr has a break even of -7 thanks to a couple of big-minute appearances at lock in the absence of the suspended Greg Bird, who's out until Round 18. Ryan James has a break even of 30 so is worth holding for another week at least.
Rabbitohs: Mixed news here for Fantasy coaches with George Burgess replaced by Tom Burgess in the starting side, Chris Grevsmuhl named 18th man after missing last week's game, but Issac Luke getting his No.9 jersey back after playing the full 80 last Friday. Aaron Gray keeps scoring tries and making money and still has a negative break even.
Raiders v Broncos
Raiders: Mitch Cornish's run in the top side appears to be over, with Sam Williams named to return from a collapsed lung. Jordan Rapana and Shannon Boyd are both out through injury, replaced by the returning Jack Wighton and Kyle O'Donnell. Shaun Fensom was superb in his first 80-minute game of the season at the weekend, but he only played the 80 after injuries to Rapana, Boyd and Jarrad Kennedy forced a reshuffle. Don't be surprised if Ricky Stuart gives Fensom his usual 60-minute stint this weekend again. Don't be swayed by Sisa Waqa's massive 81-point score at the weekend either – last week he was averaging less than 30.
Broncos: Cheapie Kodi Nikorima is out indefinitely with a knee injury, while six Origin stars have been named to return for the Brisbane outfit that won without them in Newcastle on Monday. See how Corey Parker backs up after Wednesday night's game before making your captaincy decision this week, if he's in your side. Anthony Milford scored 62 (including a try) last week, while Andrew McCullough (another try-scorer) hit 77 to remind Fantasy coaches he's in the upper echelon of Fantasy hookers alongside names like Smith, Farah and Segeyaro.
Cowboys v Sea Eagles
Cowboys: Cheapies Ben Spina and Sam Hoare remain in the side on the bench while North Queensland's four Origin stars return, with John Asiata and Rory Kostjasyn likely to drop out. Lachlan Coote stepped up in the absence of playmakers Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan last weekend with 71 points – including 24 from kick metres.
Sea Eagles: Kieran Foran is named to return but Daly Cherry-Evans is still out – and even Foran's is still in some doubt with coach Geoff Toovey describing him as a "possible starter" on Tuesday. Cherry-Evans is listed on the Manly casualty ward as being out until Round 14-16, which could make him a trade for overall points. For head-to-head, it could be worth saving the trades and riding it out over the bye period. Blake Leary is on fire but will presumably lose his 80-minute role in the back row once both halves are fit, with makeshift five-eighth Tom Symonds set to return to the pack, although the way he's playing he could be hard to bench.
Warriors v Knights
Warriors: Sam Tomkins is back in a massive boost for the Warriors, and try-scoring club legend Manu Vatuvei also returns from injury. They replace Dominique Peyroux and Ken Maumalo in the backline, with Tui Lolohea shifting from fullback to centre, while Thomas Leuluai's season-ending ACL injury means Nathan Friend starts at hooker, with Siliva Havili on the bench. The Warriors don't have their next bye until Round 17, making it a good time to buy keepers like Simon Mannering.
Knights: Beau Scott is back along with Jeremy Smith, Adam Clydsdale and 18th man Joseph Tapine, with Chad Redman, Pat Vaivai and Clint Newton dropping out. Tyrone Roberts ($286,000) is a bit of an underpriced mid-range option in the halves while Jarrod Mullen is sidelined, but I'd prefer chasing a genuine gun or cheapie at this stage of the season. Kade Snowden scored 60 in an ordinary team effort at the weekend and remains Newcastle's most reliable Fantasy scorer.
Dragons v Sharks
Dragons: The Dragons have named an unchanged 17 after enjoying the week off. Euan Aitken is staying above the 40-point "keeper" mark in the outside backs, while Tyson Frizell's Fantasy average is getting close to 60.
Sharks: Tinirau Arona is back on the bench after recovering from his hamstring injury in an otherwise unchanged Cronulla side. Andrew Fifita will be backing up from Origin this week but has been in stupendous form in Fantasy with Paul Gallen on the sidelines, hitting scores of 68, 74 and 77 in his past three games.
Roosters v Storm
Roosters: No changes this week. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored 85 at last start against the Bulldogs. Mitchell Pearce is scoring like a Fantasy keeper this season, and Origin could give him another boost if things go well on Wednesday night.
Storm: A lot will depend on the recovery of Melbourne's Big Three after Origin I, but at this stage there are no changes. In fact, with a five-day recovery from Origin, Cameron Smith could back up and play his usual 80 minutes. Jesse Bromwich is averaging 55 over his past five games, while Tohu Harris remains a consistent scorer despite not hitting a 50 since Round 7.
Bulldogs and Wests Tigers have the bye in Round 12.