Scout Report: Round 16 teams wrap
Johnathan Thurston and Issac Luke miss the cut as Paul Gallen, Josh Mansour and Corey Parker are named to return to NRL action in Round 16.
Broncos v Knights
Broncos: Corey Parker and Justin Hodges return this week and it's Sam Thaiday's turn to get a rest in Brisbane's rotation policy as they continue to ease the workload of their Origin stars. Daniel Vidot's hamstring injury means Jordan Kahu shifts to the wing with Hodges slotting into the centres. Brisbane's massive defensive workload against the Storm last week meant big tackle counts for Andrew McCullough, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire, with McCullough (58 points per game) just about on par with Robbie Farah's Fantasy scoring this season. Jordan Kahu has peaked in price.
Knights: Prop Kade Snowden has copped a one-match suspension while Chris Houston is out with a finger injury, with Pat Vaivai starting at prop, Robbie Rochow at lock and Sam Mataora and Clint Newton joining the bench. Five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave had a huge game (including a try) last weekend but could find himself out of the side if Tyrone Roberts returns to the team in Round 18 (the Knights have a bye next week) although Jake Mamo could also be the man to make way if Kurt Gidley returns to fullback.
Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Rabbitohs: Issac Luke is set to spend one more week on the sidelines with a knee injury, and Glenn Stewart could also finally make his return next week. Adam Reynolds has a break even of 75 after an underwhelming return from injury a fortnight ago and his price could drop to around $400,000 after Origin if he has another couple of quiet weeks. George Burgess remains a hold in my book for now, despite playing off the bench and his minutes dropping from 50s earlier in the season to 40s in the past month or so.
Sea Eagles: Justin Horo has been named 18th man this week after returning from suspension and could get a spot in the side by kick-off. Manly have no other changes. Daly Cherry-Evans has a break even of 75 so is probably overpriced at $487,000, but he has been the best half in Fantasy this season.
Warriors v Raiders
Warriors: Cheapie option Ken Maumalo is out with an ankle injury, with former cash cow Tuimoala Lolohea replacing him on the wing. With Sam Tomkins back and Lolohea and Solomone Kata a couple of the year's best rookies the Warriors have a great-looking backline these days. Shaun Johnson led the way at the weekend with a massive 96 – he could just as easily score 15 this weekend but at home on a Saturday afternoon against a Raiders side not known for their defence he could also hit the triple figures. Bench forward Raymond Faitala-Maeriner has a break even of -4.
Raiders: Joey Leilua has been named 18th man and could be a late inclusion in the backline in an otherwise unchanged side. Shaun Fensom and Iosia Soliola remain keepers despite slightly underwhelming scores last week, while Edrick Lee – who still finds himself in 30,504 Fantasy teams – might actually hit the $200,000 mark next week after a season-high 38 at the weekend.
Cowboys v Sharks
Cowboys: After backing up from Origin and winning the Cowboys the game last week, Johnathan Thurston is a surprise omission as he gets his post-Origin rest a week later. Rory Kostjasyn joins the halves with Cameron King filling the role of bench hooker and Patrick Kaufusi joining the bench in place of Sam Hoare. Thurston is probably a hold unless you've got a lot of trades left despite the fact he'll now miss this week, next week with Origin and Round 18 with the Cowboys' second bye. Ethan Lowe has a break even of 70 after scores of 28 and 35 in the past couple of games but still averages a tick over 50 for the season.
Sharks: Paul Gallen has been named 18th man in an otherwise unchanged side, and would obviously slot into the starting pack if fit. With Josh Jackson facing suspension, Andrew Fifita could be a chance of playing his way back into the NSW Origin side – he was underwhelming in Game One but is back racking up the Fantasy points for the Sharks in Gallen's absence. Jack Bird has risen more than $200,000 in value with another big two-try effort on the weekend.
Eels v Dragons
Eels: A bunch of changes for Parra following their injury-hit last start a fortnight ago, with Nathan Peats and Anthony Watmough sidelined for another week, John Folau out for a few more weeks and Reece Robinson not expected back until August. In their place Cody Nelson starts at hooker, Corey Norman moves to fullback, Luke Kelly partners Chris Sandow in the halves, Will Hopoate returns to the centres, and Daniel Alvaro and Joseph Paulo join the bench.
Dragons: No changes this week. Trent Merrin – the leading Fantasy player at the start of the year – has passed the 50-point mark just once since Round 5 and dropped in price from $510,000 to $382,000 in the process (he's now just the fifth most expensive forward at the Dragons). He's still got a high break even and is a possible trade for a forward with more reliable minutes. Teammates Tyson Frizell and Mike Cooper are both going strong, while Euan Aitken is proving to be a keeper or at least a handy 18th man anywhere in the back five.
Roosters v Titans
Roosters: Michael Jennings is back from his club-imposed ban and Sam Moa returns from injury, with Brendan Elliot and Suaia Matagi dropping out of the 17. Jake Friend scored 64 last week and is a nice point-of-difference option at hooker, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looks to be winding up for another big scoring streak. Sio Siua Taukeiaho has been a revelation this season and has made more than $220,000 in price rises in Fantasy.
Titans: The Titans' halves crisis continues with Aidan Sezer (hamstring) joining Kane Elgey on the injury list, with Daniel Mortimer shifting to halfback and new recruit Chad Redman getting a chance in the starting hooker role sooner than expected. Redman's managed some solid scores from the bench and could make some fast cash – especially if he hits 50+ this week. Nate Myles' return means Lachlan Burr drops back to the bench after a massive game last week. Ryan James has been named to start but could be in doubt after leaving the field early with injury last week – and with a break even of 62 he's peaked in price.
Wests Tigers v Panthers
Wests Tigers: Robbie Farah is back, bumping Dene Halatau to the bench (Halatau has been given dual position status in Fantasy now though after playing four games at hooker this season), while Delouise Hoeter replaces the injured David Nofoaluma in the centres and Sauaso Sue returns on the bench. Chris Lawrence is now available in the back row in Fantasy and again starts in the No.12. His second-row partner Kyle Lovett tackled his way to 59 points last week and is playing the full 80 in Curtis Sironen's absence.
Panthers: James Segeyaro is out for a month with a knee injury, with Api Koroisau starting in his place, while Josh Mansour makes his return from injury on the wing. Elijah Taylor is one of the best back-rowers in Fantasy this year while Bryce Cartwright is on the rise with three tries in his past three games and a break even of 2.
Bulldogs v Storm
Bulldogs: Blues' Brett Morris and Trent Hodkinson are back in the Bulldogs side, with Josh Reynolds returning to the bench, while suspension looms for Josh Jackson. Rookie Shaun Lane ($135,000) starts in the back row in Jackson's place. Michael Lichaa is the only Bulldog averaging more than 50 points a game this season and seems to be keeping his big minutes despite the ongoing Hodkinson/Reynolds/Moses Mbye battle for game time – for now anyway.
Storm: The Storm have named an unchanged side despite speculation Cooper Cronk could be back this week. Cameron Smith shook off any ill effects of State of Origin II to pile on 72 points last week and remains the best long-term captaincy option in NRL Fantasy.