A closer look at some of the key NRL Fantasy performances of the week, and what they mean for your planned trades for the upcoming round.
Injuries hit at the back
With key injuries to come out of Round 8, there will be more than a few coaches searching for a new centre or winger/fullback to fill out their 17. Tom Trbojevic (in 11,119 Fantasy sides) and Hymel Hunt (17,236) will miss enough game time to warrant a trade, while Tuimoala Lolohea (11,924) will also miss at least two weeks. Who should you be looking at to bring in? There might not be too many downgrade options, but if you can stretch your budget slightly, there are plenty of interesting selections to consider.
Jordan Rapana (WFB, $399,000): Has been in phenomenal touch over the past few weeks, with scores of 56, 67 and 92. Ignoring his Round 1 score (8), Rapana's lowest total of the season to date has been 31, and while he won't score four tries every week as was the case in Round 8 his other stats still indicate he could be a point-of-difference keeper (currently in just 1439 sides). Rapana has assisted a try in his past three, ranks eighth in the NRL for tackle breaks (37), and averages 134 run metres per game. He isn't that cheap any more, but with a break even of -7, is only going to gain in value.
Kerrod Holland (CTR, $297,000): The young Bulldogs centre has made an impressive start to his NRL and Fantasy career, averaging 51.8 in his four games to date. He doesn't need try involvements to score well either, with his 49 in Round 8 coming from 24 tackles, three tackle breaks, 121 metres and two line breaks. He's already made $167,000 in four games but his numbers indicate he might even be a keeper in the notoriously tricky CTR position – assuming he holds his spot in the side when the man he replaced, Chase Stanley, returns from injury in Round 10.
Joseph Leilua (CTR, $336,000): Rapana's edge partner, Leilua also got in on the try-scoring action against Wests Tigers last week but his numbers indicate he could also be a reasonable POD as well. Tackle breaks, offloads (22, second in the NRL behind Jesse Bromwich) and run metres are Leilua's bread and butter, with the centre hitting at least 100 metres in all of his six appearances this season.
Cameron Munster (WFB, $412,000): Munster has picked up where he left off last season, and really hit his straps against the Warriors with 73. Run metres and tackle breaks are the order of the day here as well, with Munster running for 1356 metres (fourth in the NRL) and breaking 40 tackles (fifth in the competition) this season. He also averages 64.5 against the Titans, his Round 9 opponent.
Chris Lawrence (CTR/2RF, $355,000): We've seen it in the past with Beau Scott and more recently, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, but when a forward is available at CTR or WFB, there's usually a strong argument you should look to include them in your squad. Averaging 52.7 in his last three starts and playing 80 minutes in the back row, Lawrence's tackle count and run metres give him a solid base to work off each week. Has made three line breaks and scored two tries in his past four starts, and looks to be a safe CTR keeper at that relatively attractive price.
Top scores in Round 8
Jordan Rapana (WFB, $399,000): 92
Jake Trbojevic (2RF/FRF, $464,000): 85
Joseph Leilua (CTR, $336,000): 83
Jake Friend (HOK, $590,000): 82
Cameron Smith (HOK, $577,000): 81
Bottom scores in Round 8
Waqa Blake (CTR/WFB, $210,000): -3
Tuimoala Lolohea (HLF/CTR, $273,000): 1
Dene Halatau (2RF/HOK, $241,000): 2
Kurt Baptiste (HOK, $128,000): 2
Brett Stewart (WFB, $147,000): 5
Top Round 8 price increases
Jordan Rapana (WFB, $399,000): +$59,000
Kerrod Holland (CTR, $297,000): +$51,000
Joseph Leilua (CTR, $336,000): +$45,000
James Fisher-Harris (FRF, $180,000): +$40,000
Ryan Matterson (HLF, $167,000): +$37,000
Top Round 8 price decreases
Aidan Sezer (HLF, $330,000): -$35,000
Andrew McCullough (HOK, $374,000): -$31,000
James Tedesco (WFB, $483,000): -$29,000
Isaac De Gois (HOK, $252,000): -$29,000
Bryson Goodwin (WFB/CTR, $306,000): -$27,000)