NRL Fantasy winners & losers: Round 9
A surprising top-scorer, while another popular cash cow proves he could well be a keeper. A full wrap of another big weekend of scores in NRL Fantasy.
Cheapie Clint Gutherson (85) finished the week as the highest-scoring player, with a number of fortunate coaches drafting the Eels winger into their 17 as cover for other injured outside backs. He spent the second half of his side's win at fullback, showing his explosive potential when Michael Gordon is unable to take his place in the side. From the same game, Bulldogs captain James Graham (75) was very busy in his 56 minutes on the field with 48 tackles and 167 metres and is closing in on the $500,000 mark.
Mitchell Pearce returned to score 58, and his inclusion prompted many to consider selling Pearce's young halves partner Jackson Hastings (73). Hopefully you didn't, with Hastings tearing the Knights to shreds. Despite Canberra's loss to Penrith, skipper Jarrod Croker (71) also built on last week's 51.
Nathan Peats tackled his way to a season-high 70, Eels teammate Corey Norman (68) led his side to victory and was rewarded in Fantasy terms, while Fantasy legend Corey Parker (69) scored a try for the second consecutive week. Storm fullback Cameron Munster (68) had another day out against the Titans and now averages 50 for the season, but might find it hard to back up those numbers against the Cowboys in Round 10.
Greg Inglis (67) hit another big total in a losing effort, Bryce Cartwright's long-range effort helped him to 66, while Martin Taupau (64), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (64), Sam Burgess (62), Jordan Rankin (61), James Roberts (60), Jacob Lillyman (60) and hat-trick hero Blake Ferguson (60) all cracked 60 points. Reliable captaincy options Cameron Smith (63) and Jake Friend (62) were also at their rock-solid best.
Michael Gordon failed to return in the second half of the Eels' Round 9 win, scoring just 13 for the match. Just over 15,000 Fantasy coaches face a tough decision, with Gordon providing excellent bye coverage but also continuing to score poorly and shed cash.
It was also somewhat of a Fantasy nightmare when the final Dragons team landed in Round 9, with Josh Dugan returning to the centres to accommodate Adam Quinlan at fullback. While it wasn't a total disaster, with Dugan scoring 31, it casts doubt over his long-term future as a keeper. The NSW and Australia representative averaged just under 55 points per game at fullback this season, while his average is just under 24 in three games in the centres in 2016.
Despite the Broncos scoring 28 points in a losing effort to the Sharks, Corey Oates was still amongst the try-scorers but could only manage 16 points in an otherwise quiet performance. Teammate Kodi Nikorima was a popular inclusion in many teams last round as well. Named to start at hooker, he reverted to his usual interchange role with Travis Waddell taking the starting hooking spot. Nikorima played 38 minutes for 25 points, and has a few modest price rises left in him before Andrew McCullough returns from injury.
Sharks custodian Ben Barba (21) had his lowest score of the season against his former club, but should bounce back against the Knights in Round 10 and isn't a sell.
Panthers winger Josh Mansour has had a fairly lean run over the last month, with scores of 22, 28, 30 and 22. He hasn't crossed for a try since Round 5 (where he scored 56 points), and his run metres and tackle breaks are slightly down on earlier rounds. The City representative and NSW Origin hopeful still has the potential to turn it on at any point though, so selling at this stage would be a bit drastic unless you have plenty of trades to burn.
Without big attacking stats, there's always the potential Anthony Milford will post an underwhelming total, as was the case with his season-low 21 against the Sharks. He's dropping in value but is a hold, and could be handy pick up later in the season for those without Brisbane's No.6.