Scout Report: Round 11 teams wrap
NRL.com's Lone Scout analyses all the key ins and outs and NRL Fantasy news heading into Round 11 of the 2016 Telstra Premiership season.
Rabbitohs: The Rabbitohs have made the curious decision to name half Cody Walker on the wing, but are likely to reshuffle the backline with Greg Inglis and Alex Johnston a good chance of returning to their usual fullback and wing positions. Greg Inglis is getting back to his old self, averaging 58 points across his past three games, while Sam Burgess is coming off back-to-back 60+ efforts.
Dragons: Benji Marshall is out with a hamstring injury, with Josh McCrone starting at halfback. Mike Cooper switches to lock, Russell Packer starts at prop and Will Matthews drops back to the bench – pretty much ruling him out as a buy despite his 58 last round. Expect Cooper to score well until Jack de Belin returns at lock in about five weeks. Jake Marketo starts for the suspended Joel Thompson, with Jacob Host joining the squad.
Cowboys: No changes. Michael Morgan is in great form of late, as is Gavin Cooper – who could be about to get a Queensland Origin call-up. Johnathan Thurston has dropped more than $100,000 on his starting price this season and looms as a value pick-up after Origin.
Broncos: Adam Blair, Alex Glenn and Andrew McCullough return this week, with Herman Ese'ese, Travis Waddell and Jai Arrow dropping out. Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford are both great upgrade options from Ash Taylor. It's hard to know what to make of Corey Parker's 27 last week. Before that, his previous lowest score was a very solid 48. His previous two scores were 58 and 69. And last week's easy win over Manly was the first time all year Parker didn't have a single tackle break or offload. On the other hand, giving up the goal-kicking duties to Jordan Kahu cost him 10 Fantasy points (assuming he'd have kicked the five goals Kahu did) and it's a worrying sign. With a break even of 65 he's probably a hold for now but he is a risk of becoming a mid-40s scorer rather than the high 50s we've expected of him in the past – particularly if he gets extra bench time following Origin games.
Wests Tigers: Robbie Farah is out for the Tigers, with Dene Halatau named at hooker and Matt Ballin on the bench. Elijah Taylor impressed on his club debut with 45 but with a break even of 57 isn't a buy just yet – although he looms as a value option in a week or two as a big-minute lock. Aaron Woods returned with a 50 last week and is a value option up front, although in seven games he's yet to score more than 51 this season. Chris Lawrence remains a solid option at centre despite last week's mid-range 36.
Knights: David Bhana, Jack Cogger and Cory Denniss are out, with Sam Mataora, Trent Hodkinson and Nathan Ross returning to the 17. The team's results may have been awful but Newcastle five-eighth Brock Lamb has made a solid start to his NRL Fantasy career, scoring 46 and 37 and jumping $52,000 in priced in two weeks. With a negative break even he's projected to jump another $30,000 this week.
Warriors: Simon Mannering is back in welcome news for Warriors fans and Fantasy coaches alike, while Issac Luke has been named to start with Jazz Tevaga dropping back to the bench. Ben Matulino also starts, with James Gavet shifting back to the interchange. Matt Allwood starts at centre for the suspended Solomone Kata. Bodene Thompson has been super consistent this year, with a season-low score of 51 and a 66 (without a try) last week. Shaun Johnson has had a bit of a lean trot lately but remains a keeper.
Raiders: Shaun Fensom is out with a shoulder injury, with Luke Batemen to start at lock after a few impressive Fantasy performances off the bench. He's set for a big price rise if he gets another good score this week. Jeff Lima, Sam Williams and Frank-Paul Nuuausala join a six-man bench. Canberra are packed with Fantasy stars this season with Elliott Whitehead, Joey Leilua, Jordan Rapana and Jarrod Croker all on track to be quality keepers.
Sharks: Jayson Bukuya returns from suspension in place of the injured Matt Prior (knee). Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen are both averaging more than 61 points a game in their last three, and better than 57 for the season. Ben Barba remains a keeper option at the back, scoring 54 points in 62 minutes before being given a breather against the Knights on Sunday.
Sea Eagles: Martin Taupau is out for four weeks, with a three-match suspension plus a bye in Round 12, and could be a sell if you're playing for overall and don't have the depth to cover him over the next month. Steve Matai, Jamie Buhrer and Josh Starling return, with Lewis Brown shifting to the second row and Blake Leary and Siosaia Vave dropping back to the bench, with Addin Fonua-Blake and Tom Symonds out. Matt Parcell remains a hold with a break even of 35 after last week's 53. Daly Cherry-Evans has done nothing spectacular yet this season but could be the ideal player to bring in if you need to upgrade a peaked cash cow in the halves like Ashley Taylor.
Panthers: James Segeyaro returns to the starting hooker role this week with Tyrone Peachey named at centre after starring in a similar role out wide last week. James Fisher-Harris has earned $123,000 in price rises and doesn't look like stopping any time soon.
Titans: Nathan Peats will make his Gold Coast debut this week after making the move from the Eels, although he's been named on the bench in jersey 17. Nene Macdonald replaces the injured David Mead, who could face up to two months on the sideline with a knee injury – improving the job security of cheapie centre Nathan Davis. Ryan James has hit his peak price but is still a borderline keeper, while Ash Taylor is ready to be sold this week or next.
Bulldogs: Unchanged. James Graham's great form this season and the fact the Bulldogs play in two of the three major bye rounds makes him a quality pick-up for overall points, while David Klemmer's surprise move to lock last week and recent scores of 61, 50 and 51 makes him an interesting prospect at $364,000 – albeit one who is likely to miss four games over the Origin period.
Roosters: Jake Friend's frankly ridiculous Fantasy season continues with a 70 on Monday night – featuring a whopping 66 tackles – in his team's shock loss to the Titans. He remains the most expensive player in the game and yet isn't a must-have in my eyes – yes he's still playing the full 80 after the return of the Roosters' big guns but if and when the Roosters start dominating games like they used to his defensive workload will surely start to drop. Jackson Hastings has probably reached his peak price.
Eels: No changes. Semi Radradra's in great form and with a break even of 14 now's probably the time to get him if you want him for the bye rounds – although this week he'll face a Storm defence that has proved tough to crack in 2016.
Storm: Tohu Harris is still a second-rower only in Fantasy after being shifted back to the pack before kick-off on Saturday, but Craig Bellamy is teasing Fantasy coaches again by naming Harris in the centres this week for the injured Ben Hampton (calf). If he stays there in the final team lists on Monday he'll be a dual-position player next week. Harris is in superb Fantasy form with recent scores of 66, 55 and 81. Christian Welch Nichol joins the bench. Jesse Bromwich and Cameron Munster continue to impress while Cameron Smith is averaging a staggering 75.6 in his past five games.