With the Dragons and Eels having the bye and several players set to be rested after the opening game of the Holden State of Origin series, it's a tricky week for NRL Fantasy coaches. Here are the key changes for each club this week and what they mean for Fantasy.
Raiders v Sea Eagles
Raiders: Shaun Fensom is being rested by Canberra in more bad news for his Fantasy owners after a mediocre 37 from him on the weekend, with Edrick Lee (hamstring injury) and Jeff Lima also out. Josh Papalii, Brenko Lee and Clay Priest come into the side, while Junior Paulo has been named on an extended bench after a mid-season move from the Eels. Fensom is very close to being a trade out considering the increasing strength of this Canberra pack and the fact they arguably don't need big minutes from him any more.
Sea Eagles: Apisai Koroisau returns on the bench and Steve Matai is back in the centres following last week's bye. Starting hooker Matt Parcell remains a hold for now but his time as an 80-minute player could be over due to the presence of Koroisau on the bench.
Warriors v Broncos
Warriors: Mass changes here with Manu Vatuvei, Solomone Kata, Albert Vete, Nathaniel Roache, Charlie Gubb and Ligi Sao coming into the 18-man squad with James Gavet, Jazz Tevaga, John Palavi, Jonathan Wright and Matt Allwood dropping out. The overhaul probably suggests it's time to trade out cash cows like Gavet and Tevaga. Simon Mannering is a replacement option for Fensom while Shaun Johnson remains a 50-point player despite his team's woes this season.
Broncos: Andrew McCullough is set to miss at least a month with a broken thumb while cheapies Greg Eden and Jaydn Su'A drop out of the side, but while four Origin stars have been named to return for Brisbane Matt Gillett and Corey Oates have been rested. Ben Hunt is the safer option in the halves than the inconsistent Anthony Milford.
Cowboys v Knights
Cowboys: The cavalry returns for the Cowboys, with Javid Bowen, Jahrome Hughes, Coen Hess and Ray Thompson making way for superstars Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou, Matt Scott, Justin O'Neill and Michael Morgan. John Asiata is 18th man.
Knights: Akuila Uate is a surprise exclusion from the squad with Dane Gagai returning to the backline, while Jeremy Smith is back at lock with Korbin Sims out suspended. David Bhana and Pat Mata'utia are the extra names on an extended bench. After a couple of big scores Pauli Pauli jumped $50,000 in value this week and is set for more big price rises.
Storm v Panthers
Storm: Major dramas here for Fantasy coaches with Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk not named for Melbourne, with a couple of makeshift options in Kenny Bromwich and Tohu Harris set to replace them at hooker and halfback respectively. Fingers crossed Fantasy favourite Smith backs up well after Origin and is a late inclusion. Stay tuned to the late mail on Friday for more news on this side.
Panthers: James Segeyaro has been dropped, while Peta Hiku's season-ending ACL injury means Waqa Blake starts at centre. Trent Merrin has been shifted to the second row with Leilani Latu at lock and new signing Chris Grevmuhl joining the bench, while Tyrone Peachey starts at five-eighth and Moses Leota replaces the injured James Fisher-Harris on the interchange.
Roosters v Wests Tigers
Roosters: Dale "remember me?" Copley is back for the Roosters after being injured early in his first season for the Tricolours and starts at centre, with Aidan Guerra returning to the back row. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will start up front.
Wests Tigers: Three big guns are back with Origin duo Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods joined by star fullback James Tedesco, who will make his return from a shoulder injury. He's set for one or two price drops so wait a week or two before snapping Tedesco up if he's not in your side already. Tim Grant and Dene Halatau drop back to the bench this week. Josh Addo-Carr retains his spot on the wing despite Tedesco's return and is set to continue making price rises after scoring in each of his first three games this season. Elijah Taylor is going great guns at lock, making a real impact in attack as well as his usual 40+ tackles in defence.
Rabbitohs v Titans
Rabbitohs: Just the one change for Souths, with the injured George Burgess replaced by Dave Tyrrell on the bench. Cody Walker again starts at fullback, with Greg Inglis resuming his five-eighth role. Adam Reynolds is edging his season average towards the 50-point "keeper" mark.
Titans: Konrad Hurrell is set to get his first run as a Titan after being named on the bench in jersey 18, while David Shillington also returns to the side with Eddy Pettybourne dropping out. With a break even in the 40s, don't rush out to buy Hurrell now but consider it next week if he looks the goods. He's cheap at $173,000 but can get cheaper.
Bulldogs v Sharks
Bulldogs: Will Hopoate and Josh Morris return to the backline, with Tyrone Phillips and Reimis Smith dropping out, while NSW forwards David Klemmer and Josh Jackson are also back. James Graham continues to be a tower of strength in the front row and is particularly valuable during the Origin period.
Sharks: No changes to the Sharks team that beat Manly a fortnight ago, with Cronulla's Origin stars named to back up from Game One. Besides Cameron Smith, Andrew Fifita is the form player in NRL Fantasy at the moment.
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