Scout Report: Round 22 teams wrap
NRL.com's Lone Scout looks at the teams for Round 22 as trades begin to dry up and the NRL Fantasy finals begin across many private leagues.
Dragons: Tyrone McCarthy replaces Will Matthews on the bench this week, while Tyson Frizell has copped a one-match suspension after being named in the line-up on Tuesday afternoon. The absence of Frizell makes Jack de Belin an even more important player in the back row and after last week's 72 he looms as a captaincy option this week.
Broncos: Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday are back, with Herman Ese'ese and Joe Ofahengaue dropping out and Jaydn Su'A named 18th man. Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt are being traded out of a lot of teams this week – still, Hunt remains the sixth best half in Fantasy this year though so unless you're cashing him out or upgrading him to Shaun Johnson, I'd hold onto him.
Eels: Michael Jennings, Beau Scott and Manu Ma'u return, with John Folau and Rory O'Brien bumped out of the 17 and David Gower the 18th man. Clint Gutherson is scoring well since switching to five-eighth, managing some decent attacking stats in the past couples of weeks. Michael Gordon is a sell.
Sea Eagles: Matt Parcell and Nate Myles return, but both are on an extended bench. Jamie Buhrer has emerged as a late season point-of-difference buy with a string of quality scores in his past five games. Daly Cherry-Evans made three try assists on the weekend but still only managed 36 points – his scores have been a bit of a worry but at least he's still in good form.
Knights: Jarrod Mullen returns, along with Pat Mata'utia and Sam Mataora, with David Bhana dropping back to 18th man and Jack Cogger and Josh King out of the side. Avoid Knights players in your Fantasy team at this time of year.
Bulldogs: Tony Williams returns in place of the injured Greg Eastwood (hamstring). Aiden Tolman's run of 80-minute games is behind him but he still managed 56 last week, while James Graham has been the most consistent scorer in Fantasy this season.
Sharks: No changes, although James Maloney faces a possible two- or three-match suspension. Cronulla's Fantasy "big three" – Andrew Fifita, Paul Gallen and Ben Barba – were all big scorers last weekend and Fifita looms as a strong captaincy option.
Raiders: Brenko Lee replaces his cousin Edrick on the wing. Centres Jarrod Croker and Joey Leilua are both in fine form – Croker's scoring a little better recently, while Leilua is about $80,000 cheaper – while Jordan Rapana has been among the elite winger/fullbacks this season. Elliott Whitehead remains a keeper but his owners noted he did "only" score 57 after scoring two tries on the weekend.
Storm: Tim Glasby moves into the starting side with Christian Welch benched in Melbourne's only change. Tohu Harris continues to be a consistent high-50s scorer, while Cameron Smith had a quiet game last week (still scoring 50) and could potentially get some time on the bench if the Storm are routing the Rabbitohs in the second half this weekend.
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Hymel Hunt, Joe Burgess and Tom Burgess return to a Rabbitohs side that probably needed a few changes after last week's flogging at the hands of the Raiders, with Inglis starting at five-eighth in place of the injured Luke Keary (hamstring). Cameron McInnes drops out of the side with Damien Cook starting at hooker. Despite Souths' on-field woes Sam Burgess continues to get through a lot of work and remains a Fantasy keeper.
Titans: Nathan Peats returns at hooker with Ryan Simpkins named 18th man, while there are rumours a new recruit – some ex-NFL player called Jarryd Hayne – could sign on with the club and line up for them as soon as this weekend. If that's confirmed he'll become available in Fantasy today.
UPDATE: Jarryd Hayne is now available in NRL Fantasy as a WFB worth $380,000.
Warriors: Bunty Afoa and Nathaniel Roache have been added to the Warriors' bench this week, with Jazz Tevaga and Blake Ayshford set to miss the cut. Bodene Thompson returned from injury last week but only managed 40 points in 89 minutes. Simon Mannering is a rock solid captaincy option after scoring two 70s in the past three weeks.
Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks is out for a month or so with a knee injury, with Jack Littlejohn replacing him at halfback. James Tedesco is probably due another breakout score.
Cowboys: No changes, with Johnathan Thurston still on the sidelines. Ethan Lowe is in good form, kicking goals in Thurston's absence, but beware his season average is still less than 50.
Panthers: Unchanged. Josh Mansour's recent form is staggering – but keep in mind he's still a winger, so while he's managed scores of 98 and 99 he did score a 30 in between those efforts. He's a buy, but don't be disappointed if he has the occasional quiet game. Trent Merrin's a captaincy option this week, while Nathan Cleary is arguably the second-best half in Fantasy this year behind Shaun Johnson.
Roosters: Unchanged. Jake Friend's re-established himself as the best Fantasy hooker not named Cameron Smith while Boyd Cordner and Mitchell Pearce are both point-of-difference options. Latrell Mitchell is on track to be the most-sold player this week.