Scout Report: Round 1 teams wrap
All the NRL Fantasy talking points to come out of the crucial Round 1 NRL Telstra Premiership team lists from NRL.com's Fantasy guru the Lone Scout.
Sharks: Rookie Jayden Brailey replaces the retired Michael Ennis as Cronulla's new starting hooker and looms as a popular cash cow - as long as the club doesn't sign James Segeyaro. Potential gun Valentine Holmes (hamstring, Round 2) has been included on the extended bench but is expected to miss out, with Gerard Beale starting at fullback this week. Andrew Fifita is probably the next best Fantasy captaincy option behind Cameron Smith, while Paul Gallen is a point-of-difference gun who could push the top scorers this year after retiring from rep football.
Broncos: Tautau Moga is the surprise inclusion in the backline after being spotted training at centre during the week, and at $152,000 is a genuine potential cash cow. He pushes Jordan Kahu back to the wing with David Mead missing out on a spot. With no Kodi Nikorima on the bench Andrew McCullough could play the entire 80 at hooker, or Josh McGuire could spend some time at dummy-half to give McCullough a spell. McGuire has taken Corey Parker's lock position and could make the step up from solid scorer to elite Fantasy gun this season - but there's no guarantee he can get near Parker's old scores. Fellow lock hopeful Jai Arrow has to settle for a spot on the bench and is probably a no go in Fantasy now.
Bulldogs: Not a lot on offer here for Fantasy coaches, apart from established guns like James Graham. Brenko Lee is the new face in the centres while Kerrod Holland starts on the wing. Adam Elliott ($143,000) is a cheap option on the bench who could enter cash cow calcualtions.
Storm: Billy Slater (shoulder, early rounds) and Tohu Harris (foot, Round 9) are both out, with Young Tonumaipea starting at fullback this week and Cameron Munster named at five-eighth where he's expected to play when Slater returns. Munster's not a great Fantasy buy if he's not playing at the back. Felise Kaufusi and Kenny Bromwich are the new second-row combination and both look like good value with Harris out and Kevin Proctor now at the Titans. The absence of a strong defender in Harris probably makes Fantasy superstar Cameron Smith only more valuable. He and Cooper Cronk could also nab a few extra kick metres this season with the inexperienced Munster in the halves.
Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds (appendicitis, Round 4-5) is out, with Luke Kelly starting at halfback, while Robbie Farah will start at hooker with Damien Cook coming off the bench as expected. The big surprise here is the fact George Burgess has missed out on a spot in the top 17 and is only included among the four reserves - he's been a popular Fantasy buy after an underwhelming season but is at risk of missing the cut in Round 1. At least with the Rabbitohs playing early in the week there will be time to make a final decision on whether he makes your squad on Friday before kick-off.
Wests Tigers: Super-popular cash cow Jamal Idris starts at centre as expected, but promising rookie Mosese Suli has missed a wing spot with Jordan Rankin named in the No.5 jersey. With Matt Ballin and Jacob Liddle out injured, Matt McIlwrick starts at hooker this week. Mitch Moses had a great finish to the season and could be value this year.
Dragons: Popular rookie Jai Field has missed out on the starting halfback spot at St George Illawarra with Josh McCrone to wear the No.7. Field has been named off the bench but that's probably not enough to justify a place in your squad. The presence of Field on the bench - and the fact McCrone can play hooker - isn't a great sign for Cameron McInnes's chances of playing the full 80 minutes at dummy-half.
Panthers: Te Maire Martin joins Nathan Cleary in arguably the most exciting young halves partnership in the NRL, with Cleary already an established Fantasy gun. Martin is a riskier option as a running five-eighth, who can score big on his day but looks unlikely to match Cleary's strong base stats from tackles and kick metres. Dean Whare returns to the NRL on the wing, which isn't a good sign for his scoring potential. There are cheaper cash cows out there. Bryce Cartwright shifts to the back row where his scores could actually drop - he already made a lot of tackles at pivot last year and is likely to see his attacking stats (and potentially his minutes) fall now that he's in the forward pack. Moses Leota ($143,000) could be value if he holds his spot on the bench.
Cowboys: North Queensland's vacant wing spot remains a mystery with Antonio Winterstein named despite being injured and Kalyn Ponga, Gideon Gela-Mosby and Javid Bowen all included among the reserves. That should send warning signs to Ponga owners, particularly with Winterstein not expected to miss too many games at the start of the year. Former Fantasy legend Shaun Fensom hasn't been included after joining the club this week.
Raiders: Aiden Sezer was quiet for Canberra last season with the Green Machine's forward pack and outside backs firing on all cylinders and looks underpriced this year at just $283,000 considering he'll take the goal-kicking duties in the absence of Jarrod Croker (knee, Round 5-6). Elliott Whitehead has been named at centre this week but will remain a second-rower only in Fantasy for now. Nick Cotric will be a popular cash cow after getting a run on the wing, while Clay Priest starts at prop with Junior Paulo suspended this week.
Titans: At $200,000, Jarryd Hayne is pretty much a must-have considering his stellar Fantasy record at fullback. Kane Elgey makes his long-awaited return in the halves and should improve on his $197,000 starting price. Tyrone Roberts starts at hooker with Nathan Peats injured, with Karl Lawton the bench utility (he won't get big minutes; avoid). Former Bronco Jarrod Wallace starts at prop with Leivaha Pulu at lock. Ryan James joined the Fantasy elite last year and is a quality captaincy option - but he scored a record-breaking number of tries for a prop in 2016 and will find it hard to repeat that effort. Englishman Joe Greenwood has been named on the bench and needs to start to be good Fantasy value.
Roosters: No big surprises here, with Aidan Guerra back in the starting side at lock, Mitch Aubusson starting in the forward pack (he may look a good buy but don't do it to yourself) and Latrell Mitchell and Blake Ferguson in the centres with Michael Gordon taking the fullback spot. Mitchell Pearce was excellent once he returned to the field last year and is a genuine Fantasy gun at half these days.
Warriors: The new Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was a Fantasy superstar in 2015 and looks a steal at $286,000. Ata Hingano will start at five-eighth and is very cheap but is probably a trap with Kieran Foran due to make his Warriors debut in a couple of weeks, meaning Hingano will be a back-up player very soon. Charlie Gubb ($200,000), Albert Vete ($289,000) and Bunty Afoa ($301,000) look good value for starting forwards, although Simon Mannering will once again be the real tackle machine in that pack.
Knights: They may be coming off back-to-back wooden spoons but the Knights have several potential Fantasy buys this year, from dual-position centre/second-rower Sione Mata'utia (who only needs to continue hitting 40 points a week to be among the elite Fantasy centres) to the improving Brock Lamb and Daniel Saifiti and the potential gun Jamie Buhrer. At $143,000, starting fullback Dylan Phythian can certainly become a valuable cash cow - but keep in mind Jaelen Feeney struggled to make any money in the same position at the start of last season. Rookies Luke Yates and Sam Stone get their debuts off the bench and come dirt cheap at $138,000 - with dual-position status an extra bonus for Yates.
Sea Eagles: Cheapie Brian Kelly has earned a spot at centre in great news for Fantasy coaches chasing cash cows, while Curtis Sironen and Frank Winterstein are a couple of cut-price options starting in the second row. Daly Cherry-Evans could potentially become a 50+ scorer again after taking over the Manly captaincy, but will the arrival of a genuine playmaker in Blake Green as his halves partner help or hinder DCE's Fantasy scores? Tom Trbojevic played with injury last season and has the ability to become a gun Fantasy fullback, although he actually scored better in Fantasy when playing in the centres last year.
Eels: Parramatta halfback Corey Norman made some big improvements on the field last year and could improve even further alongside a makeshift five-eighth in Clint Gutherson (who is also a little underpriced if he holds onto the No.6 jersey). Bevan French impressed at fullback in a couple of games at the end of last season but relied heavily on tries for his Fantasy scores and will need more base stats if he's going to become consistent. Kaysa Pritchard is a potential cash cow after grabbing the hooker spot, but he does have some competition at the club in Isaac De Gois and Cameron King.