Scout Report: Round 2 teams wrap
The form Fantasy players, big team changes and key talking points for all 16 clubs heading into Round 2 of the Telstra Premiership season.
Roosters: No team changes for the Roosters or their opponents this week. The Tricolours were terrific across the board against the Titans, with Latrell Mitchell (68 points, $335,000 and available at WFB and CTR), Michael Gordon (68, WFB, $345,000) and Luke Keary (72, HLF, $336,000) the standouts Fantasy-wise. Mitch Pearce was surprisingly quiet by last year's standards with 40 points, but expect that to rise in closer games when he'll get more kick metres and tackles.
Bulldogs: James Graham only had 17 Fantasy points to his name at half-time last week but finished with a rock-solid 51 after he and the Bulldogs threw everything at Melbourne in the second half. He's a keeper. David Klemmer also impressed and his scores will lift in games played in better conditions than the torrential rain that greeted the Bulldogs at Belmore last week. Cheapie Adam Elliott's brief stint off the bench for 13 points suggests he's a sell.
Warriors: Good news for Simon Mannering who has shaken off injury doubts to again be named in the side, along with Issac Luke. Bodene Thompson remains on the bench, while Erin Clark bumps cheapie Isaiah Papali'i into the reserves. After a slow start the Warriors showed some flair to scrape past Newcastle last week, but more importantly for Fantasy coaches some of their popular buys got the job done. The bad news was injury-affected scores of 36 from Simon Mannering and 22 from Issac Luke, but they're both expected to be fine this week. The good news was Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's 55 (and $19,000 price rise) and Shaun Johnson's 62.
Storm: Tim Glasby starts at prop for Jesse Bromwich, who is set to miss a couple of weeks with a thumb injury (trade or hold? Check out this week's Q&A article on Thursday for my answer). Don't be too put off by Cameron Smith's 47-point effort in Round 1 – the rain-affected game against the Bulldogs meant nobody scored well in Fantasy, and Smith remains the safest captaincy choice in the game (although Jack de Belin's putting up a decent fight for that title). Ryley Jacks ($159,000) made a great start to life as a Fantasy cash cow with a strong 41 on debut.
Broncos: Unchanged. Josh McGuire made a pretty strong start to life as Brisbane's first-choice lock with 53 points in 68 minutes, while Tautau Moga's first run as a starting centre at Brisbane was a pleasant surprise with 44 points and a $22,000 price rise. Moga's Fantasy record isn't strong but he'll be a popular buy after that performance, which featured five tackle breaks and 149 run metres.
Cowboys: Antonio Winterstein has been named to play this week, although Javid Bowen remains on standby in the reserves along with Gideon Gela-Mosby and Kalyn Ponga. Reigning Dally M winner Jason Taumalolo started 2017 with a bing with 78 Fantasy points - just four points shy of his top score in 2016. He averaged just under 53 points a game last season and will be a popular buy this week at $490,000. Ponga's 26,000 Fantasy owners will be crossing their fingers he gets a run in the side sometime soon, while more than 13,600 Fantasy coaches have Ben Hampton in their team and really shouldn't.
Knights: Cheapie Dylan Phythian is gone for the year with an ACL injury, with Brendan Elliot named in his place this week. Phythian is a sell if/when you spot another cash cow worth scooping up in the outside backs. Sione Mata'utia (46), Brock Lamb (40), Jamie Buhrer (55) and cash cow Luke Yates (33) all made promising starts to the season last week, but all were outshone by all-action lock Mitch Barnett who scored 71 in just 63 minutes.
Titans: Kevin Proctor keeps his place in the side this week despite suffering a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the second half of Saturday's loss to the Roosters. Jarryd Hayne (32) and Kane Elgey (26) both gained slight price rises despite underwhelming scores, but it's Jarrod Wallace (56) who looks good value after making 43 tackles in 69 minutes. His minutes will likely drop when Proctor gets his usual game time, but he should still be fine for 40-50 points per week.
Sea Eagles: Props Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake are suspended and Lloyd Perrett is injured, with Nate Myles starting up front and Jarrad Kennedy and Shaun Lane joining the bench. A first-up loss to Parramatta didn't help Manly's Fantasy scores, although back-row cheapies Curtis Sironen (42) and Frank Winterstein (31) did enough to earn price rises. Tom Trbojevic (27) was the big disappointment but in fairness didn't get much chance to attack in a one-sided game - something that could change against a weakened Souths outfit this week (if Manly's unsung forward pack lifts). Last year Trbojevic had three scores in the 20s and four above 50 so you take the good with the bad from him. Cash cow Brian Kelly needed a try last week to get his score to 29 but he'll continue making money if he can continue those scores.
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis is out for six months with an ACL injury, forcing a reshuffle of the backline with Alex Johnston starting at fullback and rookie Braidon Burns starting on the wing. He's a potential straight swap for injured Knight Dylan Phythian. George Burgess remains outside the top 17 at this stage while Adam Reynolds has been included as a reserve in a sign his return isn't too far off. Sam Burgess (42) was one of several big names to make a slow start to the season, but he should bounce back against a Manly pack missing Taupau and Fonua-Blake. Siosifa Talakai (44) was one of the cash cow success stories of Round 1, jumping $20,000 in value. Robbie Farah played the full 80 minutes last week despite the presence of Damien Cook on the bench, scoring 57.
Raiders: Jack Wighton and Junior Paulo are back but Clay Priest is suspended. Joseph Tapine is injured, with new face Scott Sorensen joining the bench. Zac Santo drops out of the 17. Cash cow Nick Cotric earned $17,000 with a first-up 36 in Round 1. Aidan Sezer has the goal-kicking duties but still only managed 29 Fantasy points last week and is probably a sell, especially with Knights pivot Brock Lamb scoring well at a similar price.
Sharks: Still no Valentine Holmes for the unchanged Sharks this week. (In fact he's not even in the 21-man squad.) Cash cow Jayden Brailey played well and made 39 tackles in 59 minutes in his first NRL game, earning a first-up $18,000 price rise in the process, and the good news is he's the starting hooker once again this week. Sharks target James Segeyaro hasn't signed with them yet and won't be playing this weekend. Andrew Fifita wasn't quite at his best and still smashed out 55 points last week, while James Maloney looks like a mid-range scorer at best once again after scoring 30 – including a try and three goals.
Wests Tigers: Jamal Idris has been named to come off the bench as he did last week, and while he's not a trade out he shouldn't be in your top 17 in Fantasy. Winger Moses Suli meanwhile is likely to move into a lot of Fantasy backlines after a stellar 52 on debut. He costs $167,000 now and will make some fast money in the coming weeks. James Tedesco is also on the rise after scoring a massive 91 last week, while tackle break machine David Nofoaluma is in less than 1 per cent of teams despite scoring 83 in Round 1.
Panthers: Cheapie Dylan Edwards gets a run on the wing in place of the injured Peta Hiku (eye socket, Round 5-6). Last week's heavy loss to the Dragons was a game to forget for Panthers on the field and in Fantasy, with none of their players scoring more than 50. I wouldn't be writing the likes of Trent Merrin (33) or Nathan Cleary (33) off just yet though.
Dragons: No changes for the Dragons, which you'd expect after their stunning Round 1 win. Jack de Belin was probably the Fantasy player of the round with a huge 92 points, and will be a prime trade target for those who can afford his $586,000 asking price. Joel Thompson actually did even better with 96, but that included the first hat-trick of his career and probably won't happen again. Cameron McInnes played the full 80 minutes (scoring 70 points, including a try) despite the presence of Jai Field on the bench, while Field could only manage 2 points in 10 minutes and won't start making money until he gets a spot in the starting side.
Eels: Also unchanged. Halves Corey Norman (69) and Clint Gutherson (58, also available at WFB) were Parramatta's best Fantasy scorers in Round 1 and are both good buys, especially considering the Eels' bye schedule from Round 12. Cash cow Suaia Matagi started well with 41 points and a $15,000 price rise, while Bevan French scored a solid 39 including a try.