Scout Report: Round 3 teams wrap
The big NRL Fantasy talking points, in-form players and injury news to come out of the Round 3 Telstra Premiership team lists.
Storm: Billy Slater is back, while Jesse Bromwich could also return from his thumb injury after being named in the reserves this week. Unfortunately Slater's likely return spells the end of Ryley Jacks' money-making ways for now. Cash cow Felise Kaufusi is making good money - $44,000 in price rises so far - while fellow second-rower Kenny Bromwich is looking like stagnating around the $330,000-mark. Cameron Smith is fresh from a 72 and remains the top captaincy option.
Broncos: No changes for Brisbane this week. Josh McGuire has powered his way to 117 points from two games and has been the highest-scoring front-rower in Fantasy after two games, while Andrew McCullough, Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt all earned 70+ points against the Cowboys. Tautau Moga's price is still rising but at $194,000 you've probably missed the boat if you haven't snapped him up yet.
Bulldogs: With Will Hopoate and Kerrod Holland both facing a month on the sidelines, the Bulldogs have brought in potential cash cows Brad Abbey and Marcelo Montoya at fullback and the wing. Both are $138,000 in Fantasy and have decent job security if they can do a decent job this week, and could be popular buys with Fantasy coaches scrambling to fill backline spots and hunting for cash cows. James Graham has been slightly below his best and is still averaging 50 after two rounds, while cheapie Adam Elliott ($162,000) impressed with 44 last week after getting bonus minutes for the injury-ravaged Dogs.
Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named at fullback despite suffering a knock last week, while the return to the starting side of Bodene Thompson and Jacob Lillyman means Bunty Afoa and Charlie Gubb go back to the bench. Manu Vatuvei is into the side on the wing, with Tui Lolohea dropping out. Shaun Johnson's had a good start to the Fantasy season with two scores in the 60s.
Titans: Tyler Cornish is Jarryd Hayne's replacement at fullback, while Will Zillman and Dan Sarginson return to the backline. Tyronne Roberts-Davis is available for $138,000 and is guaranteed a price rise next week. Tyrone Roberts is back at starting hooker, with Karl Lawton out of the 17 altogether. Jarryd Hayne's injury (ankle, 4-6 weeks) provides the biggest question for Fantasy coaches this week: do you hold or sell? My first instinct is to hold if you can cover the winger/fullback position without him; with a break even of 24 he still has money to make. Kane Elgey meanwhile hasn't improved much in price after two rounds and needs some attacking stats - or to improve his defence - in order to become a genuine cash cow. Jarrod Wallace continues to be good value at $334,000.
Eels: The shock of the week is the absence of in-form playmaker Corey Norman, who had been averaging 62 points a game but has been left out of Parramatta's 21-man squad with a hamstring injury. His absence will hit a lot of teams hard, with few Fantasy sides able to afford more than one star half. The good news is the Eels expect him back next week, so he's a definite hold in Fantasy. Jeff Robson will wear the No.7 this week. Suaia Matagi and Kaysa Pritchard are making decent cash despite underwhelming scores in the mid-20s last week.
Knights: Unchanged. Brock Lamb is proving one of the best buys at Newcastle, scoring 45 last week to take his value past $300,000 for the first time. Meanwhile Mitch Barnett and Jamie Buhrer both continue to be solid contributers in the forwards while cheapies Luke Yates and Sam Stone have break evens of 2.
Rabbitohs: No changes for the Rabbitohs this week, with new cheapie Robert Jennings holding his spot in the centres and Siosifa Talakai only managing a spot in the reserves after being axed for Round 2. Jennings ($164,000) was one of the week's best cash cows and he has a negative break even this week. Cody Walker was the star for Souths in their win over Manly with 64 Fantasy points and is a great point-of-difference buy in the halves or at the back, while Adam Reynolds made 60 in his return from appendicitis. Sam Burgess hasn't hit 50 in two attempts but as a proven gun is a hold for now.
Panthers: Penrith have named an unchanged 17 but Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is listed among the reserves and is a chance to return and bump rookie Dylan Edwards out of the side. After a horror Round 1 effort - in both Fantasy and the NRL - the Panthers bounced back with a vengeance against the Tigers in Round 2 with a big win and five 50+ scorers (Nathan Cleary, Trent Merrin, James Tamou, Dylan Edwards and 76-point star Tyrone Peachey).
Roosters: Blake Ferguson is out with a rib injury, with Joseph Manu in the centres. Isaac Liu replaces Chris Smith on the bench. Mitch Aubusson is fresh from a terrific 74-point effort, and his owners will be happy to see Manu take Ferguson's spot rather than Aubusson moving into the backline. Latrell Mitchell had a quiet game with 14 last week but as an attacking outside back he's always going to be a mix of high and low scores. Mitchell Pearce is more of a worry - a score of just 29 in a winning team suggests Pearce may not be as dominant as he was last season, particularly with halves partner Luke Keary proving such an effective attacking weapon.
Cowboys: With Matt Scott out for the season with an ACL injury, Lachlan Coote (calf) and Antonio Winterstein (broken arm) both sidelined for a few weeks and Jason Taumalolo facing a two-week suspension, the Cowboys have been forced into a few changes. Pat Kaufusi ($182,000) gets Scott's old spot in the front row, while Kalyn Ponga starts at fullback - but could only be there for two weeks - and Javid Bowen starts on the wing. Coen Hess will be a popular buy after last week's 74 and has the makings of an outstanding Fantasy prospect, but remember he's scored tries in both his games so far, and had his minutes inflated by injuries to Winterstein, Scott and co last week. Keep an eye on Taumaololo's judiciary news - if he cops a ban and Hess is named to start, he'll be a handy buy.
Sea Eagles: Shaun Lane replaces Bill Bainbridge on the bench in the only change. Brian Kelly (42 last week) is proving an effective cash cow and Daly Cherry-Evans (59) showed why he can be a keeper half again, but Tom Tbrojevic (81) was Manly's star of Round 2, with a try, an assist and a massive 305 run metres. As Manly's Round 1 loss to Parramatta showed, Trbojevic will need quality ball to score well in Fantasy, but if given the chance he can obviously go large. Curtis Sironen and Frank Winterstein continue to be effective cash cows.
Raiders: The return of captain Jarrod Croker has forced a reshuffle, with Elliott Whitehead returning to the forwards (where his scores are sure to improve - keep an eye on his price in the weeks to come) and Sia Soliola dropping to the bench. Luke Bateman holds his spot at lock. Dave Taylor and Clay Priest join the bench, with Scott Sorensen, Dunamis Lui and Jeff Lima out. Aidan Sezer's scores haven't improved on last year's, and with Croker set to regain the goal-kicking duties Sezer is a sell. Nick Cotric is making decent coin and could get some chances against the Tigers this week.
Wests Tigers: Some more bad news for Fantasy coaches here with Jamal Idris dropping off the bench and out of the 21-man squad altogether. He'll need to get some match fitness in the lower grades before he can earn a starting spot at centre. Matt Ballin is one of the Tigers' reserves this week, suggesting his comeback from injury is near. James Tedesco did well to score 40 in a tryless Wests Tigers performance last week. Elijah Taylor continues to score the vast majority of his points through tackles and continues to be a mid-40s scorer - pretty good, but not quite a keeper at this stage.
Sharks: Valentine Holmes and Gerard Beale have been included in Cronulla's 21-man squad so must be some chance of returning from injury, but the big news for Fantasy coaches is the fact Jayden Brailey continues to hold the hooker role with no James Segeyaro at the club yet. Brailey is yet to produce a big score but still has a negative break even so will get another good price rise this week, and should again play close to 80 minutes. Don't expect Wade Graham (84) to score a hat-trick too often, and don't expect Paul Gallen to keep scoring below 50 for too long either.
Dragons: No changes for the Dragons' 17. Cameron McInnes has been a great scorer for those who didn't go for the Cameron Smith/Jayden Brailey combination at hooker, posting a couple of 70s, while Jack de Belin came back to earth with a sub-50 score after his 92 in Round 1 but remains a member of the Fantasy elite, having signed a new deal with the Dragons this week.