Scout Report: Round 4 teams wrap
The NRL Fantasy form guide and key team changes for all 16 clubs ahead of Round 4 of the Telstra Premiership.
Rabbitohs: Good news for those who have held on to cheapie centre Siosifa Talakai, with the cash cow regaining a starting spot after George Burgess, Hymel Hunt and Braidon Burns all copped suspensions this week. Tom Burgess and Anthony Cherrington also join the reshuffled team, with Angus Crichton starting in the pack, Cody Walker moving to fullback, Alex Johnston shifting to the wing and John Sutton starting at five-eighth. Talakai has a break even of 3 for those who have held onto him, while Robert Jennings and Johnston are also making fast money in the coming weeks. Walker has been very consistent so far this season while Sam Burgess is pushing his average back up towards 50 after a strong score last week. Robbie Farah scored only 23 points in 48 minutes after starting the year with a couple of 57s and is a rung below Cameron McInnes and Andrew McCullough in terms of Fantasy hookers this season.
Roosters: No changes for the Roosters. Mitchell Pearce was superb last week with two try assists and five tackle breaks in a 71-point effort, while Michael Gordon has been a surprise success story at the back with his second 50+ score in three games. It's been so far, so good for Mitchell Aubusson as well, averaging 51 from three games.
Panthers: Bryce Cartwright is back in action, returning to the side in a straight swap for the injured James Fisher-Harris (factured cheekbone, Round 7). Tyrone Peachey is rivalling Mitchell Aubusson as the highest-scoring centre in Fantasy so far this year, while established guns Nathan Cleary (50) and Trent Merrin (63) both impressed last week after slow starts to the season. Te Maire Martin looks like a mid-30s scorer who has just about peaked already.
Knights: No changes to the Knights' top 17 this week. Jamie Buhrer is on track for keeper status after hitting 66 last week, including 52 points in base stats. He's now slightly outscoring Mitch Barnett, who is also going strong with 54 points a game. Brock Lamb has been a super-consistent mid-range cash cow while Sione Mata'utia is a hold after playing just 56 minutes last week due to a head knock.
Broncos: Benji Marshall drops off the bench for Tevita Pangai Junior in Brisbane's only change this week, although Marshall remains among the team's four reserves. Andrew McCullough has been working his heart out this year and scored 71 last week, rivalling Cameron McInnes as the best back-up hooker in Fantasy behind Cameron Smith. Ben Hunt was the main man in attack last week, scoring a try on the way to 61, while the less consistent Anthony Milford made only 7. Josh McGuire is a definite hold despite "only" scoring 41 last week.
Raiders: After flogging the Tigers in Round 3 the Raiders are unchanged, although Joseph Tapine has been included in the reserves and could come into the side. Josh Papalii was a mid-40s scorer last season but is averaging a superb 63 points a game so far this year, jumping $68,000 in value so far. Luke Bateman played just 29 minutes at lock in Round 3 with Elliott Whitehead returning to the forward pack (and Bateman splitting his time at lock with Sia Soliola). Whitehead is $117,000 cheaper than he was at the start of the season and will probably drop in price again next week despite making 50 in Round 3. Jarrod Croker cashed in on last week's tryfest with 54 points in his first game of the year.
Sea Eagles: Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake are back from suspensions in a big boost for Manly, with Shaun Lane and Bill Bainbridge dropping out. Jake Trbojevic is hitting a solid 52 points a game while brother Tom is more hit-and-miss, with a couple of 30-point efforts either side of a huge 81 in Round 2. Brian Kelly, Akuila Uate and Frank Winterstein continue to earn price rises while Curtis Sironen looks worryingly close to peaking after managing just 19 points in 73 minutes last week - with a lack of tackles his main problem (understandable in a game the Sea Eagles won 30-8).
Bulldogs: No changes. The Brad Abbey bandwagon got off to a rocky start last week, with the rookie fullback making a couple of errors on the way to 16 points, while winger Marcelo Montoya scored a solid 33 including a try. James Graham and Michael Lichaa both hit strong 55s in the Bulldogs' win over the Warriors last week.
Eels: Corey Norman is back, a welcome relief for about 10,000 Fantasy coaches, while Tepai Moeroa has copped a one-match suspension and is replaced in the starting pack by Frank Pritchard. Clint Gutherson has been terrific in Fantasy so far this year, scoring a try in each game and taking on the bulk of the playmaking duties in the absence of Norman in Round 3 to score 71 points. His price is rising but in the long run it'll probably come down again if his scores level out at around 45 points a game. Suaia Matagi isn't far away from hitting his peak price after a couple of quiet scores in the last fortnight.
Sharks: The Jayden Brailey show continues with the young Sharks rake closing in one $100,000 in price rises, but that could be coming to an end soon with new recruit James Segeyaro (now available in Fantasy at $253,000) named on an extended bench this week. Stay tuned to the late mail for updates on how the Cronulla side will line up. Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita are both dropping in value despite solid starts to the season, but both remain keepers. Kurt Capewell ($178,000) has a negative break even after a couple of decent scores in the centres.
Titans: Dale Copley will play his first game for the Titans this week, while Daniel Vidot replaces the injured Will Zillman on the wing. Joe Greenwood moves back to the bench with Chris McQueen reverting back to the second row. Tyler Cornish and Tyronne Roberts-Davis made small price rises after Round 3 and should continue to do so for a few weeks. Jarrod Wallace still hasn't scored less than 40 this season and remains underpriced, while Kane Elgey still has a break even of 16 so is a hold for now.
Cowboys: Gideon Gela-Mosby gets his first chance of the season, replacing Javid Bowen on the wing in North Queensland's only confirmed change. Coen Hess remains a tricky Fantasy player to categorise - he scored 49 points in 80 minutes last week, filling in for Jason Taumalolo, but what will his minutes look like when Taumalolo returns? He's sure to get another big price rise this week (he's made $94,000 in rises so far this season) but if he's not in your team already you might as well spend an extra $14,000 on a definite 80-minute forward and an established Fantasy gun in Elliott Whitehead intead.
Wests Tigers: It's the start of a new era at the Tigers with coach Jason Taylor axed on Monday. There haven't been any major changes to the starting side, with Elijah Taylor back from injury and Matt Ballin included on the bench this week. Mitchell Moses is a sell after scoring just 5 last week, while Aaron Woods has been below his best this season with an average of 38. James Tedesco should drop below $500,000 next week if the Storm can keep him quiet.
Storm: Cameron Munster is out with a broken jaw, with Ryley Jacks resuming the starting five-eighth role and Billy Slater starting at fullback after coming off the bench last week. Vincent Leuluai joins the bench. Jacks could pass $100,000 in price rises next week. Cameron Smith is simply getting the job done and is saving his Fantasy owners the headache of choosing a captain every week, while Felise Kaufusi has been overachieving as a cash cow with a rock-solid 43 points a game. Kenny Bromwich isn't quite having the same success but has more money to make and remains a hold for now. Billy Slater has a break even of 19 after scoring 28 last week, and could be worth a pick-up if you fancy his chances of staying fit and scoring 35 points a game.
Dragons: No changes this week. Jai Field remains out in the cold, named on the extended bench among the reserves. Jack de Belin is the go-to Fantasy gun in this side but Paul Vaughan is making a stand with 71 points last round - and he's about $160,000 cheaper than de Belin. Meanwhile Cameron McInnes's 61 last week was his lowest score of the year so far.
Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is back, in a welcome relief for the many Fantasy coaches who had to make do with a lightweight back three last week (yours truly included). Kieran Foran also looks closer to making his Warriors debut after being included in the reserves in jersey 22, while Manu Vatuvei is out injured. Shaun Johnson keeps hitting 60s despite the Warriors' ragged on-field form, while Simon Mannering has back-to-back 50s in the last couple of games. Bodene Thompson's price has dropped by almost $100,000 this season.