Scout Report: Round 8 teams wrap
The NRL Fantasy form guide and key ins and outs ahead of the eighth round of the 2017 Telstra Premiership season.
Raiders: No changes this week. It's no surprise Canberra's good on-field form has converted to strong Fantasy scores for their stars, with Jordan Rapana, Josh Hodgson, Josh Papalii and Joey Leilua all averaging more than 50 in their past three games and Elliott Whitehead still undervalued after scores of 55 and 54. At $379,000, expect Whitehead to be a popular buy this week.
Sea Eagles: Martin Taupau is back in the front row, while Lloyd Perrett is out with a sternum injury. Addin Fonua-Blake moves back to the bench. Jake Trbojevic confirmed his keeper status with a strong 74 on the weekend, while Frank Winterstein passed $100,000 in price rises after scores of 49 and 50. Daly Cherry-Evans's see-sawing season continued with a quiet 33 after a run of good scores. Curtis Sironen spent some time on the bench last week on the way to 27 and has just about peaked.
Rabbitohs: Souths have named an unchanged team list, although Hymel Hunt could be a late inclusion in the centres and Sam Burgess is facing a possible suspension. Burgess is a hold even if he fails at the judicary on Tuesday night where he's challening a two-match ban for a shoulder charge. Adam Reynolds is in great Fantasy form after scores of 85 and 61 and is looming as a quality pickup for the bye rounds - unless he's plays Origin in which case he'd miss five games between Round 12 and Round 18. Angus Crichton is looking like a great buy after playing close to 80 minutes and scoring 58 for a $44,000 price boost.
Broncos: Joe Ofahengaue replaces the injured Tevita Pangai Junior (finger, 8-12 weeks) on the bench in the only change to the 17 this week, with Korbin Sims and Sam Thaiday named to start after being benched before kickoff on Friday. James Roberts will be a popular buy after smashing out 103 against the Titans, although he doesn't come cheap at $396,000. An even more popular option will be Kodi Nikorima, who absolutely made the most of his first run at halfback in Ben Hunt's absence with a try and 66 Fantasy points. Nikorima didn't get a lot of kick metres but he did make 25 tackles and a lot of attacking stats, and he has a break even in the single digits this week.
Eels: Kenny Edwards returns on the bench in place of Peni Terepo in the only change this week. No Mitch Moses in sight yet. Corey Norman has had back-to-back quiet games but Nathan Brown has emerged as a potential keeper, averaging 59 across his past three games. He did play the full 80 minutes on the weekend after covering for Kaysa Pritchard at hooker for part of the game, so would likely have scored less than 50 without that extra game time. Pritchard himself has proven a quality cash cow with $145,000 in price rises this season (and counting). Clint Gutherson continues to play well at fullback but the positional switch from the halves has seen his Fantasy scores and price drop - he's lost about $60,000 in value in the past couple of weeks.
Panthers: Cash cow sensation Corey Harawira-Naera has again been left out of the side after being a late axing from the 17 last week. He's still a potential late inclusion after being named in the reserves, but with star back-rower Bryce Cartwright also in the reserves Harawira-Naera's chances of more game time in the immediate future look slim. Trent Merrin has dropped $119,000 on his starting price and could be an absolute bargain once he regains his usual Fantasy form. He's had a quiet month by his standards but scored 53 and 63 before that.
Cowboys: Antonio Winterstein returns on the wing, with Gideon Gela-Mosby dropping out in the only change, with John Asiata holding his spot in the halves. Kalyn Ponga holds his spot at fullback with Lachlan Coote still sidelined. Coen Hess had his first price drop of the season this week and has a break even in the 50s, so it could be time to jump offboard if you don't rate him a keeper (although his average is still 51). Ben Hampton's future as a cash cow looks dire after he was again used as a bench utility on Saturday with Asiata brought into the starting side at halfback and impressing with 50 Fantasy points.
Knights: Joe Wardle is out, with cheapie Sam Stone starting in the second row and Anthony Tupou joining the bench. Sione Mata'utia finally produced the big score he's looked capable of all season with 56 last week while Dane Gagai continued his good form with a 50 after smashing 80 the previous round. Mitch Barnett's scores have started to drop into the 30s and he doesn't look like becoming a 50-point keeper.
Sharks: Unchanged. Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen both scored tries on the way to big scores last week, with Fifita's price having just about bottomed out after dropping in value by $88,000. Valentine Holmes was rock solid at the back against Penrith and now has two 50+ scores in his past three games. Jayden Brailey's price tag has hit $300,000 after a season-high score of 54 and he's a hold for now.
Titans: Joe Greenwood returns on the bench this week but star players Jarryd Hayne, Konrad Hurrell and Kevin Proctor could all join him in the side after being included in the reserves this week. The Gold Coast were cruelled by a last-minute loss to the Broncos last week but Jarrod Wallace stood tall against his old team with 60 points while Ryan James hit 70 and could be a good pickup with his price having dropped from $573,000 to $456,000 this season. Nathan Peats scored 32 points in 67 minutes in his return from injury. Kane Elgey is requiring tries to keep his scores above 20 these days.
Wests Tigers: Jamal Idris is out with a hamstring injury, with Michael Chee Kam replacing him at centre, while cash cow Moses Suli switches to centre with Kevin Naiqama on the wing. Mitch Moses has been named while Luke Brooks could be a late inclusion. James Tedesco continues to dominate at the back, scoring 68 without a try in a losing effort against the Eels, while Idris is steadily rising in value with solid performances in the centres. Cash cow winger Suli has another price rise or two in him.
Bulldogs: David Klemmer returns at lock, bumping Adam Elliot to the bench in the only change. Halfback Matt Frawley has been named on the extended bench again and remains a conundrum for NRL Fantasy coaches. He only scored 10 points from the interchange last week, with no attacking stats to his name, and looks set to play around 50-55 minutes if he continues in the bench role. He needs to start to be a genuine cash cow option though. Starting props James Graham and Aiden Tolman are both averaging in the 60s in the past three rounds, with Tolman shaping as a potential point of difference buy.
Roosters: Jake Friend is back in the starting side after overcoming an illness that had him starting on the bench last week, while Kane Evans replaces Ryan Matterson on the bench and Blake Ferguson switches to the wing with Shaun Kenny-Dowall at centre. Mitchell Pearce is in great touch with 88 points last week but is a big chance of playing State of Origin this year - although that's not a concern if you're playing to win your head-to-head league and not for overall points.
Dragons: Josh Dugan returns in some more good news for the red-hot Dragons, with Jason Nightingale back to the wing and Kurt Mann named on the bench. Gareth Widdop has been in great form with the Dragons racking up the points, but with matches against the Roosters, Storm and Sharks coming up the attacking stats could start to dry up. On the other hand, Cameron McInnes could get more defensive work to do after scoring "only" 44 in the past couple of weeks.
Storm: Will Chambers is back at centre but Tohu Harris is still out of the side. Ryley Jacks has been named to start again with Cameron Munster named on the bench. Regardless, Jacks now looks like a sell after earning $123,000 in price rises. Felise Kaufusi continues to be a pleasant surprise for those Fantasy coaches who have him, hitting season-high scores of 52 and 71 in the last two weeks, and running off Billy Slater for a couple of well-worked tries close to the line. Slater himself is looking like a potential keeper after scores of 56 and 57.
Warriors: No changes. Simon Mannering and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are getting back to somewhere near their best while Shaun Johnson continues to be a remarkably consistent scorer. Kieran Foran came back down to earth with a 23 this week while Bodene Thompson was restricted to 40 after spending 15 minutes on the sideline with a HIA test.