Scout Report: Round 9 teams wrap
The NRL Fantasy form guide, injury and suspension news and key team changes for the first 12 clubs in action in the ninth round of the 2017 Telstra Premiership.
With the Roosters, Dragons, Storm and Warriors playing their Round 8 matches on Tuesday, those clubs will enter their official Round 9 teams lists this Thursday.
Broncos: Jordan Kahu returns on the wing with David Mead moving back to the bench. Josh McGuire remains a keeper in my book despite last week's 38, while Andrew McCullough continues to tackle his way to scores in the mid-60s on a regular basis (at least until Ben Hunt returns and Kodi Nikorima reverts back to a bench dummy-half role).
Panthers: No changes to Penrith's side although James Fisher-Harris and Te Maire Martin have been named in the reserves after missing Round 8 through injury. Those who held onto cash cow Corey Harawira-Naera were richly rewarded with a huge 69-point effort in an 80-minute performance at the weekend, and he's set for another big price rise next week after keeping his starting spot. Nathan Cleary's price is on the way down but he remains a hold - he just needs some attacking plays to add to his solid base stats. Trent Merrin and Bryce Cartwright are out of form and their prices are nosediving - Cartwright may be just back from injury but Merrin's 21 this week was his lowest score of what was already an underwhelming season.
Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds returns after being a late withdrawal with a hip injury last week, with John Sutton shifting back to the pack. George Burgess's horror season continues with the prop to spend the next four rounds on the sidelines after a shoulder charge. He's a sell. Angus Crichton is the man of the moment at Souths - the young second-rower played 80 minutes and smashed out 84 points including a try on Friday night. Forget cash cow, he's a potential keeper at this rate. Cody Walker is a great option for the bye rounds but his price is on the way down for those looking to pick him up in the coming weeks.
Sea Eagles: Unchanged. Jake Trbojevic is in great touch with scores of 74 and 62 in the past fortnight, while dual position forward Martin Taupau is one to watch after scoring 67 in the win over Canberra. Frank Winterstein's rise should still be on the way up but Curtis Sironen and Brian Kelly have peaked.
Cowboys: Johnathan Thurston is a chance of returning but he's only been named 18th man with an unchanged 17 featuring John Asiata at halfback and Kalyn Ponga at fullback with Lachlan Coote still on the sidelines. Ponga has been in great Fantasy form with a double at the weekend for his second 58 in the last three weeks. Coen Hess could be on the chopping block for some teams after scores of 42 and 37 but with an average around 50 and the potential to go big on any given week he's still probably a keeper.
Eels: Kenny Edwards replaces the injured Brad Takairangi at five-eighth with Dave Gower joining the bench. No sign of rookie Jamal Fogerty who was a potential replacement for Takairangi. Nathan Brown's great form continues with scores of 64, 50, 53 and 59 in the past month, while Corey Norman was superb at the weekend in scoring a round-high 85. Kaysa Pritchard has been a surprise packet, with the cash cow hooker now producing keeper-quality scores after Saturday's 61. Rumours persist that Mitch Moses could be joining the club mid-season, which isn't great news for Clint Gutherson's long-term Fantasy scoring once first-choice fullback Bevan French returns.
Titans: There is yet more injury drama at the Gold Coast with Dale Copley, Chris Grevsmuhl and Karl Lawton sidelined this week, with Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Kane Elgey (on the bench) and Pat Vaivai returning to the 17. Elgey is a sell. Jarrod Wallace is coming off back-to-back 60s and remains on track to be a season keeper, while Ryan James - after dropping $117,000 on his starting price - is back in form after scores of 70 and 56. Nathan Peats made 50 on the weekend after a massive defensive effort but isn't quite an elite-level keeper. Ryan Simpkins scored 54 at lock and is one to watch at just over $200,000.
Knights: Trent Hodkinson remains out of the side with Jaelen Feeney starting at halfback and Sione Mata'utia returning to the back row. Mitch Barnett could be out long-term with an ankle injury, making him a sell for those who have him. Barnett's absence means rookies Luke Yates and Sam Stone, who scored 44 and 50 respectively last week, remain in the starting side with Yates at lock this week. Mata'utia's versitility has been counting against him this season - his scores drop when he plays in the backline, while his big scores only come when playing his usual 80-minute role in the back row. On the plus side he's likely to stay in the pack with both Barnett and Jamie Buhrer in the casualty ward.
Bulldogs: No changes to the starting side, with Matt Frawley again named in the reserves but set to come off the interchange. Will Hopoate could play after being included on the extended bench. Frawley has scored just 10 in his past couple of games despite getting decent minutes off the bench, barely running the ball and not getting through much defensive work. He did score 45 in 80 minutes on debut and scored a great solo try in his second game so he's got points in him, but he'll need a quality score to jump-start his stalled price tag. James Graham hasn't scored below 55 since Round 4.
Raiders: Clay Priest replaces Dunamis Lui on the bench in Canberra's only change. Centurian Jordan Rapana and value buys Elliott Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and Joey Leilua have grabbed most of the attention of Fantasy coaches but Josh Papalii has been Canberra's best Fantasy scorer this year, averaging 59 this season and 66 in his last three games. Whitehead and especially Leilua had quiet games last week but should bounce back. Cash cow winger Nick Cotric has just about peaked in price.
Wests Tigers: Unchanged. David Nofoaluma is outscoring James Tedesco this season, despite Tedesco being in almost 15 times as many Fantasy teams as his teammate. Nofoaluma has three tries in eight games - nothing out of the ordinary for a winger - but he ranks first in the league for offloads and third for tackle breaks (Tedesco is first). Aaron Woods and Elijah Taylor both hit strong scores in the 50s in the Tigers' surprise win over the Bulldogs but still average in the mid-40s this season.
Sharks: Gerard Beale and Luke Lewis return, with Jayson Bukuya set for a stint on the sidelines through injury and Kurt Capewell dropping back to the bench. Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita are getting back to their best, with Gallen in particular shaping as a strong Fantasy buy considering he won't be playing Origin this season. Jayden Brailey's 29 was a bit of a disappointing return from 74 minutes - his second-longest stint of the season - but he has more cash to make.
Roosters, Dragons, Storm and Warriors teams to be named on Thursday afternoon.