Scout Report: Round 12 teams wrap
The team changes, injury news and NRL Fantasy form guide heading into the 12th round of the 2017 Telstra Premiership season - the first of the three big bye rounds of the season.
Remember, Fantasy coaches can make up to three trades this week (and in Round 15 and 18) with half the NRL clubs and all State of Origin players out of action.
Rabbitohs: George Burgess returns from suspension this week, bumping Zane Musgrove out of the 17. Sam Burgess is a must-have for Fantasy coaches aiming to climb the overall points ladder, after scoring 96 and 75 in the past couple of rounds. Angus Crichton is also looking like a keeper after back-to-back 70s, while Cody Walker will also be a handy bye-round purcharse as dual-positon cover for the halves or winger/fullback.
Eels: A massive sigh of relief here for a lot of Fantasy coaches with Nathan Brown named to play despite fears the workhorse lock could miss several weeks with a rib injury. Brad Takairangi replaces the injured Michael Jennings in Parramatta's only change. The Eels, like the Rabbitohs, play in all three major bye rounds so will be in high demand for Fantasy. Manu Ma'u, Kaysa Pritchard and Semi Radradra all scored 50 or better in Round 11 and could be gambles worth taking for overall points.
Warriors: Simon Mannering is back, while James Gavet starts up front with Jacon Lillyman on Queensland duty and Albert Vete joins the bench. Shaun Johnson will be a popular option this week even though he's coming off a couple of underwhelming scores in the mid-40s - which at least show he has a knack for getting decent scores even on his bad days. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck should bounce back from a couple of poor performances (remember three weeks ago he hit 62 and 58 in successive weeks).
Broncos: With Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Anthony Milford, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday all picked for Queensland there are wholesale changes at Brisbane this week. The most surprising one is arguably the benching of in-form half Kodi Nikorima with Ben Hunt back in the side and Benji Marshall named at five-eighth, while Travis Waddell starts at hooker after Andrew McCullough's nasty concussion last week. Jaydn S'uA gets a start in the pack while George Fai and Jai Arrow join the bench. Nokirima has been in great touch with back-to-back 50s but if he comes off the bench there's no guarantee he passes his break even of 13, while James Roberts has the best average score of any centre in Fantasy this season.
Sharks: Gerard Beale, Fa'amanu Brown, Matt Prior and Kurt Capewell all start this week with Jack Bird, James Maloney, Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham on NSW duty. Valentine Holmes has missed Origin selection and is a potential pick-up at the back but Paul Gallen is the prime target here, averaging close to 60 points a game and set to play in the first two major bye rounds after retiring from rep footy. Jayden Brailey looks set for a few more games in the starting hooker role with James Segeyaro still not close to returning from injury.
Bulldogs: With Brett Morris, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer out, Marcelo Montoya, Greg Eastwood and Danny Fualalo start this week with Asipeli Fine and Francis Tualau joining the bench. A couple of head knocks in the past three weeks have hurt James Graham's score and seen his price drop down to $434,000 after starting at $541,000. He'll be a popular purchase considering the Dogs play in two major bye rounds (12 and 18). Adam Elliott continues to score well and make good coin as an 80-minute second-rower.
Raiders: Luke Bateman returns from injury on the bench while Sia Soliola moves into the starting side to replace Josh Papalii who will play for Queensland after a superb start to the season. Elliott Whitehead has been a bit below his best but still worth holding at least until Round 15. Nick Cotric has been superb on the wing as a high-scoring cash cow, coming off a couple of 50s.
Roosters: The Mitchell Aubusson Rule lives on with Aubusson switching to centre to cover for Blake Ferguson, with Joseph Manu moving to the wing, while Connor Watson, Ryan Matterson, Kane Evans and Zane Tetevano all start with Mitchell Pearce, Boyd Cordner, Dylan Napa and Aiden Guerra out due to Origin. Isaac Liu, Lindsay Collins, Chris Smith and Mitch Cornish form an all-new bench. Latrell Mitchell is in fine form and is a point-of-difference dual-position option who'll be in action in Round 12 and 18, while Michael Gordon is also sneaking under the radar as a solid scorer at the back.