Scout Report: Round 15 teams wrap
It's the second major bye round of the season and NRL.com's Lone Scout has all the latest team news plus the NRL Fantasy form guide for Round 15.
Rabbitohs: Souths are unchanged this week. Sam Burgess and cash-cow-turned-keeper Angus Crichton are the Fantasy guns of this team and both are just about must-haves for overall points, coming off scores of 74 and 69 last week. Adam Reynolds hit a solid 46 in Round 14 including two try assists but he hasn't hit a 50 since Round 7, averaging less than 38 from his past five games. Still, he's been a keeper in the past and could lift if Souths' form improves. George Burgess was back to his mediocre scores last round with a 23, while Cody Walker is struggling for points at fullback although he could get some attacking stats against a weakened Titans side.
Titans: Nathan Peats, Jarryd Hayne and Jarrod Wallace are out for the injury-hit Gold Coast, with Peats and Hayne on NSW Origin duty and Wallace either on Queensland duty or suspended, depending on what happens at the judiciary on Tuesday night. Kane Elgey, Tyrone Roberts and Karl Lawton are also out injured, with Kevin Proctor, John Olive, Nathaniel Peteru and Pat Politoni joining a reshuffled side that features Chris McQueen at five-eighth. Keep an eye on the extended bench too - dual position cheapie Jamal Fogerty has been released by the Eels this week and could be a late inclusion at five-eighth for the Titans. Ryan James isn't hitting the heights of last season and Konrad Hurrell has been hit-and-miss at centre, although he is coming off a solid 47.
Storm: Billy Slater's return to the Queensland Origin side is bad news for his Fantasy owners, particularly with Melbourne's final bye coming in Round 19 after Origin III. He joins Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Will Chambers and surprise Queensland selection Tim Glasby in Maroons camp. That means there are a lot of new faces in this side, most notably Curtis Scott at centre, Young Tonumaipea at fullback, Slade Griffin at hooker and Kenny Bromwich returning to the starting side with Tohu Harris shifted to centre. Cameron Munster's stocks keep rising with some consistent scores around the 50-point mark, dual position flexibility and bye coverage for Round 15 and 18. Scott and Britt loom as decent cash-out options considering they'll play those two bye rounds (and probably only those two bye rounds), while Felise Kaufusi continues to score well for those who haven't sold him yet.
Cowboys: With Origin stars Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess out, Kane Linnett is now a second-rower with Javid Bowen at centre, Ray Thompson at halfback, rookie Kyle Laybutt at five-eighth and Corey Jensen joining the bench. Kalyn Ponga still can't get a spot in the 17 and it looks like he won't be back this season if Lachlan Coote stays fit. On Saturday Jason Taumalolo played less than 50 minutes for the first time all season, which is a bit of a worry for those who just bought him, but he'll be expected to lead from the front with the other big guns out this week.
Sharks: Andrew Fifita, James Maloney, Wade Graham and Jack Bird are on NSW duty while Valentine Holmes has been called up by Queensland, so Gerard Beale, Edrick Lee, Fa'amanu Brown, Sam Tagataese and Jayson Bukuya join Cronulla's starting side this week with Daniel Mortimer and Jeremy Latimore coming into the 17. Paul Gallen is an obvious captain choice this round while Jayden Brailey needs to bounce back after scoring just 16 points in 75 minutes last week.
Wests Tigers: With big guns Aaron Woods and James Tedesco in Origin camp, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak and Tim Grant join the starting side along with Luke Brooks who is back from injury at halfback. Matthew Eisenhuth joins the bench. Tui Lolohea was solid in his second game for the Tigers with 41 after making 54 on his club debut and is a handy sub-$300,000 option at winger/fullback who can also cover the halves.
Eels: Kirisome Auva'a returns in place of Nathan Davis on the wing in an otherwise unchanged side. Clint Gutherson still produced a decent 41-point effort despite being shifted to the centres last round, while Corey Norman will be out to impress after being overshadowed by Johanthan Thurston in his return game in Darwin. The Eels play in both remaining bye rounds - making players like Norman, Nathan Brown and Semi Radradra popular options for overall points - but beware they have their byes in Round 16 and 19 which could leave you short a quality 17 if you've loaded up on bye-round specialists.
Dragons: Jason Nightingale shifts to fullback this week and Tariq Sims starts with Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell on NSW duty, while Kalifa Faifai Loa and Jacob Host join the 17. Dragons forwards Cameron McInnes and Jack de Belin both smashed out 70s in big defensive efforts against the Bulldogs and are captaincy options here. Tim Lafai only managed 21 against the Dogs but that can be expected in a team that doesn't find the tryline.