Scout Report: Round 16 teams wrap
The injury and suspension news, team changes and NRL Fantasy form guide heading into the 16th round of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Warriors: Cash cow Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad gets another run on the wing with Solomone Kata out. Nathaniel Roache replaces Ata Hingano on the bench in the Warriors' only other change. After passing 50 just twice in the first 11 rounds of the season Issac Luke is coming off scores of 57, 59 and 58 in a sign he could be a point-of-difference option at hooker. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has a three-game average of 49 while Bodene Thompson is coming off his first 60 of the year.
Bulldogs: Josh Reynolds returns this week, with Kerrod Holland making way and Matt Frawley bumped to the bench. None of the Bulldogs are in great Fantasy form at the moment but James Graham looms as a bargain option now or in a week or two after a few injury-affected scores and a last-start 40.
Wests Tigers: Tim Grant is suspended and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak drops out of the side with James Tedesco and Aaron Woods returning from Origin duty. Jacob Liddle moves into the starting hooker role with Matt McIlwrick shifting back to the bench, while Esan Marsters holds his spot at centre. Elijah Taylor is averaging 60 from his last three games while Woods is back in good Fantasy form. Tedesco is one of the few genuine must-haves at some stage this season.
Titans: Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Peats and Jarrod Wallace are named to back up from Origin II and Anthony Don and Will Zillman are also back, while Leivaha Pulu joins the Titans' casualty ward with a case of appendicitis. Jarrod Wallace is coming off back-to-back 50s but Ryan James was very quiet last week with a season-low of 25 despite getting his usual game time.
Cowboys: The big guns are back from Origin duty with Javid Bowen, Kyle Laybutt, Ray Thompson and Ben Spina (biceps, season) making way. Jason Taumalolo might not be the most consistent Fantasy back-rower going around but anyone capable of making 300 run metres (and scoring 80 points) is worth a gamble on. Johnathan Thurston warmed up for his Origin return with a terrific 69 against the Eels a fortnight ago and could be a keeper option for the run home.
Panthers: Unchanged. Dylan Edwards once again has a negative break even but more importantly he's an undervalued keeper with a price tag of $308,000 and an average of 53 from four games. Josh Mansour has also been strong in the past couple of games while Trent Merrin should bounce back from his quiet 25 last start.
Raiders: Shannon Boyd is back in the front row this week, with Royce Hunt dropping out of the side and Luke Bateman moving back to the bench. Joey Leilua may have finally sparked back to life with scores of 44 and 56 in recent games and he's still cheap at $294,000, while Jordan Rapana has a three-game average of 81 which is just crazy for a winger.
Broncos: Ben Hunt is back but only on the bench, with Benji Marshall getting the nod to replace Anthony Milford in the halves this week. All Brisbane's Queensland stars are named to back up from Origin. Josh McGuire has been super consistent of late after scores of 49, 48, 48 and 48 but his owners would like one or two 60s now, although he still has a keeper average of 51. James Roberts is coming off his lowest score of the season so his price could tumble in the coming weeks.
Roosters: Daniel Tupou and Boyd Cordner return for the Roosters, with Zane Tetevano and the injured Kane Evans dropping out. Mitchell Pearce is in terrific form and is worth a buy for head-to-head, but for overall points he should be targeted after the Roosters' Round 19 bye. Jake Friend's price is on the way down after an injury-affected zero in his last game.
Storm: The Origin stars return but even with Cheyse Blair still sidelined last week's popular buy in the centres Curtis Scott drops out of the starting side despite grabbing a couple of tries. He's on the bench with Young Tonumaipea named at centre and young guns Brodie Croft, Ryley Jacks and Brandon Smith among those making way for the big guns. Cameron Munster has been in great touch lately and is proving a more than handy bye-round pickup, while Jesse Bromwich produced easily his best score of the season last week - although beware that came from a huge 76-minute stint in the front row with prop partner Tim Glasby away on Origin duty. Bromwich hasn't played more than 60 minutes in any other game this season.
Dragons: UPDATE: Jack de Belin has copped a one-match suspension after being found guilty of dangerous contact at the judiciary on Tuesday night. St George Illawarra have named Josh Dugan but not Tyson Frizell to back up from Origin II, although Frizell is included in the reserves and could still be a late inclusion for de Belin. Kalifa Faifa Loa drops out of the backline. After last week's 77 Paul Vaughan has passed the 70 mark four times this season - a terrific return for a front-rower.
Knights: Newcastle are unchanged. Dane Gagai is a point-of-difference option at centre or wing/fullback, pushing his average up towards 40 in recent weeks after switching to fullback. Sione Mata'utia is coming off back-to-back scores in the mid-20s but should bounce back if he gets through his usual workload as an 80-minute back-rower.
Sharks: Round 15 century-maker Kurt Capewell returns to the bench as Cronulla's Origin stars return. James Segeyaro is still out but Daniel Mortimer has again been named on the bench, which again isn't good news for Jayden Brailey's minutes - although he did manage 40 points in 48 minutes last week. The in-form Paul Gallen has scored fewer than 60 just once in his last six games, and that was a 55.
Sea Eagles: Darcy Lussick replaces Jackson Hastings on the bench in an otherwise unchanged Sea Eagles 17. With both of Manly's byes now behind them, Tom Trbojevic looms as a popular buy in the centres in the next few weeks although his price could come down a little after he scored 20 in Round 14, while Jake Trbojevic and Martin Taupau have both averaged 60 in their last three games. Daly Cherry-Evans scored just 28 last time out - in a win over Newcastle - equalling his worst Fantasy return of the year. DCE actually averages only 38 since Round 7, with his one 50+ effort in that time coming thanks to a try.