Scout Report: Round 19 teams wrap
With a dozen teams in action and the NRL Fantasy season heating up, the Lone Scout talks the key ins and outs and the Fantasy form guide ahead of Round 19.
Warriors: Issac Luke and Solomone Kata return this week, with Nathaniel Roache (hamstring) and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad dropping out, while Sam Lisone replaces Albert Vete (arm) on the bench. Old Fantasy favourites Shaun Johnson, Simon Mannering and Bodene Thompson are flying at the moment, with Mannering and Thompson averaging better than 60 in their last three games and Johnson averaging 75 in that period. Thompson is still relatively cheap at $420,000 (about $100,000 under his starting price) after a poor first-half of the season. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has a season average of 41 but has averged 51 in his last three.
Panthers: James Fisher-Harris returns from injury on the bench in place of Sitaleki Akauola. Dylan Edwards is coming off his worst score of the season (a very solid 36) and remains a keeper at the back while Nathan Cleary has notched three scores above 60 in his past five games. Trent Merrin's mid-season scoring spree has hit a bit of a road block, averaging just 40 in his past four after averaging 68 in the month before. Josh Mansour is also coming off a couple of quiet scores in the 20s, which can be expected of a winger.
Raiders: Josh Hodgson is back at hooker, with Kurt Baptiste back to the bench and Scott Sorensen dropping out of the side. Jordan Rapana has a break even in the 80s after scoring a last-start 20, with his huge $513,000 price tag set to tumble unless he goes big this week. Nick Cotric remains a borderline keeper and handy back-up option covering wing/fullback and centre, while Joey Leilua is another borderline keeper who could be a trade out option for Fantasy teams with more than two scorers in the centres.
Dragons: A few changes here, with Tyson Frizell out and Josh Dugan (and the returning Paul Vaughan) only included in the reserves. That means Jason Nightingale starts at fullback, Kurt Mann is on the wing, Josh McCrone starts at halfback, Tariq Sims is in the starting pack and Jacob Host and Matt Dufty join the bench. Taane Milne also replaces Euan Aitken (hamstring) in the centres. Expect some changes if Dugan comes through Origin unscathed and Vaughan trains well during the week.
Knights: Dane Gagai is named to return from Origin, with Joe Wardle shifted to the interchange and Mickey Paea out of the 17. Brock Lamb and Trent Hodkinson look to have secured the halves spots for now with Jaelen Feeney dropping out of the 21-man squad. Sione Mata'utia missed some game time last week with a finger injury - again resulting in a low score - but is still likely to play this week with scans revealing no serious damage (although keep an eye on the late mail). Nathan Ross has been a solid scorer at WFB since moving to fullback and is still a reasonable price at $310,000.
Broncos: Jamayne Isaako repalces David Mead (knee, Round 22-23) on the wing and could be a cash-out option if you need a short-term scorer. New Queensland utility Ben Hunt is averaging 55 in his past three games (including a 47-minute cameo from the bench) and looms as a potential keeper on the run home after winning back the starting halfback spot from Kodi Nikorima. Anthony Milford is on the extended bench and could be a late inclusion.
Titans: Unchanged. Jarryd Hayne is still pretty cheap at $281,000 after hitting back-to-back 50s - his only two 50s of the season. Jarrod Wallace has been a solid cotnributor this season but hasn't posted a big score since the Anzac weekend and could be trimmed from Fantasy squads in the next couple of weeks as you close in on your final 17.
Sharks: One-time century-maker Kurt Capewell is back in the side on the bench and James Segeyaro could be a late inclusion after being named in the reserves. Paul Gallen is a captaincy option this week despite coming off two of his lowest scores of the season - 48 and 44 - considering his season average is still about 58. Andrew Fifita may get limited minutes or rested altogether after Origin III.
Sea Eagles: Jake Trbojevic's return from Origin camp means Darcy Lussick is bumped to the interchange and Brad Parker is out of the side. Daly Cherry-Evans keeps pumping out the quality scores with a season-high 68 after being snubbed by Maroons selectors last week. Notably he made six tackle breaks and 91 run metres that game - both season-highs. Tom Trbrojevic is in great form at the back after scores of 57 and 70, while brother Jake is a definite keeper with an average in the mid-50s.
Wests Tigers: Fantasy coaches will be praying James Tedesco backs up from Origin after missing the last month of NRL action. He's been named at fullback with Malakai Watene-Zelezniak dropping out of the backline, while Chris Lawrence's return bumps Alex Twal off the bench. Aaron Woods is coming off a 47 but it's the first time since April that he's scored less than 50.
Rabbitohs: One-time Fantasy cash cow prospect Robert Jennings is back in the Rabbitohs side at the expense of Braidon Burns, with Aaron Gray shifting to the wing. Angus Crichton remains a captaincy option and has been regularly outscoring fellow keeper Sam Burgess, while Adam Reynolds is coming off back-to-back 50s for just the second time this season.
Cowboys: Unchanged. Jason Taumalolo is the top-scoring Fantasy player available this week but after making just 42 in North Queensland's latest game there is some risk in making him captain. Still, he did make 80 and 74 in the two weeks before that and he's always capable of going big against the league's weaker defensive sides. Michael Morgan has scored 53 and 90 since becoming the Cowboys' chief playmaker.