Scout Report: Round 21 teams wrap
The key team changes, injury and suspension news and NRL Fantasy form guide heading into the final regular season round of most head-to-head Fantasy leagues.
Panthers: Matt Moylan has again been sidelined with a hamstring injury, and although Bryce Cartwright is fit he's only been named in the reserves at this stage with Tyrone May named at five-eighth. Nathan Cleary's price has jumped up to $566,000 while Josh Mansour is in a bit of a slump after his brilliant return from injury, averaging just 28 from his last three games.
Bulldogs: James Graham is back, bumping Danny Fualalo to the bench and Francis Tualau out of the 17. After two 80-minute performances Aiden Tolman's scores came back down to earth with 45 points in 56 minutes against Brisbane, while POD fullback/centre Will Hopoate had his second quietest game of the year with 27.
Warriors: Unchanged. Simon Mannering's Fantasy performances just keep getting better - he's now scored 80, 68, 72 and 83 in his last four games - while Mason Lino rather than Kieran Foran took on most of the kick metres in Shaun Johnson's absence.
Sharks: James Maloney (hand) is out, with Nu Brown starting at five-eighth while James Segeyaro and Jack Bird return to the starting side with Kurt Capewell moving to the bench. Andrew Fifita has just one score above 50 and none above 60 since the start of the State of Origin series, having averaged almost 58 before that, and his price has just about bottomed out at $490,000. Paul Gallen remains a solid captain or vice captain option.
Eels: Clint Gutherson is out for the season with a knee injury, with Bevan French back in the No.1 jersey and Josh Hoffman into the side on the wing. Nathan Brown is averaging 65 from his past three games, while Semi Radradra is in great form as well on the left wing after scores of 81 and 59. After a great start to the season, Corey Norman has averaged just 40 since returning from injury in Round 14.
Broncos: Darius Boyd returns at fullback, bumping Kodi Nikorima not just to the bench but out of the 17 with Benji Marshall holding onto the interchange utility role. Nikorima is also nursing a hip injury and missed training on Tuesday. James Roberts is in hot form after scores of 64 and 59, while Josh McGuire is a sell option after makign just 26 from 49 minutes against the Bulldogs.
Knights: Ken Sio replaces the injured Chanel Mata'utia on the wing. Mitch Barnett is coming off a couple of good scores (68 and 50) while Dane Gagai has averaged a very solid 47 since Round 10.
Dragons: Matt Dufty made a brilliant start to his Fantasy (and NRL) career last week with an 84 on debut, including a runaway try, and he keeps his spot at fullback thanks in part to Euan Aitken's injury, with Josh Dugan slotting into the centres this week. Dufty would have been a dream buy earlier in the season but has probably arrived too late for those Fantasy teams that have three scorers at the back already and not many trades left. Joel Thompson also returns after being a late scratching last week, with Blake Lawrie making way. Jack de Belin has scored back-to-back 60s while Cameron McInnes will bounce back from last week's 34 in a game where not much defending was required.
Rabbitohs: The good news for Sam Burgess after he left the field early against the Sharks is he's only suffered rib cartilage damage, not a broken rib, and he's been named this week. Cameron Murray replaces Zane Musgrove on the bench, Damien Cook takes the starting hooker spot off Robbie Farah and there's been a major reshuffle elsewhere, with Cody Walker now at five-eighth, John Sutton in the back row, Tyrell Fuimaono in the centres, Robert Jennings on the wing and Alex Johnston at fullback. Angus Crichton didn't need a try to hit a whopping 86 points on the weekend, with 11 tackle breaks and solid base stats doing the trick, and with a season average of 61 he looms as a captaincy option this week and for the run home.
Raiders: Jordan Rapana and Sia Soliola are both out through suspension, with Michael Oldfield, Joseph Tapine and Luke Bateman moving into the starting side, Kurt Baptiste shifting to the bench and Jeff Lima joining the interchange. Nick Cotric remains a handy contributor with 54 on the weekend, while Joey Leilua remains a frustrating Fantasy prospect with just 12 in the loss to the Storm.
Roosters: Joseph Manu's return means Mitchell Aubusson goes back from centre to the second row, with Aidan Guerra bumped to the bench and Kane Evans dropping out of the side. Mitchell Pearce remains the best option in the halves after Shaun Johnson's injury with a rock-solid 59 against the Knights, just a tick above his season average.
Cowboys: Antonio Winterstein is back from injury on the wing, bumping Javid Bowen out, while Shaun Fensom has been named on the bench after starting at prop last week. Jason Taumalolo remains a great captaincy option this week with some doubts about Cameron Smith's fitness.
Storm: The big news... Cameron Smith is IN. Billy Slater isn't so lucky, left out of the side with concussion but the presence of Smith will have thousands of Fantasy coaches breathing a sigh of relief (assuming his pec injury doesn't rule him out between now and kick-off). The Storm say he has gone from almost no chance of playing, to "some chance" on Sunday, to "quite a good chance" now. Cameron Munster starts at fullback for Slater this week, with Ryley Jacks into the side at five-eighth. Curtis Scott was eventually switched into Melbourne's starting team on the weekend only to score a poor 16 points, but he'll surely bounce back.
Sea Eagles: Matt Wright, Brenton Lawrence and Apisai Koroisau return in place of Brad Parker, Darcy Lussick and Jarrad Kennedy. Daly Cherry-Evans (averaging 60 in his past five games) and Tom Trbojevic (averaging 60 in his past three) are both in great touch, with DCE maintaining his strike rate of a try assist a game. Meanwhile Martin Taupau is in a bit of a slump, with a season-low 30 on the weekend taking his average to 40 for the last month after he was at one point averaging 57 for the season.
Titans: John Olive replaces the injured Konrad Hurrell (hamstring, Round 24) at centre and Karl Lawton bumps Kane Elgey off the bench. Jarryd Hayne is probably doing enough to hold a spot in your Fantasy side if you've got him while Ryan James hit his second 70 of the season on the weekend.
Wests Tigers: Suauso Sue is back from suspension on the bench, Chris Lawrence moves into the starting team with Kyle Lovett out. James Tedesco is back in top form after scores of 61, 46, 58 and 61 while Aaron Woods has averaged 55 since Round 11 after scoring just 40 points a game before that.