Scout Report: Round 22 teams wrap
The key team changes, injury news and NRL Fantasy form guide heading into the first week of the finals series for most head-to-head Fantasy leagues.
Every decision for your team matters from here on in, so check out the strengths and weaknesses of your Fantasy opponent and make the most of all the NRL team changes below.
Bulldogs: Brett Morris is back, with Kerrod Holland dropping out in Canterbury's only change this week. Aiden Tolman's minutes may have dropped after a couple of 80-minute bonanzas but he's still scoring well, making 69 last week to take his average in his past four games to 62.5. James Graham returned from injury with a solid 48 from 58 minutes and should improve with more match fitness.
Eels: No changes for Parramatta this week. Nathan Brown has been cleared of injury and is averaging 66 in his past three games, having not scored less than 50 since Round 13. He's a genuine gun in the front or second row.
Dragons: Unchanged. Jack de Belin is in great scoring form after hitting 66, 60 and 73 in recent weeks, and Paul Vaughan isn't far behind after last week's 78. Rookie fullback Matt Dufty managed 37 in a losing side last week after his 84 on debut, while Cameron McInnes is the obvious trade for Andrew McCullough if you don't already have Cameron Smith.
Rabbitohs: Zane Musgrove starts at prop this week with Dave Tyrrell dropping out of the 17. Sam Burgess's price has dropped to $454,000 after a run of mid-range scores, although he was on target for a big one with 41 points from 44 minutes last week before succumbing to his ribs injury. Angus Crichton managed 62 despite a sin-binning last week and is the next-best captaincy option behind Cameron Smith.
Cowboys: One-time Fantasy great Shaun Fensom is back on the North Queensland bench, with rookie Braden Uele dropping out. Goal-kicking back-rower Ethan Lowe is coming off a couple of good scores (64 and 58) Jason Taumalolo but the only real trade target at the Cowboys is Jason Taumalolo, who is still averaging more than 61 points a game.
Storm: After Cameron Smith provided last week's injury headache Cameron Munster's ankle injury brings a new dilemma for Fantasy coaches this week, with the in-form five-eighth out of the Storm line-up. Billy Slater returns at fullback for Jahrome Hughes and Ryley Jacks is named at five-eighth. Smith was unbelievably good in his 350th NRL game despite previously being in doubt with a pec concern to smash out a season-high 91 Fantasy points and he should be your captain from here on in. Slater, like Munster, is averaging around 50 in his past three games while Curtis Scott bounced back with a solid 42 last week after a 16 in Round 20.
Knights: No changes for Newcastle after last week's victory over the Dragons. Mitch Barnett's mini-run of good Fantasy scores hit a snag with 36 last week, and he remains below the top tier of gun 2RFs. Jamie Buhrer is a dual position 2RF/HOK these days if you want a cut-price replacement for Andrew McCullough (although Smith and McInnes are much better options) while Dane Gagai continues to score around the keeper 40-point mark for a centre.
Warriors: Bodene Thompson is out with a pec injury, with Isaiah Papali'i getting a start in the back row while Ben Matulino swaps places with Sam Lisone and starts at prop. Simon Mannering finally hit a sub-50 score after an incredible recent run, and even his "low" 48 score wasn't too bad for those who made him captain. Issac Luke is a cheaper potential McCullough replacement at $416,000 if you can't afford Smith or McInnes.
Titans: Kevin Proctor and John Olive return to the side, Karl Lawton is out for the season with a shoulder injury and Tyrone Roberts and Morgan Boyle drop back to the bench with Jarryd Hayne named at fullback. Ryan James is coming off a couple of quality scores but still looks a risky buy despite his low $414,000 price tag. Jarrod Wallace hasn't scored a 50 since Round 14 and hasn't made more than 50 since Round 8. Jarryd Hayne is scoring consistently in the mid-30s, which isn't quite what you want from a keeper at centre or winger/fullback.
Broncos: Andrew McCullough's season-ending knee injury is a massive blow for Brisbane and Fantasy coaches alike, with Ben Hunt named in the No.9 jersey this week and Kodi Nikorima coming into the side at halfback. David Mead replaces Jonus Pearson on the wing, although Corey Oates could return after being included in the reserves. James Roberts is in red-hot form after scores of 64, 59 and 53 and could be the centre to have for the run home - although it remains to be seen how McCullough's absence shapes Brisbane's attacking game in the next few weeks.
Sharks: Jack Bird returns at centre, bumping Luke Capewell to the bench and Adam Clydsdale out of the side. Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita both failed to hit 50 in last week's win over the Warriors but remain solid keepers for the run home.
Raiders: Canberra are boosted by the return from suspension of star duo Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii, bumping Joseph Tapine back to the bench and Michael Oldfield and Jeff Lima out of the side. Tapine played the full 80 minutes for the first time last week, making 53 points after scoring 52 in 45 minutes the previous week. Jarrod Croker's 79 last week was easily his highest score of the year - just his third score above 50 and first above 60 - while Nick Cotric is coming off back-to-back 54s.
Sea Eagles: Addin Fonua-Blake is suspended and Cameron Cullen also drops off the bench, with Brad Parker and Lloyd Perrett coming in, while Shaun Lane has been named to start after being moved to the interchange before kick-off last week. Lewis Brown goes back to the bench. Manly's heavy loss to the Storm was also bad news for their Fantasy scores, with only Martin Taupau (52) doing well and Jake Trbojevic (40), Daly Cherry-Evans (27) and Tom Tbrojevic (21) all struggling by their usual standards. DCE remains a borderline keeper while the Trbojevic brothers are still guns.
Roosters: There were fears young hooker Victor Radley had suffered a broken hand last week but scans cleared him of serious injury and he's named at hooker again, with Boyd Cordner still missing from an unchanged Roosters side. Jake Friend is on the extended bench and could be a late inclusion. Sio Siua Taukeiaho smashed out 74 points last week in a terrific performance off the bench. Mitchell Pearce produced his second worst score of the season last week and his first sub-40 score since Round 2, but with a season average of 56 remains one of the elite Fantasy halves.
Panthers: Matt Moylan is a chance of returning after being included in the reserves this week, with Moses Leota back in the side at lock after being a late withdrawal on the weekend. Nathan Cleary's the standout gun at the Panthers these days, averaging 77 in his last three (including a record-breaking 126) while Dylan Edwards was brilliant on the field in Penrith's win over the Bulldogs even if he seemed little short-changed in Fantasy with a score of 36. He'll bounce back, and could wreak havoc against a Tigers side that has the most missed tackles in the NRL.
Wests Tigers: No changes. As expected, James Tedesco is finishing the season as the outstanding gun at the back after scoring 61 three times in his past five games. Tui Lolohea is also in great touch of late, averaging 50 from his last four, while Aaron Woods has averaged 57 since the start of the Origin series.