2018 NRL Fantasy guide: Sharks

Cronulla failed to defend their Telstra Premiership crown last season but they remain among the league's big guns, led by two of the best Fantasy forwards in the business. Jack Bird and James Maloney have gone but fellow NSW Blues Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan have arrived, while Valentine Holmes will be out to continue the freakish try-scoring form he showed for Australia at the World Cup.

Fantasy gun: Paul Gallen

Gallen's first season since his representative retirement paid huge dividends for the NRL Fantasy coaches who snapped him up early. Not only did Gallen play all 24 matches of the regular season without the usual Origin workload taking its toll, he averaged close to 59 points a game to be finish with the most Fantasy points of the season. At 36 he may be the oldest player in the NRL but age hasn't wearied him yet. Only Jason Taumalolo made more metres with ball in hand than Gallen in 2017.

Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita takes on the Cowboys defence.
Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita takes on the Cowboys defence. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos/NRL Photos

Fantasy gun: Andrew Fifita

Before he came oh-so-close to scoring the try that would have sent Tonga into the World Cup final, Andrew Fifita completed yet another season as one of the dominant props in NRL Fantasy. One of the most explosive ball-runners and most dominant offloaders in the game, Fifita smashed out 54.5 points a week in 2017 – and that was actually a quiet season by his usual standards. If Gallen finally starts to fade in 2018, expect Fifita to step up as Cronulla's dominant forward.

Wildcard: Josh Dugan

A big-name signing who joined the Sharks after playing a key part in Australia's World Cup win - producing the ankle tap that was arguably the defining play of the World Cup Final - Josh Dugan is likely to line up at centre for Cronulla after spending the bulk of his NRL career at fullback. A gifted ball-runner and strong defender, Dugan scored better in his three full games at centre last season than he did across the rest of the year, making 62, 50 and 42 in those games. It's a limited amount of evidence (and those games did come against bottom-eight strugglers the Knights, Titans and Bulldogs) but there is a chance Dugan shines in the backline of the 2016 premiers.

2018 NRL Fantasy player prices

Paul Gallen: 2RF, $860,000

Andrew Fifita: FRF, $798,000

Wade Graham: 2RF, $632,000

Josh Dugan: WFB, CTR, $605,000

Luke Lewis: 2RF, $539,000

Jayden Brailey: HOK, $528,000

Valentine Holmes: WFB, $526,000

Chad Townsend: HLF, $524,000

Jayson Bukuya: 2RF, $517,000

Matt Prior: FRF, $506,000

Matt Moylan: WFB, HLF, $501,000

Kurt Capewell: 2RF, CTR, $494,000

Ava Seumanufagai: FRF, $482,000

Ricky Leutele: CTR, $442,000

Trent Hodkinson: HLF, $392,000

James Segeyaro: HOK, $379,000

Sosaia Feki: WFB, $374,000

Jesse Ramien: CTR, $365,000

Aaron Gray: WFB, CTR, $360,000

Edrick Lee: WFB, $339,000

Joseph Paulo: 2RF, $228,000

Scott Sorensen: 2RF, $228,000

Braden Uele: FRF, $228,000

Kurt Dillon: FRF, $212,000

Billy Magoulias: 2RF, $212,000

Briton Nikora: 2RF, CTR, $212,000

*2018 salary cap: 9.4m. Fantasy squad size: 21