Melbourne Storm prop Jesse Bromwich.

NRL Fantasy Files: Talking points from week 1 trials

There were plenty of NRL Fantasy talking points to emerge from the weekend's trial action with a number of players on coaches' radars putting in impressive performances.

While it would be hasty to get too carried away with a club's chances based off a single trial match, more can be read into how certain players are tracking.

Melbourne v Leeds

The sight of big Jesse Bromwich charging over for a try and getting heavily involved was a welcome one for plenty of Fantasy coaches. The Storm prop is nice and cheap after an ordinary year Fantasy-wise in 2017 but has the capacity to be a keeper and the early signs are good.

If he wasn't a short-priced favourite for Cooper Cronk's vacated No.7 jersey, young half Brodie must be at unbackable odds after a composed effort against the Rhinos on Friday. Sadly, he's a bit pricey for a teen half but still has potential upside for coaches willing to gamble.

A powerful man-of-the-match effort from Nelson Asofa-Solomona may indicate the Kiwi giant is ready to up his minutes in the absence of Jordan McLean and Tohu Harris this year which could move him into cut-price keeper status.

Panthers v Roosters

There wasn't a great deal to be gleaned from a Roosters outfit that rested a host of stars including new names Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco. The Panthers' new halves pairing of James Maloney and Nathan Cleary showed enough to suggest there may be plenty of points in the mountain men this year which is good for goal-kicker Cleary, even if Maloney ends up pinching some of his kick metres and attacking involvement.

Tyrone Peachey carved away for a long-range try – created by Cleary – as he continued to ply his trade as an attacking centre rather than a back-rower, which is good news for his minutes and likely attacking stats.

Panthers winger Maika Sivo had a strong game – including a try – and looks NRL-ready but probably has too many players in front of him to be a round one cheapie. Put him on the watch-list for now.

Bulldogs v Raiders

There has been plenty of off-season discussion about Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa, and specifically whether his Fantasy average of roughly 50 over the final three rounds of 2017 when he unleashed his running game was a better indication of his worth than his 35 season average when sticking to then-coach Des Hasler's tackle-only game plan.

The early signs are hugely positive with the former Junior Kangaroo backing himself to scoot from dummy half and netting the first try of the game before more sharp work created the second of the match, for teammate Greg Eastwood.

Canterbury Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa.
Canterbury Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa. ©Scott Davis / NRL Photos

The Raiders are another club with plenty of eyes on the No.9 jersey, though in their case, it's in hopes of a cheap option. Both likely candidates – Siliva Havili and Craig Garvey – are very cheap, but neither really had a game to remember against the Dogs. The Raiders overall were poor, and one of their best passages of a dire outing came when half Aidan Sezer switched into dummy-half. The fact Havili got first crack may indicate he remains in front but at this stage there are more questions than answers for both Raiders coach Ricky Stuart and Fantasy coaches.

Broncos v Titans

There have been plenty of column inches devoted to whether controversial Broncos prop Matt Lodge should even be allowed to play in the NRL but whatever your thoughts, there's no denying his Fantasy scoring potential. His impact as a ball-playing prop looks a welcome addition to the Broncos this year and at a bargain-basement price, he should find his way into plenty of Fantasy sides come round one.

Centre-keeper James Roberts looked sharp with two tries while Kodi Nikorima has the No.7 jersey nailed down for round one. Winger-fullback cheapie Jamayne Isaako was strong deputising at fullback and looks set to nab a wing spot for round one. Corey Oates' move to the back row saw him grab a try with one of his first touches.

Fantasy coaches would've liked to see more from Titans back-row cheapie Bryce Cartwright, who was allowed to roam at lock but only played 20 minutes for little impact.

Sharks v Sea Eagles

Cronulla Sharks halfback Chad Townsend.
Cronulla Sharks halfback Chad Townsend. ©Grant Trouville / NRL Photos

Tackle-busting rookie Sharks winger Sione Katoa was dangerous throughout; he scored one early try and was unlucky not to be awarded a second and firms by the day for a round one debut which would see him become one of the most-owned players in Fantasy by the time the season kicks off.

Coach Shane Flanagan insists Chad Townsend is putting up the best numbers of the trio of possible goal-kicking options at training but Matt Moylan grabbed the tee against Manly and slotted one from two.

A 4-6 week ankle injury to Manly prop Darcy Lussick further thins the club's front row stocks but may give hard-running Tonga prop Addin Fonua-Blake a starting shot in round one.

Cowboys v Wests Tigers

In a largely scrappy affair, there were positive signs for the Wests Tigers including the budding halves combination between Josh Reynolds and Luke Brooks. Tui Lolohea looks set to start the season as fullback and goal-kicker.

Attacking centre and Fantasy cheapie Taane Milne did his chances of a round one berth no harm in a try-scoring performance.

Possible cut-price keeper Johnathan Thurston eased his way back into things in what was a rusty effort by his lofty standards but the fact he got through the match is about all Fantasy coaches needed to see from the former gun keeper.

North Queensland Cowboys half Johanthan Thurston.
North Queensland Cowboys half Johanthan Thurston. ©Dave Acree / NRL Photos

Warriors v Storm

With the Storm's B-team on show while the big guns were at home following Friday night's World Club Challenge win and with most of the Warriors' big guns (including all four main playmakers) also sitting out, there was little of note for Fantasy coaches in this one.

Popular Fantasy cheapie Peta Hiku's strong game on the right edge including a try assist to set up David Fusitu'a, was the highlight for coaches.

Dragons v Hull FC

An electric performance from fullback Matt Dufty has confirmed his round one spot and while the 22-year-old doesn't start cheap (break-even 39), there still looks to be plenty of upside to him.

New halves pairing Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt look like they'll take a bit more time to gel while the club's potent forward pack also started off slowly.

St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Matt Dufty.
St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Matt Dufty. ©Robb Cox / NRL Photos/Robb Cox / NRL Photos

Rabbitohs v Wigan

Possible cheapie Hymel Hunt had a strong game at centre (including a line break to set up a try) before being taken off as a precaution due to hamstring tightness. While he's not thought to be in doubt for round one fitness-wise, he will have to contend with the returns of Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai.

Fellow cheapie Richie Kennar finished off a nice try on the right wing and is a genuine shot of a round one start. Hooker Damien Cook looked sharp and at a 34 break-even is seriously under-priced if he ends up edging out Robbie Farah for an 80-minute role, though job security will likely remain an issue so long as the pair are jousting for the job.