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Round 1 NRL Fantasy recap

One round in and several high-profile clubs are looking a little rusty (and the NRL Fantasy app and website has a few issues to iron out) but there were some big performers to kick off the new campaign as well.

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With the brand new ranked bench system in place in NRL Fantasy this season the Monday lockout will be lifted a little later this week as the game developers double check the system has worked as planned. Expect to be able to make your trades for round two by 6pm AEDT on Monday night.

The in-game stats centre is due to arrive on the Fantasy website by the start of round two, with a match centre expected next week.

The good

Several cash cows made superb starts to 2018, with some big price changes to come when lockout lifts. Rampaging Panthers forward Viliame Kikau will have the biggest jump of all after smashing 63 points after making a huge impact off the bench in Penrith's win over Parramatta, edging out new Tigers winger Corey Thompson who scored 60 (including the match-winning try) as the Wests Tigers stunned the Roosters.

Panthers centre Waqa Blake scored twice against the Eels for 72 points and an expected $50,000 price jump, while Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga suggested he could be living up to the hype this year with 75 points to be the Fantasy player of the round.

Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga.
Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga. ©NRL Photos

Fellow Knights recruit Slade Griffin (63) played almost 70 minutes (including extra time) and made the most of it with an impressive display for his new club, and Bulldogs second-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner was the round's next-best money earner with a 61-point effort.

Of the established Fantasy guns, Nathan Cleary (69), Jason Taumalolo (68) and Shaun Johnson (66) were the pick of the bunch.

The bad

The most owned player in NRL Fantasy, rookie Sharks winger Sione Katoa, suffered a horror start to his NRL career when he suffered a broken jaw against the Cowboys, leaving the field with just three Fantasy points to his name after a quiet first half. With an extended stint on the sidelines looming he's a trade, although at least he won't lose any value.

Fellow popular buys Bryce Cartwright (30), Peta Hiku (17), James Tedesco (29), Latrell Mitchell (28) and Brodie Croft (21) all struggled, although it's too early in the season to write any of them off just yet.

James Maloney may have earned a win in his first Telstra Premiership match for the Panthers but he remains a Fantasy no-go-zone with -4 for the match with half a dozen missed tackles, a couple of errors and a penalty conceded. He'll suffer a big price drop in Fantasy, along with Kurt Mann (2), Nathan Peats (15), Valentine Holmes (8), Jarrod Croker (11) and Kodi Nikorima (14).  

Team of the week
1. Kalyn Ponga (75)
2. Corey Thompson (60)
3. Waqa Blake (72)
4. Josh Hoffman (55)
5. Dylan Edwards (60)
6. Shaun Johnson (66)
7. Nathan Cleary (69)
8. Viliame Kikau (63)
9. Apisai Koroisau (65)
10. Martin Taupau (59)
11. Kevin Proctor (65)
12. Slade Griffin (63)
13. Jason Taumalolo (68)

14. Jack de Belin (62)
15. Cameron Munster (62)
16. Cameron Smith (61)
17. Raymond Faita-Mariner (61)

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