The NRL Fantasy form guide and key team changes for all 16 clubs heading into the sixth round of the Telstra Premiership season.
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Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs, 7.50pm Thursday at Allianz Stadium
Roosters: Unchanged. Ryan Matterson grabbed a couple of tries for 71 points last week and James Tedesco found the line himself on the way to 58. It's still hard to tell how valuable Matterson will be long-term as his highest score without a try so far is 43, but he's making money in the short term. Cooper Cronk is in a lot of Fantasy teams but an average under 38 suggests he's a sell.
Rabbitohs: In welcome news for about 20,000 NRL Fantasy coaches, popular cash cow Richie Kennar is back on the wing for Souths – with Dane Gagai returning to centre and Hymel Hunt bumped to the reserves. Damien Cook repaid those who captained him last week with a season-high 77 including six tackle breaks. Cameron Murray is only the ninth most popular South Sydney player in Fantasy this year but will probably be their best of the year apart from Cook, and he's still a little underpriced at $673,000. Adam Doueihi is a sell now that he's a limited minutes bench player.
Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights, 6pm Friday at AAMI Park
Storm: Brodie Croft has played his way out of the Storm lineup with a performance to forget on Saturday and is a sell for those who still have him, with Ryley Jacks named in the No.7. It was panic stations for Cameron Smith owners a week ago but the Melbourne skipper actually had a (very small) price rise this week following his excellent 84 against the Tigers, and he's likely to get the goal-kicking duties back as well in the next few weeks. Jesse Bromwich also had his best performance of the season on Saturday with 146 metres, five tackle busts and 59 points.
Knights: Mitch Barnett has copped a one-week suspension, with Herman Ese'ese taking the lock role, Daniel Saifiti starting at prop and Jacob Saifiti added to the bench. Kalyn Ponga's 57 against the Broncos was par for the course for him this season, with the 20-year-old recruit ranking first among wingers/fullbacks and fifth among all players for Fantasy points so far in 2018. Aidan Guerra is in less than 2.5% of Fantasy teams despite scoring above 50 four times in five games. Slade Griffin is probably a couple of weeks away from hitting his peak price.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks, 7.50pm Friday at WIN Stadium
Dragons: Hame Sele replaces Luciano Leilua on the bench in the only change for the unbeaten St George Illawarra. Gareth Widdop's 99 in round three is looking increasingly like a one-off, considering it's his only score above 50 so far this season. He made 27 against Souths, and 39 the week before. Euan Aitken is averaging 42 points a game but he has scored four tries in five games (he made just 26 in his only game without a try). The Dragons are flying but it looks like their star halves and forwards may be sharing the Fantasy points around too much to be reliable scorers this season.
Sharks: Cronulla have Josh Dugan back but he'll play at centre, with Matt Moylan holding the fullback role and Trent Hodkinson keeping his spot in the halves. James Segeyaro (concussion) and Sosaia Feki drop out with Edrick Lee named on the wing. Andrew Fifita (70 last week) and Paul Gallen (62) both look in good Fantasy form and have break evens in the 40s. Neither will be playing Origin this year either. Valentine Holmes has dropped a whopping $209,000 in value but appears to have bottomed out at $317,000, around the same price as Sosaia Feki.
NRL Fantasy Review - Round 5
New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos, 1pm local (3pm AET) Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors: No changes for the unbeaten Warriors. Shaun Johnson didn't miss a beat in his return from injury, racking up 274 metres, five goals, a 40/20 and a try assist for 57 points – the same as Tohu Harris. Issac Luke made 68 on the weekend including 42 tackles and 130 metres and could become a smokey at hooker – although he's got a fight on his hands if he is to outscore Cameron Smith, Damien Cook and Andrew McCullough over the course of the season. Jazz Tevaga is playing about 55 minutes off the bench each week and has made $100,000 in price rises so far with 41 points a game.
Broncos: Alex Glenn is back from a shoulder injury, with Jaydn Su'A moving to the interchange and Tom Opacic out of the 17. Andrew McCullough may have been overtaken by Daly Cherry-Evans and Damien Cook to rank third among NRL Fantasy scorers this year but he's been incredibly consistent with scores of 69, 65, 64 and 62 since returning to Brisbane's starting side. One player who isn't so consistent is Anthony Milford, whose scores range from 21 to 87, but with a break even under 20 now is the time to pick him up at $697,000 if you're happy for the rollercoaster ride.
North Queensland Cowboys v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 5.30pm Saturday at 1300SMILES Stadium
Cowboys: Lachlan Coote returns at fullback with Ben Hampton moving to centre and Javid Bowen dropping out of the 17. On current form the only Fantasy keeper at the Cowboys is Coen Hess, who is averaging 54.6 for the season and now playing 80 minutes a week. Jason Taumalolo is capable of lifting his game but has a break even in the 70s, and Johnathan Thurston is ranked 21st among halves in Fantasy this year.
Bulldogs: No changes, although Josh Jackson is facing the judiciary on Tuesday night in a bid to have a dangerous contact charge downgraded. Put aside his injury-affected -1 in round four and Moses Mbye has been remarkably consistent this year, one of just two wingers/fullbacks to score 40+ every week (Kalyn Ponga is the other). Raymond Faitala-Mariner is close to hitting his peak price after jumping in value by $204,000.
Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels, 7.35pm Saturday at GIO Stadium
Raiders: Sam Williams is out with a knee injury (4-6 weeks) meaning Blake Austin starts in the halves, while Jack Wighton is named at fullback and bumps Michael Oldfield out of the 17. Elliott Whitehead's tries have dried up in the past fortnight and so have his scores, with returns of just 34 and 20 in his two tryless games. The good news at Canberra is that Joey Leilua (56) and Jarrod Croker (47) are both coming off try-scoring doubles, with Croker having now scored four times in five games.
Eels: After a quiet start to the season by his 2017 standards Nathan Brown burst back into Fantasy relevance with 75 against the Panthers, including 48 tackles and zero misses. Unfortunately he also picked up an ankle injury late in the game and is now sidelined. On the positive side Clint Gutherson returns from an ACL reconstruction at fullback, and Bevan French is also back with Will Smith and Josh Hoffman dropping out. Daniel Alvaro has been benched with Peni Terepo to start at prop.
Penrith Panthers v Gold Coast Titans, 2pm Sunday at Panthers Stadium
Panthers: Waqa Blake's injury means Isaah Yeo moves to centre this week with Corey Harawira-Naera starting and Kaide Ellis joining the 17. James Fisher-Harris jumped in value by $67,000 this week to bring his total price rises in 2018 to $203,000, and he's thrived at lock in the past fortnight with scores of 59 and 52. With Nathan Cleary injured Peter Wallace is actually Penrith's best fit Fantasy scorer after five rounds, although Viliame Kikau could go down as the best cash cow of 2018 with a huge $311,000 in price rises so far.
Titans: Buy Jai Arrow, if he's not in your team already. His switch to lock has brought instant success for both the Titans and Fantasy coaches, with last week's 65 followed up by a sensational two-try 99 against Manly – both in winning performances. At $669,000 he still costs $46,000 less than Paul Gallen who is scoring 43 points a game, and $13,000 less than David Nofoaluma who has been playing reserve grade. With a negative break even and all the hallmarks of a Fantasy gun, Arrow won't get any cheaper than he is right now. His impact could even rise this week with Ryan James out suspended – with Will Matthews joining the starting side and Jack Stockwell replacing Keegan Hipgrave on the interchange.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers, 4.10pm Sunday at Lottoland
Sea Eagles: Tom Trbojevic and Brad Parker have been named to return, bumping Matthew and Jonathan Wright out of the 17. Jack Gosiewski starts in the second row, with Frank Winterstein dropping to the bench. A long-range intercept try and season-high numbers for kick metres (368) and tackle breaks (eighth) helped Daly Cherry-Evans to 91 points on Sunday, making him Fantasy's top scorer after five rounds. Api Koroisau is scoring 54 points a week but he isn't quite the value buy he was at the start of the season when he came $122,000 cheaper.
Wests Tigers: Josh Reynolds is finally into the Tigers 17 on the bench, with Jacob Liddle promoted to the starting side at hooker, while Corey Thompson moving to fullback with Tui Lolohea and Pita Godinet dropped. Russell Packer is out with a knee injury and Sauaso Sue joins the side on the interchange. Luke Brooks jumped $62,000 with a 77-point effort against the Storm on Saturday, while popular cash cow Corey Thompson can probably pass $300,000 in price rises in the next few weeks.
Reynolds to return