The key team changes and NRL Fantasy form guide heading into the 11th round of the 2018 Telstra Premiership.
Penrith Panthers v Wests Tigers, Thursday 7.50pm at Panthers Stadium
Panthers: Nathan Cleary's return at halfback is actually bad news for Fantasy sensation Viliame Kikau, with Tyrone Peachey shifting to centre, Isaah Yeo returning to the second row and Kikau bumped to the bench. Peter Wallace is injured and Kaide Ellis drops out with Sione Katoa starting at hooker and Wayde Egan and Jack Hetherington joining the interchange. Cleary's return could spell the end of James Maloney's big scores, with Cleary to take on the bulk of the long-kicking duties plus goals.
Wests Tigers: Mahu Fonua has replaced in the centres by Kevin Naiqama despite impressing last week. Fonua had been shaping as the best of the new buys at the Tigers, even after $125,000 in price rises. Matt Eisenhuth is averaging 56 in his past three games.
Parramatta Eels v New Zealand Warriors, Friday 6pm at ANZ Stadium
Eels: Cameron King returns at hooker, pushing Will Smith to the bench, while Kenny Edwards drops out of the side. Manu Ma'u has made two of his three best scores of the season in the past three weeks. Mitch Moses has scored 70 twice in the past month but only has one other score above 40 this year.
Warriors: Issac Luke returns from a shoulder injury in place of Karl Lawton at hooker while Chris Satae replaces Sam Lisone on the bench. Shaun Johnson remains on the sidelines (and could miss the next few weeks and return after the round 13 bye) but Mason Lino is named despite a niggling ankle injury. Simon Mannering came off the bench again on Saturday but still made his first 50 of the season, playing 65 minutes. Tohu Harris's price has dropped by just over $100,000 in the last month thanks largely to an injury-affected 8 in round seven.
Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters, Friday 7.55pm at Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Brisbane have been hit with three injuries, with Jack Bird, Alex Glenn and Payne Haas all sidelined. Tom Opacic and Joe Ofahengaue start with Tevita Pangai jnr shifting to the second row. Sam Tagataese, Gehamat Shibasaki and Patrick Mago join the bench. The bad news for Andrew McCullough owners is he's just become the front-runner for the Queensland hooker spot following Cameron Smith's retirement from rep footy.
Roosters: Victory Radley's return from suspension means Nat Butcher drops out of the 17. Latrell Mitchell bounced back from his season-low 26 a week ago with a season-high 61 against the Warriors, while Ryan Matterson's price is sliding a little in some welcome news for those who don't have him yet.
Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights, Saturday 3pm at Cbus Super Stadium
Titans: Jai Arrow and Nathan Peats are back from injuries, which means Mitch Rein is back to the bench, while Will Matthews is out with concussion and Bryce Cartwright is dropped. Rein has a break even of around 15 so should at least hold his value with limited minutes off the interchange while Ryan James made a whopping 59 tackles last weekend and is coming off scores of 51, 50, 73 and 65. AJ Brimson ($223k) made 26 on debut so is not a must-have cash cow just yet.
Knights: Bench prop Luke Yates is replaced by Jacob Saifiti in Newcastle's only change. Despite a poor result against the Panthers there were six Knights who scored 50 or better last week, including Brock Lamb who made 55 points for a $28,000 price boost. He's still $225,000 below his starting price and has time to make that money back before Mitchell Pearce returns if he holds his starting spot. Slade Griffin was restricted to just 32 minutes with fellow hooker Danny Levi playing 48 off the bench, in a sign it's time to sell Griffin.
North Queensland Cowboys v South Sydney Rabbitohs, Saturday 5.30pm at 1300Smiles Stadium
Cowboys: Unchanged. Things just aren't going right for North Queensland, but at least Jason Taumalolo remains a consistent option with an average of 64 from his past five games. Johnathan Thurston hasn't scored more than 50 points in a game since round two.
Rabbitohs: Souths toppled the table-topping Dragons on Sunday and Angus Crichton smashed out his best performance of the season with 94 points to earn his first decent price rise of the season. He's $112,000 cheaper than he was ahead of round one and could be ripe for the picking at $768,000 (by comparison, Damien Cook now costs $884,000). Adam Reynolds is in red hot form with scores of 53, 72 and 66 and has entered the equation for keeper halves – as long as he stays fit. The bad news is Cameron Murray remains on the bench in an unchanged side after scoring 40 points in 45 minutes last week.
Melbourne Storm v Manly Sea Eagles, Saturday 7.35pm at AAMI Park
Storm: Cameron Smith is out suspended this week but his Fantasy prospects received a slight boost with news of his retirement from State of Origin – meaning he will play in round 17 and won't need to be rested after any Origin matches this season. He's replaced by Brandon Smith at hooker while Sam Kasiano is also suspended with a fit-again Tim Glasby and Jahrome Hughes joining the bench. Josh Addo-Carr only managed one try on Saturday and his score slipped down to 30 after scoring three doubles and a hat-trick in the previous four weeks.
Sea Eagles: Trent Hodkinson has made a mid-season move from Cronulla and has been named on the bench, with Dylan Walker holding the five-eighth spot for now. Hodkinson's arrival could potentially affect Daly Cherry-Evans' scoring potential, at least when it comes to goal-kicking. Toafofoa Sipley replaces Taniela Paseka (ankle, round 13-14) on the interchange. Jake Trbojevic won't score two tries in a game too often but his owners won't mind after a 91-point effort, with Api Koroisau (84), Cherry-Evans (64) and Tom Trbojevic (57) also thriving in a win over the Broncos. Martin Taupau made a solid 47 after a couple of massive scores in previous rounds.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Canberra Raiders, Sunday 2pm at Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee
Dragons: Blake Lawrie replaces Zachary Lomax on the bench in an otherwise unchanged 17. Cameron McInnes (68) and Tyson Frizell (86, including a runaway try) were great in a losing side last week, while Ben Hunt (26) and Gareth Widdop (33) showed once again why they are risky buys in the halves.
Raiders: No changes. Forward Joseph Tapine and Josh Papalii are both coming off 60s, while Siliva Havili is approaching a stunning $400,000 in price rises after another 55.
Cronulla Sharks v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Sunday 4.10pm at Southern Cross Group Stadium
Sharks: Paul Gallen and Jayson Bukuya return with Kurt Dillon and Braden Uele dropping out. Josh Dugan and Luke Lewis are both a chance of returning after being included in the reserves. Andrew Fifita has carried Cronulla with a massive 80-minute effort last week in the absence of Gallen, Wade Graham and Luke Lewis and is now the most expensive player in Fantasy at $888,000 – and his price will almost certainly pass the $900,000 mark next week. Val Holmes produced a season-best 75 against Canberra and is $100k cheaper than he was in round one.
Bulldogs: Clay Priest replaces the injury Danny Fualalo (ankle) while David Klemmer moves back into the starting side. Rhyse Martin ($354k) earned a $70,000 price boost this week and time is running out if you want him as a cash cow and haven't got him yet. Moses Mbye scored 55 in the win over Parramatta including 231 kick metres and he remains a potential keeper at the back who costs less than $600k. Raymond Faitala-Mariner's price appears to have peaked at just under $700,000 so now's the time to decide if you want to keep him long term. Jeremy Marshall-King also appeared to have peaked after three straight scores in the 20s, and unlike Faitala-Mariner he's definitely not a keeper.