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NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 22

There are injuries, suspension and a backline shake-up at the Eels in the team lists for round 22 of the Telstra Premiership.

Here are all the key changes plus the NRL Fantasy form guide for each club.

North Queensland Cowboys v Brisbane Broncos, Thursday 7.50pm at 1300Smiles Stadium

Cowboys: Corey Jensen replaces Shaun Fensom (concussion) on the bench in North Queensland's only change. Coen Hess regained a bit of Fantasy form in the past couple of weeks with scores of 60 and 72, with the latter including two line breaks but no tries. One player who did find the try-line was Jason Taumalolo, who bounced James Tedesco out of his path on the way to 64 Fantasy points to bring his season average to 55.   

Broncos: Tevita Pangai jnr's hamstring injury has bumped him out of the 17 and into the reserves, while a backline reshuffle means rookie Gehamat Shibasaki gets his debut in the centres with Darius Boyd returning to fullback and Jamayne Isaako back on the wing. Matt Lodge is in good Fantasy form, reeling off three straight 50+ scores for the first time in his career, and at $630k could be a cut-price left-field keeper option if he keeps that up. Andrew McCullough smashed out a season-high 81 last week with 55 tackles and a try assist.

New Zealand Warriors v Newcastle Knights, Friday 6pm at Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: Sam Lisone is suspended and Bunty Afoa is also facing a possible ban when he fronts the judiciary on Tuesday night, with Peta Hiku named to replace Lisone on the bench while Adam Blair is in the second row with Simon Mannering at lock. Issac Luke (71 last week) is one of several hookers in great form at the moment but he's being outscored at the Warriors by Jazz Tevaga, who has reeled off scores of 60, 60, 45 and 73 in the past month.

Knights: Rookie prop Pasami Saulo gets his debut via the bench with Josh King dropping out and Herman Ese'ese into the starting side. Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce are both in some doubt to play but have been named. Aidan Guerra scored 94 last week – easily his best score of the season – but Lachlan Fitzgibbon somehow went a game without scoring a try and finished on 39. After starting his big-minute role with back-to-back 60s Danny Levi scored 30 in 55 minutes in round 20 then 44 in 80 minutes last week.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters, Friday 7.55pm at ANZ Stadium

Rabbitohs: Adam Doueihi is out for the season with an ACL injury, replaced in the side by Richie Kennar who is named on the wing. Damien Cook is on track to be the first NRL Fantasy player ever to have a $1 million price tag next round, with a break even of 46, a current price of $985k and an average of 80 in his past three games. Angus Crichton and Sam Burgess have both been scoring strongly of late, while Adam Reynolds is back to scoring around 50 points a game (he's made 49, 48 and 49 in his past three).

Roosters: No changes for the Tricolours. Latrell Mitchell is playing like Greg Inglis at his peak, scoring six tries in his past three games with last week's 51 easily his worst score in that time. Ryan Matterson scored just 31 playing at five-eighth last week.

NRL Fantasy Review - Round 21

Gold Coast Titans v Penrith Panthers, Saturday 3pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Titans: Keegan Hipgrave returns to the starting side after being a late out last week, with Will Matthews benched and Jai Whitbread in the reserves. After all the hype around Jai Arrow's Fantasy decline last week, of course he goes out and top-scores for the Gold Coast with 58 points in 73 minutes. Assuming he keeps up anything like that game time he's back to being a pretty good value buy a $673k. Kudos to those who held him. Ryan James meanwhile is averaging less than 43 across his past five games and probably needs to find the try-line again to resume his monster scoring from earlier in the year.

Panthers: It's been a wild week for Penrith but new caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo hasn't made any dramatic changes to the 17, with Reagan Campbell-Gillard to start and Moses Leota moving back to the bench in the team's only change. Nathan Cleary recovered from a slow start last week to finish on 46 while Tyrone Peachey scored 68 from fullback.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 5.30pm Saturday at McGrath Foundation Stadium (Brookvale)

Sea Eagles: No changes. Their form may be all over the place but Manly's Fantasy guns continue to deliver, with Martin Taupau, Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans all scoring exactly 60 last week while Manase Fainu made 52 and Tom Trbojevic scored 49. Shaun Lane is the team's top try-scorer this year but, like Lachlan Fitzgibbon at the Knights, will always look a risky buy.

Bulldogs: The return of Jeremy Marshall-King and David Klemmer means Matt Frawley and Greg Eastwood drop out of the side. Kerrod Holland's scoring has doubled in the past three weeks – from 27 points a game to 54 in the past three weeks – but Rhyse Martin is the only certain keeper in this side, with his price tag about to hit $800,000 after jumping by $563,000 this season.


The Youi Team of the Week for Round 21! #NRLFantasy

Posted by NRL Fantasy on Monday, 6 August 2018

Parramatta Eels v St George Illawarra Dragons, Saturday 7.35pm at ANZ Stadium

Eels: The Eels are shaking things up with rookie Jaeman Salmon starting at five-eighth and Bevan French dropped, with Corey Norman moving to fullback, Clint Gutherson to the centres and Jarryd Hayne on the wing. Nathan Brown has played the full 80 minutes twice in the last three weeks, scoring 60 on both occasions, while Mitchell Moses is also in a bit of recent form with two 50s in the past three weeks. (Remember when he was considered a dark horse Fantasy prospect, less than a year ago?) Hayne's five-game average is an excellent 54 and he is a genuine option in the centres these days.

Dragons: Paul Vaughan will miss a month with an ankle injury, with Blake Lawrie joining the sde on the bench. Cameron McInnes was a sneaky buy for my team ahead of the final bye round and he's been excellent since then, averaging just under 64 in his last five, while Ben Hunt has three 50s and a 93 to his name in the last month. Euan Aitken's four-game try-scoring drought is his longest this season.

Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers, Sunday 2pm at GIO Stadium

Raiders: They are inseparable on the field and Jordan Rapana and Joey Leilua are the same in Fantasy right now: both players cost $564,000 and scored 68 points last week. Expect Canberra to keep sending the ball their way in the final month of the season. Nick Cotric hasn't quite taken off as a Fantasy gun at fullback, scoring 40 last week. No changes for Canberra this week.

Wests Tigers: Corey Thompson's season-ending ankle injury means Malakai Watene-Zelezniak returns to the backline on the wing, while Mahe Fonua is closing in on a return from a broken arm after being named in the reserves. A try against the Knights saved Robbie Farah from what could have been his second sub-par score in three games, with the veteran hooker finishing on 50. Luke Brooks is in great form right now but he's had scoring sprees like this before and has a season average below 42.

Melbourne Storm v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Sunday 4.10pm at AAMI Park

Storm: Suliasi Vunivalu returns on the wing with Cheyse Blair dropping out. Cameron Smith has only scored less than 50 once since early May, but such is the form of Damien Cook that Smith has been dethroned as the league's best Fantasy player. Next season could be the first year in recent memory that Smith isn't an automatic selection for most Fantasy sides.

Sharks: Unchanged. Andrew Fifita had scored 33 points in 31 minutes before a concussion ended his afternoon against Manly on Sunday. He's obviously a hold, after scores of 81 and 62 in the previous two weeks. Valentine Holmes's 35 last week was his worst score since round 11, despite the fact he scored yet another try.

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