South Sydney hooker Damien Cook.

The final round of the NRL Fantasy season is here and the Lone Scout has the answers to your questions.

Round 25 NRL team lists | Teams analysis | Late Mail

H2H grand final this week, my match-up is pretty even with only 5 unique players. Both my opponent & I went with Taumalolo as captain last week, so the result could hinge on the right captaincy call. Who's your pick this week? I have all the HOK/FRF/2RF/HLF guns to pick from.
From Dom Griffin

The two safest options remain Damien Cook and Cameron Smith. Cook's probably got a slight edge, but here's how I break them down.

  • Damien Cook (season average 65, last-three average 53): best Fantasy player of 2018; coming off a 64; made 56 against the Tigers in round 19. Scores well with and without the ball and the obvious choice if you're favoured to win your head-to-head grand final.
  • Cameron Smith (season average 60.5, last-three average 60.7): shook off a back injury to score 80 last week; averages 62 against Penrith; has averaged 67 in the second half of the season if you take out his injury-affected game in round 23. Recent form arguably puts him ahead of Cook but his best scores have come in low-scoring tight contests (against Tigers in round 5, Cowboys in round 12, Roosters in round 16, Titans last week). If the Storm win easily Smith's work rate – especially in defence – may drop.

Could you do a breakdown of POD captain options?
From Egbert Schusterman

Here are five options to get you started.

  • Jake Trbojevic (season average 57.5, last-three average 67.7): in great recent Fantasy form, like all of Manly's "big four" (Cherry-Evans, Taupau, Tom Trbojevic); makes 40+ tackles and 100+ metres every week; can score or lay on a try as well. Only one 80+ score this year but very reliable.
  • Jason Taumalolo (season average 56, last-three average 66): can almost be relied on to make 200+ metres and a few tackles breaks each week, plus 20-30 tackles; his highest score without a try this year is 66.
  • Daly Cherry-Evans (season average 55.5, last-three average 75.3): coming off a monster 109 against Wests Tigers, but has only three scores above 60 since round 10.
  • Andrew Fifita (season average 57, last-three average 58.7): scored 65 against the Bulldogs in round 11; averages 59 against the Dogs; his minutes are the big question – in the past five games he's played 50, 31, 47, 38 and 65 – so he's a bigger risk than the established big-minute players above.
  • Shaun Johnson (season average 51.9, last-three average 63): another risky option, having only scored 30 against Canberra in round 3, but his recent form is very good; is coming off scores of 77 and 70; has four try assists in his past three games.

Only 1 trade left. Sub Brimson in for Ponga, then trade him for SJ? Or is there another player under $715K who you would bring in?
From Damian Gabriel

Johnson looks the best bet under $715,000. Rhyse Martin and Jai Arrow are the other 50-point players at that price range but both have struggled for form a little recently and Martin injured his knee last week.

Who to trade for Aitken? Could match my opponent with Mitchell, go different but safe with Marsters or go right out there with Hayne or similar.
From Trevor Maggs

Latrell Mitchell's recent form has been way off, but he's every chance of bouncing back with some big attacking plays when the Roosters take on an Eels side that conceded 44 points to the 15th-placed Cowboys last week. Still, the smarter bet is probably to go for the very solid Esan Marsters unless you think you have your head-to-head opponent covered elsewhere and are happy to cancel Mitchell out.

How definite is it that Rhyse Martin is starting?
From Mark Konkers

He is in some doubt after injuring his knee last week, and the problem is that even if he does play his scoring hasn't been great recently – with scores of 34 and 36 before last week's injury-affected 10. In those games his run metres were down and his missed tackles were up, suggesting he's not someone you want to rely on in your top 17 this week.

Have Brimson but never played him. Should I play him this week?
From Mark Rimer

AJ Brimson has been a fantastic find for the Titans this year has three scores above 60 in the past five weeks, but beware his Fantasy scoring has been fairly reliant on tries and try saves recently. In his three most recent games without atry he scored 26, 47 and 20. Of course, he's capable of another big score against what will surely be a fired-up Cowboys team in Johnathan Thurston's last game, but he's definitely not a sure thing. 

 

Your Youi Team of the Week for Round 24! #NRLFantasy

Posted by NRL Fantasy on Monday, 27 August 2018

Should I trade Ponga to McInnes and play Brimson or just go Ponga to Tedesco/RTS/Holmes?
From James Kapaniris

McInnes is the most reliable scorer of that batch, assuming he does play (as named) after copping a head knock last week. Tedesco against Parramatta looks the next most reliable option, so it depends really how Brimson stacks up against whichever player you'd be playing in your 17 if you don't trade McInnes in.

How's your overall placing going Scout? Seems like you've been killing it this year, well done.
From NRL Fantasy Expert

Cheers Mr Expert, I'm ranked 27th.

How do you get more trades when you ran out 3 rounds ago?
From Nick Drysdale

Got a time machine handy? Short of that, best to remember this feeling of helplessness when you're weighing up whether to make a sideways trade next season.