Two big-name Fantasy forwards have been named – but not in the starting 13s – in a crucial week for head-to-head leagues with the knockout rounds upon us.
This week's Fantasy team news
Eels v Bulldogs, Thusday 7.50pm at Bankwest Stadium
Eels: Junior Paulo returns in the front row with Daniel Alvaro back to the bench and Tepai Moeroa the 18th man. Mitchell Moses's terrific form continued against the Titans with 61, and he has a five-game average pushing 64. Manu Ma'u's recent form is even better, averaging 65.6 in his past five including a season-high 79 (including a try) last week. Meanwhile Nathan Brown was only required to make 27 tackles in 62 minutes against Gold Coast, scoring 36.
Bulldogs: Canterbury are unchanged. Aiden Tolman is in excellent Fantasy form, scoring 52, 53, 59 and 63 in his last four.
Cowboys v Panthers, Friday 6pm at 1300Smiles Stadium
Cowboys: Veteran prop Matthew Scott is recovering in hospital after suffering a mild stroke on Sunday. He is replaced by Scott Bolton in the starting side. Murray Taulagi returns to a reshuffled back five with Coen Hess going back to the bench. Jason Taumalolo has been named 18th man at this point so is some chance of making his return from a foot injury.
Panthers: Stephen Crichton replaces Josh Mansour on the wing, Isaah Yeo starts at lock and Moses Leota moves to the bench. James Fisher-Harris bounced back into form with 63 following a solid 43 the previous round. Brian To'o proved a handy loophole option with 60 against the Broncos, while Nathan Cleary recovered from a slow start to post 49. Hopefully you weren't forced to play Brent Naden and cop his score of -8 last week.
Broncos v Rabbitohs, Friday 7.55pm at Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Matt Gillett returns in place of the suspended Tevita Pangai jnr, Sean O'Sullivan replaces the suspended Jake Turpin at halfback and Alex Glenn starts at centre with Gehamat Shibasaki benched and Izaia Perese out of the 17. Payne Haas is the man of the hour and the man of the Fantasy season after piling on an even 100 points including that try against Penrith, taking his average score to a staggering 67. Elsewhere it was a good week for Jamayne Isaako (68) and Kotoni Staggs (62), a middling round for Anthony Milford (43) and a handy one for loophole option Pat Carrigan (42).
Rabbitohs: Sam Burgess is named but in some doubt with a quad injury suffered late in last week's game. Braidon Burns is out for four weeks with another hamstring injury, with Kyle Turner named at centre, while Tom Burgess is sidelined with a knee injury. John Sutton returns to the starting pack with Liam Knight at prop, Ethan Lowe back to the bench and Mark Nicholls joining the interchange. Damien Cook scored 70 last week and made the same score against Brisbane back in round 8. After a couple of lean weeks Adam Reynolds scored 50 against the Bulldogs.
Sharks v Warriors, Saturday 3pm at PointsBet Stadium
Sharks: Andrew Fifita has been named to return from his knee injury via the bench. Matt Moylan (hamstring) is out with Josh Dugan at fullback, Josh Morris shifting to centre and Ronaldo Mulitalo named on the wing. Billy Magoulias drops out. Shaun Johnson has a five-game average of 60 and comes up against his old club for the second time, having scored 52 against them last month. Wade Graham has posted four straight scores in the mid-50s.
Warriors: David Fusitu'a returns from his hamstring injury for Adam Pompey, while Issac Luke's return at hooker means Jazz Tevaga goes back to lock. Lachlan Burr moves to the bench with Ligi Sao dropping out. Tevaga is set to play despite picking up a minor ankle injury last week, and the positional switch helps his scoring potential. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is due some points after three sub-50 weeks, including 33 and 32 in the past two rounds.
Wests Tigers v Knights, Saturday 5.30pm at Campbelltown Stadium
Wests Tigers: With Jacob Liddle (ACL) joining Robbie Farah in the casualty ward, Josh Reynolds is the Tigers' new hooker, Robert Jennings replaces Tommy Talau in the back five, Luke Garner returns to the starting pack and Michael Chee Kam goes back to the bench. Luke Brooks (56 last week) is a potential halves option if you can't afford the big guns – he's about $220k cheaper than Mitch Moses – while Alex Twal was back to his usual self with 49 points in 49 minutes against Manly.
Knights: Danny Levi replaces Connor Watson (knee) at hooker, while news broke on Tuesday that coach Nathan Brown would be leaving the club at the end of the season. Teenage centre Bradman Best has been tipped to play this week but is named in the reserves. Kalyn Ponga (73) and Mitchell Pearce (72) starred with two tries apiece in the big win over North Queensland and could post more good scores against an under-strength Tigers team and against the struggling Titans next round.
Dragons v Roosters, Saturday 7.35pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Dragons: Jonus Pearson replaces Mikaele Ravalawa on the wing, while Jackson Ford gets his first start in the second row with Patrick Kaufusi to come off the bench. Cameron McInnes has a three-round average of 78, while James Graham has reeled off four straight scores in the 50s. Ben Hunt failed an HIA against Cronulla last week but his owners would still have been disappointed with 10 points in 44 minutes.
Roosters: Unchanged. James Tedesco is in red hot form, scoring 75 last round for a three-game average of 74. Latrell Mitchell (67 last week, 3-game average 62) and Angus Crichton (62 last week, 3-game average 59) aren't far behind. Mitchell Aubusson scored 69 with a try against the Warriors but beware the tried and tested Mitchell Aubusson Rule ("never buy Mitchell Aubusson").
Storm v Titans, Sunday 2pm at AAMI Park
Storm: Brandon Smith (ankle) is named to make an early return on the bench in place of Tino Faasuamaleaui. Cameron Smith (60 last week) and Cameron Munster (54) remain the two standout Fantasy options at Melbourne.
Titans: Michael Gordon starts at fullback with AJ Brimson benched, while Jarrod Wallace replaces Brenko Lee on the interchange. Nathan Peats returned from injury on Friday and scored 59 in 80 minutes at lock. He has been named in the No.13 jersey this week with Mitch Rein still at hooker, while Jai Arrow is again at prop where he was typically solid with 50 last week.
Raiders v Sea Eagles, Sunday 4.05pm at GIO Stadium
Raiders: Ryan Sutton replaces the injured Joe Tapine (rib cartilage) at lock, and Hudson Young joins the bench. John Bateman shook off a leg injury in Saturday's win over Melbourne to score 59, and he hasn't scored less than 55 since the bye rounds. A sin bin, four missed tackles and two penalties left Jack Wighton with a season-low 21.
Sea Eagles: Unchanged. Addin Fonua-Blake (74) outshone both Jake Trbojevic (47) and Martin Taupau (42) last round, while Tom Trbojevic (54) bounced back from his low score the previous week.