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Wests Tigers hooker Harry Grant.

It's a crucial round of the season with NRL Fantasy coaches getting one last chance to jostle for a place in the finals ahead of next week's head-to-head knockout rounds.

Injuries have hit hard yet again with many teams unlikely to have a full 17 before trades, with the goal of locking up a spot in the top four or top eight the top priority for most Fantasy coaches.

Meanwhile the overall race is heating up as well with less than 100 points separating first from sixth on the ladder, with Warriors fans Nick H, Damian B and Nic T occupying three of the top four positions.

Nick's RNGD TK Spartans have held top spot for the past three rounds with a 42-point lead at the top, but with trades at a premium one or two injuries or a couple of savvy captaincy choices by someone in the chasing pack could make all the difference.

Here's the key information you need to know to make this week's trades.

Round 16 team news

Eels v Rabbitohs, Thursday 7.50pm at Bankwest Stadium

Eels: Andrew Davey replaces the suspended Marata Niukore in Parramatta's only change.

Ryan Matterson (86) had his second score above 80 and his fifth above 70 against Melbourne last week, with a line break, a try assist and 54 tackles. It was also a good game for Nathan Brown (63) and Mitch Moses (62) as Dylan Brown (38) was kept quiet.  

Rabbitohs: Corey Allan replaces Alex Johnston (concussion) on the wing, Dane Gagai returns for Steven Marsters at centre and Liam Knight replaces Kurt Dillon on the bench.

Latrell Mitchell (52) scored twice in Souths' big win over Manly last week, a game that also resulted in big scores for Campbell Graham (73), Jaydn Su'A (61), Damien Cook (60) and Adam Reynolds (60).

Dragons v Titans, Friday 6.00pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Dragons: With Paul Vaughan copping a two-match suspension and Korbin Sims (calf) injured, Jackson Ford and Billy Brittain replace them on the bench.

Zac Lomax (56) is pushing his season average towards 50 – a great return for a genuine centre – while usual suspects Ben Hunt (64), Cameron McInnes (59) and Tyson Frizell (56) all did well in last week's win over the Broncos.

Titans: Moeaki Fotuaika has copped a one-week ban for a crusher tackle, in a double blow for those who are already coping with Payne Haas's suspension. The winner though is Tyrone Peachey, who starts at lock, while Ash Taylor returns from injury in place of Tanah Boyd, Mitch Rein replaces Nathan Peats at hooker, Beau Fermor starts with Keegan Hipgrave moving to the bench and Erin Clark joins the interchange.

AJ Brimson (67) and Jamal Fogarty (81) continue to be terrific scorers in the second half of the season, while Peachey (40) bounced back from a poor score a week earlier and looks a terrific option in the centres now.

Hard Earned Highlights - Round 15

Roosters v Broncos, Friday 7.55pm at Sydney Cricket Ground

Roosters: Matt Ikuvalu replaces Dan Tupou on the wing while the long-awaited return of Boyd Cordner shifts Nat Butcher to the bench and Daniel Fifita out of the side.

The Tricolours had six players score 59 or better in last week's win over the Tigers – Brett Morris, Siosiua Taukeiaho, Josh Morris, Jake Friend, Kyle Flanagan and Joey Manu. James Tedesco (46) is almost $200,000 cheaper than he was at the start of the season after a run of underwhelming scores.

Broncos: With Payne Haas suspended for another week Brisbane have also lost Anthony Milford (hamstring) and Issac Luke (suspension). Sean O'Sullivan is the new five-eighth, Corey Paix starts at hooker and Brodie Croft joins the bench.

Pat Carrigan (74) carried some extra workload without Haas in the middle last week and is again a captaincy option, while David Fifita (48) had "only" four tackle breaks – the first time he's had fewer than seven in a game this year. Kotoni Staggs (50) is currently ranked the second-best fit centre in Fantasy after last week's try-of-the-season contender.

Try of the week - Round 15

Warriors v Knights, Saturday 3pm at Scully Park, Tamworth

Warriors: Chanel Harris-Tavita and Eliesa Katoa return from injury in place of Paul Turner and Isaiah Papali'i.

Last week's win over the Bulldogs resulted in good scores for Kodi Nikorima (70), Jazz Tevaga (66) and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (64), with Tohu Harris (56) spending some time on the bench when Tevaga returned from an HIA.

Knights: Mid-season signing Blake Green (ACL) is the latest Knight to cop a season-ending injury to continue a horror run for the club's spine players. Mason Lino replaces Green at five-eighth in the only change to their 17, with Tex Hoy and Chris Randall among the reserves on an extended bench.

Mitch Barnett (74) is emerging as a real end-of-season point-of-difference option after back-to-back scores in the 70s, playing the full 80 minutes in the middle. He looms as a straight swap option for Jason Taumalolo who at $674k also frees up cash.

Mitchell Pearce (73) racked up 500 kick metres for just the second time this season following the first-half injury to Green. David Klemmer (61) proved a strong Payne Haas back-up option last week while Kurt Mann (62) is still averaging above 50 for the season.

Sharks v Cowboys, Saturday 5.30pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Sharks: Shaun Johnson is back and forms a new halves duo with Connor Tracey, with Matt Moylan and Braydon Trindall out of the side. Briton Nikora starts in the second row with Siosifa Talakai benched.

Those who relied on Toby Rudolf to step in for the suspended Payne Haas last week were rewarded with a season-high 58 from the Cronulla prop.

Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo's calf injury is the biggest Fantasy news of the week, with the superstar lock to miss "up to four weeks". That makes him a trade for most coaches, although you could hold if you're safe in your league's top eight (or better yet, top four) and can afford to wait a week or two for a possible early return. Meanwhile one-time bargain gun Reece Robson is out for the season with a hamstring in another blow for the Cowboys.

In more bad news cheapie Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is bumped out of the side by the returning Val Holmes on the wing. Josh McGuire moves to lock with Francis Molo at prop, Daejarn Asi and Murray Taulagi replace Ben Hampton and Tom Opacic in the backline and Tom Gilbert joins the bench. McGuire (62 last week) is a potential Taumalolo replacement with handy dual-position status.

Panthers v Wests Tigers, Saturday 7.35pm at Panthers Stadium

Panthers: A calf injury is set to keep Api Koroisau on the sidelines for one or potentially two weeks in the latest injury blow to give Fantasy coaches headaches, with Mitch Kenny starting in his place.

Viliame Kikau's suspension results in Isaah Yeo moving to an edge with Moses Leota starting in the middle. Brian To'o returns on the wing, Brent Naden shifts to centre, Tyrone May moves to the bench and Billy Burns replaces Daine Laurie on the interchange.

Jarome Luai (58) enjoyed another one of his big scores last week while Nathan Cleary produced a typically strong 65 and Stephen Crichton (45) scored his 13th try of the season.

Tigers: Harry Grant returns but his 80-minute role is in doubt with Jacob Liddle keeping a spot on the bench. Alex Twal starts at lock with Tom Mikaele replacing Russell Packer at prop and Matt Eisenhuth moving to the interchange, where Shawn Blore also replaces Josh Reynolds. Sam McIntyre remains outside the 17 in the reserves.

Twal scored 45 in 57 minutes in his return from injury last week. Tommy Talau (31) remains the most-owned Tiger in Fantasy but could struggle for points against a red-hot Penrith side, while Luciano Leilua (44) and David Nofoaluma (51) remain very solid options.

Tackle of the Week - Round 15

Storm v Sea Eagles, Sunday 4.05pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium

Storm: Brandon Smith (broken jaw) will miss the rest of the regular season and Kenny Bromwich (calf) and Ryley Jacks (hip) are also out but big guns Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster, Jesse Bromwich and Jahrome Hughes are back along with Marion Seve. Tom Eisenhuth starts in the back row, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Sandor Earl move to the bench, and Cooper Johns and Albert Vete drop out.

Ryan Papenhuyzen (54) was excellent again last week while popular cheapie Eisenhuth managed 46 points in 39 minutes and should get more game time this week.

Sea Eagles: Tevita Funa is Manly's new fullback with Reuben Garrick switching to the wing, while Jack Gosiewski replaces Moses Suli (foot) in the centres. Martin Taupau is back in the starting pack, Taniela Paseka is benched, and Joel Thompson returns in the second row.

Even being on the wrong end of a 56-16 thrashing wasn't enough to stop Daly Cherry-Evans (64) scoring Fantasy points, with Jake Trbojevic (52) and Marty Taupau (42 in 37 minutes) both a little below par.

Raiders v Bulldogs, Sunday 6.30pm at GIO Stadium

Raiders: Corey Harawira-Naera is out, as he can't play against the Bulldogs as per an agreement when he left the club earlier this season. Josh Papalii, Dunamis Lui and Hudson Young return to the starting side with Joseph Tapine and Ryon Sutton benched and Matthew Timoko joining the interchange.

Tom Starling (56) continues to be a revelation off the Canberra bench and ideally gets more game time in the final rounds, while Josh Papalii (43) deserved a bigger score due to that incredible ankle tap alone. Jack Wighton (81) and Nick Cotric (62) were the team's big winners against the Titans.

Bulldogs: Last round wasn't a great one for the Bulldogs' most-owned Fantasy players, with Luke Thompson (36) only getting 33 minutes off the bench, Jake Averillo (6) only getting half an hour on the park, and rookie Matt Doorey (28) not making a significant impact in his 68 minutes. The bad news is, this week is worse.

British import Thompson has been rested in yet another blow for Fantasy coaches looking to fill their front-row spots, while Doorey has been benched and Averillo is out. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Marcelo Montoya and Lachlan Lewis replace Tim Lafai, Reimis Smith and Jack Cogger in the backline, while Dylan Napa returns to the starting pack. Renouf To'omaga and Dean Britt join the interchange with Sauaso Sue also dropping out. Raymond Faitala-Mariner (51) was the bright light for the Dogs' Fantasy prospects last week with his first 50-point game without a try since round 7.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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