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NRL Fantasy winners & losers: Round 2

Damien Cook bounced back in a big way, Reed Mahoney proved no one-hit wonder, Jayden Brailey is a must-have and Nathan Cleary could be even better than last year.


Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook burst back into form after a very quiet opening round by his standards, racking up a try, two line breaks and 56 tackles on the way to 88 Fantasy points.

Fellow No.9 Jayden Brailey has made an outstanding start to the season at Newcastle with scores of 78 and 84 and is a must-have player.

Nathan Cleary is in doubt for round three following a head knock but not before reeling off a typically superb 82 points in 71 minutes in Penrith's win over the Bulldogs, which also featured an 82-point stint from try-scoring big man Viliame Kikau.

Ben Hunt produced one of his best games in Dragons colours with a two-try-assist 80 against the Cowboys, Tevita Pangai jnr crashed his way to 76 points in the Broncos' loss to the Gold Coast (which featured a try-scoring double and 73 points to David Fifita), while Reed Mahoney followed up last week's 109 with an excellent 75 to be the surprise Fantasy success story of 2021 so far.

Hunt floats a pass and Ravalawa does the rest

Mitch Barnett scored 72 in Newcastle's win over the Warriors and is kicking goals so well he could keep the job even when Kalyn Ponga returns from injury.

Brett Morris has now scored six tries in two games with 74 points in round two while teammate James Tedesco added another two tries and 70 points. 

Elsewhere Broncos cash cow Jordan Riki bounced back from a poor round 1 score with a 70-point effort against the Titans, while Bulldogs lock Josh Jackson scored 72 and Rabbitohs forwards Cameron Murray and Mark Nicholls both made 69.

Daly Cherry-Evans was another player to rebound from a poor start with a solid 63, Knights teenager Bradman Best produced a match-winning performance and 62 points and could be this year's best Fantasy centre, and Isaiah Papali'i is proving to be a great scorer off the bench for Parramatta with 61.

Speaking of bench forwards, Dragons prop Daniel Alvaro is proving to be one of the better early-season cash cows with scores of 40 and 54 and Ryan James could be a Fantasy factor much earlier than we thought after pumping out 66 in 40 minutes off the Raiders bench.

Wests Tigers duo Jacob Liddle (59 with another try) and Daine Laurie (50) continue to make fast cash while Manly hooker Lachlan Croker (52 with a try) turned out to be a premature sell for anyone who jumped off after a disappointing round one score and the addition of Cade Cust to the Manly bench. 

Liddle at his scheming best


A serious knee injury in the early stages of Manly's loss to Souths was terrible news for Sea Eagles recruit Andrew Davey, who had just broken into the starting side and had looked set for a big season. He was also looking a great buy for Fantasy coaches but is now a sell.

AJ Brimson had a career-high four errors in the Titans' win over Brisbane, and with no attacking stats aside from a single tackle break finished the game on a measly 12 points.

He's still a potential keeper at WFB but his owners will have to endure a few price drops in the short term, or could jump off now if they don't expect him to match last year's run of big scoring – which included eight tries and 13 line breaks in 10 games.

Determination taking Tino to new levels

His teammate Tino Fa'asuamaleaui showed some promise in round one if he could cut out the demerits, but instead maintained the demerits while dropping off his workrate in a disappointing 25 against Brisbane. 

Popular cash cow candidate Jake Averillo has started the season with scores of 20 and 19, albeit in two rain-affected losses. He's barely run the ball in those games and picked up six missed tackles against Penrith this weekend, but is doing a bit of kicking and still has upside if his running game picks up.

After last week's 52-point effort Anthony Milford was a popular trade-in for round 2 but slumped to just 21 points against the Titans, with -16 points in demerits and none of the previous week's attacking stats.

His kick metres also dropped from 494 to 227 with the Broncos only completing 26 of their 40 sets (Milford still had the most kick metres in the match).

Matt Moylan missed nine tackles in his 13-point outing after a promising round one score of 37.

He was one of a host of popular players who had big drops from round one scores, with Latrell Mitchell (37 with a sin bin), Joe Ofahengaue (32), Jake Turpin (32) and Spencer Leniu (29) among those to suffer a dip after strong round one scores.

Saturday in Sixty: Round 2

Round 2 team of the week 

  1. James Tedesco (70)
  2. Brett Morris (74)
  3. Justin Olam (65)
  4. Bradman Best (62)
  5. Hymel Hunt (64)
  6. Ben Hunt (80)
  7. Nathan Cleary (82)
  8. Tevita Pangai jnr (76)
  9. Damien Cook (88)
  10. Mitch Barnett (72)
  11. Viliame Kikau (82)
  12. David Fifita (73)
  13. Josh Jackson (72)
  14. Jayden Brailey (84)
  15. Luke Keary (79)
  16. Reed Mahoney (75)
  17. Sitili Tupouniua/Jordan Riki (70)
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