A few big names return to the field this weekend while injuries and suspensions take their toll at a few clubs.
Here is all the big NRL Fantasy team news heading into round 5.
- NRL Round 5 squad announcements
- Casualty Ward: Pearce out 10-12 weeks
- NRL Fantasy winners & losers: Round 4
Match: Rabbitohs v Broncos
Round 5 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Rabbitohs: Keaon Kolomatangi (27) looks like an early bust as a cash cow with a two-match ban putting him on the trade block for a lot of Fantasy teams this week. Cody Walker is also suspended this round, with Benji Marshall starting at five-eighth, Jacob Host in the second row and Dean Hawkins joining the bench.
Damien Cook (80) has been alternating been big scores and underwhelming numbers but his season average of 63 matches last year's and he remains a gun hooker while that's the case. Latrell Mitchell (42) has been playing great footy and exploded out of the blocks with 84 in round one against Melbourne, but he hasn't scored more than 43 since then despite two tries and four try assists in three games.
Broncos: Richie Kennar replaces Herbie Farnworth (shoulder) in the centres and Tevita Pangai replaces Pat Carrigan (suspension) at lock. John Asiata joins the interchange.
Payne Haas (53) was solid in his first game of the season following suspension but encouragingly he did play 69 minutes. Anthony Milford (67) and Jake Turpin (62) are both averaging around 50 points a game despite poor scores in round 2, and Jordan Riki (48) is chugging along nicely with $130k in price rises so far.
Match: Warriors v Sea Eagles
Round 5 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Warriors: Star prop Addin Fonua-Blake (knee) and Bunty Afoa (suspension) are out, with Leeson Ah Mau and Tohu Harris (61) the new starting props and Jack Murchie named in the second row.
Bailey Sironen is also out with Tom Ale, Kane Evans and Josh Curran added to the bench.
Halfback Sean O'Sullivan (48) has earned a quick $65k after two good scores and is projected to jump another $100k in the next three weeks even if he scores in the low 40s.
Sea Eagles: Moses Suli (back) and Morgan Boyle (shoulder) are out, with Morgan Harper at centre and Jack Gosiewski in the second row. Toafofoa Sipley joins the bench.
Josh Aloiai was the only Manly player to reach 50 points in their loss to Penrith, with Daly Cherry-Evans (43) and Jake Trbojevic (45) slightly underwhelming. Cash cow Josh Schuster (39) continues to get the job done while Lachlan Croker (30) is reaching his peak price.
Match: Panthers v Raiders
Round 5 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Panthers: No changes. It's early days but Nathan Cleary (94) is on track for one of the great all-time Fantasy seasons, while tackle-busting winger Brian To'o (74) is producing keeper-level scores from the wing.
Viliame Kikau (73) has four tries in four games and Paul Momirovski (53) is scoring well and retains his spot at centre with Stephen Crichton again to start at fullback (Momirovski could potentially be shifted to the wing if Charlie Staines is preferred at fullback in future).
Spencer Leniu (27) is scoring better than a point a minute but hasn't played more than half an hour in the past three rounds and is looking like a slow-burn cash cow at this stage.
Raiders: Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine join the starting pack, with Ryan James moving back to the bench and Dunamis Lui dropping out of the 17.
Jordan Rapana (53) is averaging 53.5 for the season with three tries and 25 tackle breaks in four matches, but on the opposite wing popular cheapie Bailey Simonsson (21) is struggling to get involved and is yet to cross the stripe.
Match: Titans v Knights
Round 5 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Titans: Brian Kelly (hand) returns at centre while Phillip Sami moves to cover Anthony Don (hip) on the wing.
Finally a monster performance from Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (80) – a week too late for the many Fantasy coaches who sold him. Surprisingly his bumper score came not through a try but through a massive workload and increased game time, with 201 metres, seven tackle busts and 39 tackles at prop over 71 minutes.
Keep in mind starting lock Tyrone Peachey (31) was pushed out wide for the final half hour of the game when Jamal Fogarty (7) went off injured, leading to Fa'asuamaleaui returning to the field earlier than usual.
Knights: The Knights lost Mitchell Pearce (pectoral), Tex Hoy (hamstring) and Kurt Mann (head knock) to injuries against the Dragons while Jacob Saifiti is suspended. But they do welcome back Kalyn Ponga, who will almost certainly be among the elite Fantasy WFBs again this season.
Ponga's price may drop in the short term so there's no rush to pick him up just yet. Meanwhile Klemmer has been named this week despite concerns about his knee, Connor Watson and Blake Green are the new halves pairing, and Chris Randall, Pasami Saulo and Brodie Jones join the bench.
Jayden Brailey (82) and Watson (55) continue to produce keeper-level scores, although there's a slight risk around selecting Bailey as captain this week with another hooker in Randall in the 17. Randall could also spend some time in the halves if Watson spends time in his usual middle forward role.
Match: Bulldogs v Storm
Round 5 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Bulldogs: The absence of Nick Meaney (ribs) has sparked a backline reshuffle with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak moving to fullback, Nick Cotric to the wing and Corey Allan to centre. Jake Averillo returns at five-eighth in place of Lachlan Lewis (concussion), while English prop Luke Thompson and captain Josh Jackson bolster the forward pack.
Dylan Napa and Renouf Atoni will come off the bench while Dean Britt and Joe Stimson move to the reserves.
With 60 points in 73 minutes on debut after coming on early for the concussed Lachlan Lewis, rookie Jackson Topine is suddenly a player to watch but he could struggle for game time with the forward pack looking closer to full strength.
Kyle Flanagan (58) kept his season average above 50 despite the Bulldogs' losing streak while Jack Hetherington (47) had his first good score of the year against Souths. Meanwhile Adam Elliott (39) came back down to earth after averaging 64 points a game through the first three rounds.
NRL Fantasy breakdown: How Pap accumulated his points
Storm: Felise Kaufusi returns in the second row, bumping Tom Eisenhuth to the bench and Trent Loiero out of the side. Harry Grant has been named in the reserves and could be a late inclusion.
Ryan Papenhuyzen (124) was already in must-have territory before a stunning four-try haul helped him to the best individual score of 2021 so far, and the second best of all time. Cameron Munster (68) also thrived against Brisbane and is now scoring 62 points per game while Christian Welch (52) and Brandon Smith (48) collected decent scores.
Match: Roosters v Sharks
Round 5 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Roosters: No changes. Sitili Tupouniua (2) has been named despite copping a head knock early in last week's win over the Warriors.
Sam Walker (44) impressed on debut with three tackle breaks, a try assist and a goal and should only get better from here, while usual suspects James Tedesco (60) and Angus Crichton (70) were typically strong in the win over the Warriors.
Siosiua Taukeiaho (42) hasn't improved significantly on last year's scores despite being the team's first-choice goal-kicker this season, while Brett Morris's incredibly try-scoring run has him averaging 69 points a game and the sixth-best scorer in Fantasy after four rounds.
Sharks: Jesse Ramien's return at centre bumps Connor Tracey to the bench and Braydon Trindall to the reserves.
Chad Townsend (76) has been Cronulla's Fantasy success story in the early part of the season with an average of 57, while in-form fullback Will Kennedy (65) will put the pressure on cash cow Matt Moylan (41) when Shaun Johnson is fit to return to the spine in a few weeks. Moylan is at least earning some good price rises and handy scores in the meantime.
Teig Wilton (56) scored a try last week and remains in the starting pack this round, but beware Briton Nikora is returning from suspension in round 6 and likely to take his place.
Match: Wests Tigers v Cowboys
Round 5 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Wests Tigers: Asu Kepaoa has been dropped, with Tommy Talau moving to the wing and Moses Mbye to centre (in a boost to Jacob Liddle's chances of playing 80 minutes at hooker). Michael Chee Kam is the new name on the interchange.
Daine Laurie (35) had his first underwhelming score of the year against Parramatta – despite also crossing for his first NRL try in Tigers colours – while cash cows Jacob Liddle (53) and Stefano Utoikamanau (44) both gave their price tags a nice boost thanks to tries.
Luke Brooks (55) produced three try assists against the Eels while the impressive Luciano Leilua (67) hasn't scored less than 50 yet in 2021. James Roberts (37) is yet to produce a big score but is doing well for a centre considering he's yet to register a try or line break this year.
Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo is back, bumping Josh McGuire to the bench. Kyle Feldt is back from suspension and replaces Justin O'Neill (concussion) in the backline, with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow shifting to the centres. Corey Jensen drops out of the 17.
Things are not looking good for North Queensland but at least Val Holmes has found his feet with scores of 45, 47 and 50 in the past three weeks. That run does include two tries so he still looks possibly a rung below the top WFB options.
Shane Wright (63) looks a potential mid-range moneymaker option, but with fellow edge forwards Tom Gilbert and Mitch Dunn set to return from injury and coach Todd Payten willing to swing the axe for his struggling side, there's not much job security in either second-row position just yet.
Match: Eels v Dragons
Round 5 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Eels: Ryan Matterson is named to return after being a late withdrawal last week, with Isaiah Papali'i going back to the bench. Bryce Cartwright replaces Ray Stone on the interchange.
Surprise packets Reed Mahoney (70) and Papali'i (76) contine to score like elite Fantasy players, with Papali'i boosted by a try last week.
Mitch Moses (64) didn't have much of a price drop after last week's injury-affected 18, and has scored better than 60 in his three 80-minute games so far.
Dragons: Jack Bird returns, shifting Brayden Wiliame to the bench and Jackson Ford to the reserves.
Tariq Sims (79) had a huge game against Newcastle, while Andrew McCullough (63) continued a very consistent start to the season. Cash cow Daniel Alvaro (41) bounced back from an off week with a solid score from 34 minutes.