Two superstars are named to return from injuries, the Broncos ring the changes and the Warriors have replaced one cash cow with another in another blockbuster batch of NRL team lists.
This week's team news
Match: Raiders v Rabbitohs
Round 8 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Raiders: Jarrod Croker (shoulder) and Josh Papalii (rested) both drop out of the side, with Sebastian Kris shifting to centre, Bailey Simonsson back from a head knock on the wing and Joseph Tapine on the bench.
Corey Harawira-Naera (49) is an interesting option in the second row at $333k if he can keep his spot ahead of Hudson Young for the next six weeks or so.
Jordan Rapana (68) grabbed two tries last week to keep his season average in the high 40s and Jack Wighton (59) scored well despite a disappointing second half for the Raiders against North Queensland.
Rabbitohs: Souths are named like they lined up last week, with Cody Walker at fullback, Alex Johnston on the wing and Benji Marshall at five-eighth.
Last week was a great one for cash cow Keaon Koloamatangi (67), who retains a starting spot on an edge. Cameron Murray (67) and Damien Cook (62) are both in good Fantasy form, with Cook's price just about bottoming out after falling by $99k this year.
Match: Storm v Sharks
Round 8 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Storm: Ryan Papenhuyzen (shoulder) remains on the sidelines for at least another week. George Jennings is out, with Tom Eisenhuth at centre and Reimis Smith moving to the wing. Nelson Asofa-Solomona is also out, with Ryley Jacks and Chris Lewis added to the bench.
Fantasy-wise the key thing to watch here is the falling price tag of Harry Grant (36), who is getting reduced minutes off the bench behind Brandon Smith. If and when he does start he should be great value – having already dropped in price by $100k and with a break even around 80.
Sharks: Recent signing Will Chambers replaces Josh Dugan at centre, Aiden Tolman and Wade Graham return to the starting side with Braden Hamlin-Uele and Teig Wilton benched and Billy Magoulias out of the side.
The return of Shaun Johnson (35) last week predictably ended the terrific scoring run of Chad Townsend (31), with Townsend losing the bulk of the kicking plus goal-kicking duties. Townsend is now a trade.
Matt Moylan (quad) missed last week's game and is out of the 17 this week, although he could be a late inclusion after being named in the reserves.
Match: Broncos v Titans
Round 8 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: More chaos at Brisbane this week with halves Brodie Croft and the Cowboys-bound Tom Dearden both dropped, with Anthony Milford returning to the side alongside Tyson Gamble. David Mead is also dropped, with Jesse Arthars in the centres.
Alex Glenn's calf injury means Jordan Riki (37) is back in the starting side for the next few rounds.
Payne Haas (74) and Tevita Pangai jnr (81) have been the team's two standouts of late, with Fantasy superstar Haas just about ripe for the picking after more than $100k in price drops.
Titans: Anthony Don (hip) returns but Patrick Herbert (calf) and Sam Lisone (pectoral) are both out for at least a month. Herman Ese'ese joins the bench.
David Fifita (107) scored about 90 points in the first half alone against Souths last week and has now scored a staggering nine tries from seven games, including two hat-tricks in the past three weeks. He didn't go on with it in the second half to threaten the all-time points record but his Fantasy coaches won't mind too much.
Tyrone Peachey (66), Jamal Fogarty (65) and AJ Brimson (52) also had good scores in an action-packed contest against the Rabbitohs, with Brimson's season-high five tackle breaks suggesting he could be a potential cut-price WFB option after dropping $178k on his starting price this season (but beware he is only averaging 35 across the season).
Match: Panthers v Sea Eagles
Round 8 -
Venue: Carrington Park, Bathurst
Panthers: A boost for the unbeaten Panthers with Api Koroisau back from injury in place of Mitch Kenny at hooker. Koroisau's price is likely to slide for a few weeks after he played just 48 minutes before being injured in round 1.
Nathan Cleary (87) had a below-average score by his standards but still the third-best score in the league last round, while Brian To'o (69) continued his own incredible start to the year with an average of 62 points per game on the wing through seven rounds. To'o's haul hasn't been too reliant on tries either, crossing four times in seven games, but is leading the league for tackle breaks (55) and run metres (1732).
Stephen Crichton (53) returned to centre after three scores in the 30s at fullback and grabbed his first try of the year against Newcastle, and looks a potential cut-price keeper at centre and back-up option at WFB.
Sea Eagles: Manly have named the same 17 as last week, with Martin Taupau and Haumolo Olakau'atu again named to start despite switching to the bench on game day in recent weeks.
The Tom Trbojevic-inspired revival of Manly continued with a thumping of the Tigers last week, with Trbojevic (65), Daly Cherry-Evans (84), Taupau (74), Reuben Garrick (68) and Josh Schuster (57) all picking up good scores. Turbo now has two tries, four try assists and four line breaks in two games. It's a collection of attacking stats that's not sustainable across the rest of the season but which have at least got his price tag rising quickly.
Match: Bulldogs v Eels
Round 8 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Bulldogs: Canterbury are unchanged after their first win of the year. Jake Averillo (48) has reeled off three good scores after starting the season with three bad ones and is making good cash.
Corey Waddell (53) scored well at lock while nine missed tackles and just 36 run metres in 80 minutes resulted in easily the worst score of the season for Adam Elliott (17).
Eels: Ryan Matterson is named to return but he's on the bench, with Isaiah Papali'i keeping his spot in the starting side this week. Haze Dunster is also on the bench with Will Smith (hand) and Wiremu Greg dropping out.
Another week, another try for Papali'i (62), who has now crossed five times in the past four rounds. Barnstorming winger Maika Sivo (103) scored three and made a whopping five line breaks and 10 tackle busts against the Broncos in Darwin, Tom Opacic (63) had an excellent game in the centres and even Bryce Cartwright (87) went large. Mitchell Moses remains good value after scoring right on his 50 break even.
Match: Knights v Roosters
Round 8 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: No changes, with wingers Hymel Hunt and Edrick Lee both likely one week away. Jayden Brailey (71) was bang on his season average last week, while edge forwards Tyson Frizell (57) and Mitch Barnett (57) continued their high-scoring seasons.
Kalyn Ponga isn't cheap at $818k but is a prime target for those looking for a gun fullback in the absence of the injured Ryan Papenhuyzen and potentially James Tedesco.
Roosters: Fullback James Tedesco has been ruled out after failing an HIA following an early head knock on Sunday, but Siosiua Taukeiaho is set to return via the bench. Fletcher Baker drops out. Matt Ikuvalu and Joseph Suaalii are among the reserves in line to replace Tedesco but centre Joey Manu will play fullback.
A score of 6 following a couple of mediocre scores in the previous fortnight means Tedesco's price has slumped by $195k this season and it'll keep falling with a break even around 100. He's traditionally the best-scoring WFB in Fantasy and is worth holding, although those who haven't got him will be able to pick him up for a steal after the Origin period.
Sam Walker (67) continued his excellent rookie season with a man-of-the-match display against the Dragons on Anzac Day and has jumped in value by $170k so far, while Angus Crichton (61), Lindsay Collins (60) and Sitili Tupouniua (60) all excelled.
Match: Warriors v Cowboys
Round 8 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Warriors: Reece Walsh was a surprise starter at fullback last week and has been shifted to five-eighth this week with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returning to his usual role after splitting his time between the halves and the wing on Sunday.
Walsh scored 45 on debut with two try assists and five tackle breaks against a tough Melbourne side and looks a great cash cow if he can keep his spot. At this stage he's replaced Sean O'Sullivan in the halves and could hold that spot until Chanel Harris-Tavita returns from a foot injury in round 13.
Tohu Harris is back after a week out with a head knock while cash cow Josh Curran successfully avoided a two-match ban over a high tackle at the judiciary on Tuesday night. He keeps his spot in the starting side, while David Fusitu'a and Adam Pompey return to the backline, Ben Murdoch-Masila is back in the starting pack and Jazz Tevaga and Bailey Sironen go back to the bench.
Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo has been named to return from a couple of broken hands, bumping Lachlan Burr to the bench. Mitchell Dunn is out of the side.
A stunning win over the Raiders meant good scores for Val Holmes (69), Reece Robson (62), Lachlan Burr (51) and Ben Hampton (49). Hampton has already made $146k in price rises this season so while it's probably too late to get him as a cash cow, he's been a terrific buy for those who have him – and still could potentially finish as a keeper in the centres given his scores are coming largely in base stats with plenty of kick metres.
Match: Dragons v Wests Tigers
Round 8 -
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Dragons: Wingers Mikaela Ravalawa and Jordan Pereira are suspended, with Max Feagai coming into the side on one wing and Cody Ramsey on the other while Jack Bird goes back to the centres and Ben Hunt makes his return in the halves.
Billy Burns scored 37 in 61 minutes in his first start on an edge for his new club looks a potential cash cow at $262k, although he's been named on the bench this week with Josh Kerr back into the starting side.
Most Red V players finished with underwhelming scores from their Anzac Day loss to the Roosters, with Bird (35), Daniel Alvaro (36) and Andrew McCullough (50) all a little below their usual standards. Their top scorer was Josh McGuire (67), whose price has bottomed out at $617.
Wests Tigers: Joey Leilua is back in the side for Michael Chee Kam and Luke Garner returns to the second row, with Joe Ofahengaue moving to lock, Alex Twal to prop and Stefano Utoikamanu to the bench. Tom Mikaele replaces Zane Musgrove on the interchange.
A heavy loss to Manly coincided with Daine Laurie's (17) first bad score of the season, with zero tackle breaks and less than 110 run metres for the first time in 2021. The struggles continued for the very out-of-form James Roberts (9), while Utoikamanu (24) only played half an hour and Jake Simpkin (41) scored pretty well despite six missed tackles.