With one round to go before the State of Origin period begins, there are timely returns for a few of the NRL's biggest stars.
If you're playing for overall points, keep in mind next week's byes with the Bulldogs, Cowboys, Rabbitohs, Raiders, Roosters, Sea Eagles, Sharks and Warriors to take round 13 off along with Origin players.
- NRL Round 12 squad announcements
- Casualty Ward: Cowboys lose centre; Mansour's a sore man
- Round 11 charges: Sharks trio among 11 banned; Roosters challenging
Round 12 team news
Match: Broncos v Storm
Round 12 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: Tyson Gamble and Matt Lodge are suspended while Herbie Farnworth and Anthony Milford return to the backline, Rhys Kennedy starts at prop, Teui Robati joins the bench and Daly Copley drops out of the side. Lodge is reportedly close to a mid-season move to Newcastle which would open up more minutes for Brisbane's other middles.
Rookie Keenan Palasia (63) scored a try on season debut last week, while Tevita Pangai jnr (59) and Jake Turpin (52) bounced back from last week's poor scores. Payne Haas (51) has now dropped $175k on his starting price and still has a break even in the 80s. Tom Flegler's game time went down but score went up this week, with 39 points in 38 minutes after last round's 35 from 50.
Storm: Jahrome Hughes returns at halfback in place of Cooper Johns in the only change with Harry Grant (hamstring) and Ryan Papenhuyzen (concussion) remaining on the sidelines.
Nicho Hynes is the man of the moment, reeling off scores of 63, 70 and 101 in the past three rounds with Papenhuyzen out of action for all but 10 minutes in that period. With Papenhuyzen set to miss "up to a month" after the serious concussion he suffered against the Dragons – and with the Storm in no need to rush him back early with the team winning without him – Hynes still looks like a value buy at $568k.
Justin Olam received some hype last week as a centre option but finished with just 2 points from 80 minutes against Canberra, having made seven missed tackles in each of the past two rounds.
Match: Cowboys v Warriors
Round 12 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo is suspended with Coen Hess starting at lock, while Hamiso Tabui-Fidow returns in place of Connelly Lemuelu (thumb). Peter Hola and Corey Jensen replace Lachlan Burr (suspension) and Francis Molo (head knock) on the bench.
Taumalolo (29) had his worst score of the season despite playing 60 minutes and his season averages has fallen below 50, while a try helped debutant Heilum Luki to 41 points last week. Halfback Jake Clifford is expected to be on his way to Newcastle in the coming weeks.
Warriors: Reece Walsh (64) will officially be wearing the No.1 jersey this week after moving into Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's fullback role last week, with the Warriors otherwise shifting Kane Evans and Jack Murchie into the starting side and Bunty Afoa and Ben Murdoch-Masila to the bench.
Tohu Harris (64) has been incredibly reliable in a season full of erratic scores while Walsh (64) has developed from risky cash cow option to potential keeper in a matter of weeks, with a try in each of his past three games. Tuivasa-Sheck (59) was terrific despite playing largely on the wing last round but will need to regain the fullback spot to be a keeper long-term.
Match: Wests Tigers v Dragons
Round 12 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Wests Tigers: James Roberts returns from injury on the wing, with Tommy Talau shifting to centre and Joey Leilua out, while Tom Amone replaces Jake Simpkin on the bench.
Luke Brooks (63) again scored well alongside halves partner Moses Mbye (37), who is proving a handy cheap option as centre/WFB coverage as long as he retains the five-eighth role. There were solid scores for Luciano Leilua (52), Alex Twal (58), Joe Ofahengaue (58) and Daine Laurie (48) against the Warriors while Luke Garner (73) scored two tries.
Dragons: Josh Kerr (suspension) and Max Feagai (head knock) are out with Brayden Wiliame on the wing and Tariq Sims returning in the back row, while Gerard Beale is named in the centres with Talatau Amone shifting to the bench. Paul Vaughan starts with Poasa Faamausili on the interchange alongside Daniel Alvaro, with Kaide Ellis and Adam Clune dropping to the reserves.
Ben Hunt (69) has two scores above 60 in his past three games and is a potential cut-price keeper at $641k, although he also has scores of 33, 18 and 37 this year. Andrew McCullough (57) and Jack Bird (55) remain rock solid options, with McCullough playing the whole game against Cronulla after getting rests in the previous two weeks.
Match: Panthers v Bulldogs
Round 12 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Panthers: Moses Leota returns from a shoulder injury but Kurt Capewell is suspended, with Liam Martin shifting to the second row. Dylan Edwards (hamstring) remains on the sidelines so Paul Momirovski (35) gets another run in the starting side with Stephen Crichton at fullback.
Nathan Cleary (115) racked up yet another hundred in Sunday's romp over the Rabbitohs while Matt Burton (74) scored a hat-trick in his hometown of Dubbo and is an interesting option at $486k. His scores at centre have been heavily reliant on tries – with eight in nine games – but there's every chance they keep coming with the way Penrith are playing plus he's set to play at least one game at halfback over the Origin period when Cleary (and possibly Jarome Luai) are away on NSW duty.
Bulldogs: Rookie Aaron Schoupp keeps his spot in the centres but Chris Smith and Sione Katoa are suspended, with Jack Hetherington and Jackson Topine into the starting pack along with skipper Josh Jackson. Ava Seumanufagai shifts to the bench and Joe Stimson and Dylan Napa replace Renouf Atoni and Corey Waddell on the interchange.
Kyle Flanagan and Tui Katoa could be late inclusions after being named in the reserves.
Luke Thompson (69) has gone under the radar with less than 4% ownership this season while averaging 58 points a game. Jake Averillo (64) has scored superbly at halfback while Nick Cotric (66) is coming off his best score of the season after scoring tries in his last two games.
Match: Rabbitohs v Eels
Round 12 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Rabbitohs: No Souths players scored 50 in Sunday heavy loss to Penrith, with Cody Walker (49) and Damien Cook (47) coming closest.
Taane Milne replaces Josh Mansour (head knock) on the wing, Jai Arrow starts at prop, Jacob Host and Cameron Murray return to the back row, Tom Burgess moves to the bench alongside Hame Sele while Jaydn Su'A, Liam Knight and Jed Cartwright drop out.
Eels: Reagan Campbell-Gillard (suspension) is out with Oregon Kaufusi at prop and Marata Niukore returning via the bench.
Isaiah Papali'i (60) recovered from last week's 37 with a good score against Manly but Mitchell Moses (38) and Ryan Matterson (40) were a little disappointing in the surprise drubbing.
Match: Roosters v Raiders
Round 12 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Roosters: Josh Morris is back so debutant Joseph Suaalii drops out of the 17, while Siosiua Taukeiaho starts in place of the suspended Victor Radley and Daniel Suluka-Fifita returns on the bench. Angus Crichton was named in the second row but received a two-match suspension at the judiciary on Tuesday night.
Sam Walker (6) had four errors and four missed tackles in last week's loss to Brisbane and looms as a sell, having jumped $287k on his starting price this season. He'd need a big game against Canberra to kick-start his price rises again. James Tedesco (55) had another solid score with his price now creeping back up.
Raiders: George Williams has been released by Canberra with immediate effect. Jordan Rapana and Jack Wighton are back in the starting side and Josh Hodgson and Sia Soliola return on the bench. Hudson Young is also out after Canberra's loss to an under-strength Melbourne. Semi Valemei and Brad Schneider also drop out of the side, while Tom Starling is named despite picking up a minor ankle injury last week.
Corey Harawira-Naera (60) is in a great run of Fantasy form despite the Raiders' on-field woes while Bailey Simonsson (44) had his second try and second good score of the season.
Match: Sharks v Titans
Round 12 -
Venue: C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Sharks: Shaun Johnson, Jesse Ramien and Ronaldo Mulitalo return to the backline with Chad Townsend, Josh Dugan (suspension) and Mawene Hiroti (suspension) dropping out. Siosifa Talakai and Andrew Fifita replace Teig Wilton (suspension) and Billy Magoulias on the bench.
Will Kennedy (69 with a try) and Townsend (60 with 674 kick metres) both scored well in last week's extra time win over the Dragons but neither are good buys with Kennedy not a cash cow or keeper and Townsend dropped.
Titans: David Fifita is back in a very welcome boost for Gold Coast fans and Fantasy coaches alike, while Patrick Herbert replaces Esan Marsters at centre, Beau Fermor shifts to the bench and Sam Stone is out.
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (69), Jamal Fogarty (67), Brian Kelly (48) and AJ Brimson (46) also scored well against the Bulldogs while prop Moeaki Fotuaika (94) produced a monster score in 60 minutes including 10 tackle busts.
Match: Knights v Sea Eagles
Round 12 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best return, with Kurt Mann moving to the halves and Blake Green and Simi Sasagi dropping out.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon (55) scored his first try of the season with Daniel (54) and Jacob Saifiti (53) Newcastle's other top scorers in their loss to North Queensland, with Jayden Brailey and Connor Watson both finishing on 45.
Sea Eagles: Haumole Olakau'atu (head knock) is replaced in the second row by Karl Lawton, with Curtis Sironen back from a knee injury on the bench.
The dream season of Tom Trbojevic (99) continues, with eight tries, 12 try assists and 11 line breaks from just six matches so far. His 73-point average is about a 30-point improvement on last year and it's the first time he's averaged more than 50 in his seven-year career.
The big win over Parramatta resulted in quality scores for Daly Chery-Evans (57) and Josh Schuster (50), while Reuben Garrick (80) was the winger to benefit this week as the in-form Jason Saab (17) was kept quiet on the opposite flank.