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Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera.

The State of Origin series opener has been run and won with the Blues romping to their biggest ever win, and now attention returns to clubland for another tricky round of NRL Fantasy.

This week's big questions

What keepers would you be looking to get in over the next few weeks (keeping in mind the second bye round)?

From David Arndt

Based on this year's scores, the top keepers who will play in round 17 are Tohu Harris, Luke Thompson, Corey Harawira-Naera, Adam Reynolds, Jesse Ramien, Jason Taumalolo, Jake Averillo, Reece Walsh and potentially Joey Manu, Kodi Nikorima, Shaun Johnson, Josh Schuster and Josh Curran.

While getting a few of these guys is a smart move if you're chasing overall points, don't tear your team apart for the sake of a good round 17 score at the expense of your "final team" that you'll run with for the final eight rounds.

Having spare trades up your sleeve after the end of the Origin series looks more vital than ever this season considering the number of injuries and suspensions we've had.

Tossing up either CHN or the Cheese, will either of them be keepers?

From Nate Nathan

Corey Harawira-Naera looks a better bet than Brandon Smith, with CHN picking up his scoring in recent weeks after a slow start to the year while Smith could still lose minutes in the run home to Harry Grant – who is obviously capable of playing the full 80 minutes at hooker but is yet to do so for Melbourne this year.

Brandon Smith the close-range specialist

Smith's scoring has also been inflated by six tries in 12 games – twice as many tries as he's scored in any other season so far.

Harawira-Naera is on track to be a keeper with a season average of 55 and a three-round average of 68, and while he is capable of producing the odd low score (eg. a 30 against Souths in round 8) he's managing to get a good number of tackle breaks and tackles despite Canberra's poor recent form.

The other risk is he loses a starting spot to Hudson Young, which looks unlikely at this point, but if he keeps his spot and maintains he's scoring he's still good value at $560k despite plenty of early price rises already.

Considering he played big minutes last round, has a BE of -1, and Tyson Frizell is out for another five weeks, is Brodie Jones likely to be the best cash out option for this round?

From Ngāsti Whārt

He probably is, considering he's also a very cheap option at $265k. I actually picked him up last week as a cashout option who also provided a decent round 13 score, with the potential to be a moneymaker as well.

That still doesn't make Jones a guaranteed cash cow, as there's a chance Newcastle opts to move Mitch Barnett back to an edge forward role when David Klemmer returns to bolster the middle rotation in round 15.

There's also the fact that if Frizell is out for five more weeks he'll only actually miss three more games, with the standalone Origin weekend coming after round 15 and the Knights having a bye in round 17.

So if you're confident Jones will keep a starting spot while Frizell is out he's among the better cash cow options of the round, but don't expect huge price rises unless he jags a big score.

Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie.
Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Time to jump off Doueihi and Laurie? I'm thinking Manu and Luke Thompson.

From Sam Kosack

Adam Doueihi is a sell, with his scoring potential hurt by his move to the centres at the Tigers and his price on the way down at the moment. Laurie's price is still probably on the rise though after a few good scores.

I'd only make the switch to Joey Manu if you have more WFBs than you need, and are also in the market for a new keeper centre. Luke Thompson looks like a rock-solid purchase who will also play in round 17.

Need to sell 1 of Brailey, Watson, Moses or Schuster. Leaning towards Brailey or Watson as Schuster should play the next bye round. I could also use spare money to upgrade another of the 4 to Hughes or a top-line player (only ones I don't have are Origin players though).

From Trevor Maggs

None of those guys are urgent sells but I agree Brailey is the most tempting to sell at the moment, with three mediocre scores recently after a sensational start to the season. His scoring may turn around when the Knights get back to full strength in a couple of weeks, but then again his early-season form may prove to be a rare purple patch.

I'd be holding Watson, Moses and Schuster for now. Hughes is a keeper in sensational form but you can probably get better value options at this stage, particularly considering he won't play the next bye round.

Rugby league heroes to be recognised in 2021 NRL Community Awards

Is Joey Lussick an option with Mahoney out for a couple rounds?

From Ezra Magele

Reed Mahoney's shoulder injury has him sidelined "indefinitely" according to the Eels this week, but even if he is set to miss five weeks there may not be enough time for Lussick to make a ton of cash.

The Eels will play three games in that time (with a weekend off for Origin II and the bye in round 17) and Lussick is no guarantee to play the full 80 minutes in any of them. If Mahoney stays out for more than six weeks then Lussick's cash cow prospects improve.

If you're considering him purely as a cashout option who will free up money now and supply a couple of decent scores in the next few weeks he's not a bad buy, but don't be surprised if his price doesn't climb by more than $100k and he goes back to low (or no) scores once Mahoney returns from injury.


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