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Some big names return from injury or Origin layoffs while a few season-ending injuries have hit hard as we close in on the business end of the NRL Fantasy season.

The final batch of dual position player updates of the season kick in this round, with the following players now available to be selected in a second position:

  • K Lawton, Sea Eagles, HOK + EDG
  • J Bird, Dragons, CTR + EDG
  • T Milne, Rabbitohs, CTR + WFB
  • C Allan, Bulldogs, WFB + CTR
  • R Berry, Warriors, WFB + CTR
  • J Curran, Warriors, EDG + MID
  • J Manu, Roosters, CTR + WFB
  • A Keighran, Roosters, HLF + HOK
  • K Hetherington, Broncos, HOK + MID

Round 19 team news

Eels: Mitch Moses has again been left out of the Eels side due to a back injury. Tom Opacic and Haze Dunster are also out, with Viliami Penisini at centre and Blake Ferguson returning on the wing. Junior Paulo returns at prop, Marata Niukore goes to the bench and Bryce Cartwright drops to the reserves.

Reed Mahoney (77) made a superb return from injury against the Titans last Friday while Clint Gutherson (88) and Ryan Matterson (76) also excelled. Gutherson isn't traditionally a Fantasy keeper but has averaged a very strong 56 points a game this year. Isaiah Papali'i (41) played just 56 minutes last round but should bounce back after scores of 77, 73 and 98 in recent weeks.

Raiders: Rookie Xavier Savage (73) was outstanding at fullback and looked a bargain cashout option but is unfortunately sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury. Jordan Rapana moves to fullback and Harley Smith-Shields joins the side on the wing.

Matt Frawley replaces Jack Wighton (ribs) at five-eighth and Matthew Timoko replaces Ryan James on the bench.

Corey Harawira-Naera (106) had 13 tackle breaks in a terrific performance against Cronulla on Saturday and is a sneaky captaincy contender if he can maintain that kind of form, while his second-row partner Hudson Young (92) also produced the best Fantasy score of his career in that game.

Roosters: The return of James Tedesco means Joey Manu shifts back to the centres while Josh Morris is out, Angus Crichton starts, Nat Butcher goes to the bench and Siosiua Taukeiaho replaces Fletcher Baker on the interchange.

It was a good week for Sam Walker (79) and Manu (74) who both excelled against the Cowboys while Angus Crichton (59) came off the bench after Origin but quickly grabbed a try to get his score moving.

Knights: Daniel Saifiti returns while Connor Watson is promoted to the starting pack with Lachlan Fitzgibbon dropped to the reserves. Sauaso Sue replaces Jack Johns on the bench.

Mitch Barnett (60) was the only real winner from Newcastle's heavy loss to Melbourne, with Kalyn Ponga (8) and David Klemmer (17) both leaving the field early due to head knocks.

Jayden Brailey (45) continues to collect mid-40s scores after averaging 69 points through the first 10 rounds of the season, although he and Watson (48) could still both lift their numbers when the Knights get back to full strength.

Cowboys: Javid Bowen (knee) is out for the season, replaced at centre by Murray Taulagi with Kane Bradley coming into the side on the wing. Heilum Luki replaces Peter Hola on the bench.

Jason Taumalolo has now scored 60, 68 and 66 in his past three games – having passed 60 points just once in the first 15 rounds – and looks a cut-price keeper again at $656k. Reece Robson (98) scored a try and made 60 tackles against the Roosters in what was just his second 80-minute game of the season.

Storm: Ryan Papenhuyzen is back! But only on the interchange, with Nicho Hynes holding on to the No.1 jersey for at least another week. It's an interesting move, and one which will see Papenhuyzen's price plummet if he's not a late inclusion in the starting side.

Meanwhile, Cameron Munster has been rested, with Cooper Johns at five-eighth, while Dean Ieremia replaces George Jennings (knee) on the wing, Dale Finucane (HIA) is out, Christian Welch returns at prop, and Chris Lewis replaces Felise Kaufusi in the back row.

Melbourne continue to thrash teams and rack up the Fantasy points with Hynes (88), Munster (81), Jahrome Hughes (72), Justin Olam (70) and Brandon Smith (62) all cashing in against Newcastle.

Rabbitohs: Latrell Mitchell returns after being a late withdrawal on Sunday while Josh Mansour and Jaxson Paulo replace Alex Johnston (hamstring) and Taane Milne (benched) on the wings. Jai Arrow returns on the bench with Braidon Burns and Liam Knight (head knock) dropping out.

Cameron Murray (78) is in his best run of form of the season, collecting tries in his past two games, while Cody Walker (71) had his best score of the year against the Bulldogs. Damien Cook (42) meanwhile has scored below 50 three times in his past five games.

Warriors: Tohu Harris (ACL) is a sell after making an early return from one injury only to have his season ended by another, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (head knock), Wayde Egan (shoulder) and Rocco Berry (hamstring) are also sidelined.

Adam Pompey starts at centre, Kodi Nikorima at five-eighth, Jazz Tevaga at hooker and Jack Murchie in the second row, with Josh Curran at lock. Taniela Otukolo and Bunty Afoa join the bench.

Addin Fonua-Blake (76) had five tackle busts and a whopping 257 run metres against Penrith and could potentially lift his output with Harris gone, while Reece Walsh (60) continues to hit keeper-level scores with a try and three line breaks last week.

Sea Eagles: Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic are back, bumping Reuben Garrick to the wing, Josh Schuster to the back row and Sean Keppie to the bench. Josh Aloiai returns on the interchange while Moses Suli, Karl Lawton, Kurt De Luis and Cade Cust drop out.

Schuster (68) was exceptional in the halves last round while dual-position forward Haumolo Olakau'atu (71) has now scored five tries in his past five games, with a Fantasy average of 59 in that time.

Wests Tigers: No changes after last week's win over Brisbane.

Adam Doueihi (79) was superb at five-eighth and should stay there for the rest of the season, which isn't good news for the scoring prospects of Moses Mbye (14) who is now a bench player. Stefano Utoikamanu (62) and Daine Laurie (53) had scores boosted by tries last week, while James Roberts remains out of the 21 due to COVID protocols.

Panthers: Still no sign of Nathan Cleary but Jarome Luai is back in the halves, pushing Matt Burton to centre and Brent Naden out of the side. Tyrone May remains at halfback. Api Koroisau starts with Mitch Kenny to come off the bench.

Brian To'o (65) is in good scoring form, while Burton (61) should drop back to scores around 40.

Broncos: A couple of minor changes here with Tom Flegler and Jordan Riki starting while Rhys Kennedy and TC Robati move to the bench. Cory Paix replaces Jesse Arthars on the interchange and could cut into Jake Turpin's game time at hooker.

Payne Haas (69) is getting through huge minutes at prop each week and is a solid captaincy option, while Turpin (64) had a season-high four tackle breaks against the Tigers.

Dragons: Big changes here again with new players taking a suspension this week for the team's biosecurity breach, while others return to the side. One player still in the line-up is Jack Bird, who shifts to the second row, while Matt Dufty, Jordan Pereira, Mathew Feagai and Jayden Sullivan replace Tyrell Sloan, Bird, Braydon Wiliame and Corey Norman in the backline.

Josh McGuire starts at lock with Jackson Ford out, Jack de Belin moves to the bench with Josh Kerr at prop, and Adam Clune and Tyrell Fuimaono replace Poasa Faamausili and Billy Burns on the interchange.

Ben Hunt has produced some great scores in recent Dragons wins (70 against Brisbane, 80 against Canberra, 95 against the Warriors) but has come crashing back down to earth in the Red V's losses (31 against the Bulldogs and last week's 27 against Manly). That suggests he could score well this week but may struggle with matches against the Rabbitohs, Panthers, Roosters and Rabbitohs (again) coming up.

Titans: Jamal Fogarty (hand), Phillip Sami (ankle) and Erin Clark (elbow) are out with Greg Marzhew, Toby Sexton and Mitch Rein joining the side. Moeaki Fotuaika is named to start with Jaimin Jolliffe on the bench.

David Fifita was one of last week's most popular captains but was underwhelming with 45 points – including a try – in just 58 minutes. Tyrone Peachey (33) improved on the previous week's four-point stint and remains a hold at centre, while Brian Kelly (58) now has scored three 50s in his past four games, and five tries in his past six.

Bulldogs: Jeremy Marshall-King replaces Sione Katoa at hooker while Ava Seumanufagai is promoted to the starting side, with Luke Thompson shifting to lock, Josh Jackson to an edge and Matt Doorey out of the side. Joe Stimson joins the bench.

Jake Averillo's 131 kick metres on the weekend was his lowest haul since round 3, a huge decline since he racked up 653 metres against Penrith in round 12. It's the reason he's now scoring in the low-to-mid 30s rather than the 60s. Averillo owners would be keen to see dominant kicker Lachlan Lewis (46) bumped out of the side but he's sticking around at his stage.

Josh Jackson was the only Bulldog to hit 50 points last week.

Sharks: Jack Williams replaces Aiden Tolman (suspended) in the starting pack, with Toby Rudolf moving from lock to prop, and Royce Hunt joins the bench.

After a sensational run of scores Shaun Johnson (22) had a shocker against Canberra with a season-high nine missed tackles. Meanwhile Jesse Ramien (52) continues to look like one of the most reliable centre options with an average of 48 across the season despite scoring just three tries so far.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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