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Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 22

With Reed Mahoney and Jason Taumalolo injured and Angus Crichton suspended the dilemmas keep coming for Fantasy coaches as the head-to-head league finals roll on.

This week's big questions

Is Lussick a decent trade out for Mahoney? You think he averages 50-odd when playing 80 at hooker. That would free up enough cash to get Cleary back in, assuming he’s named this week.

From Dean Longley

The presence of Will Smith on the Eels bench makes it less likely Lussick will play the full 80 this week, but there's certainly the potential he will at some point in the run home considering he's done it twice this season – in a big win over Wests Tigers and in a one-point loss to Penrith.

He scored 61 (with a try) and 63 in those games, but in between those two rounds he scored 41 points in 58 minutes with Nathaniel Roache used as the bench hooker. Mahoney averaged 73 minutes per game when starting, so there's every chance Lussick's game time edges closer to 70 minutes than 60 minutes.

My guess is Lussick scores around 40-45 this week, with the potential to hit around 60.

Who to bring in for Crichton and Mahoney?

From Matt Tully

There are two real options here. The obvious one is simply picking the best replacement in each position. The strongest options for Angus Crichton are Isaiah Papali'i, Haas (MID only), Cameron Murray, Josh Jackson and Mitch Barnett, in that order.

The best Reed Mahoney replacement is Damien Cook, ahead of Harry Grant.

The other option, if it looks likely that Nathan Cleary will play this week, is you could free up extra cash by picking up an underpriced cheapie (Shawn Blore, Joey Lussick, etc) and spend that cash on Cleary.

Could Mahoney's shoulder injury cause concern for Cleary?

I have 4 trades left. Mahoney and Crichton have to go and I have $600k in cash. Should I get Cleary back with Murray? Or Cleary back with Grant or someone else? I have most other keepers except DCE and Hughes.

From Ben Littleton

Ideally, wait until 6pm Thursday before locking in your trade. If Cleary is still in the Panthers' squad then trade him in (probably with Murray), otherwise consider getting Murray and another keeper – especially if you'd still be able to bring in Cleary next week.

Do I sell Reece Walsh?

From Jeremy Travers

I'd hold him this week considering the Warriors are up against likely wooden spooners the Bulldogs, and Walsh is capable of racking up some attacking stats.

Is it time to curl up into the foetal position and cry? Okay, serious question: are there any planned changes for the 2022 season?

From Brandan Lee

There's nothing confirmed at this stage in terms of game changes for next year, but updates and improvements will be considered. If you've got any big ideas for changes feel free to let me know on Twitter at @lone_scout and I'll pass them on to those in charge.

Storm not rushing Papenhuyzen as confidence builds

I've got two trades left. Do I trade Hynes or CHN? One has to be on my bench. Trade to Murray, Doueihi or Ponga?

From Craig Finkle

With two trades left, the answer to this one is "it depends". Are you playing for overall points or head-to-head? If you're playing head-to-head, are you likely to win your final if you don't trade? If you can cruise through without trading then hold those trades for emergencies, but otherwise it's probably worth making a move.

Ideally both Nicho Hynes and Corey Harawira-Naera are sells at this point, although both do have the potential to return to keeper status if they regain an 80-minute role (something that looks unlikely with Ryan Papenhuyzen taking game time off Hynes and Harawira-Naera now stuck on the Raiders bench). In their current roles you can't be sure either will give you any more than 30 points a week.

In terms of which one you should hold and who your trade targets should be, it's really all about which areas in your squad you have the most depth in. The most obvious trades are Hynes to Kalyn Ponga or CHN to Cameron Murray, but if you have no coverage in the forwards consider going Hynes to Murray, for example.

Can we please make Aitken available at centre/edge?

From Dan Mills

Unfortunately the third and final round of dual position updates was in round 18, so there won't be any more changes this year.  

How many trades do you have left? And how is your team placed?

From Josh Vonk

Four trades left for me. It's been a bit of a disaster season for The Scouts with this year's run of injuries, but I'm ranked just inside the top 10,000 at 9397.