Welcome back to Quick Tap for round 15, a series by Talking League where we look at the main talking points from TLT. The main flavour this week is a lot of the premium guns taking price cuts which leaves plenty of them attainable in round 18 or perhaps earlier.
Dragons v Rabbitohs, Thursday 7.50pm at WIN Stadium
Jack de Belin headlined for the Dragons with an impressive 64 in the defeat to the Cowboys. The minutes have been there for quite some time but this was the first occasion where he managed to score 60+ so you’d probably want to see similar output at least a couple more times before jumping on.
There’s not much else to report on besides Lomax being a decent CTR option if you can’t afford the best pair. Cody Ramsey did well in a defeat, but at $344k shouldn’t be increasing in ownership.
It was a tale of two origin guns as Damien Cook continued on his great run with a 63 to just about hold price whereas skipper Cameron Murray only played 44 minutes for his 49. With a tougher BE on the horizon, Murray could get below $800k post-origin however he could easily explode with an 80pt+ performance this week to freeze the discounts.
Campbell Graham is another great CTR option but is no longer cheap compared to Aitken. Similar deal for Siliva Havili who punched out another 40+ effort and will be very handy for anyone who already owns him. Like Ramsey, his ownership should not grow this week.
Latrell Mitchell is still out with health & safety protocols and won't feature until round 16. It's pretty hard to get a read on him for round 17, so I wouldn't be counting on him as a target in for that round.
Sea Eagles v Cowboys, Friday 6.00pm at 4 Pines Park
Reuben Garrick continues on his hot streak and with a 13 leaving his 5-round average this round should continue to climb in price. He’s a great option, but not as much value as previously given he doesn’t play round 17.
Haumole Olakau'atu was the headline act with 89 points and will definitely attract attention this week. Bar the match against the Roosters, the back rower’s big scores have come against the weaker teams in the competition and for me is priced on or around what he should average for the rest of the season. With a bye in round 17, he is not the best option for those looking to beef up their EDG stocks.
Jeremiah Nanai returns for the Cowboys, and owners will be hoping he can push towards $675k+ before being a sell in round 17. Like many of these early season cashies, I wouldn’t be selling until there’s a good reason to.
With there being three middles and Granville on the bench, it’ll be interesting to see how this impacts the minutes of Jason Taumalolo and Reuben Cotter. You’d be expecting the pair to play big minutes and hopefully post up big scores.
Storm v Broncos, Friday 7.55pm at AAMI Park
Ryan Papenhuyzen returns to the squad listed in jersey 21. Even if he’s a late in, he’s a watch and see until he gets through at least 120 minutes of football. You’d expect when he returns that Grant Anderson will be first man out of the backline.
Harry Grant continues to trend down pricewise; which is exciting for the vultures that either sold him or never owned him in the first place. With another high BE, he could well be an easy buy in the low 700s come round 18/19. Ditto for Cameron Munster, who could drop to be the same price as DCE.
Jahrome Hughes posted up 27 points despite 2 try assists and continues to be a wait and see. But with the way him and Brandon Smith are scoring this season, I probably wouldn’t even take them as last resorts for round 17 unless things change drastically.
A build-up of injuries has left coach Kevvie with more issues than a magazine. The main two that concern fantasy coaches are Adam Reynolds and Payne Haas. For Reynolds, holding until round 16 and trusting your HLF depth (such as the man below) is the go whereas Haas is a very complicated situation. Honestly, I’d say keep if you have 9 or less trades left otherwise move him on for a more productive fantasy asset.
Ezra Mam was a real hit, banking 45 points in a win for the Broncos. As Jake pointed out in Fast Five last week, he won’t average 50 but with a decent floor of tackles and run metres should continue to pile on the cash. If you don’t already own him, I’d almost say it’s too late unless you’re super desperate to build up team value.
Sharks v Titans, Saturday 3.00pm at C.ex Coffs International Stadium
It was a bit more like business-as-usual for Siosifa Talakai who posted a solid 53 with a try. At $565k, I do like him as a keeper CTR option however it’s important to note that Talakai has an unresolved legal matter that returns to court on June 23.
Dale Finucane is named in the #19 jersey as he nears his return. Given the effectiveness of Cameron McInnes in the #13, you’d expect the boy from Bega to return via the prop rotation however most coaches who don’t yet own McInnes are probably looking elsewhere.
Selfishly, I’m hoping fellow John Paul College-alumni Lachie Miller gets the opportunity to run out for the Sharks in a homecoming at C.ex Coffs International Stadium. Miller played plenty of junior footy across the road at Geoff King Motors Oval as a Coffs Comet before finishing his juniors as a Sawtell Panther.
As expected, Toby Sexton monopolised the kick metres on his way to a 68 without any real attacking stats of note. We can’t expect 3 Turnovers a week from the young gun and the kick metres will decrease as the Titans won’t complete at 92% every week. AJ Brimson returns which could also chew into the Sexton kick metres.
Paul Turner was solid from a fantasy perspective, building up a nice base of 25 from net tackles and run metres to finish on 39. If you’re desperate for a cash-out, he’s still a decent option being below $300k although my preference for a cash-out would be a $220k player that features in round 17 then disappears into the abyss.
Warriors v Panthers, Saturday 5.30pm at Moreton Daily Stadium
Euan Aitken misses this week with concussion and with the rep round to follow, should be good to go in round 16. Owners should use their CTR depth this week and only re-assess their long-term ownership of him if interim head coach Stacey Jones (bloody tongue-twister) phases him out to look at players on the books in 2023.
The above approach is probably why Ronald Volkman makes his debut at the expense of Chanel Harris-Tavita who finds himself on the bench.
A couple of lean weeks for Tohu Harris isn’t alarming given his ownership in the relevant ranks, however anyone left holding Jazz Tevaga needs to change that ASAP.
Josh Curran returned last week and added another low score to his 5RA. He’s one who is worth keeping an eye on as a potential 18th/19th man once we get past the second bye.
As mentioned last week, whether you keep any of Izack Tago, Taylan May and Stephen Crichton is up to you. Having played their bye, they are all sellable assets if you need to boost your round 17 contingent.
We didn’t get 4 tries and dance moves from the #TikTokTalent but Nathan Cleary is an automatic captain for those who would rather leave roulette to the Casino.
As TK alluded to in the playbook, Brian To’o is a fascinating option at $555k. Granted he doesn’t get to play Newcastle every week but a base of 200 run metres, 2-3 TBs and a couple of tackles is a great floor for any WFB option. It is important to note that he may play less than other WFBs down the stretch with the Panthers missing round 17 and the winger being a key cog in the back three for the Blues.
Eels v Roosters, Saturday 7.35pm at CommBank Stadium
Given how abysmal the Water Worms were (say those three words really quickly several quickly, go on!) on the Monday I’d probably wouldn’t overanalyse it a lot. Ryan Matterson and Isiah Papali’i had their minutes managed in a flogging, the halves and hooker didn’t do much in attack and Will Pensini saved his scored by holding onto an absolute rocket of a pass from Mitch Moses.
Papali’i is another one of the elite guns facing a cliff face of price drops in the coming weeks. This is nothing to worry about for current owners but for those like myself looking to bring him in, it’s probably worth holding until he’s back on the edge or round 17 (whatever happens first).
I did say that Nat Butcher owners faced a tricky couple of weeks ahead of them, but with Luke Keary failing his HIA it meant Connor Watson couldn’t eat into his minutes. I wouldn’t expect 80 minutes for Butcher this week, but he should score okay allowing you to re-assess after round 16.
JWARRIOR did tell y’all to not buy Luke Keary a fortnight ago. Whilst some may say he didn’t predict a HIA, it is no secret that the multiple-premiership winner has been susceptible to bad head knocks throughout his career. He’s named this week but you can’t help but think the Roosters will be very cautious with the management of their number 7, expect Hutchinson to come in and for another middle to join that bench.
Josh Corby aka Billy Smith gets a run as coach Robbo punishes Momirovski for getting dominated by Marion Seve on the weekend. #FunFact time again! “Corby”, “Snake”, “Billy” and “Ghost” all have five letters in them and these two humans have never been spotted in the same place together before….
Raiders v Knights, Sunday 2.00pm at GIO Stadium
Joseph Tapine had a field night out at Suncorp, amassing 6 offloads to hand and 243 run metres on his way to 94 points. Like Olakau’atu, he’s priced at what one would expect from him and doesn’t play round 17 so is only a buy if you need to depart with a player. The same can be said for Hudson Young, who was also very impressive in recycling possession with offloads galore.
Adam Elliott continues to do bits with another try-scoring 67 and whilst he keeps trucking on like this doesn’t need to be sold.
Jamal Fogarty put in a vintage display from a fantasy perspective, running the ball a lot more and taking on a larger defensive workload. If he played round 17, he’d be an excellent option as an 18th/19th man.
If I were allowed to use profane language in this article, it’d be rated R18+ solely on the sentence I would write about Kalyn Ponga’s fantasy score. On a serious note, he would be best served having a week off after a nasty collision saw him ruled out of the game. If he is ruled out, he makes a great looper and it may be worth taking the VC off Nicho Hynes so you can maximise your looping options.
Kurt Mann returns to the lock role which sees Mitch Barnett return to the EDG. We’re uniform in our opinions here at TL HQ in that we see him as a great option as an 80-minute edge. Given his price won’t jump that much, waiting a week isn’t an unreasonable move.
Tyson Frizell looks very tidy and fair play to Mark Jessup of Fantasy Amateurs for pumping up his tyres last week. I personally don’t like going for more origin players during the series but if he somehow doesn’t get a game in Brisbane, he’ll be decent captaincy option in round 17.
Bulldogs v Wests Tigers, Sunday 4.05pm at CommBank Stadium
From a Fantasy Perspective, they almost have to be everyone’s favourite team. Matt Burton is dominating as an OOP CTR, Max King and Josh Jackson are staying busy whilst cheapies Jake Averillo and Jacob Kiraz are playing and scoring well. I’d probably refrain from buying the latter pair if you don’t already have them, but hold onto them as Potter has brought the magic back to the attack.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner is ramping up the minutes however I’m not sure what the end game is for the coaches that want to buy him now given the Bulldogs played in round 13. It is nice to see how out there after some serious setbacks in his recovery.
As I wrote in The Mercato last week, Ofahengaue and Twal are priced in accordance with their Fantasy output and are only buys if you have players that must sold. Maybe we can call these types “Twalight Zone” players, where you only bring them in because one of your players is no longer fantasy relevant for some mysterious reason and you must sell them.
With Luciano Leilua granted an immediate release, the runway is clear for both Kelma Tuilagi and Luke Garner to play the edges. Garner is of more interest to coaches given his CTR DPP which is why I scooped him up when Michael Carayannis more or less confirmed Leilua would be on his way before the June 30 deadline.
If you haven’t sold Jackson Hastings already, unfortunately you’ve probably dropped $100k of that peak value. With his foot not looking amazing (he was in a moonboot at Origin) you need to get rid and get someone going the other way.
Adam Doueihi is back and hopefully so is his poster on Andy’s bedroom wall. Nothing to write from a fantasy perspective, but wishing him all the best in his return to first grade.
And that’s it for Quick Tap for Round 15! We’ll be back in a fortnight for round 16, but until then familiarise yourself with the variety of written content launching on Talking League. Alongside my long-form series The Mercato, we’ve got TK chiming in with The Playbook, Jake Olive with The Fast Five, JWARRIOR with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and whenever he gets over his OD of Killer Pythons purchased with the winnings, we should have more Snakes Takes from Corby. Good luck with your trades and remember, there's nothing wrong with believing your own narrative!