Renegades Team

Renegades Team

The Renegades Writers combine passion for the game, with a lack of editorial oversight. When they aren't next to the water cooler bitching about that try assist the stats guys missed, they are churning out sports articles that have been widely touted as "readable".

Thursday, 31 March 2016 11:00

Dr Renegade: Ankle City

What else can go wrong with my team! DCE now!

Sometimes you just have to hang on and hope for the best, and sometimes 110kgs of footy player lands on your ankle. This, was one of those weeks where your last remaining shred of sanity was ripped apart like a syndesmosis ligament group on a halfback’s ankle.

Physiotherapy expert Courtney has a treatment plan all set out for DCE, and it doesn’t look great for him to get on the park quickly. The trouble with syndesmosis injuries instead of standard ankle sprains is that these ligaments are essential to keeping the fibula attached to the tibia, and because they are higher up in the ankle, don’t really stabilise that well when strapped. For me, DCE would be a trade out if it wasn’t for the glaring fact that I have much bigger problems with my team. Four to six weeks look likely, and I am leaning more towards six. I’ve had a mere mortal patient here present with this from a touch footy injury who didn’t play for 10 weeks. Syndesmosis is a real issue.

I must also apologise to any Bodene Thompson owners. I traded him in last week for Kane Evans in a move that I thought would save my season. In my defence, he didn’t even show up to sick parade to get a medical certificate, and waited until the very last minute to let us all know. A rib cartilage issue is the word from Warriors fan boy Heath. He could return this week or next, depending on pain levels. You’d probably needle it and send him on if it was a Grand Final.

Kane Linnett’s shoulder injury gives a small opportunity to grab a cash cow in ctr, with the nephew of the greatest player to never win a GF suiting up for his first game. I thought Javid Bowen would have played NRL by now and have no idea on his job security at the Cowboys, but if he has even a quarter of the talent of his uncle, he should go well. Expect 4 weeks out for Linnett, this doesn’t mean Bowen will keep that spot though.

Bryce Cartwright has been named despite his thumb injury, indicating that this may have been a very lucky dislocation. Most thumb dislocations are complicated by a Bennet fracture or Stener lesion. These sometimes require surgical repair, or at least a plaster for 4 weeks. If no one has seen Cartwright wandering around out west trying to hitch hike with his thumb straight up in plaster cast, he’ll be fine by next week.

Some cavalry are returning this week, my main man Sam Burgess is back in front row, expect 60 points from him. Oates and Reed return at the Broncos which saw Maranta drop right out, which was a surprise. Wayne Bennett must not be senile. Paul Gallen is coming back for the Sharks also, and with his history of big scores one returning from injury, is a high risk captaincy option if you have him. Please note that he could score 90 or be injured in the first half on 23. Any option is possible.

Matt Moylan is back this week for the Panthers, and will be a welcome addition to that side. Whispers about Michael Lichaa returning are probably a tad premature, but next week will have him good to go. And last, but not least, Stuey’s favourite two little boys, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer are back for the Raiders. This should see that team becoming more settled over the next few weeks meaning some of the outside backs may be getting a few meat pies. These two halves are gun players, but probably not Fantasy relevant this year. People with Croker may just want to keep him with the promise of even better attack from the Raiders.

As always, have a look at the pick, stick and rage and Q&A with The Renegade articles for some great trade advice. These guys are the guns for that advice. Trust me, I’m your doctor.

Current Sick Bay

Broncos: Bloody none!

Raiders: Jeff Lima (hand, Round 11)

Bulldogs: Brett Morris (knee, late season), Michael Lichaa (knee, Round 6)

Sharks: Paul Gallen (knee, Round 5-7)

Titans: Kane Elgey (ACL, season), Nathaniel Peteru (knee, Round 6), Will Zillman (calf, Round 6), Nathan Davis (shoulder, Round 6), Matt Srama (knee, season), Karl Lawton (groin, Round 6), David Hala (elbow, indefinite)

Sea Eagles: Jayden Hodges (ACL, season), Jamie Buhrer (thumb, Round 9), Daly Cherry-Evans (ankle, Round 9)

Storm: Matt White (calf, indefinite), Billy Slater (shoulder, season), Curtis Scott (leg, Round 11), Jeremy Hawkins (indefinite), Cheyse Blair (indefinite)

Knights: Tariq Sims (suspension, Round 6), James McManus (concussion, season), Chanel Mata'utia (knee, Round 8), David Bhana (ankle, Round 10), Akuila Uata (chest, Round 6), Jake Mamo (ankle, indefinite), Daniel Saifiti (knee, Round 6), Kade Snowden (various, Round 6)

Cowboys: Ray Thompson (ankle, Round 10), Tautau Moga (ACL, indefinite), Kane Linnett (shoulder, Round 7-9)

Eels: Anthony Watmough (knee/shoulder, indefinite), Nathan Peats (elbow, Round 6-7), Cameron King (sternum, indefinite), Tim Mannah (shoulder, Round 8)

Panthers: James Segeyaro (broken arm, Round 7), Dean Whare (calf, Round 7)

Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds (jaw, Round 7-13), John Sutton (pec, Round 17), Zane Musgrove (wrist, indefinite), Alex Johnston (hamstring, indefinite)

Dragons: Mose Masoe (ACL, indefinite), Dylan Farrell (back, indefinite), Kurt Mann (knee, Round 6), Ben Creagh (knee, Round 6)

Roosters: Boyd Cordner (pectoral, Round 8), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (knee, Round 11), Mitchell Pearce (stood down, Round 9), Vincent Leuluai (knee, Round 10), Dale Copley (pectoral, Round 19), Ian Henderson (leg, season)

Warriors: Thomas Leuluai (ACL, Round 6), Ligi Sao (shoulder, indefinite), Ben Henry (knee, indefinite), Nathaniel Roache (ankle, indefinite), Bodene Thompson (ribs, indefinite)

Wests Tigers: Matt Ballin (knee, Round 8), Curtis Sironen (hamstring, Round 7), Justin Hunt (back, Round 6)

 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 11:00

Fluke or For Real: Jack de Belin

JDB has been a house on fire since being given the starting lock role two weeks ago. His scores of 64 and 71 have propelled him to a 28 BE and at $437,000 he’s looking mighty undervalued. So is he a must have? Will JDB average 60? Fluke or for real?

The Hotshot

I think JDB looks like a great option but maybe not 60, 55 for sure. Has always been a big base stats scorer and now that he's got the starting position 'locked' down, he's a must. Only because the level was set to 60 I’m FLUKE.

Rowan Oswald

Looking like one of the fantasy workhorses of old. FOR REAL

The Garbage Man

He has always had the potential. With Mike Cooper back in the prop rotation where he belongs, JDB has the lock spot practically all to himself. He finally has a starting spot to cement for his own and he is making the most of it. He is a workhorse, he will tackle until he drops and as an added plus he is a hard runner of the ball and brings in the tackle breaks plus has a sneaky offload and the ability to ball play. The complete package. Definitely going to be a keeper. FOR REAL

Thomas Mesaglio

Tries to get involved in most tackles every set and isn't afraid of taking hit ups either. I had some doubts if he could back up his score from the Bunnies game since it was played in monsoonal conditions, but he came out and made just as many tackles on a dry track. Throw in the ability to bounce off a tackle and his decent passing game (which could set up the odd try), he looks like a great player and fantasy scorer. FOR REAL

JWarrior

60 is premium and not many finish a season averaging that. For that reason alone I say fluke I believe 55-58 is more realistic and with sweet byes I will have to find a way to get him in my team. FLUKE

Steve Nicholls

I had JDB in my side for much of the off-season but switched him with Mike Cooper when he was named on the bench so pretty much everything about this situation annoys me but that’s fantasy sports. JDB is a base stats monster and in 2014 and 2015 over 97% of his points have come in this fashion, add to that the fact he’s held his PPM in the 0.80 region with expanded minutes suggests he’s a monster if he retains his minutes. That means that retaining his minutes is the real issue at hand and I think that is less than certain. Dragons’ locks averaged 54 minutes a game over the past two years and four of their top ten minute performances came back in early 2014 when Steve Price was still the coach, JDB’s last two weeks are the first and third highest performances. So is this a blip or the start of something new? The key to that might lie in Tyson Frizzell who has routinely played 80 minutes on the edge but has been interchanged most of this year, if he goes back to 80 minutes this could impact JDB. I think JDB is a very good choice and with a BE of 28 and solid byes you are almost guaranteed some short term and medium term success and his long term prospects are solid too but I don’t think he’s the must have player he is being made out to be. FLUKE

That dry, cracked little feeling that you get in times of pure horrible terror. Why the Hell did he duck his head? What was he thinking? Do you think it’s broken? Oh my deity! He’s on a stretcher with medical staff providing cervical support, the camera pans to his mum, who is crying like a refugee. Then to Stepdad Rusty, who also seems suitably horrified. Car crash TV at its finest. I can’t look away. I can’t bear to look. I hope he’s OK for his own, and Rugby League’s sake. This is not the ending we were hoping for from one of the game’s finest current stars.

The terror someone feels when they have a spinal injury is one of the purest forms of dread imaginable. That deep hole in your gut that everything just falls into when you see someone who won’t move their limbs again. The pain of being dependant for absolutely everything once more is such a low, low place. In this case, we have a happy ending. I’m glad. Not just for my own Fantasy team, which would have been placed on life support with that one more injury to a gun, but also glad for him and his family. They must be as close to Rugby League Royalty as possible. We are all grateful that he is healthy.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure as eggs going to say it again.  I’m amazed by the toughness and ability to go through pain that the professional player has. This is a man who played a Grand Final with a depressed fracture of his cheekbone. Smashes through brick walls every game and asks for more. It hasn’t done his face much good, and I’m not sure it’s done his neck any favours either, but apart from a couple of nights in hospital, he seems to have come through this with not much more than hyperextended ligaments.

It’s because of this toughness, and the fact that he was banging along at well over a point per minute, that Sammy B stays in my team. His twitter reckons he’ll be back next week for sure. Who knows? He could be back earlier. He has a real crack at everything he does. That’s why we love him. (Who doesn’t love a mad Englishman?) Medically, he’s a hold for sure.

Another player who just can’t seem to catch a break is Ian Henderson, who grabbed a horrible looking injury that Jharal Yow Yeh would have been proud of. It’s hard to see the bloke coming back from that, but Jharal’s injury was complicated by infections and circulation problems in the recovery phase, so Henderson may be a chance next season IF absolutely everything goes right with his post op recovery. This may lead to the continuing dominance of Jake Friend’s high scores, so if you have him in your team, congratulations. If you don’t because you have CS9, just keep trucking. The risk with Friend becomes Nikorima returning to bench hooker when Pearce returns.

Isaac Luke picked up a mystery injury late that led to the best name in Rugby League, Jazz “Fingers” Tavega to grab a starting spot. Apart from his name being awesome, there isn’t a compelling reason to grab him though. Luke will be back after he’s eaten enough pies and Thomas Leuluai will be back as bench rotation soon, so his job security is very poor. Leave him well alone. Dale Copley owners (including yours truly) groaned another anguished cry with his torn pectoral and resulting minus score. For mine, it’s not all bad. At least now, I don’t have an excuse to keep him and willingly am trading him for just about anyone. I’m just glad he’ll be out of my team.

Jack Reed confirmed to us that he has a real eye for the tryline this week, but his retinal tear is another scary injury. Sometimes (Josh McGuire) they send you blind in one eye completely. These things can heal very well and quickly, or be a real annoyance for ages. They’ll do a bit of laser on it and hope it holds. As Lachlan Maranta is the effective replacement, with Kahu moving to ctr, this excites me less than a colonoscopy with no anaesthetic. Not many opportunities here.

Robbie Farah got out of sick bay this week. He’ll be a great POD over the next few weeks. Who knows, Taylor may dump him or reinstate him as captain. Any possibility is on the table. But I think he’ll score well. I know a few that are jumping on him straight up.

Young Curtis Scott has an injury in a real blow to cash cow central. Tohu Harris named in centres can be poison or gold. Watch out if you have him right now. Trent Merrin returns from that nasty viral infection he must have caught from chewing Sally’s leg rope, but I’ve even dropped him to the bench in draft. Moeroa is my preference, he has slipped so badly.

This sick bay is slowing emptying. A good week to assess my bad choices and study the prospectus a bit better. Look out for the pick, stick and rage and boss trades articles for some great trade advice. Trust me, I’m your doctor.

 

Current Sick Bay

 

Broncos: Corey Oates (shoulder, Round 6), Jack Reed (eye, Round 5)

 

Raiders: Adam Clydsdale (shoulder, Round 5), Blake Austin (knee, Round 5-7), Aidan Sezer (eye socket, Round 5-7), Joey Leilua (suspension, Round 5/6)

 

Bulldogs: Brett Morris (knee, late season), Michael Lichaa (knee, Round 6)

 

Sharks: Paul Gallen (knee, Round 5-7)

 

Titans: Kane Elgey (ACL, season), Nathaniel Peteru (knee, Round 6), Will Zillman (calf, Round 5), Nathan Davis (shoulder, Round 6), Matt Srama (knee, season), Brian Kelly (ankle, Round 5), Karl Lawton (groin, Round 5)

 

Sea Eagles: Jayden Hodges (ACL, season), Martin Taupau (suspension, Round 5), Brenton Lawrence (suspension, Round 5)

 

Storm: Matt White (calf, indefinite), Billy Slater (shoulder, season)

 

Knights: Tariq Sims (suspension, Round 6), James McManus (concussion, season), Chanel Mata'utia (knee, Round 8), David Bhana (ankle, Round 10), Akuila Uata (chest, Round 5), Jake Mamo (ankle, Round 5), Daniel Saifiti (knee, indefinite), Jack Stockwell (shoulder, Round 5), Kade Snowden (various, Round 5)

 

Cowboys: Ray Thompson (ankle, Round 10), Tautau Moga (ACL, indefinite)

 

Eels: Anthony Watmough (knee/shoulder, indefinite), Nathan Peats (elbow, Round 5-7), Cameron King (sternum, indefinite)

 

Panthers: Matt Moylan (back, Round 5), James Segeyaro (broken arm, Round 7), Dean Whare (calf, Round 7), Jeremy Latimore (suspension, Round 5)

 

Rabbitohs: Tom Burgess (leg, Round 5), Adam Reynolds (jaw, Round 7-13), John Sutton (pec, Round 17), Zane Musgrove (wrist, indefinite), Sam Burgess (neck, Round 5)

 

Dragons: Mose Masoe (ACL, indefinite), Dylan Farrell (back, indefinite), Yaw Kiti Glymin (hamstring, Round 5), Kurt Mann (knee, Round 5), Benji Marshall (hamstring, Round 5)

 

Roosters: Boyd Cordner (pectoral, Round 8), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (knee, Round 11), Mitchell Pearce (stood down, Round 9), Vincent Leuluai (knee, Round 10), Dale Copley (pectoral, Round 19), Ian Henderson (leg, season)

 

Warriors: Thomas Leuluai (ACL, Round 5), Ligi Sao (shoulder, indefinite), Ben Henry (knee, indefinite), Manu Vatuvei (ribs, indefinite), Issac Luke (leg, indefinite), Nathaniel Roache (ankle, indefinite)

 

Wests Tigers: Matt Ballin (knee, Round 8), Justin Hunt (back, Round 5), Curtis Sironen (hamstring, Round 7), Chris Lawrence (suspension, Round 5)

 

 

 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 11:00

Round 2 Injury Report with Dr Renegade

This round saw a much appreciated slowdown in the number of beaten and battered players. The clinic’s revolving door finally whirred to a halt and allowed us to finally get on with appreciating some good footy.

There were a few notable injuries which will cause some great changes and furrowed brows for fantasy coaches. The hooker position is becoming more of a joke than Shoayb’s ranking. Nathan Peats decided to see if he could turn his elbow into a reversible hinge on Taumololo’s knee. This didn’t end well for the gun hooker. Elbow dislocations often spontaneously reduce, which doesn’t really cause us in ED too much work. A few scans and assess the stability of the joint. Get the physio on board with some strengthening and rehab exercises and hope for the best in 2-4 weeks. My money is on Peats returning in a short time. Mainly because he’s such a tough little nugget and I don’t value his replacement at Parra as any more than an impact bench player.

Corey Oates both suffered a shoulder dislocation and picked up an AC injury, which are very common with these problems. The AC injury looks like resolving without surgery, but will still mean 4 weeks rest for Corey. This gives another opportunity for Eden to make some cash, but we are hearing that Wayne’s second favourite little man, Lachlan Maranta, is on his way back. Watch for team lists and late changes for this.

If anyone is interested, here is a link to elbow and shoulder subluxation reduction in an ED. Not for the squeamish though. Please be warned. FWIW, I love doing these in the ED. Such a satisfying ‘clunk’ when it pops back in!

https://youtu.be/_d9Pk3rpQv8

https://youtu.be/MkdCGV_MOCM

The other shoulder to give us trouble this week is that of Billy Slater’s. He was a later pull out than Gabi Grecco’s ex-husband. It threw a good few teams into disarray with the lateness of his withdrawal, but didn’t seem to hurt the Storm’s chances of winning the game at all. Munster filled in at the back admirably, even though he was named at centre for the second time. Debutant Curtis Scott, who hopefully is as fired up for big scores as his namesake in Renegades, seems a good enough pick up at present.

Slater needs an arthroscopy in that shoulder to see exactly what the problem is. Even though it is all undiagnosed at present, the minimum I expect is an arthroscopic debridement of loose tissue, which will be a minimum 4 week recovery. Again, he’s a tough little bugger and may come back sooner, but with his injury history, I don’t expect less than advised.

Proving to be a knockout blow for the few teams that had captained them, Shaun Fensom and Aiden Tolman were forced from the field due to concussion. There is no extended break expected with these guys, but concussion being more and more stringently observed, please watch for late mail on these guys.

Some handy cheapies bit the dust this weekend too. Lachlan Croker (who I advised to avoid) and Nathan Davis are also on the injured list with a shoulder problem, and may face a few weeks out. David Bhana picked up an ankle injury and may not see any more time in the team with injured and suspended players returning to the Knights in the next few weeks.

Dean Whare is injured yet again, and Josh Dugan has a hamstring issue, but is expected to replace Mann at fullback, so he will be a great option going forward if he doesn’t snap it completely tying his shoelaces.

Manu Vatuvei was named to play today, but has Hurrell on the bench as cover. Hurrell looks lean and ready to rumble, but will he force his way on to the field? Who knows with that crazy coach, but surely he gets a run this week. He wouldn’t be named if there weren’t serious doubts about the injuries to big Manu.

Watch out for Moylan on team lists and late mail. Returning from a back injury is a massive ask, but is probably what the Panthers need to win some games. Watmough is not near ready to play yet and Chase Stanley probably won’t be named even if he has returned to good health, such was the quality of the debut by Holland in the centres.

As always, I am your Doctor. You can trust me. But injuries are where my expertise ends. Watch out for articles from RAD and the bosses for some great trading advice and good moves on replacement players for any that you may have killed by bringing into your side. But I will be holding Peats, getting rid of some dead wood for new cashies, and will be taking on-board a suggestion to replace Moeroa with another deathly middy.

Keep your trades if you can. And stay healthy.

Broncos: Lachlan Maranta (wrist, Round 7), Carlin Anderson (stomach, indefinite), Corey Oates (shoulder, Round 6)

Raiders: Adam Clydsdale (shoulder, Round 3), Blake Austin (knee, Round 5-7), Aidan Sezer (eye socket, Round 5-7), Shaun Fensom (concussion, indefinite), Lachlan Croker (shoulder, indefinite)

Bulldogs: Brett Morris (knee, late season), Chase Stanley (hamstring, indefinite), Michael Lichaa (knee, indefinite), Aiden Tolman (concussion, indefinite)

Sharks: Mitch Brown (ribs, indefinite), Paul Gallen (knee, Round 7), Chris Heighington (suspendsion, Round 3)

Titans: Kane Elgey (ACL, season), Nathaniel Peteru (knee, Round 4), Nathan Davis (shoulder, indefinite)

Sea Eagles: Jamie Buhrer (jaw, indefinite), Jayden Hodges (ACL, season), Brett Stewart (hamstring, Round 3), Isaac John (virus, indefinite)

Storm: Cheyse Blair (foot, indefinite), Matt White (calf, indefinite), Billy Slater (shoulder, indefinite)

Knights: Tariq Sims (suspension, Round 6), James McManus (concussion, season), Pauli Pauli (suspension, Round 3), Chanel Mata'utia (knee, Round 8), David Bhana (ankle, indefinite)

Cowboys: Ray Thompson (ankle, mid-season), Tautau Moga (ACL, indefinite)

Eels: Anthony Watmough (knee/shoulder, indefinite), James Hasson (suspended, Round 3), Joseph Ualesi (Round 6), Nathan Peats (elbow, Round 5-7)

Panthers: Matt Moylan (back, Round 3), George Jennings (shoulder, Round 3), Sione Katoa (knee, Round 3), James Segeyaro (broken arm, Round 7), Dean Whare (calf, indefinite)

Rabbitohs: Tom Burgess (leg, Round 5), Adam Reynolds (jaw, Round 7-13), John Sutton (pec, Round 17), Zane Musgrove (wrist, indefinite)

Dragons: Mose Masoe (ACL, indefinite), Dylan Farrell (back, indefinite), Yaw Kiti Glymin (hamstring, indefinite), Josh Dugan (hamstring, indefinite)

Roosters: Boyd Cordner (pectoral, Round 11), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (knee, Round 11), Mitchell Pearce (stood down, Round 9), Vincent Leuluai (leg, indefinite)

Warriors: Thomas Leuluai (ACL, Round 5), Henare Wells (hamstring, Round 3), Ligi Sao (shoulder, indefinite), Ben Henry (knee, indefinite), Blake Ayshford (concussion, indefinitie), Manu Vatuvei (ribs, indefinite)

Wests Tigers: Robbie Farah (knee, Round 4-6), Matt Ballin (knee, Round 10), Justin Hunt (back, indefinite)

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 11:00

Fluke or for real: Martin Taupau

Taupau was an absolute beast on the edge of the field against his former teammates. Can he keep maintain his level of play and be the 50+ point gun we all hope he is?

Renegade Ghost

Of course he is….. FOR REAL

JZ

Playing big minutes this season, one of the most damaging ball runners in the game and makes a solid amount of tackles to complement his running style. If Taupau stays on the edge he’s like Tony Williams if Williams actually did something. FOR REAL

The Defensive Centre

He will average over 50, but he's already priced around that point anyway. There's no rush to buy this week, so just keep building your cash and bring him in when necessary. Of course, if you have an annoying Merrin/Cooper situation you want to solve, he's a decent target. Don't wreck your team to get him though. FOR REAL

Paul Baker

But one week he'll get 80. The next, 40. Will average 50 plus via a roller-coaster. FOR REAL

PW

He won't be consistent. Against better defensive sides he won't have the attack statistics he did against the Tigers. FOR REAL

Hotshot

Rollercoaster, but if he continues to play big minutes on the edge could be one of the buys of the season. He showed he can play 80 and run over tired defenses. FOR REAL

SSM

KAPOW! Ya'll should have started with him. FOR REAL

Thomas Mesagilo

Is getting the minutes he needs to pump out the big scores. Might get the occasional 40 odd, but will also crank out some 70s-80s. FOR REAL

Eddy Durham

I’m experiencing a bad case of fear of missing out with him. He is fast, powerful and combative. Might have good minutes this year is a beast with ball in hand and chips in with tackles. Expect the odd big score with an average of 50-55. FOR REAL

Rowan Oswald

He is getting the mins and is a destructive ball runner. May have the odd lowish score but just watch those TBs build up as the big boys start to blow steam. FOR REAL

Tom Vaughan

Produced a solid performance in increased minutes round 1, and showed his destructive running game round 2. He won't be consistent like other forwards but if you hold him he'll deliver the 50+ average FOR REAL

Matthew Duggan

He looks on the ball this year and should average 50+ SJ-style, in that his scores are all over the place. But the key word there is should, and I am not totally confident as this is far from the first time Taupau has hit a couple of good scores. FOR REAL

Steve Nicholls

I think this is pretty clear cut. Taupau is a legitimate gun but you shouldn’t bust your balls to get him in just because he went massive last week. He looked great on the edge but he also wasn’t short of motivation against his former team mates. His price could ebb and flow throughout the course of the season, just like his scores will. Just remember getting him this week doesn’t get you his score from last week. If it all lines up for you though I don't think you need to worry too much that he's a mistake. FOR REAL

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 11:00

Fluke or for real: Moses Mbye

The Bulldogs tyro lit up the Panthers to the tune of 94 points in the weekend. Is the kid a legitimate 50+ gun? We ask the writers whether Mbye is fluke or for real.

Matthew Duggan

All the power to you if you started with Mbye as I think he'll be a boom or bust half that will average somewhere in the 40s come the end of the year. But he won't be an out-and-out gun half and if you don't have him, please don't trade him in just because he scored really well in a game which he scored two tries and an elaborate assist. FLUKE

JZ

Mbye's points against Penrith came almost entirely from three runs. His base stats are relatively non-existent; he didn't even kick for over 100m. However, he's playing behind a good pack so opportunities will come to him however he will largely be a boom or bust player, with a lot of his bust scores being on the lower end of the spectrum. FLUKE

TDC

I'd put him at a high 40s average, as he seems keen to cash in and get the points when on offer. But, should you trade him in? Assuming you have some combination of Taylor, Hastings, J Nikorima and Walker, you might have one spot available to bring in Mbye. Assuming that player is a gun, like DCE, it's a sideways trade. Don't do it. FLUKE

Hotshot

But only just. The future Queenslsnd half will be a rollercoaster like Johnson but should scrape over 50 at seasons end. FOR REAL

Lachie Angus

Mbye won't score 90s every week, or maybe even at all again this season so if you trade him in expecting a sure captaincy choice, don't. However, I do believe this is Mbye's year to take over as the Bulldogs’ primary half, and if you can take the good with the bad, I think he'll average around 50 come end of season. FOR REAL

Thomas Mesaglio

He won't get 94 every week, but I don't see why he can't average 50. Hopoate is terrible and Reynolds seems to be playing somewhat of a second fiddle, so there's plenty of opportunity for lots of attacking stats for Mbye, especially running the ball as he is. On the same token, don't be dismayed if he pulls out some 30s if the dogs get smashed, as his base stats aren't that crash hot. Although I think he's for real, I wouldn't be wasting a trade on him if you already have a gun half like DCE and cashies that still have plenty of milk in them. FOR REAL

K5

Please refer to K5’s smokey article. Smile emoticon. FOR REAL

Eddy Durham 

I can’t see him getting big scores like that very regularly. Included a lot of run meters and attacking stats that won’t come all the time. Will get plenty of lower scores and average in the 40s. Keep in mind that Gray scored like 78 in this very same round..... FLUKE

The Garbage Man

It’s a hard call. On one hand he has proven how well he can score on any given day. Though when you look at it from the other side, both games have been when the Dogs pack has dominated. His base stats are fairly average. When the Dogs aren’t dominating he could hurt a lot of teams. I'm feeling a mid 40's average scattered with mid 20's to mid 70's scores. If you get him I think you'll be strapping in for a rollercoaster. Purely for the fact I think he will lack consistency I'm going FLUKE

Steve Nicholls

He’s going to get really close to that 50 point average. He’s playing with confidence and freedom and to date it has come up perfectly but he’ll have much harder days. The real question is with an abundance of cheap HLF and HOK can you justify trading a gun out to get him? Probably not. FOR REAL

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 11:00

Late Mail Busters – Round 2

After a brutal Round 1, Round 2 of the 2016 NRL Season was quickly upon us. A torrid injury toll, and coaches searching for quick fixes meant plenty of Fantasy coaches were perched over the trade button waiting for team lists.

There were rookies, boom scores, some more injuries, and team changes. As usual, the Late Mail sites were providing all of the information on who was in or out. Fantasy players, punters, and tipsters scoured the pages, looking for that edge over the competition.

But were they right? Was the information accurate, or should you have just asked the dog? Well that’s what Late Mail Busters is here for. There’s been a slight change to how the stats are represented, as a pretty alarming pattern is becoming apparent. That will be seen at the end.

So, let’s get into Round 2

Game 1: Panthers v Bulldogs

The first shrill cry of the round from Fantasy coaches could be heard worldwide, as final team lists revealed Bryce Cartwright was dropped to the bench, with Sitaleki Akauola starting. Other changes for the Panthers were Will Smith out, with Dean Whare coming into centre, Waqa Blake shifting to the wing, and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak moving to fullback. James Fisher Harris dropped out of the 17 to accommodate Akauola. No changes for the Bulldogs.

NRL Late Mail: NRL Late Mail does not publish until Friday.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported Dean Whare coming in, but did not nominate the reshuffle to the team.

Wackos Whispers: Listed Whare as coming in as a straight replacement for Waqa Blake.

Game 2: Broncos v Warriors

Jordan Kahu recovered from an injury quickly enough to take his spot in the team at the expense of Greg Eden. The Warriors played James Gavet in the starting lineup, with Ben Matulino dropping to the bench.

NRL Late Mail: Reported the Kahu/Eden switch.

News Ltd Late Mail: Same report as NRL Late Mail.

Wacko’s Whispers: Also reported the same change.

Game 3: Rooster v Raiders

In a move met by gentlemanly applause by Fantasy coaches, Blake Ferguson was moved to centre, Shaun Kenny-Dowall went to the wing, and Latrell Mitchell shifted to fullback. Sio Siua Taukeiaho started with Isaac Liu dropping to the Roosters bench. Raiders were 1-17

NRL Late Mail:  No reported changes.

News Ltd Late Mail: No reported changes.

Wacko’s Whispers: Listed a rumoured swap of Sam Moa into a starting role was unlikely.

Game 4: Rabbitohs v Knights

Only change was on the bench, with the Rabbitohs leaving Chris Grevsmuhl out of the 17, and bringing Kirisome Auva’a in.

NRL Late Mail: No changes reported.

News Ltd Late Mail: No changes reported.

Wacko’s Whispers. No changes reported.

Game 5: Eels v Cowboys

Rory Kostjasyn came into the starting lineup for the Cowboys, with Jake Granville dropping to the bench. Eels 1-17.

NRL Late Mail: Reported that Antonio Winterstein was most likely going to fail the concussion protocol.  Matthew Wright was to be his replacement.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported Winterstein was more likely to pass the concussion protocol, and be fine to play.

Wacko’s Whispers: Reported Winterstein would fail the concussion protocol, with Wright or Gideon Gela-Mosby the likely replacement.

Game 6: Sharks vs Dragons

A few changes to both teams here. The Sharks started Matt Prior and Joseph Paulo, with Sam Tagataese and Jayson Bukuya dropping to the bench. The Dragons had Peter Mata’utia come into the side for Euan Aitken. Joel Thompson also came into the side, with Will Matthews dropping to the bench, and Dunamis Lui missing the 17.

NRL Late Mail: Reported it was unlikely Joel Thompson would come into the Dragons starting lineup, and also dismissed a rumoured start for Gerard Beale.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported Joel Thompson coming in as a straight swap for Will Matthews. Also suggested Gerard Beale would come into the side at the expense of Ricky Leutele.

Wacko’s Whispers: Listed Thompson as coming in, with Matthews either dropping out, or moving to the bench and Dunamis Lui dropping out. Reported Leutele as out, with Beale in, and Jesse Sene-Lafao or Matt McIlwrick being added to the Sharks bench.

Game 7: Storm v Titans.

Lots of changes here too. Billy Slater was a high profile withdrawal, with Cameron Munster dropping to fullback, and Curtis Scott starting in the centres. Ben Hampton came onto the bench, with Christian Welch dropping out. For the Titans, Nene MacDonald returned from injury at the expense of John Olive, Luke Douglas came into the 17 for an injured Eddy Pettybourne, and Agnatius Paasi was dropped to the bench, with Ryan James starting.

NRL Late Mail: Reported Pettybourne as most likely out, with Douglas to come in.

News Ltd Late Mail: Also reported the Pettybourne/Douglas change as likely to happen.

Wacko’s Whispers. Listed Pettybourne as definitely out, and Douglas as certain to replace him.

Game 8: Tigers v Sea Eagles

Both teams played 1-17.

NRL Late Mail: No changed reported.

News Ltd Late Mail: No changes reported.

Wacko’s Whispers: No changes reported.

The Season Scores:

NRL Late Mail

He’s Out Of Here: 16.7% (2 from 12)

There’s A Feeling: 85.7% (6 from 7)

Plans May Change: 50% (1 from 2)

Nothing To See Here: none

Musical Chairs: 6.9% (2 from 29)

The Replacements: 30% (6 from 20)

OVERALL: 24.3% (17 from 70)

OVERALL WITHOUT MUSICAL CHAIRS: 36.6% (15 from 41)

News Ltd Late Mail

He’s Out Of Here: 6.3% (1 from 16)

There’s A Feeling: 87.5% (7 from 8)

Plans May Change: 100% (1 from 1)

Nothing To See Here: none

Musical Chairs: 6.3% (2 from 32)

The Replacements: 34.8% (8 from 23)

OVERALL: 23.8% (19 from 80)

OVERALL WITHOUT MUSICAL CHAIRS: 35.4% (17 from 48)

Wacko’s Whispers

He’s Out Of Here: 28.6% (6 from 21)

There’s A Feeling: 50% (3 from 6)

Plans May Change: 50% (2 from 4)

Nothing To See Here: none

Musical Chairs: 9.4% (3 from 32)

The Replacements: 34.6% (9 from 26)

OVERALL: 25.8% (23 from 89)

OVERALL WITHOUT MUSICAL CHAIRS: 35.1% (20 from 57)

Late Mail Busters has decided to present the overall statistics both with and without “Musical Chairs”, which is movement within the named 17 players.  The Late Mail sites do not perform real well in this area. But unfortunately, they’re not that great overall: 1 in 4 overall, and 1 in 3 if you don’t count Musical Chairs. Still, like many of our Fantasy teams, it’s only early in the season and there’s plenty of hope for improvement.

So next week, when looking over the late mail and deciding on that last minute trade, just pause for a minute, and think of the Late Mail Busters. It’s looking like you may as well ask the dog...

See you next week for the Round 3 wrap.

Thursday, 10 March 2016 11:00

Gut Instinct vs Stats Analysis

This series looks to answer the age old fantasy question: go with your gut or go with the stats? Chances are that the right sort of fantasy player could be successful with either approach, but if your guts have shit for brains or you misinterpret stats then the same approach will fail.

What this series hopes to do is follow a strongly gut/instinct player and a strongly analytical player. They look at their own team and provide comment on their opponent so we can understand the strategies both are employing, and what does and doesn’t work.

Our gut instinct player needs little introduction: the POD King himself K5. In the red corner is our analytical player RNGD Eeyore who hasn’t quite matched K5 in the past, but has still been highly ranked.

For round 1 we’ll just let each player do a run down on the other’s fantasy side.

K5 looks at RNGD Eeyore’s side

Hookers: Smith, Peats

Bright light here in the hooker spot with Nathan Peats coming out of the gates with an over achieving 66 points. Looks likely to continue and keep up his work rate. Josh has stuck with the number one rule: having Cameron Smith as captain is a very safe bet, considering a few hookers have hit the pine already and will be traded after lockout (hands up).

Front row forwards: Ah Mau, Fifita, Packer, Evans

Andrew Fifita’s selection is nice but I would be interested to see the stat that said Ah Mau was a good option: that’s a terrible option.

Second row forwards: Burgess, Gallen, Taupau, Cartwright, Leuluai, Saifiti

If there’s anyone I want to jab at it’s Bryce Cartwright; very disappointed in his score. Injury prone Paul Gallen will need to be traded out come lockout, and the stats didn’t seem to account for his injury history. Sam Burgess in a blowout game returned well below his standards but deserves another shot after his first game back. Taupau scored great and should keep it up playing big minutes.

Halves: Reynolds, Hastings, Taylor, Nikorima

Standard halves selection: gun and 3 cashies. The Reynolds selection is surprising and hasn’t worked out. He might have avoided the injuries at HOK but thanks to Gal and AReyn he’s got some problems to deal with.

Centres: Green, Ben Henry, Clint Gutherson, Nathan Davis

Talk about ugly. I could puke at the site of seeing Nathan Green and Ben Henry as his starting centres - give yourself a big fat slap in the face, your stats didn't help you there.

Wing fullback: Barba, Gordon, Feeney, Mitchell, Eden

Rough going at WFB. You get what you pay for - if only you could reset your WFB you'll have half a chance to get some decent players.

Overall skill didn't help you there and neither did your stats selection. Looking forward to recapping this team next week and who you trade your injured players out to.

RNGD Eeyore looks at K5’s side

Hookers: Segeyaro, Lichaa

Segeyaro doesn’t have the base stats of the other star hookers such as CS9 and Peats, however, he does have a much higher ceiling than the majority. It is clearly apparent K5 was hoping for a career year with his pick of Segeyaro. All he got instead was a bloke who has a tendency to get injured early in the year. Lichaa playing his first game since his season ending injury last year surely would do better being an 80 minute hooker who was slightly under-priced. But for his value, K5 was expecting to make an extra 30-40k and then upgrade him to one of the 1st class hookers such as Smith or Peats. Instead K5 managed to get himself another first class injury. If this article was about K5's gut instinct on player injuries he would be a superstar. Instead, we have PODking2014.

Front row forwards: Snowden, J.Graham, Cooper, Leuluai

Another set of spectacular picks from K5. He had his hopes and dreams resting on the shoulders of two players who we weren’t even sure would play the same role as last year: Snowden, and Cooper. But I guess when your gut says to pick someone who are you to argue with it. After all, it’s hard to fold Pocket kings when you know someone has Aces. Snowden from last year was a sneaky pod gun, as was Cooper. Some of us had these two to get more minutes this season and hopefully retain their gun status. Then Nathan Brown happened. As a result, Snowden has been dropped to the extended bench after scoring a monster 13 points in round 1. With Cooper we saw a reduction in his minutes from averaging 62 minutes last season to a measly 50 minutes. The reason for this reduction is unknown, and for K5’s sake I hope it was just a once off. There was a glimmer of hope in K5’s team in James Graham, who was undoubtedly an undervalued gun. Great pick up K5, I wish I had followed suit.

Second Row Forwards: Parker, Cartwright, Whitehead, Henry, J.Saifiti, Elliot

K5's second row is not all that bad except for Whitehead. As Parker, Cartwright, and Henry are in enough teams, their less than stellar performances in round 1 do not impact his team or anyone's teams in a drastic manner. However, Whitehead, “the gamble”, was always destined to be a low 30's player. This work horse from the Super League simply put has an average of 2.4 miss tackles a game and on average 1 error and 1 penalty. Resulting in a loss of 8-10 points a round. This is simply not good enough to be considered for a starting 2nd rower. Though I guess K5’s guts said he had one of the highest tackle counts in the Super League, he forgot to check all the negatives related to this bloke. So I guess we could say K5 got blinded by his hunger.

Halves: Hunt, Hastings, Taylor, Nikorima

These are fairly standard halves other than Hunt, who K5 thought was going to kill it in round 1, hence the reason he captained him. Playing captain roulette this early on K5; tut tut tut. At over $500k, Hunt should never have been in K5's team as he was overpriced and there are halves that are significantly better value, such as Shaun Johnson, DCE, and Reynolds. In hindsight, only Johnson and DCE should have been the round 1 halves - damn those injuries.

Centres: Green, Gutherson, Aubusson, Littlejohn

Well we both had Green expecting mid 40s from an 80 minute second rower, and weren't we disappointed. It's been made even worse by the fact he has been regulated to the bench this weekend. Aubusson should never have been picked: there was an article released on Wednesday the 2nd of March, stating Aubusson is happy to continue to play his utility role for the Roosters, which should have been a massive warning sign. This was further confirmed by his lazy 30 points for an 80 minute effort. Quite disappointing. What was he even thinking with Littlejohn? Like seriously, we all knew he was going to play 1 round and then he'd fuck off back to reserve grade. So now you have two bench spots that are wasted with Henry, and JLJ. Never have someone's guts been so wrong. Maybe K5 had food poisoning.

WFB: Feeney, Gordon, Barba, H.Hunt, Mitchell. 

We had the same 3 backs, we both expected all the hype around Feeney to pay dividends, and clearly we both were wrong. Gordon and Barba performed well for WFBs whose team got smashed. H.Hunt, what a try that was. I regret not having picked him up. But thems the plights of fantasy football.

In conclusion we can see that playing by your gut will and can only result in the agony K5 is currently enduring in his round 2 trade selections. Best of luck for 2017 K5.

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:00

Fluke or For Real: Agnatius Paasi

Paasi carried his storming form from the 9’s over into Round 1 but was his score something we can count on or just a mirage?

Paasi is priced at $288k and has a super low 12 BE so he doesn’t need to hit 55+ to justify a trade. Low 40’s will do just fine. So we put it to the writers can Paasi average 40+? Fluke or for real?

JWarrior

After a strong 9's he was a hot prospect and with a strong performance first up (even with over inflated score because of try) the thing that concerns me was his lack of minutes. I will say fluke he will average 39. So would prefer to say flat, if you have congrats if not maybe save your trade. FLUKE

Dr Renegade

Paassi? I have him. I reckon he's the next Fifi. Early days yet though. He’s starting again this week but Douglas is lurking on the extended bench. A bit of luck goes his way and he's going to score well. Minutes is what he needs to be real. FOR REAL

The Garbage Man

With Douglas back next week? Forget about it. Back on the bench sooner or later. FLUKE

Hotshot

Will lose big minutes with Douglas back. FLUKE

Thomas Mesaglio

He won't score a rampaging try every week, he won't play the Knights every week, and once Douglas is back for round 2 he should be back to the bench. FLUKE

Rowan Oswald

If you had him in your team at the start awesome. Not worth a trade. FLUKE

Matt Duggan

Even if Douglas disappeared from existence Paasi would be a 50/50, but Douglas back makes him a no-go. FLUKE

K5

Played against the worst team in the NRL and relies on attacking stats to inflate his score. He'll likely bust more scores than he'll boom. FLUKE

Tom Vaughan

Yes he is starting again this week but 16 tackles for a prop just isn't good enough considering the other options around. FLUKE

Eddy Durham

Will get the odd good one and be a let-down too. FLUKE

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:00

Fluke or for real: Paul Carter

Fluke or for real – Paul Carter

Paul Carter was likely the primary beneficiary of John Sutton’s injury as he parlayed a spot role in the back row into a full time gig that could produce a big minute role. Carter is still just under a $200k price tag and comes with a negative break even, which is always hard to resist at this time of year.

To help define what constitutes fluke and what constitutes for real we will use a 40 point average over the period in which Carter has the spot. You could probably justify a trade even if he scores a little less but most people seem to be presuming he’s at least a 40 point player so we will go with that.

Let’s hit up the writers.

Hotshot

Carter still had the massive negatives that he’s had in the past. Won’t get a try every week to save his score. FLUKE

Strahan

Has a decent hold on the 11 jersey for now, but an inflated price with a try. If see him as a potential try scorer each week then sign him up, otherwise pass. FLUKE

Dr Renegade

Extended run in 2RF should see him make enough in base stats to score well. As long as he doesn't shit in his own nest again. He's dodgy AF off field. FOR REAL

Tom Vaughan

He will probably just get to 40, and I would suggest checking his score after he plays because the negative stats during the game will be extremely frustrating. At a 40 average he makes $150k on his price while providing solid scores. FOR REAL

Eddy Durham

I have him as a high thirties player in a fulltime role. FLUKE

Renegade Tipster

Hmm. Ima go real if not for the points then for the cash. FOR REAL

Bawse

Glenn O’Callahan

FLUKE

He’s a solid playable cashier. His missed tackle count is terrible but with the injuries he'll make $100k so why not. FLEAL

BG

His try helped paper over his penchant for missing tackles. FLUKE

Steve Nicholls

We’re lacking some real numbers being crunched in here so I’m going to pick up the slack. First as many of the writers have eluded to Paul Carter is a negative play machine – over the past two year he has made one negative play for every 8 minutes he spends on the field, so his eight negative plays in 74 minutes can’t be considered abnormal, in fact they might even be considered low! Some of the writers also picked up on the fact that Carter’s score was saved by a try. This is probably unfair since Carter’s try was a catch and put down it was only worth 8 points meaning without it he still scored a vey good 46. It is difficult to assess Carter as an edge back rower when he’s mostly played at lock or from the interchange (we can’t tell where he was on the field when he was interchange) during his career. He did have three starts in the second row for the Titans and averaged just 14 points in 56 minutes of game time which is hardly encouraging! There’s also the issue of minutes which isn’t clear cut at all considering the Rabbitohs have re-juggled their forward pack and had to cover the Adam Reynolds injury during the game. I just can’t see Carter being a 40 point player but that doesn’t mean I’m not seriously considering getting him anyway. Carter can get away with averaging 30 and he’ll probably still make $70-80k until his 54 drops off the calculation, and obviously if he can average more you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Considering he’s likely to be popular it could be just as much risk not making the trade as making the trade. He’s not a slam dunk trade in but he’s still an option and an option I will probably battle with for a while this week, in terms of scoring though? FLUKE

Now just for fun we also did a Fluke of for real on Paul Carter way back in 2014. Here’s the extract from Fluke or for real revisited that we did at the end of the year. It might serve as a red flag or just a piece of the past that should stay in the past.

Paul Carter - Fluke or for real revisited August 2014

With the Titans injuries piling up Paul Carter came to the fore as a solid bye week, mid range cash cow after scores of 45 and 49. I was all over him.

What we said: We all loved him. TDC was the only person to show any hint of doubt.

Best quote: “He will jump back and forth between big and small scores over the byes, and not climb in value that quickly.” - TDC. Carter’s 49 was his season high so he never really went big again, but if we were to pretend TDC said medium and small scores then he got it spot on. Carter has averaged 22 since this article. He is still in my side as a complete and utter after thought, I don’t even see him when I look at my team anymore, but now that I am out of trades he’ll be a starter in two weeks....

Worst quote: “Perhaps he is a little small for my liking, but a big heart covers this and with lovely bye coverage.” - JWarrior. That big heart didn’t stop him missing all those tackles.

The verdict: Carter turned into just another bye week bust. He is an enthusiastic player, who a lot of us like, but as a fantasy player he misses far too many tackles (61 in 419 attempts) while also having a terrible ability to give away penalties (five penalties in a game twice this season). He also compounded this with a drinking suspension costing him two incredibly important bye rounds *shakes head*.

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