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".

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


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


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


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


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)


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)


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)


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?


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


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


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.


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


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


Glenn O’Callahan


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


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*.

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 11:00

Knees, knees, knees

Well, the first few games of the season have seen my colleagues in the sporting teams see more medial knees than a rabid gynaecologist. The revolving door here at the clinic is spinning so fast from all of these new patients that it’s causing more wind than a coeliac at a beans convention. From the unluckiest Ben to ever lace on some boots, to the blue and white’s go to hooker, and the green machine’s Miami Vice villain, this weekend’s knee injuries have had huge impacts on not only your favourite club, but your fantasy team as well. The aim here is to provide some fact checked medical information rather than rumours upon rumours, and trading advice should be left mostly to the experts in the Bosses or Reg himself. But I will give you my impressions here also.

Whilst we are still waiting on concrete information to come from some scans and medical specialists’ opinions, it would be a huge mistake to trade on only half the information. A wise old man once said “Bad decisions are made in information vacuums”. In other words, let all the information come to you before you pull the trigger on Lichaa, Austin, or any of the other multitudes of injured players. Although, not many of you should have Austin after he was named on the bench.

Austin’s halves partner is also looking likely to get a few weeks in the sick bay if scans show a fractured cheekbone or eye socket. Keep an eye out for replacements here. If both are out, there could be an opportunity for yet another cash cow half. But the recommendation is to leave this situation well alone. Williams is ready for play after a minor illness put him out and a fractured cheekbone is a few weeks out at most.

Blake Austin, who is not greatly fantasy relevant this season, looked like he picked up a medial ligament strain, which hopefully only keeps him out for a short period of time. Again, await scan results and advice on how long he’s out. There are zero fantasy opportunities here; please stay away from Canberra halves.

Ben Henry looks to have sustained a dislocated kneecap, which doesn’t necessarily cause too many issues on its own. But with his history of knee injury and also a ruptured quadriceps to go along with it, expect a lengthy time out (expected to be the season). I will be trading him out for another base price CTR opportunity or Auva’a at some point in the hope that they get good time on the park this season.

The one we are all sweating on, however, is Dog’s hooker and all round gun, Michael Lichaa. His knee injury appeared minor at first glance, as he was able to play through for quite some time and it appeared to worsen with cooling down. This seems consistent with medial collateral ligament strain and can be managed with strapping and quad strengthening. How will this affect his points in the interim though?

The trouble with strapping an injury like this (which was mentioned by Lichaa) is that strapping provides some minor skin traction to help stabilise a joint when cold and dry. And after a certain amount of time, it is expected that strapping will loosen due to heat and sweat. In the midst of a game of NRL, the players’ leg muscles will be at their largest and most tense, meaning that the joint will be well protected and secure. IF he is able to secure this joint with tape, he will still progress to being an 80 minute hooker and therefore a keeper this season.

The choice will be whether you are willing to cop a couple of lower scores when it gives way or pull the trigger on him now before any value is lost. I tossed a coin and chose Peats as my second hooker by sheer dumb luck instead of Lichaa, but I wouldn’t trade him out on that one performance, unless we get concrete information about how severe this injury is. It seems as though he may be out for a few weeks definitely as of Monday morning, so is probably a trade out. Peats is probably the best option if you are pulling the trigger on him. His 60 tackle effort was immense.

The other option at that price range is Segeyaro, who also sustained a serious injury. He suffered a broken arm at some point in the game. But being the tough little bugger he is, he stayed on for quite some time and just continued playing. This should keep him out for 6-8 weeks, but with Seggy, it wouldn’t surprise me if he chucks a brace on it and suits up in 3. If you have both Lichaa and Seggy, you are in a world of hurt, and should be trading them out this week.

Paul Gallen has also picked up a knee injury which looks like his standard, yearly, pre origin injury. Don’t go believing half assed injury reports that reckon he is retiring because of this. Wait until you hear the bloke himself announce anything as ridiculous or monumental as that. That said, he is still a trade out, because this injury will all but have him out until origin, and you can only imagine he will pick up another during origin and be out again for a little longer.

The ability of these guys to play through pain is massive. I can’t believe Seggy was defending grimly with a broken bone in his arm. The amount of pain that must have caused is mind boggling. I might even take to showing this game in the waiting room of ED, just to confirm that pain may not be 11 out of 10 from the guy with the phone still glued to his ear. This is also true for Adam Reynolds, who broke his jaw on Kane Evans’ rock hard ass. He then sat calmly on the bench with not even an ice pack, before heading off to hospital for X-Rays. He’s looking at 6-8 weeks off too: with not many other halves at Souths, this looks a prime time to bring in cash cow Cody Walker, who will surely get some decent time on the field.

Other injuries to minor players that may have some effect is a medial ligament strain (4 weeks) for Jordan Kahu, which may see Eden get more of a run despite his all-round crap performance. Brett Stewart’s late pull out due to a hamstring complaint gave Tom Turbo another crack at fullback. Others checking into the clinic this week should include a few stars and also rans looking to get back on to the paddock. Watch out for Munster, Clydesdale, McDonald, Watmough, Norman, Foran, Frizell, Moylan, and Halatau in case they are named on Tuesday. FWIW, I am sticking with Moeroea in the time being because no matter what, he will play decent minutes as Watmough’s career winds down.

Below, a complete injury and suspension list as it stands Monday 7th March morning. Watch also for guys returning from suspension and remember, I’m the doctor, you can trust me. Especially for injuries. Trade advice: stick with Reg and the Bosses for the general health and well-being of your team.

Phew, I think it’s time for two Panadols and a lie down!

Broncos: Lachlan Maranta (wrist, Round 7), Jack Reed (shoulder, Round 2), Carlin Anderson (stomach, indefinite), Jordan Kahu (quad, TBA)

Raiders: Adam Clydesdale (shoulder, Round 2-3), Blake Austin (knee, TBA), Aidan Sezer (cheek, TBA)

Bulldogs: Brett Morris (knee, late season), David Klemmer (suspension, Round 2), Chase Stanley (cork, TBA), Michael Lichaa (knee, TBA)

Sharks: Mitch Brown (ribs, indefinite), Paul Gallen (knee, TBA)

Titans: Kane Elgey (ACL, season), Luke Douglas (suspension, Round 2), Nene Macdonald (knee, Round 2), Nathaniel Peteru (knee, Round 4)

Sea Eagles: Jamie Buhrer (jaw, indefinite), Jayden Hodges (ACL, season), Brett Stewart (hamstring, TBA)

Storm: Cameron Munster (knee, Round 2), Cheyse Blair (foot, indefinite)

Knights: Sione Mata'utia (suspension, Round 2), Tariq Sims (suspension, Round 6), James McManus (concussion, season)

Cowboys: Ray Thompson (ankle, mid-season), Tautau Moga (ACL, indefinite), Antonio Winterstein (head, TBA)

Eels: Anthony Watmough (knee/shoulder, Round 2), Corey Norman (neck, Round 2), Kieran Foran (hamstring, Round 2)

Panthers: Matt Moylan (back, Round 2-3), George Jennings (shoulder, Round 3), Sione Katoa (knee, Round 3), James Segeyaro (arm, TBA)

Rabbitohs: Luke Keary (suspension, Round 2) Tom Burgess (leg, Round 7), George Burgess (suspension, Round 2), Adam Reynolds (jaw, TBA), John Sutton (pec, TBA)

Dragons: Mose Masoe (ACL, indefinite), Dylan Farrell (back, indefinite), Yaw Kiti Glymin (hamstring, indefinite), Tyson Frizell (back, Round 1)

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

Warriors: Thomas Leuluai (ACL, Round 5), Henare Wells (hamstring, Round 3), Ligi Sao (shoulder, indefinite), Ben Henry (knee, TBA)

Wests Tigers: Robbie Farah (knee, Round 4-6), Matt Ballin (knee, Round 10), Luke Brooks (suspension, Round 2), Dene Halatau (suspension, knee, Round 2), Justin Hunt (back, indefinite), Joel Edwards (hamstring, Round 2), Bayley Sironen (foot, Round 2)

Monday, 07 March 2016 11:00

Late Mail Busters - Round 1

Round 1 of the NRL is in the books. There were some excellent performances, and some not so excellent performances. There were team changes, and there was Late Mail and that Late Mail is what I’m here to break down today.

Late Mail Busters was served a curly one early on. Lachlan Fitzgibbon in 16 for the Knights, with Daniel Saifiti wearing jersey number 18. However, it was found Saifiti was in the original 17, with the Newcastle Knights Wardrobe Department apparently getting the size of the #16 jersey wrong. It was also found that don’t publish their Late Mail until Friday. As overall success rates are expressed as percentages, Late Mail Busters decided that the NRL Late Mail would not be included in Thursday calculations.

Late Mail Busters is also keeping an eye on Eric Grothe Jnr’s YouTube show, as he was dead on with his two tweeted changes. But spot callers are not what Late Mail Busters is about, it is about those willing to go on public record with all team changes for the whole round.

So here’s a look at Round 1. The full rundown can be found here, but the key points are that it is Late Mail as of 6 p.m., Friday, and due to the vague language used by the Late Mail sources, there is a somewhat subjective interpretation applied. The categories that player reports fall in to is also defined in the introduction article. So, with all that said, let’s get into it:

Game 1: Eels v Knights

Eels team changes were Kieran Foran out, replaced by Luke Kelly, and Kaysa Pritchard onto the bench for David Gower.

NRL Late Mail: As mentioned above, no results for NRL Late Mail.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported Foran as in doubt, with Luke Kelly as replacement. No report of the Pritchard/Gower swap.

Wackos Whispers: Reported Foran as out, with Luke Kelly as replacement. Suggested Pritchard would come onto bench, but at the expense of Ken Edwards or Peni Terepo.

Game 2: Sea Eagles v Bulldogs

Team changes for the Sea Eagles were Brett Stewart out, with Tom Trbojevic shifting from wing to fullback, and Brayden Williame coming in. Siosaia Vave onto the bench for Feleti Mateo. For the Bulldogs, Lloyd Perrett came onto the bench, replacing Danny Fualalo.

NRL Late Mail: Reported Mateo as out, with Stewart in extreme doubt. Correctly nominated Vave as Mateo’s replacement, and the shift of Trbojevic to fullback. They did miss out on Williame as the replacement, suggesting Halauafu Lavaka or Fabian Goodall as the replacement, and did not report on a possible bench change for the Bulldogs.

News Ltd Late Mail: Pretty much the same as NRL Late Mail, with the difference being minor in that they reported Mateo as in doubt, rather than definitely out.

Wacko’s Whispers: Wacko’s reported the Sea Eagles changes exactly as NRL Late Mail did. They also suggested a rumoured change with Shaun Lane coming onto the bench for Adam Elliot as unlikely, so they score there. They also missed the Perret/Fualalo switch though.


Game 3: Raiders v Panthers

The Raiders lost Sam Williams to illness, with Blake Austin moving from the bench to starting five-eighth, and Kurt Baptiste coming into the 17. Anthony Griffin jettisoned Elijah Taylor from the Panthers 17 to NSW Cup and brought James Fisher-Harris onto the bench.

NRL Late Mail:  Suggested that Fisher-Harris would come in at the expense of Taylor. No changes reported for the Raiders.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported both teams would be 1-17.

Wacko’s Whispers: Also reported both teams would be 1-17.

Game 4: Tigers v Warriors

Jason Taylor at his best here. Brought Lovett into the starting second row, shifted Lawrence (kind of) to the halves, with Jack Littlejohn playing dummy half. Mania Cherrington dropped from starting line up to the bench. The Warriors started James Gavet, switching Ben Matulino to the bench.

NRL Late Mail: Very nearly scored with the Tigers team changes. Ruined it for themselves though, as after mentioning the change, linked their article about Cherrington playing 80 minutes. No changes reported for the Warriors.

News Ltd Late Mail: No changes reported for anyone, instead focusing on how secure Jordan Rankin’s job might be.

Wacko’s Whispers. Mentioned the rumoured team changes for the Tigers, but also reported they would likely be 1-17. No mention of the Warriors changes though.

Game 5: Cowboys v Sharks

Only change was for the Sharks. Matt Prior and Sam Tagatese were switched, with Prior starting and Tagatese dropping to the bench.

NRL Late Mail: No changes reported.

News Ltd Late Mail: No changes reported.

Wacko’s Whispers: No changes reported.

Game 6: Roosters v Rabbitohs

Roosters’ winger Daniel Tupou was ruled out with injury, and replaced by Joe Burgess. No changes for the Rabbitohs.

NRL Late Mail: Reported Tupou as likely out, to be replaced by Burgess.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported the same as NRL Late Mail.

Wacko’s Whispers: Also reported the Tupou/Burgess change.

Game 7: Titans v Knights

Titans’ fullback William Zillman was withdrawn due to injury. David Mead switched from wing to fullback, with John Olive coming into the team on the wing. Knights appeared as named 1-17, but with Daniel Saifiti wearing #18.

NRL Late Mail: Listed Zillman as in doubt. Correctly suggested Mead would go to fullback, but did not score full points as they nominated either Olive or Leva Li as the possible replacement.

News Ltd Late Mail: Reported the same changes and possible replacements as NRL Late Mail.

Wacko’s Whispers. Wacko’s confidently predicted that Li was not in consideration for Zillman’s withdrawal, only mentioning Olive as the replacement. But, they did suggest Li may come in for Anthony Don who was in doubt.

Game 8: Storm v Dragons

The Storm had a couple of changes. Ben Hampton was bumped from the bench for Felise Kaufusi, and Cameron Munster was a late inclusion, replacing Richie Kennar. The Dragons lost Joel Thompson from the starting side, with Jack De Belin moving from the bench to the starting side, and Tyson Frizzel coming onto the bench.

NRL Late Mail: Reported Hampton would be dropped, but that Nelson Asofa-Solomona would come onto the bench. No reports regarding Munster coming in, and also expected the Dragons to be 1-17.

News Ltd Late Mail: Similar report to NRL Late Mail, but they didn’t take a chance on guessing the replacement for Hampton.

Wacko’s Whispers: Same report as NRL Late Mail

The Scores:

NRL Late Mail

He’s Out Of Here: 20% (1 from 5)

There’s A Feeling: 100% (5 from 5)

Plans May Change: none

Nothing To See Here: none

Musical Chairs: 16.7% (2 from 12)

The Replacements: 36.4% (4 from 11)

OVERALL: 36.4% (12 from 33)

News Ltd Late Mail

He’s Out Of Here: 0% (0 from 6)

There’s A Feeling: 100% (6 from 6)

Plans May Change: none

Nothing To See Here: none

Musical Chairs: 16.7% (2 from 12)

The Replacements: 28.6% (4 from 14)

OVERALL: 31.6% (12 from 38)

Wacko’s Whispers

He’s Out Of Here: 42.9% (3 from 7)

There’s A Feeling: 50% (3 from 6)

Plans May Change: 0% (0 from 2)

Nothing To See Here: none

Musical Chairs: 16.7% (2 from 12)

The Replacements: 33.3% (5 from 15)

OVERALL: 31% (13 from 42)

So after Round 1, all the Late Mail sources score similarly overall. Obviously it’s early in the season, but the NRL Late Mail site has an early lead, and was very close to having the Wests Tigers changes ruled in their favour. This would have extended the lead by a long way. Still, they missed out, but no results really fill you with confidence. Round 2 is just around the corner, and with the heavy injury toll, Late Mail Busters expects a pretty hectic round of games.

We’ll see you next week for the next edition of Late Mail Busters. Keep the faith…. 

Friday, 04 March 2016 11:00

Fluke or For Real: Manu Ma'u

Our first Fluke or For Real of the year looks at the Parramatta wrecking ball Manu Ma’u who racked up 66 points on the first night against the Broncos. With his price set to rise to just under $390,000 you probably need Ma’u to be a 50+ point player to justify a trade. He only has 2.3% ownership and good byes, so people are more than likely going to be sniffing around this beast. So we asked the writers: Is Manu Ma’u a 50+ point player? Fluke or For Real?

Renegade Tipster

Real deal. Playing next to Foran, Jennings and Radradra on the outside there's line breaks tackle busts and try assets galore. FOR REAL

Thomas Mesaglio

Yes he won't get that many offloads/TBs every week, but he also didn't get any tries/LBs, which is bound to happen once Norman and Foran are both playing 80. He also only made 32 tackles, which is liable to increase if any teams send a lot more traffic down his side. FOR REAL


Every mid-ranger can have his day. Ma’u has been a mid-ranger for two years. He’s a 40-45 point player. FLUKE

Glenn O'Callahan 

Last night's performance was nothing that we thought he could and should achieve. Sure there were extra tackle breaks and offloads but not that many more than normal that it skews the stats considerably. FOR REAL

Steve Nicholls

The 66 Ma’u produced was super impressive but even though it was tryless that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fluke stats in there. Ma’u had five offloads and five tackle breaks, last year when he played 80 minutes he averaged 0.8 offloads and 1.6 tackle breaks a game. Do you trust a one game sample or a 15 game sample? The effort Ma’u put in is great for his current owners but people rushing to use a trade to get him might have a rude shock if he can’t sustain those offloads and tackle breaks. I'd consider him if I was forced to trade for an injury or something but otherwise I don't like forcing it. FLUKE


With Watmough gone Eels are going to play him for 80 minutes, no doubt. He looks even hungrier than last year and is going to be breaking tackles like Gratwick breaks girls hearts. Get him in ASAP. FOR REAL


Damaging ball runner has proven in the last few years he has what it takes to go to the next level. He’s worth his price tag and you can lock him in to play all three big bye rounds. FOR REAL


He won’t average 50+ from now on. 25 points from tackle bust and offloads, this won’t happen all season, he average 43 in his last five games last year which was above season average. A further 7 point jump seems unlikely. His minutes were probably inflated a little with the rotation out of whack due to the injury to Norman. It may be close but with the bar at 50 I believe he will be under. You definitely can't justify a trade to get him. FLUKE

Tom Vaughan

He definitely will have more 50+ weeks to come but will end up with an averaging less than 50, could be a handy player for bye rounds if that's when his big scores come but I would wait another week. FLUKE


Won't get 5 tackle breaks and 5 offloads in every game. Nuff said. Mic drop. Stunned crowd. FLUKE

Tuesday, 01 March 2016 11:00

Q & A with Reg Renegade

After a long off season, it starts tomorrow and I am seriously barred up! After some long and protracted discussions we were sadly left on the bench this season. After dominating Lone Scout the backlash is we cannot grace your leagues so easily this year, being stripped of our “celebrity” status, although you’ll find me at the top of the overall table.

We will be endeavouring to help everyone in Renegades to improvem and rank higher than ever in 2016! So after TLT will do a Q&A each week, so feel free to ask questions and lets all kick Lone Scouts Arse!!

Rank the WFB and CTR cashies. Steve Nicholls

Obviously if you haven’t read it already I would start with the Booker Prize winner this year The Fantasy Prospectus found at But my Top 5 WFB are Jaelen Feeney, Latrell Mitchell, Ben Barba, Clint Gutherson, Greg Eden. Top 5 CTR options are Ben Henry, Hymel Hunt, Nathan Davis, Nathan Green, Jack Littlejohn.

Jayden Nikorima at hooker or half? Thomas Mesaglio

Depends on your make up? I prefer at half. Remember once Pearce is back you will be looking to upgrade him. So ask yourself in six weeks will he make enough to straight swap for a decent hooker or will it cost another trade?

Plenty of players around the $300k mark (Whitehead, Sue, Paasi, McQueen, Grant) all playing. Can't bloody figure out which will go better. Got Evans though. Daniel Moy

Yeah it’s a bit of a darts job. Don’t dismiss Myles either he looks set for big minutes. Briefly though:

Whitehead - just remember Fensom is the designated tackler. Sight unseen, tread carefully.

Sue - never done anything before can’t see significant improvement.

Paasi - looked good at 9’s. Possible option but Douglas back next week.

McQueen - getting a sustained run in back row could get a little bump in previous year’s average.

Grant - pass, no thanks.

Aubo and Lawrence – probably looking for a 40ish average which means will make a little cash.

Hookers and opinions on losing minutes (CS9, Peats, Sege etc). Andrew McAlister

I think it’s fair to say that any hooker worth their salt shouldn’t drop in average this year. My Top 5 are Smith, Lichaa, Segeyaro, Granville, AM9. Peats regular injuries are enough to scare me but he’s not bad either. CS9, Sege and Lichaa should all play 80. Decent chance for Peats too. Granville and McCullough will have a break.

Which player will make the most cash? Richard Mckernan

So who is the 2016 Soliola? That’s easy, Jackson Hastings, only an injury will slow him down.

Nathan Green, Lawrence, Aubusson and Yeo are all starting 2nd rower this week but available at centre. Do you see any long term Soliolaesque value coming from them or will all be spuds? Dan Kelly

There is a reason Aubusson is referred to as the black widow. But in saying that could he finally come good? Lawrence will snap a hammy. This leaves Yeo and Green as the most viable or safest options and at $170k can you wrong with Green? The one week he played second row last season he scored 51.

Is Parcell worth keeping? Do we start Ben Henry in the centres? Will Morton

Flick Parcell! Ben Henry, I have put him in the 2RF, this way I can make him interchangeable with one of my other CTR/2RF. If you don’t have a double adapter play him in the centres, just remember when Thompson is fully fit his role will diminish.

To JDB or not to JDB? Riana Davis

Stop listening to Shoayb Khan, I think there’s better ways to spend your cash.

Job security on J. Safiti? Sam McDell

I suspect he is in competition with Bhana and Fitzgibbon. Remember Sims is back in Round 6 too. I prefer Bhana and if they lose Week 1 you could see them switch roles in Round 2.

Will Mannering play 80 with no captaincy this season? Marc Wells

Absolutely! With no end of season games last year he will be fresh and good to go until at least Round 12 when they will check the batteries. Hoffman too will play 80 but is NOT a viable fantasy option.

Homebrand or Signature Range? Arana Taha

Signature Range! They have nice added extras and the plain packaging from Homebrand just makes you look like you’re on a benefit.

Worth going JDB and J.Graham in the front row, or Evans/Grant and Bromwich? Phillip Field

None of these do much for me, so spend some cash. Here’s my Top 5 FRF - Surgess, Woods, Gallen, Fifita, Cooper

Sorry to those we didn't get a chance to answer, feel free to PM your league code and I will jump in as many leagues as I can. I hope you all have a good week and keep your eye out for articles on this week including Best Captain options.


Tuesday, 01 March 2016 11:00

Renegade Tipster - Round 1

Welcome to the Renegades tipster. This early in the season it is always hard to get a read on player and team form but there's no harm taking a punt. Here's my tips for Round 1.

EELS VS BRONCOS Total points Over 40+ * Anthony Milford $2.80* Manu Ma'u $5.00

SEA EAGLES VS BULLDOGS Total points Over 38.5+ * Dylan Walker $3.75 *

RAIDERS VS PANTHERS Total points Over 42.5+ * Bryce Cartwright $4.20 * Tyrone Peachey $4.20 *

TIGERS VS WARRIORS Total points Over 42.5+ ** James Tedesco $2.10 * Roger Tuivasa-Sheck $2.10 *

COWBOYS VS SHARKS Total points Over 40.5+ * Ben Barba $3.50 (if fullback)

ROOSTERS VS RABBITS Total points under 39. 5- * TS Blake Ferguson $3.10*

TITANS VS KNIGHTS Total points under 40.5- TS Dane Gagai $2.50*

STORMS VS DRAGONS Total points TBA Try scorer Benji Marshall $6 *

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