Sharks win 26-12. That game was rather disappointing. As a Warriors fan, I'm not disappointed in their performance. I've come to expect it. But the way they rolled over in the last 20 minutes was pathetic. The more disappointing aspects of the match were the fantasy scores.
Bodene Thompson had a 33 point first half and scored a try to start the second stanza before suffering a shoulder injury. He still managed to top the scoring with 52* points from only 58 minutes. From reports, there was a 'crack'ing sound which could spell season over. All his owners will be severely disappointed as Thompson has been a strong POD over the last 6 weeks, averaging over 56.
Paul Gallen was the only other popular player to hit 50* points. Nothing special from the Sharks skipper, 30 tackles, 150+ metres and four offloads. Stock standard but still disappointing.
After that there was a run of very poor scores.
Simon Mannering's run of great scores came to a screeching halt with only 48*.
Andrew Fifita continued his run of rather disappointing scores with 39*. That makes 6 games in a row since he's hit 60. Since the start of Oranges he's been a bum. The problem with Fifita is his potential to go out on any given week and score 100+. This is why you must hold and continue to play.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a 9 point second half and finished on 38*. I suppose this could be considered a pass mark but it proves that he needs tries to really be considered a gun at WFB.
In fact the only surprising score was Fa'amanu Brown with 39*. He scored a first half try before going off in the 60th minute with a nasty head knock courtesy of Sam Lisone's knee. I would say 99.99% of Brown's owners would have had him riding the pine but if you were un(?)fortunate enough to have to play him **cough cough** Matthew Duggan **cough cough**, 39 points is a god send.
*All scores were correct at the time of writing and do not include updates.
Anyway, to the game.
Once again the Warriors threw away a handy lead to go down at the aptly named 'Manu Vatuvei' Stadium. After leading 12-6 early on, they went into the sheds down 18-12 but fought back well to lead 22-18 before Nathan Cleary scored his 2nd and 3rd tries to seal the game for the Panthers.
As far as fantasy is concerned, theres two or three big talking points;
Nathan Cleary had a belter on what could have one day been his home ground, scoring a hat trick and putting the sword to the Warriors. He finished one short of Angus Crichton's record with 120* points. He was in everything good for the Panthers tonight. It may have been helped with the late withdrawal of Matt Moylan but in reality, the kid is a gun. We're all thinking it, get that kid in a Blues jersey. If you don't have him now, there will be one handy trade option with...
Shaun Johnson went down like he'd been shot as he was chasing an Issac Luke kick that could have lead to a Warriors try and possibly a win. Instead, what had been a strong game for the Kiwi half ended in pain for him and heartbreak for all those fantasy coaches that own him. Later reported as a knee issue, Johnson owners will be very disappointed after he was sitting on a pretty 45* points in 62 minutes. We'll wait with bated breath as to the outcome of the inevitable scans but it looks like it could be a couple of weeks on the sideline at the minimum.
Simon Mannering opened the scoring after opening a hole for Johnson to stroll through before returning the ball for his 3rd try of the season. After dotting down, Mannering did what Mannering does best on his way to 52 tackles and 129 metres to finish on 72* points.
Bodene Thompson has re-established himself as a strong POD contender for the run home scoring 62* in his fourth 50+ game on the trot. He's been helped in the last two weeks with tries but his involvement has definitely increased and one can only imagine he was suffering from the pre season injury. He'll be priced around $430,000 next week with a four round average of 62. Thinks are looking up.
Another popular player to suffer an injury tonight was Trent Merrin. He went up the tunnel after only 27 minutes and it was quickly revealed he had suffered an MCL (Medial Cruciate Ligament in his knee) strain. From memory, standard return time for an MCL strain is 2-4 weeks which means he is almost definitely a trade unless you have either more pressing issues (like Johnson) or decent cover. He was trucking along nicely in the opening half and finished on 28* points.
There were also some non-injury related disappointments with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck not taking advantage of an under-strength Panthers team and finishing on 30* points. Dylan Edwards waited until the last 5 minutes before making a break and laying on the pass for Cleary's second try. He finished on 29* points which is pretty handy considering he made a multitude of mistakes tonight and was sitting on under 10 before the break.
If you're looking for a serious POD and are a little strapped for cash, James Gavet has a 5 game average of 47.6. He finished on 49* tonight which is his 5th straight 45+ score and will be available for around $360,000 this week. Just one for all those desperate enough.
*Scores do not include updates.
Manly mow down weak Warriors.
Stupid. Bloody. Warriors. Only one team I know could be up 16-0 at the 18th minute and lose. New Zealand, maybe they'll blame the 5343km trip to Perth, maybe they'll blame the weather. But the facts are this club lets their fans down on the regular so we don't need an explanation.
2. Manly the real deal?
Manly have slotted themselves into 3rd place with this win today and led by captain and Origin hopeful DCE they are looking red hot, excuse the 18 minute late start to this match (they are playing in Perth) but this team was tipped to finish bottom 4 and that is certainly not looking like happening.
3. Trent Barrett let's chat...
Martin Taupau, the 550k DPP forward with no byes left. 5 round average of 63.8... all owners excited and salivating at the thoughts of him running right through the middle of this powderpuff warrior pack. Then, Barrett goes in dry and benches him at the 19th minute not to return until the 55th before leaving the field again, does he not enjoy the wet track or is there an injury we aren't aware of.
4. Lewis Brown!!!
Lewis gets a pass mark with a respectable 29 in the wet in his first start of the season. Good cash out option that will help you in R18 and can ever fill in at CTR for you for the run home, with Curtis Sironen not due back until finals time. Shows that you can't learn everything about fantasy reading a spreadsheet on the lounge.
5. SJ reigns supreme.
He may come under constant criticism by fans and commentators for going missing during games (and seasons), but his high energy hot and cold style certainly suits NRL fantasy, because when he's hot, he's hot. 84 points today outstanding!!
Simon Says - 60 tackles, zero misses; that's the Mannering we all know and love. 80pts is a just reward for anyone who has kept the faith.
Steady Shaun - SJ keeps ticking along with a tidy 61. 590 kick metres is no surprise given no player has put foot to ball more often this season than the Kiwi sneaky boy. Non-owners could consider him over a second hooker should they not be keen on anyone but CS9.
Mammoth Maumalo; Big Ken put on a dominant display of wing play, amassing 69 points of which 36 came from a barnstorming run from his own 30. Despite a 5RA of 47.6, there's better options at WFB.
Roger to the Rescue - On 12 at HT, and only on 25 before snaring a try from dummy-half to finish on 41. Given he was inches off clutching a SJ snap-kick in the first half for a try, I wouldn't be rushing to trade out RTS given his ability to create something from nothing.
G'Day Graham - Owners of the English Prop would be relieved for the Bulldogs Captain to make it through the game. 41 in 53 minutes isn't anything to write home about, but hopefully for coaches who held him he can finish out the season.
Lastly, round 18 can't come soon enough for Adam Elliot owners. After getting clocked by Gavet in the 46th minute, Elliot did not return and only churned out 24 points for his owners
1. Kieran Foran is good at football
He makes the Warriors a much better team, no doubting that. Could the Warriors make him a better fantasy player? Yes he has played two weaker teams but Issac Luke looks to him as much as he does Shaun Johnson and with better attacking options outside him than Steve Matai, Foran could find himself scoring some decent points.
2. Norman and Gutherson...
...come crashing back to earth. 23* and 15* points respectively. All those eyeing up the Eels pair for the bye period (or those that had already purchased them) will be kicking themselves. On their day they are both genuinely great fantasy players but (especially without Bevan French) this Eels team lacks some attacking spark that these two thrive on. I would expect them to average out well over the season but expectations will be slightly tempered after today.
3. Praise lord baby Hay-zoos...
...that even with a first half double, Bodene Thompson barely made it to his BE (55). In the first half, everything was coming right with SJ linking up with Thompson for the Warriors first try. In the second half, Luke seemed to direct everything to the left meaning that Thompson was left out in the cold. Eventually he got a bit busier and scored a very nice 58*. For all those eyeing him up, I think now is the time to buy an underpriced keeper.
4. The Johnson roller coaster begins
Okay, in the past, the SJ roller coaster went from 80 to 15 in the space of a week. This year, Johnson has 4 games over 60 and his lowest score is today's 43. As previously mentioned, everything in the second half seemed to go away from Johnson and he was very unlucky not to get a tip on from Simon Mannering as he ran into a gaping hole which would have led to a try and a healthy points boost. Just like last year I would expect Johnson to finish as the highest point scorer in the halves so don't be scared by his below average game today.
5. Under the radar
Well, not really anymore. Nathan Brown now has 3 60+ games in a row. If he continues to start at lock, he's an absolutely brilliant option over the bye period.
There is only one minor change for the Warriors with James Gavet starting in place of Charlie Gubb.
There is a major re-shuffle for the Eels with Bevan French out for at least a month with a PCL injury. Clint Gutherson moves to fullback, Brad Takairangi moves in the five-eighth role with Kirisome Auva'a coming into the team at centre. In the forwards, Tepai Moeroa and Beau Scott move back to the bench with Frank Pritchard and Nathan Brown starting in their places.
1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c)
2 Blake Ayshford
3 David Fusitua
4 Solomone Kata
5 Ken Maumalo
6 Kieran Foran
7 Shaun Johnson
15 James Gavet
9 Issac Luke
10 Jacob Lillyman
11 Bodene Thompson
12 Ryan Hoffman
13 Simon Mannering
14 Nathaniel Roache
8 Charlie Gubb
16 Sam Lisone
17 Ligi Sao
6 Clint Gutherson
2 Semi Radrada
3 Michael Jennings
20 Kirisome Auva'a
5 Josh Hoffman
4 Brad Takairangi
7 Corey Norman
8 Suaia Matagi
9 Kaysa Pritchard
10 Tim Mannah (C)
11 Manu Mau
16 Frank Pritchard
14 Nathan Brown
12 Tepai Moeroa
13 Beau Scott (C)
17 Siosaia Vave
19 Peni Terepo