Jacob Miller could be a Dream Team bargain if he earns a full-time place in the Tigers lineup as Benji Marshall's halves partner.
Photo: Getty Images
Club: Wests Tigers
Last year's average: 11
Last year's high score: 11
Positives: In 2012 the Tigers slumped from pre-season favourites to bottom-eight strugglers, and one of the reasons was the lack of a consistent halves partner for star playmaker Benji Marshall.
Tim Moltzen, Curtis Sironen, Tom Humble, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Robbie Farah and Liam Fulton were all used in the halves at some point in the season.
Jacob Miller was the other player to get a shot in the No.7 jersey, and he may have the chance to make it his own in 2013.
Miller was reportedly considering leaving Wests for the Eels, Titans or Super League when former coach Tim Sheens signed rival half Braith Anasta to the club for the 2013 season, but Sheens's successor Mick Potter has suggested that Miller will be the first-choice Tigers halfback in Round 1.
''Benji is a proven five-eighth, so I would imagine that is where he is going to start the year,'' Potter told the Sydney Morning Herald back in November.
''Whether that means Braith plays lock and Jacob Miller plays halfback, or Braith plays halfback and Liam Fulton or Adam Blair plays lock, I am not sure.
''I watched the under 20s grand final and I thought Jacob Miller was very handy in that game.''
Miller was a star of the Tigers' premiership-winning Toyota Cup team last season and played just the one NRL game in 2012, having played a handful the previous year.
If he gets an extended run at the top grade he should be great value, and could become one of this season's best cash cows.
Negatives: The presence of Anasta in the Tigers squad gives the club a readymade, vastly experienced alternative if Miller fails to set the world alight in the halves.
Fellow youngster Kurtis Sironen also impressed in half a dozen appearances in the top grade last year, before being struck down by injury, and will also push his claim for a return to the NRL during the season.
Even if Miller does play the full season, don't expect him to echo the high-scoring Dream Team performances of star rookies like Adam Reynolds and Daly Cherry-Evans in years gone by. Marshall remains the go-to man for the Tigers and will continue to do the bulk of the playmaking and kicking duties, meaning his halves partner is likely to take a quieter "organising" role which is rarely rewarded in Dream Team (think Ben Hornby rather than Cooper Cronk).
Risk rating: If Miller plays more than three games this season, his price will almost certainly go up. That makes him a very solid cash cow option, particularly if he is named to play in Round 1.
The variety of halves options at the Tigers means Miller won't be the most reliable cash cow of the year (there's every chance he could be this season's Tom Humble) but a cheap half in NRL Dream Team can be worth his weight in gold. Three Matt Orfords.
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