Tests stars flex their muscles
The Kangaroos' and Kiwis' international five-eighths both hit form just at the right time ahead of last week's trans-Tasman Test match, with Johnathan Thurston and Benji Marshall topping the scores in Toyota NRL Dream Team in round 7.
The playmakers starred in big wins for their clubs, with JT earning 97 points and Marshall scoring 94. Both players repaid the faith in DT coaches who had kept them despite rocky starts to the season.
Round 7 was a big week for pivots all-round, with Broncos youngster Corey Norman (74) and City-Country rivals Jarryd Hayne (71) and Todd Carney (69) all posting big scores.
Meanwhile back row rising stars Jayson Bukuya (63 points, $12,900 rise in value) and Jamie Buhrer (40 points, $24,100 rise) continue to be big moneymakers.
Titans pivot Aidan Sezer enjoyed a dream NRL debut last week, scoring the opening try in a surprise win over Manly. A strong, error-free performance also meant he also scored very well in Dream Team, with 54 points.
He still has another couple of weeks before the $77,100 rookie will see his first price rise, but if you're after a bargain in the halves the early signs are that Sezer is your man.
Elsewhere, Tiger Tom Humble continues to be a quiet achiever since making the switch to halfback, jumping $21,400 in value, while Corey Norman (+$34,600) and Penrith's Blake Austin (+$29,500) were the week's big money-makers.
One player who's hardly a rookie is mid-season Wests Tigers recruit Ray Cashmere, who made a rollicking start to his return to the NRL with a try and 26 tackles in a 58-point performance in Round 7. Like Sezer, he's also set for a juicy price rise in a couple of weeks.
Carney's Origin headache
Sunday's City-Country game didn't reveal a whole lot about the likely makeup of this year's NSW Origin team, apart from the fact that Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney will most probably be the halves pairing. Carney's likely elevation isn't great news for Dream Team, with the Cronulla playmaker currently the most popular player in the game (he's in 56,998 teams).
Assuming Carney plays Origin, he'll be forced to pull out of the pre-Origin NRLs rounds (Rd 11, 14 and 17), which is bad news for Dream Team coaches aiming for overall points. The Sharks also have a poor bye schedule for DT coaches focused on their head-to-head private leagues, as they'll sit out round 12 and 16 (along with the Warriors). It means Carney is likely to be out of action for five rounds during the Origin period – meaning you'll at least need to make sure you've got cover for him in your squad during that period.
The same obviously goes for Cronulla and NSW skipper Paul Gallen, and any other Sharks or Warriors players who are Origin regulars this season.
Time to sell
Terry Campese has been ruled out for the season with his old ACL injury flaring up again, in horror news for Raiders fans. For Dream Team coaches, it clears up any doubt about whether it's time to sell him.
Feleti Mateo's form and price tag is falling fast, so it could be time to desert a sinking ship unless you're confident the Warrior can regain the form he showed at the end of last season.
And now may be time to cash in on the early season bargains, with the likes of Jack De Belin and Neville Costigan approaching their peak prices and Boyd Cordner having peaked a week ago.