As we draw closer to the start of the 2019 NRL season, we take a look at the players that you’re going to want in your NRL Fantasy team come the Round 1 clash against the Sea Eagles.
Position-by-position, we’ll break down each player available from Wests Tigers with reasons why they’re certainly worth picking up in your squad for the year ahead.
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Moses Mbye (HLF/WFB — $594,000)
The new captain of Wests Tigers in 2019, Moses Mbye is now locked in to start the year at fullback in what will be his first full season with the club. The former Bulldog was impressive following his mid-season switch — scoring three tries and having a hand in several others over the final few weeks of the season. He does start the year close to the $600K price range, and possibly won't have the goal-kicking duties again with Esan Marsters in the side, but there's still a lot to like about Mbye. Injury aside, he'll be there every week and will be a prominent part of the side's attack — which will no doubt improve this year under Michael Maguire — plus he's got the added dual-position flexibility of being available at halfback and fullback.
End of sets a focus for improvement for Brooks
Luke Brooks (HLF — $592,000)
After a dominant 2018 season that saw him pick up the Dally M Halfback of the Year Award and then ink a long-term contract extension with the club, Luke Brooks will be looking to continue his good form in the 2019 season under Michael Maguire. Brooks averaged above 40 Fantasy points per game last year and didn't miss a single game all season to injury or suspension, making him a very tantalising prospect again in 2019 if he can replicate those numbers. The price tag is tough — $600K for a half that doesn't kick goals is a risky proposition — and his career numbers at the two suburban grounds have been down on what he has produced at other grounds, so he might be one to watch and wait on depending on your side.
Benji Marshall (HLF — $459,000)
Almost $150K cheaper than Brooks is Wests Tigers legend Benji Marshall, who enters the 2019 season almost identically in price to the man he is currently battling the number six jersey for — Josh Reynolds. Marshall started at five-eighth in the recent trial against the Warriors so he might have a slight edge on Reynolds there, but there's no guarantee of who will partner Brooks in Round 1 until the team list is revealed on Tuesday afternoon. If it is Marshall, his price tag could make him an appealing option given how strong we know he can be in attack. The playmaker came out of the blocks firing last year with a number of great scores in the opening eight rounds with Reynolds sidelined, but there is a caveat this year in that both halves could see game time and share the role throughout the game. If that happens, both Marshall and Reynolds are probably a no-go from a Fantasy point of view, but if one can lock down the five-eighth spot permanently, it's well worth a look.
Josh Reynolds (HLF — $450,000)
So much of what we said about Marshall also applies to Reynolds, but it's also worth pointing out the various other roles he could play for the side in 2019. Should he potentially be used as a second five-eighth, lock or back-up hooker, Reynolds is worth keeping an eye on because his points per minute could rise far quicker playing in the middle of the field as opposed to on an edge as five-eighth. Again, what his role will be is unclear at the moment, but we know how much his game centres on his strong running game and his ability to pop up in support on either side of the field, which could give him some quietly good numbers in Fantasy.
Brooks remaining tight-lipped on halves partner for Round 1
Tyson Gamble (HLF — $255,000)
Slightly priced above bottom-dollar cheapie following his lone NRL game last year, Tyson Gamble is certainly an option to keep an eye on if, like last year, Wests Tigers find themselves down a half or two throughout the game. As shown throughout the reserve grade competition last year, Gamble is a prolific runner of the ball in attack and his tall frame often allows him to get through the line and create opportunities for the players around him — all of which is fantastic from a Fantasy point of view. It looks like he's also taken over the goal-kicking duties for the Canterbury Cup side in 2019 following the two trial matches they've played, so his ability to generate Fantasy points is certainly high should he find his way in to the NRL side.
NRL.com preview Wests Tigers chances in 2019