With most clubs running near full-strength line-ups for the final weekend of pre-season trials, NRL Fantasy coaches got some valuable clues heading into round one.
Angus Crichton was the best scorer of the round, the Roosters forward busting and offloading his way to 86 points in a dominant performance against the Raiders.
Next best was Rabbitohs pivot Cody Walker (80), who scored a hat-trick in the Charity Shield win over a struggling Dragons outfit.
Elsewhere Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo (72) scored two tries and had six tackle breaks against the Bulldogs, Dogs back-rower Adam Elliott (66) had a try, six busts and 25 tackles, while Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary, Broncos hooker Jake Turpin and Eels rake Reed Mahoney (all 61) racked up quality stats.
Other Fantasy-relevant players to pass the half-century included Parramatta middle forward Nathan Brown (58), Panthers hooker Api Koroisau (55), new Dragons hooker Andrew McCullough (53) and Titans recruit Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (52) – who scored one of the best solo tries of the weekend.
Big Tino lights up Lismore
Elsewhere Latrell Mitchell (49) had three try assists in Souths' big Charity Shield win, centres Esan Marsters (48) and Tom Opacic (45) scored tries in solid performances, and Wests Tigers recruit Daine Laurie (74) scored two tries in an electric debut for the club.
Laurie is in a battle with the experienced Moses Mbye for the starting fullback spot but with a $246k price tag will be in a lot of Fantasy teams if he gets named to start next week.
New recruit Laurie scores the opener for Wests Tigers
Tigers halfback Luke Brooks was another big winner in Sunday's easy victory over an understrength Manly side, having a hand in several tries and adding goal-kicking to his repertoire for the first time. David Nofoaluma (53), Luciano Leilua (48) and James Roberts (45) also looked good in the Tigers' win.
It was bad news on the injury front for a few hookers, headlined by a knee injury to star Storm No.9 Harry Grant. Cameron Smith's successor is set to miss the first three rounds of the season with a medial ligament injury, the Storm confirmed on Monday.
Warriors rake Wayde Egan had appeared to be the last man standing for the No.9 jersey at the Warriors this year – and a Fantasy cash cow option – but picked up an elbow/biceps injury, while Manly utility Cade Cust suffered a suspected broken thumb.
Cust's injury is expected to leave Lachlan Croker as the clear front-runner for the Sea Eagles' hooker role, with Kieran Foran another option to spend time at dummy-half (giving youngster Josh Schuster a path to game time at five-eighth).
Team of the trials
- Daine Laurie 74
- Ronaldo Mulitalo 72
- Esan Marsters 48
- Nick Cotric 48
- David Nofoaluma 53
- Cody Walker 80
- Nathan Cleary 61
- Jarrod Wallace 57
- Jake Turpin 61
- Paul Vaughan 57
- Adam Elliott 66
- Angus Crichton 86
- Nathan Brown 58
- Josh Schuster 59
- Junior Paolo 52
- Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 52
- Brodie Croft/Mark Nicholls 50