The big question for Ultimate League coaches this week is – do you trade Paul Gallen?
The Sharks skipper will miss the next six games with a grade-two sydensmosis ligament injury to his right ankle.
Normally the fantasy lynchpin would be an automatic hold. But my advice would be to sell. Sell Paul Gallen? Yes, you heard right.
It’s one of those make-or-break decisions for your squad and it’s one I haven’t made lightly (especially because Gallen is one of my favourite players).
I base it on three factors.
Number one, Gallen will not only miss six games through injury, but at least three more around Origin time. Even without serious injury last year, he only managed 16 games, so the risk (of injury) and reward (with big points) factor is too high.
The second reason is Gallen only scored 15 points in his 30 minutes on the field on Monday night. On that current rate he would have only scored 40 points – or 70th in the league overall.
And lastly, now is the perfect time to cash in on Gallen’s fantasy reputation and secure two or three players in an astute trade and get the services of someone like round-one surprise packets Jason Taumalolo and Josh Papalii.
Let me warn you the risk of trading someone of the calibre of Gallen is high. On his day he can produce the best numbers in Ultimate League for his sheer workrate and ability to produce big attacking statistics.
Who knows if the six weeks off might freshen him up for an after-Origin assault with the Sharks on their way to the finals. But that’s the risk you take in Ultimate League.
Those who chose Gallen as their first pick in the draft might be reluctant to let him go, and if you can carry him on your bench and have a legitimate back-up captain there is a case to keep him.
But you don’t want to come to round seven and have a 1-5 record and put all the weight on Gallen to lift your team into finals contention; particularly when he has the added responsibility of leading NSW in the State of Origin.
5 best buys
1. Tyson Frizell
2. Jason Taumalolo
3. Ben Hampton
4. Andrew McCullough
5. Elijah Taylor
Ultimate League Team of the Week
1. Greg Inglis (83)
2. Semi Radradra (77)
3. Josh Mansour (66)
4. Dane Gagai (42)
5. Jamie Lyon (44)
6. Johnathan Thurston (78)
7. Albert Kelly (73)
8. Ben Creagh (55)
9. Tinirau Arona (59)
10. Cameron Smith (66)
11. Tyson Frizell (81)
12. Jason Taumalolo (71)
13. Josh Papalii (66)