As the head-to-head finals come to an end, it’s quite often those unique picks that can either lead you to glory or cruel your chances of taking out the league in Holden NRL Fantasy. In Round 24, there were certainly a few players who proved to be a point of difference, while a few old favourites continued to score well.
Bulldogs 30 def. Wests Tigers 10
There were some monster scores to kick off the round on Thursday night. Tim Lafai (86) crossed for two tries, ran for 141 metres and made an astonishing 13 tackle breaks to top the scoring, and continues to be a nice point of difference at CTR. Lone Scout was certainly happy with this particular selection. Robbie Farah (69) returned to the sort of Fantasy form we expect from the Wests Tigers skipper, while Josh Jackson (78, another Lone Scout pick) more than made up for his concussion-affected 7 the previous week. Aaron Woods (70) was also immense, snaring another try, 44 tackles, and 155 metres.
Eels 22 def. Sea Eagles 12
Ken Edwards (60) was an unlikely Fantasy star on Friday night, with six tackle breaks and a try helping him to his best score of the season. He was joined in the 60s by Will Hopoate (61), while Jarryd Hayne (52) had his first score below 80 since Round 19. Jamie Lyon (53) had a solid outing against his former club, while a long-range try to Semi Radradra (45) bolstered his final total.
Broncos 48 def. Knights 6
Despite a huge Brisbane win, there weren’t really any accompanying huge Fantasy scores from this game. Jack Reed’s (57) two tries certainly helped his cause, as did a four-pointer to Matt Gillett (56). Justin Hodges’ (53) shift to fullback certainly increased his Fantasy output for his best score of the season. Hat-trick hero Ben Barba (50) was in fine touch, and Korbin Sims (50) had a season-best total.
Cowboys 22 def. Rabbitohs 10
Matthew Scott (69) hasn’t really missed a beat since returning from injury, and is fast becoming a popular pick in the front row. The Rabbitohs were flat on Saturday night, but that didn’t stop Issac Luke (57), Sam Burgess (54) and Thomas Burgess (51) from posting decent Fantasy scores. Johnathan Thurston (51) pulled the strings for the Cowboys, while another try to Jason Taumalolo helped him to a respectable 50. Greg Inglis had a relatively quiet evening by his lofty standards, but still managed 45.
Roosters 46 def. Warriors 12
It was all the way of the visitors on Sunday afternoon, with Boyd Cordner (67), Michael Jennings (61) and James Maloney (49) leading the way for the Tricolours. Shaun Johnson (45) was the best for the home side, while the returning Konrad Hurrell (18) would’ve disappointed those who held onto the powerhouse centre. Simon Mannering (22) also had one of his worst Fantasy outing of the season. Sonny Bill Williams made a successful return from injury to register a tidy 35, and Sam Tomkins (40) was at his consistent best.
Raiders 22 def. Sharks 12
Tim Robinson was the top scorer in this wooden spoon showdown with 70, making a line break, 37 tackles and scored a try on his way to his best Fantasy total of not just the season, but quite possibly his career. Jarrod Croker was the next best with 63, while Anthony Milford (59) scored two pretty handy tries, Jack Wighton’s (54) switch to fullback didn’t hurt his Fantasy return, and Blake Ayshford played as an edge forward and collected 53 points. Following the match, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart declared that Dane Tilse was his side’s best, with the experienced prop scoring 35. Josh McCrone was at one point in the contest on -11, but recovered (to a certain extent) to finish on 1.
Dragons 34 def. Titans 6
Interim Titans coach Neil Henry was rather blunt in his assessment of his side’s performance in this one, stating that they were not up to first-grade standard. If Fantasy scores are any indication, I’d be inclined to agree. Trent Merrin (58), Jack de Belin (57), Leeson Ah Mau (55), Joel Thompson (53), Mitch Rein (49), Benji Marshall (49) and Josh Dugan (46) all bettered the best-performing Titan in Luke Bailey (45). Greg Bird also didn’t have the best afternoon, with 10 missed tackles restricting his score to just 5.
Storm 24 def. Panthers 10
Cameron Smith (66) had a solid Fantasy outing which included 56 tackles and 254 kick metres, and is set for a strong finish to the season with the Roosters and Broncos to come. Kevin Kingston returned to replace James Segeyaro, making the majority of his 55 from 57 tackles. Will Chambers (49) and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (51) had a try each, while Marika Koroibete’s (36) long-range intercept try was helpful. If you had Jesse Bromwich or Segeyaro, and Dayne Weston (28) as an NPR, you might’ve been worried about the latter’s inclusion in your final 17. But he had a relatively decent outing against his former club, ensuring you (hopefully) didn’t totally luck out with the dreaded auto-emergency.