As another year of Holden NRL Fantasy draws to a close, there were still a fair few talking points to come from the penultimate round of the regular season.
Let’s take a look back at what Round 25 served up.
Rabbitohs 21 def. Bulldogs 14
There were plenty of great scores last Thursday night, headlined by two Rabbitohs. Adam Reynolds (73) stepped up to deliver the pass for Lote Tuqiri (31) that led to the match-winning try, and kicked a field goal to put the result beyond doubt. The other South Sydney Fantasy star was (again) Sam Burgess (75), who scored two tries, and had two line breaks, 31 tackles and 193 metres in an impressive showing, despite leaving the field through injury mid-way through the contest. James Graham (60) ripped into the big Souths pack, while Michael Ennis (also 60) was fired up in his farewell game. George Burgess (58) made a successful return from injury, and Greg Inglis (39) had another solid outing.
Broncos 30 def. Dragons 22
Leeson Ah Mau was at his destructive best at Suncorp Stadium, breaking five tackles, making 37 tackles and 108 metres on his way to a season-best 63. The Dragons second rower is averaging over 53 from his last five starts, and would be a nice point of difference or good draft selection if he was somewhere in your squad. Ben Hunt (61) had a stellar first half, and was on 55 at half time, but didn’t go on with it in the second. Corey Parker (60) continues to deliver, while a try helped Joel Thompson’s (59) cause. Andrew McCullough (52) and Josh McGuire (52) were solid, while Matt Gillett still managed 58 despite controversially being sent to the sin bin.
Knights 42 def. Eels 12
It was all the way of the home side on Saturday afternoon. Joey Leilua had a field day with nine tackles breaks, two try assists, three line breaks, two line break assists and 193 metres to finish on a massive 89. Jarrod Mullen (84) had his best score of the year, helped along by this solo effort, while a hat-trick and two line breaks gave Chanel Mata’utia the bulk of his 59 points. Young second-rower Tepai Moeroa (58) was the best for the Eels with the highest total of his NRL career to date, and Jarryd Hayne (42) had another ‘low’ game... I guess he was never going to score over 80 every week, right?
Raiders 27 def. Wests Tigers 12
Blake Austin (74) was a strong performer for the Tigers in Canberra, with a try and 10 tackle breaks helping him to his best total of the season. Josh Papalii (67) proved a handful, as was Jarrod Croker (55). Jack Wighton’s (47) stint at fullback could prove to be more than just a temporary fix, while there were promising signs for Mitch Cornish (39) in his starting debut. Robbie Farah (54) chimed in with a customary 40 tackles.
Roosters 24 def. Storm 12
There was plenty of Fantasy talent on show at Allianz Stadium, and Billy Slater (70) emerged as the somewhat unexpected top-scorer. Hot on his heels was Cameron Smith (63). Jake Friend (52) suffered a rather nasty chest injury, but is recovering well, and Boyd Cordner (50) again continues to produce the goods. Jesse Bromwich (46) was solid in his return to the side, but James Maloney (20) had a fairly quiet outing against his former club, ending his good run of scores.
Warriors 42 def. Titans 0
It was all about Shaun Johnson (91) at Mt Smart Stadium, with the halfback laying on three try assists and grabbing a four-pointer of his own, as well as kicking seven conversions to guide his side to victory. Ben Henry (62) had a largely faultless afternoon, while Sam Tomkins (56) and Nathan Friend (54) got in on the try-scoring action. The Titans’ pack was largely depleted, but Greg Bird (60) and Mark Ioane (54) stepped up to get through plenty of work.
Sea Eagles 26 def. Panthers 25
There were delirious scenes at Brookvale Oval on Sunday afternoon, with tries to Jamie Lyon (53) and Tom Symonds (66) in the dying stages stealing the win for the home side. Josh Mansour (73) was at his destructive best with 11 tackle breaks and a try, while Anthony Watmough (66) tackled the house down. In his last game at Brookie, the retiring Jason King had a season-high 36, more than Daly Cherry-Evans (34) could muster.
Cowboys 20 def. Sharks 19
Most expected the Cowboys to win easily on Monday night, and while they got the two points in end, it was anything but a stroll in the park. Jason Taumalolo (74) still had a pretty handy game, scoring twice, while Johnathan Thurston (68) proved the difference in golden point, collecting 10 points from field goals alone. Sosaia Feki (72) kept the Sharks in the contest with his two tries, while Michael Gordon (61) was immense for Cronulla. A try and 48 tackles saw Pat Politoni (60) to his best total of the season, while Tim Robinson (56) amazingly proved last week’s 70 was no fluke, channelling his inner Paul Gallen with 49 tackles. Matt Scott (47), Gavin Cooper (47), Ashton Sims (53) and Chris Heighinton (48) weren’t too bad, either.