Holden NRL Fantasy coaches rejoice – the bye rounds are done and dusted for 2014!
In Round 18, several outside backs pumped out some big numbers, while some of the usual suspects didn’t fare quite as well for a few different reasons.
It was also the last round of the regular season for those leagues that played through the byes, with the leagues that took the traditional route and sat out the multi-bye rounds still three weeks away from the finals.
Let’s take a look back at what Round 18 served up.
The ‘Prince of Brookvale’, Brett Stewart, certainly lived up to his billing on Friday night. A try, two try assists, and nine tackle breaks saw him to a season-high 84. Fantasy gun Robbie Farah made his return to the Wests Tigers side and punched out an admirable 58, and is now even more affordable for those looking to draft him in. David Nofoaluma (59) had a productive night, while opposing winger Clinton Gutherson (51) showed he is a more than adequate replacement for the injured Jorge Taufua. Mitch Moses (21) experienced the first of what will (hopefully) be many price increases, and Tyson Andrews (13) made a solid debut in his limited time on the park. Unfortunately for Pat Richards injury ended his night prematurely, and he was unable to move into positive territory, finishing with -2.
Given the 48-0 final score, it should come as no surprise that the Warriors dominated the Fantasy scoring as well. Sam Tomkins (93) and Shaun Johnson (68) were the main beneficiaries, with the former grabbing two tries (including this effort from a scrum), 10 tackle breaks and three line breaks in his most prolific performance in the NRL thus far. Simon Mannering (58) was at his reliable best, while Joseph Paulo (37) was the highest scorer for the Eels. Those with Semi Radradra (1), Corey Norman (1) and Willie Tonga (-1) will be scrambling for the trade button, or at the very least reconsidering their spot in their starting 17.
While it was a quality contest, there wasn’t much doing from a Fantasy perspective. James Graham (59) was the top scorer, continuing his recent good run of scores. Cameron Smith (54) had a relatively low week, while his opposing number Michael Ennis (29) didn’t reproduce last week’s heroics. Mitch Brown (44) had a great game, and scored well above his season average.
Wow. Just, wow. If you didn’t catch this one, check out the highlights here. Anthony Milford (98) was the star of the show, finishing with two tries, two try assists, two line breaks, four line break assists, six tackle breaks, four offloads and 181 run metres. He only just pipped teammate Jarrod Croker, ending up with a huge 97. And we can’t forget Fantasy legend Shaun Fensom (82), who got in on the try scoring action himself to accompany a customary 49 tackles. Albert Kelly (3) got through less than 20 minutes, ensuring his price will continue to plummet. Best for the Titans was Queensland rep Dave Taylor (50).
The Knights are on a roll, and if this week’s score is anything to go by, Kurt Gidley (70) is seemingly loving life back in the halves. Michael Gordon (70) produced the type of all-round performance we know he is capable of, while the returning Andrew Fifita (48) had a decent showing in his first game back. A biceps injury limited Paul Gallen to 51, but fortunately for those who own the Sharks skipper, he’ll be back sooner rather than later. Popular cheapie Jacob Gagan (9) finished with his lowest total since entering first grade.
Despite leaving the field in the first half, Corey Parker produced a season-high 78. Matt Moylan (73) secured victory for the Panthers, with another impressive showing off the back of 59 in Round 17. Hookers James Segeyaro (55) and the returning Andrew McCullough (64) were solid, while injuries restricted Tyrone Peachey (13) and Josh Mansour (4) to scores well below their season average. Ben Hunt had a mixed evening, but still managed 47 for the 36,000+ coaches with him in their side.