Round 22 NRL Fantasy Review
Has there ever been a time when a winger/fullback has been the most expensive player in Holden NRL Fantasy? Veterans will remember when attacking stats didn't hold as much value, and as such, the NRL's most prolific outside backs weren't ever rewarded for their efforts in the game's official fantasy competition.
Workhorse forwards still make up the majority of the top 10 most expensive players in the game, but Jarryd Hayne is the exception to the rule it would seem, averaging a staggering 88.7 points a game from his last three starts.
There was also another season-ending injury to a key fantasy player in Round 22, with Andrew Fifita breaking his arm in the Sharks' loss to the Warriors. Kudos to Fifita, who somehow returned to the field with his arm heavily strapped, before departing once more with a lower leg complaint. We all hope he can return to his destructive best in 2015.
More than 68,000 Fantasy coaches breathed a sigh of relief on Friday night when Sam Burgess was a confirmed starter, and the South Sydney lock had a great night out on the SCG, finishing with a game-high 81. Adam Reynolds (68) found his kicking boots, converting three from four attempts and adding a field goal, and is averaging just under 64 from his last three. Kirisome Auva'a (58) backed up his great performance in Darwin with another try, try assist, two line breaks and 110 metres, while Anthony Watmough (48) was the best for the Sea Eagles. Despite pulling off two remarkable tackles to save his team further misery, fullback Brett Stewart could only manage 22 as Manly struggled to worry the scoreboard. Dylan Walker (13) had a quiet night, with his first score below 49 since Round 8. There's something about the SCG, as he only scored 15 back in Round 5 when Souths defeated the Dragons at the same venue. Injury restricted Steve Matai to just 4.
A big win for the home side, and their halfback was at the heart of it all. Two tries, three line breaks, and 319 kick metres helped Ben Hunt (73) to his best score of the last month. Prop Josh McGuire (64) made 38 tackles and had a rare try assist, while Corey Parker (55) continues to lead from the front. Josh Jackson (59) made 48 tackles to continue his recent run of great scores, and Daniel Vidot had a season-high 49. Up against his former club, Ben Barba (40) had a decent outing, which included finishing this spectacular try.
There were delirious scenes at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night. If you missed it, check out how the Knights won this match after the siren. The man who kicked the winning conversion, Kurt Gidley, finished with a respectable 58. Scoring four tries, Sisa Waqa was always likely to top the Fantasy scoring with 64, while Will Chambers also chimed in with 64. Jesse Bromwich (53) made 40 tackles and 144 metres, but Cameron Smith could only manage 48, disappointing those who had his as their captain.
It won't surprise many to see the Cowboys dominate the Fantasy scoring in this one, but two Tigers made the top five from this game. Robbie Farah (58) produced 58 tackles, while NSW teammate Aaron Woods (61) had a try and a line break for his best score since Round 13. Tautau Moga (82) had his best showing five games into his Cowboys career, Michael Morgan (81) was again sublime, and Jason Taumalolo (67) stepped his way to another great score. Johnathan Thurston was solid with 48, while Mitch Moses (-2) had a tough night at the office with seven missed tackles and two errors.
What more can we say about Hayne? Two tries, two line breaks, one line break assist, 10 tackle breaks, 300 run metres. Season-high score of 94. Those who captained the Parramatta fullback would be quite pleased with their decision. Next best in the game was Brett White (47) with his highest score of the season, Paul Vaughan (46) and Anthony Milford (42). Fullback Jordan Rapana made a respectable 42 in his Raiders debut.
Despite the aforementioned injuries, Fifita still managed 53 in his limited time on the park. Chris Heighington stepped up in his absence with a season-high 65. Ngani Laumape scored two tries on his way to 51, while Manu Vatuvei (49) also scored and ran for 200 metres. A move to the centres reduced Simon Mannering's usual workload, with the Warriors skipper finishing on 33.
James Segeyaro (71) scored his fourth try in as many weeks to accompany his 41 tackles, 109 run metres and try assist in Penrith's win over the Dragons. The former Cowboy has transformed into one of the best hookers in Holden NRL Fantasy since claiming the Panthers No.9 jersey and faces his old club in Round 23. Fact: Josh Mansour knows how to break a tackle. He had 12 against the Red V, along with 169 metres, to score 60. Jamal Idris (55) and Leeson Ah Mau (56) both had a productive afternoon, however Josh Dugan could only manage 23.
Aiden Guerra (60) topped the scoring on Monday night, with man of the match James Maloney (53) and fullback-elect Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (55) not far behind. The man he is set to replace at the back, Anthony Minichiello (42), grabbed a try for his best score in months. Aiden Sezer (44) made a successful return from injury, while his halves partner Daniel Mortimer (39) had a solid showing in his first match against his former club. Titans co-captain Greg Bird (51) was best for the Gold Coast.