NRL Fantasy Review: Round 26
Another year of Holden NRL Fantasy is in the books. Another season of unlucky injuries and too many trades which seemed OK at the time only to backfire in a big way.
Guns fired, new superstars emerged, and perennial Fantasy superstar Cameron Smith finished the year as the top overall scorer, pipping Sam Burgess in Round 26.
Lone Scout already handed out this year's Fantasy awards, but for now, let's review the final round of the regular season – with an eye on the Holden NRL Fantasy Finals game which kicks off this week.
Roosters 22 def. Rabbitohs 18
Mitchell Pearce (71) had a blinder against Souths, and is in ominous form headed into the finals. Inglis ran for 234 metres on his way to 62, while Issac Luke (61) made 33 tackles and had a try assist. Cordner (57) and Maloney (56) were good for the Tricolours, while Aubusson (47) might finally string together some decent scores in the weeks ahead at hooker. Sam Burgess finished the regular season with a disappointing 24, his lowest for the year.
Storm 22 def. Broncos 12
Jesse Bromwich (66) and Josh McGuire (65) are two form Fantasy weapons. Cameron Smith (58) made 49 tackles, in an injury-affected round. At one point, Corey Parker (54) was also off the field, but fortunately also made a return. Hoffman (57), Proctor (57) and Cronk (55) were all strong, while McCullough (59) finished the season as the fifth-highest scorer overall.
Wests Tigers 26 def. Sharks 10
Bodene Thompson (62) emerged as the unlikely top-scorer in this one, scoring two tries. Farah (60) wasn't far behind, while Pat Politoni (54) put in another solid shift. Valentine Holmes (48) will be one to keep an eye on in the coming seasons, while Luke Brooks returned to score just a single point, and Cory Paterson (-1) couldn't even make it into positive territory.
Raiders 33 def. Eels 20
Despite his side being unable to grab the final spot in the top eight, Jarryd Hayne (70) still finished the Fantasy season on a high, and as the NRL's leading try-scorer to boot. Semi Radradra (62) was just one try behind the fullback, also running for over 200 metres. Second rowers Moeroa (61) and Edwards (59) were powerful, as was Josh Papalii (61). Croker (56) was again prolific, while Wighton (52) and Cornish (50) will be ones to watch next season.
Cowboys 30 def. Sea Eagles 16
Robert Lui (59) had a big night out against the Sea Eagles, while Jayden Hodges (52) made 49 tackles and could be one to look out for in the finals. Taumalolo (30) and Thurston (20) were relatively quiet, while Gutherson (40) performed admirably in the absence of Brett Stewart.
Knights 40 def. Dragons 10
Jarrod Mullen (71) finished his season off with an strong display featuring a try, try assist, try save, line break, and two line-break assists. Timana Tahu (48) ended his Knights career in style, scoring twice along with Sione Mata'utia (51). Spending 10 minutes in the sin bin, Josh Dugan could only muster 10, with the man he joined there Tyrone Roberts (17) also struggling.
Titans 19 def. Bulldogs 18
Mark Minichiello (70) ended his Titans career in impressive fashion, and along with Brad Takairangi (56) led the Gold Coast's charge to an upset win over the Bulldogs. Sezer (51), Ioane (49) and Mortimer (47) were all solid for the home side as well. James Graham (76) and Aiden Tolman (64) were immense, as was Josh Jackson (61). Frank Pritchard (2) made a successful return from injury, but didn't trouble the scoring that much.
Panthers 22 def. Warriors 6
The Warriors just needed to win or lose by less than three to scrape into the eight, but fell to the top-four Panthers on Sunday night. Josh Mansour (66) didn't score a try but ran for 202 metres and broke 14 tackles (you read that correctly), a week after busting through 11. He finishes the year on 147 tackle breaks, with 441 of his 1017 Fantasy points coming from this stat alone in 2014. Matt Moylan (55) continues to evolve into a solid Fantasy performer, while James Segeyaro (53) made a good return to the field. Nathan Friend (59) made a handy 65 tackles, while Vatuvei (48) ran for 262 metres and scored a try.
Remember, you can play the Fantasy Finals match day games throughout the 2014 NRL finals series.