The first week of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series is in the books.
The Rabbitohs destroyed the Sea Eagles for the first 65 minutes of their qualifying final, before Manly finished strongly with four tries. The Panthers upset the Roosters, the Cowboys got one over their biggest rival, and the Bulldogs turned things around to down the Storm at AAMI Park.
From a Fantasy perspective, there were a few handy totals, as well as plenty of surprises in the first weekend of the Holden NRL Fantasy finals match day games.
Rabbitohs 40 def. Sea Eagles 24
Adam Reynolds (81) was superb in his return from suspension, scoring two tries and kicking six from seven and combined nicely with Luke Keary (24) in the halves. Greg Inglis (80) had a blinder at the back, while Alex Johnston (61) chimed in with two tries. Daly Cherry-Evans (47) was best for the Sea Eagles, with Jayden Hodges (12) unable to finish the match with a neck injury.
Best possible team: Issac Luke (35), Sam Burgess (51), Tom Symonds (45), Adam Reynolds (captain, 243), Dylan Walker (54), Greg Inglis (VC, 160)
Panthers 19 def. Roosters 18
While the Tricolours didn’t finish with the win, for what it’s worth their Fantasy numbers were fairly solid across the board. Mitchell Pearce (64), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (63), Mitchell Aubusson (60), Boyd Cordner (53), and Sonny Bill Williams (51) all finished above the best Panther (James Segeyaro, 49). Despite starring on the night, Jamie Soward could only muster 25, while centres Jamal Idris (46) and Dean Whare (45) both produced decent totals.
Best possible team: James Segeyaro (49), Sam McKendry (43), Mitchell Aubusson (60), Mitchell Pearce (captain, 192), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (VC, 126), Dean Whare (45).
Cowboys 32 def. Broncos 20
There was plenty of Fantasy talent on show at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night, and it was Gavin Cooper (90) who topped the scoring, thanks mainly to two tries, three line breaks, 32 tackles and 135 metres. Not far behind was Robert Lui (81), who overshadowed Johnathan Thurston (55) from a Fantasy perspective at least. It might be the last time we see Justin Hodges at fullback, and he signed off with 57, while Corey Parker (58) did what he does best.
Best possible team: Andrew McCullough (51), Corey Parker (58), Gavin Cooper (captain, 270), Robert Lui (VC, 162), Justin Hodges (57), Daniel Vidot (44).
Bulldogs 28 def. Storm 4
You would’ve been brave to stack your side with Bulldogs players given each side’s form headed into the finals, but for those who did, the gamble paid off. Tim Lafai (71) crossed for three tries to top the scoring for the day, with Josh Jackson (58), James Graham (57), Trent Hodkinson (56), and Josh Reynolds (52) all equalling or bettering Melbourne’s best (Cooper Cronk, 52). Despite being on the losing side, Marika Koroibete also proved tough to contain, with five tackle breaks helping him to 49.
Best possible team: Cameron Smith (48), James Graham (57), Josh Jackson (VC, 116), Trent Hodkinson (56), Tim Lafai (captain, 213), Marika Koroibete (49).