NRL Fantasy Review: Grand Final
Season 2014 is done and dusted. Congratulations to the South Sydney Rabbitohs who claimed their 21st premiership in a memorable 2014 decider.
The end of the season also means the curtain is drawn on another year of Holden NRL Fantasy, with the grand final match day game finishing off the year from a Fantasy perspective.
Let's examine who performed at their peak and who disappointed (statistically, at least) when the lights were on bright.
Rabbitohs 30 def. Bulldogs 6
Adam Reynolds well and truly silenced his critics following a masterful display, finishing with a game-high 68, including 29 tackles and a try, with the halfback scoring 14 of the Rabbitohs' 30 grand final points.
Greg Inglis ran for 241 metres, the most of any player in the grand final, which along with his two line breaks, try assist and try, helped him to a handy 65.
What about Sam Burgess (64), huh? Picking up a fractured cheekbone and eye socket in the first hit-up of the game, the departing lock went on to make 225 metres, 35 tackles and three offloads in a performance worthy of the Clive Churchill Medal. We can't forget about little brother George (63), who broke the game open with this try. Twin Thomas (49) also took where George left off, providing plenty of impact from the interchange.
Kirisome Auva'a (48) was typically powerful, while the departing Ben Te'o (47) signed off in style. Apisai Koroisau (40) performed admirably, filling in for the suspended Issac Luke, and was the hooker of choice after Fantasy coaches were left to look beyond the injured Michael Ennis and Luke.
Josh Reynolds (52) was the Bulldogs' Fantasy best, getting through the majority of his side's kicking in general play. He was closely followed by Tony Williams (48), who atoned for earlier errors to keep the Dogs in the contest with a second-half try. Josh Jackson (47) was his usual industrious best, while James Graham (42) even managed a kick between making 30 tackles and 101 metres. You can barely separate them on the field, and Aiden Tolman (42) matched his front row partner's Fantasy total as well. Sam Perrett again delivered a solid total, with 41 for the Canterbury-Bankstown fullback.
Denied the opening try of the match, Lote Tuqiri (9) had a relatively quiet outing. Luke Keary (12) was a strong performer, but his output didn't translate to Fantasy dominance, quite unlike his halves partner. There were some pretty disappointing returns from some Bulldogs players as well, with Greg Eastwood (9) and Tim Lafai (9) managing just 84 run metres between them. Wingers Mitch Brown (12) and Corey Thompson (11) were well-contained, as were Josh Morris (12), Dale Finucane (14) and Frank Pritchard (12). Unable to handle his usual kicking workload, Trent Hodkinson could only manage 14, well down on the sort of numbers we expect from the halfback.
Best possible team: Apisai Koroisau (40), George Burgess (63), Sam Burgess (64), Adam Reynolds (204, captain), Kirisome Auva'a (48), Greg Inglis (130, vice captain).