Top 10 big hits of 2016
From brutal big hits to stampeding charges, here's a look back at the top 10 collisions of 2016.
10. Junior Paulo (Round 6, Eels v Raiders)
Shaun Fensom thought he had spotted a hole in Parramatta's defensive line. He was very much mistaken. Whatever gap might have been quickly vanished as big man Junior Paulo got in the way to smash the Raiders lock from the outside in. Raiders coach Ricky Stuart must have liked what he saw because Paulo was wearing green two months later and would prove to be an important cog in Canberra's premiership push.
9. Semi Radradra (Round 9, Eels v Bulldogs)
Bulldogs skipper James Graham found out the hard way that it's probably easier to stop a runaway semi-trailer than it is to tackle Semi Radradra. Known for his speed and fancy finishing, the Eels winger simply put his head down against the old enemy to do what very few had done before him: leave James Graham on the ground. The flying Fijian met the British Bulldog in a collision that saw him hit turbulence, before he was able to get to his feet and earn his side another 20 metres.
8. Tim Simona (Round 3, Wests Tigers v Titans)
It's fair to say Greg Bird won't be sending Tyrone Roberts a Christmas card this year following the hospital pass he received in Round 3. The Titans lock barely had time to look up before he was belted by Tim Simona in one of the best blindside shots of the season. The Tigers' up-and-in style defence had plenty of success in 2016, and Simona's decision to jam in on the representative forward paid dividends as he belted the ball free in what was most likely the biggest tackle he's ever produced.
7. Korbin Sims (Round 19, Knights v Storm)
It took 19 rounds for Matt White to make his Melbourne Storm debut, and the veteran prop would have been wishing for one more week in reserve grade after he ran into Korbin Sims. In a classic David v Goliath battle, the Knights enforcer led from the front against the competition heavyweights, blasting White with a vicious front-on shot that forced the ball free. The impact was one thing, but the sound of the collision was something neither player will likely forget any time soon.
6. Junior Paulo (Round 13, Raiders v Sea Eagles)
It didn't take long for Junior Paulo to make a name for himself at his new club, with the mid-season recruit playing a starring role in his Raiders debut. With his side well and truly on top early in the second half, the hulking prop charged off the back fence from a restart to keep the momentum going. To his credit, Manly's Jamie Buhrer put himself in position to stop Paulo. Unfortunately for the Sea Eagle, Paulo didn't care. Buhrer didn't even have time to lift his arms to make the tackle as the man-mountain stampeded over the top of him in brutal fashion, and as a result, the much smaller lock had to come off for a concussion test.
5. Sam Kasiano (Round 5, Bulldogs v Raiders)
It mightn't have been the result they wanted in their 'Back to Belmore' fixture, but Sam Kasiano made sure Bulldogs fans had one reason to celebrate against the red-hot Raiders. Having made the previous tackle, the Bulldogs behemoth rushed out from marker to crush Shaun Fensom with a perfect shoulders tackle midway through the first half that still has the Raiders lock seeing double.
4. Valentine Holmes (Finals, Sharks v Cowboys)
Not even rugby league royalty can stand in the way of destiny. Johnathan Thurston found out the hard way as he tried to stop a rampaging Valentine Holmes in the preliminary final. There was no love lost in Valentine's run as he monstered the future Immortal in a charge that signalled the end of the Cowboys' premiership defence. Holmes seemed to pick out JT in the defensive line and ran straight over the top of him in a carry that left the Cowboys halfback flat on his back.
3. Jack Wighton (Round 12, Raiders v Bulldogs)
Trailing 14-4 at home against the Bulldogs, the Canberra Raiders needed some inspiration and they got it in spades from their fullback. Canterbury skipper James Graham had created a break for Sam Perrett with a neat inside pass, with Perrett bursting into Raiders territory and looking for support. What he didn't see was a rushing Wighton, who stopped Perrett in his tracks with a superb ball-and-all tackle.
2. Jack Wighton (Round 18, Raiders v Cowboys)
If this list has taught us anything, it's pretty clear that you should never run at Jack Wighton. Having seen Josh Chudleigh burn the Raiders to score a stunning solo try from dummy-half, Cowboys hooker Jake Granville tried to show his deputy who was top dog in Townsville. Unfortunately for the No.9, he didn't factor in Jack Wighton's brick-wall defence. As he took his eyes off the Raiders fullback to look for support, Granville was blasted into the GIO Stadium turf in a copy-book tackle that would have brought a smile to Trevor Gillmeister's face.
1. Luke Lewis (Round 8, Sharks v Panthers)
It's said that players always lift a gear when they take on their former clubs. Luke Lewis certainly supported that theory on a sunny Sunday afternoon against the Panthers in the Shire. Having started from the bench, Lewis came on to replace Jayson Bukuya who was sent to the sheds for an HIA test. And quite fittingly, his first meaningful contribution had Matt Moylan seeing stars after he was flattened by a bell-ringer from the former Panthers premiership-winner. A seemingly innocuous inside ball from Tyrone Peachey spelled disaster for his teammate as Lewis read the play perfectly to jam in just as Moylan received the ball to jar the ball free in a jolting tackle that brought the capacity crowd to its feet.