Holden Cup wrap: Round 1
Here's a look at all the key talking points from the first week of NYC action.
A round of two halves
The final four games of the round might have been blowouts, but that wasn't the case at the start of the week. The season kicked off with a 14-try thriller between the Sharks and Broncos, with Brisbane fullback Corey Allan scoring a length-of-the-field try in the 80th minute to snatch a 40-38 win. The thrilling finishes continued on Friday with Cory Parker's late try enough to hand the Thunderbolts a tense 24-18 win, before the Wests Tigers survived an almighty scare when Adam Doueihi missed an after-the-siren conversion that would have earned the Rabbitohs a point. Finally, the Dragons looked to have started their season in style when they raced out to an 18-0 half-time lead, only for the Panthers to score three unanswered tries in the second half to finish within two points of an epic comeback.
New year, new me
What a difference six months makes. The Sea Eagles managed just three wins last season, but opened their 2017 account in style with a comfortable win over Parramatta. It was a different story for Penrith, with the back-to-back minor premiers struggling in miserable conditions at Kogarah. While they fought their way back to make a game of it in the second half, the match was effectively over at half-time after they were blown off the park by three quick tries.
Like father like son
What a weekend for famous names in the Holden Cup. Tristan Sailor got the ball rolling on Saturday afternoon when he plucked an intercept to score on his NYC debut in front of his father – and former Dragon – Wendell Sailor. Lachlan Lam was the next to impress, scoring a try off a simple inside pass that his father – and former Rooster – Adrian Lam would have been proud of. Jack Johns – son of Matthew – then lived up to his reputation when he sliced through to score for the Knights.
Players of the Round
We'll be tracking the best performances every round this year with a good old-fashioned 3-2-1 points system.
3 – Hard to go past last year's unsung hero in the grand final, with Victor Radley making the most of his move to the lock forward position. The young Rooster crossed for three tries, had two assists, ran for 217 metres and broke six tackles against the Titans on Saturday.
2 – This was a toss-up between a couple of Newcastle teammates, but we've gone with halfback Hayden Loughrey for his two tries and an assist against the Warriors. The No.7 also broke 10 tackles and ran for 139 metres in a standout showing across the ditch.
1 – Broncos fullback Corey Allan earns one point for getting his side over the line in the season opener. With time virtually expired, he scooped up a loose ball and ran 99 metres to level the scores, before Gerome Burns slotted the game-winning conversion. Allan also ran for a competition-high 303 metres and broke nine tackles to go with two line breaks and a try assist.
Not much to report this week, with Cowboys fullback Kalyn Ponga well contained by the Raiders on Saturday night. Ponga finished the game with 97 metres, one line break and six tackle busts, but also came up with three errors.
Sharks 38 – Broncos 40
Bulldogs 18 – Storm 24
Rabbitohs 28 – Wests Tigers 30
Dragons 18 – Panthers 16
Cowboys 28 – Raiders 12
Titans 24 – Roosters 38
Warriors 10 – Knights 48
Sea Eagles 38 – Eels 20