Holden Cup wrap: Round 2
Here's a look at all the key talking points from Round 2 of the NYC.
Raiders of the lost Shark
Horrible headline, but it's the thought that counts. How good were the Sharks! Pipped on the post in Round 1, Cronulla responded in style with a crushing 74-12 win over the Raiders away from home. It was the club's second-highest score, just four points behind their haul of 78 against Manly in Round 3, 2012. After piling on 44 points in the first half, the Sharks showed no sign of slowing down with five more tries after the break. Jesse Ramien crossed for a hat-trick while Kyle Flanagan and Sione Katoa each grabbed doubles in the 13-try romp. Sadly for the Green Machine, it was the third year in a row they had allowed more than 70 points in a game.
Queensland rivalry just as good in the NYC
Alright maybe not "as good" as the NRL version, but it's getting there. Friday night's curtain-raiser was full of drama as Cowboys halfback Jake Clifford was the hero with a 76th-minute try – his second of the match – to give his side a gripping 20-18 win over the Broncos. There's something about Suncorp Stadium and tight matches, with the Cowboys stealing a 23-22 win in Round 4 last year, while North Queensland fell in golden point to the Dragons at the same venue in Week One of the finals.
Defence not a priority on Saturday
A whopping 242 points were scored across the three Saturday games, with the Knights, Titans, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Raiders and Sharks combining for 257 missed tackles. Canberra alone missed 77 tackles while Souths (50) were the second-worst offenders. The Knights scored 40 points but still lost, and in doing so became the eighth side to lose in the Holden Cup despite scoring at least 40 points.
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 – Sea Eagles centre Tevita Funa was unlucky to miss out on the votes last week, but there was no way we could leave him out this week after he scored two tries, kicked eight goals, had three line breaks and busted 12 tackles on Saturday.
2 – Sharks halfback Kyle Flanagan recovered from last week's heartbreak to score a whopping 30 points in his side's huge win in Canberra. Flanagan scored two tries and kicked 11 goals to break Valentine Holmes's club record of 26 points against the Titans in 2014.
1 – With numbers like these, AJ Brimson could have been the player of the round, but unfortunately the Titans halfback simply had too much competition this week. Brimson scored two tries, had four line breaks, 11 tackle breaks and set up a try against the Knights.
Kalyn Ponga looks set to come into the Cowboys NRL side with Lachlan Coote (calf) likely to miss a couple of weeks. The star fullback didn't have much impact against the Broncos on Friday, running for 119 metres and busting five tackles.
Roosters 34 – Bulldogs 12
Warriors 12 – Storm 20
Broncos 18 – Cowboys 20
Knights 40 – Titans 44
Sea Eagles 52 – Rabbitohs 20
Raiders 12 – Sharks 74
Wests Tigers 4 – Panthers 36
Dragons 26 – Eels 22