Holden Cup wrap: Round 6
All the key stats, breakout players and talking points from Round 6 of the National Youth Competition.
Upset of the season
I don't know what went down at the Wests Tigers' team hotel in Townsville, but whatever happened, it worked as the club's NRL and NYC sides produced arguably the upsets of the season to down the high-flying Cowboys away from home. The Tigers had managed just win from the opening five rounds in the Holden Cup and were despised outsiders against a Cowboys side that was unbeaten heading into Round 6. The signs weren't good for the visitors who trailed 16-8 midway through the second half, but three tries in the space of 10 minutes flipped the game on its head, with the black and golds holding their nerve to claim a shock 26-20 win on the road.
Comeback of the season
How about those Penrith Panthers! In an almost identical game to the one that saw them cough up a 28-6 half-time lead in last year's grand final, the mountain men came back from 24-6 in the second half to pull off the greatest escape of 2017 with an incredible four-point win over the Rabbitohs. The Bunnies hopped out to a shock 18-0 lead at the break and looked home and hosed with a three-try buffer entering the final quarter of the game only for the Panthers to go on a scoring spree to pull within two points. Momentum is one of the most valuable commodities in rugby league, and with time virtually expired, the Panthers found one last burst of energy to score through fullback Caleb Aekins to complete the miracle win; their fifth on the trot.
Staggs the hero for the Broncos
There is some sort of zoological link here but we'll leave that up to Sir David Attenborough. Let's just focus on the footy. It was a night to remember for Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs on Thursday with the youngster running in three tries in the opening 14 minutes against the Roosters to complete one of the fastest hat-tricks in Holden Cup history. His stats weren't mind-blowing like NRL counterpart Jordan Rapana's first-half exploits, but Staggs did more than enough to help his side to a crucial win over the defending premiers.
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 – Eels winger Greg Lelesiuao had a field day against the struggling Warriors, scoring a try, running for 247 metres and breaking a whopping 18 tackles as his side claimed a comfortable win on the road.
2 – Wests Tigers skipper Daniel Peck led from the front with 50 tackles and an important try in his side's shock win over North Queensland.
1 – Zac Lomax ensured the Dragons stayed equal-first on the ladder with two tries and six goals in his side's gritty win over a fast-finishing Sea Eagle side.
Broncos 40 – Roosters 26
Knights 22 – Bulldogs 12
Panthers 28 – Rabbitohs 24
Storm 22 – Sharks 36
Titans 32 – Raiders 24
Cowboys 20 – Wests Tigers 26
Sea Eagles 26 – Dragons 32
Warriors 24 – Eels 34