Holden Cup wrap: Round 8
All the key stats, breakout players and talking points from Round 8 of the National Youth Competition.
Flanagan raises the bat
It's no secret that the Holden Cup is a high-scoring competition, but the fact Sharks halfback Kyle Flanagan has already reached 100 points after eight rounds is an incredible effort. The son of NRL coach Shane Flanagan, Kyle has been one of the star performers in the NYC in 2017, with the No.7 scoring a try and kicking eight goals in his side's big win over the Titans on Saturday to take his season tally to 112 points.
Battle of the west delivers
As we mentioned in our previews, Penrith beat the Eels in 2016 the week after they drew with the Sharks. Lo and behold, the same scenario played out at the weekend, with the Panthers bouncing back with a win over Parramatta having drawn with Cronulla the previous week. In a high-scoring affair at ANZ Stadium, the mountain men turned a 30-22 half-time lead into a thrilling four-point triumph, with winger Daniel Brown scoring a hat-trick inside the opening half hour. The Eels might have been beaten on the day but there's a lot to like about how they're gelling in 2017.
Players of the round
We're tracking the best performances every round this year with a good old-fashioned 3-2-1 points system.
3 – It's not often a bench forward earns player of the round status, but there was simply no way we were going to ignore the contribution of Sharks big man Eddie Faalua who scored two tries, ran for 221 metres and broke 12 tackles in just 39 minutes.
2 – Halfback Jake Clifford was the chief destroyer against Newcastle with two tries, seven goals, a line break, a try assist and four tackle breaks as the Cowboys notched their sixth win from seven games.
1 – Raiders skipper Kalani Going sparked his side's second-half comeback against the Sea Eagles, scoring two tries to go with 149 metres, 25 tackles, two line breaks and seven tackle busts.
Raiders 36 – Sea Eagles 14
Rabbitohs 16 – Broncos 34
Eels 32 – Panthers 36
Cowboys 54 – Knights 12
Sharks 52 – Titans 16
Storm 36 – Warriors 20
Wests Tigers 20 – Bulldogs 20
Roosters 26 – Dragons 35