Holden Cup wrap: Round 14
All the key stats, breakout players and talking points from Round 14 of the National Youth Competition.
The next Idris?
It's not just the dreadlocks that have many people comparing Bulldogs back-rower Jayden Okunbor to injured Wests Tigers star Jamal Idris. The big man was at his destructive best in his side's narrow loss to the Dragons on Monday - we'll get to his stats a bit later in this column - and there's every chance we'll see the 196cm Milperra Colts junior running around in the NRL next year. He started last season in the centres, finished 2016 in the front row but has found his groove on the edge with Okunbor consistently in the top three performers at the Bulldogs each week.
Revenge is a dish best served cold
They were embarrassed at home by the Eels back in Round 9, but it hasn't taken long for the Cowboys to avenge their loss with an impressive 40-4 win against the blue and golds. The 60-12 defeat on home soil raised questions about North Queensland's premiership credentials, but Saturday's win showed the traditional competition heavyweights are still a threat in 2017. The Eels cleverly played the game at Ringrose Park instead of up in tropical Darwin, but not even Sydney's wintry conditions could save them as the Cowboys ran riot to leapfrog Parramatta on the NYC ladder.
We already knew that the Sharks were one of the competition favourites, and the table-toppers didn't disappoint as they took down a Melbourne side featuring up-and-coming stars Brodie Croft, Scott Drinkwater and Curtis Scott on Thursday night. In a see-sawing contest, the Storm's exciting trio looked set to inspire their side to a shock win, only for the Sharks to show their mettle with two late tries to seal victory.
The Rabbitohs have announced themselves as a bolter for the finals after they recorded their fourth-straight win with a stunning comeback against the Broncos. Trailing 22-4 after an hour, the Bunnies piled on four tries in 12 minutes to storm home at Suncorp Stadium to claim one of their best wins of the season.
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 – As we mentioned earlier, Jayden Okunbor was the standout performer in a losing side on Monday afternoon with three tries, three line breaks, a try assist, four offloads, seven tackle busts and 129 running metres.
2 – Late inclusion Scott Drinkwater showed his class with three tries, two goals, four line breaks, 11 tackle busts and a whopping 182 metres in Melbourne's narrow loss to Cronulla. He now has nine tries from six appearances, including two hat-tricks.
1 – Sea Eagles five-eighth Tom Wright continued his stunning form with two tries, a try assist, three tackle breaks and 137 metres in the big win over Newcastle.
Sharks 28 – Storm 20
Sea Eagles 32 – Knights 12
Broncos 22 – Rabbitohs 28
Eels 4 – Cowboys 40
Titans 18 – Warriors 20
Panthers 28 – Raiders 22
Wests Tigers 28 – Roosters 42
Bulldogs 26 – Dragons 28