Holden Cup wrap: Round 18
All the key stats and talking points from Round 18 of the National Youth Competition.
Back to the drawing board
Well, who saw that coming? Out of the four matches in Round 18, two of them finished all square, with the Rabbitohs playing out their second draw in as many weeks. South Sydney looked home and hosed when behemoth prop Jordan Mailata crashed over to give them a 24-14 lead over the Roosters, but two tries in the final five minutes saw the defending premiers draw level to steal a competition point that the Bunnies desperately needed to stay in touch with the top eight.
If that wasn't enough, the Bulldogs overturned a 16-point half-time deficit on Sunday to lead 28-22 in the dying stages only for the Knights to strike late through Hayden Loughrey to keep the Novocastrians in the top four.
Manly soar while Panthers falter
Penrith's hopes of a top two finish took a hit on Saturday afternoon when they were outclassed by the Sea Eagles in what was their first loss at home in 2017. Last year's minor premiers have now gone three games without a win and seem to be struggling without attacking weapons Wayde Egan and Jarome Luai.
It's a different story for the Sea Eagles who have won four of their past five matches to sit just one point outside the all-important top four. There's a lot to like about Manly's style of play with the men in maroon and white highly skilled across the park.
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 – He's produced some absurd numbers already this year and Eels winger Greg Leleisiuao was at it again on Saturday with two tries, two line breaks, 222 metres and 18 tackle busts in the big win over Melbourne.
2 – Knights back-rower Sam McIntyre has been one of Newcastle's most consistent performers in 2017 and he didn't disappoint with two tries, 118 metres and 32 tackles against the Bulldogs.
1 – Roosters lock Victor Radley showed why he's touted as one of the most promising prospects in the NYC with a try, 178 metres, 49 tackles and five tackle busts against the Rabbitohs.
Roosters 24 – Rabbitohs 24
Panthers 20 – Sea Eagles 28
Storm 16 – Eels 48
Bulldogs 28 – Knights 28