Holden Cup wrap: Round 19
All the key stats and talking points from Round 19 of the National Youth Competition.
Road to the finals
With seven rounds to go, there are still 14 teams who can mathematically make the Holden Cup finals. The Sharks are a lock to finish in the top four and should claim the minor premiership given they are five points clear of the chasing pack. The Panthers and Dragons also look likely to earn the double chance while the Sea Eagles have swooped into fourth spot and look to be the best of the rest at this stage. Only three points separate the fifth-placed Knights from the 11th-ranked Raiders with for-and-against the only thing keeping the Titans out of the eight, while the Rabbitohs loom as the wildcards just one win behind the eighth-placed Broncos.
Broncos gallop into form
Back-to-back losses in rounds 11 and 12 to the bottom two sides had most people putting a line through Brisbane's 2017 hopes, but four wins from their past five matches has the naysayers back on the bandwagon. The Broncos took down the defending premiers in Round 13, handed the Raiders a rare loss at home in Round 16 and have piled on 88 points in their two most recent wins against the Storm and Knights. They were ruthless on the weekend with several players putting up some incredible numbers, but we'll get to that later.
Flanagan's got 99 problems but kicking goals ain't one
In truth, Kyle Flanagan has no problems whatsoever, but it was the best cultural reference we could come up with. The Sharks halfback took his tally to 99 goals for the season with five conversions and a penalty against the Titans. He now has 250 points in 2017 and is just 72 shy of Jake Mullaney's 2009 record.
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 was brought into Queensland's Origin camp to play the role of Andrew Fifita and it's easy to see why after Broncos prop Payne Haas destroyed the Knights with three tries, 233 metres, 32 tackles, four offloads and 12 tackle breaks in one of the most dominant performances we've seen by a player this season.
2 – Broncos five-eighth Haydyn O'Hara would have taken out the top gong most weeks, but he'll have to settle for the two points this time around. He was the conductor on the right edge with four try assists, a try and 85 metres in his best performance of the year.
1 – Panthers No.2 Brian Too gets one point this week after the winger scored a try, ran for a season-high 253 metres and broke 14 tackles in his side's big win across the ditch.
Warriors 4 – Panthers 28
Raiders 18 – Dragons 12
Rabbitohs 32 – Cowboys 18
Knights 12 – Broncos 40
Titans 12 – Sharks 32
Sea Eagles 32 – Wests Tigers 22