Holden Cup wrap: Round 20
All the key stats and talking points from Round 20 of the National Youth Competition.
Defence goes out the window
Maths was never my strong suit at school but if my calculations are correct, there were 518 points scored in Round 20 of the Holden Cup. That's an average of 64.75 points per game. Only one game failed to get to 50 points while there were two matches that reached 80. Attack has always dominated defence in the NYC but this will be a round that lives long in infamy or fame depending on which way you look at it.
Titans announce themselves on the big stage
The Titans made the most of a rare televised game to produce one of the most dominant displays we've seen from a team this season. Taking on the might of the Panthers away from home, Gold Coast shot out of the blocks with a try in the opening minute after Dean Blore had spilled the kick-off. With a top eight spot on the line, the Titans played faultless footy for the next 70 minutes as the visitors ran in 10 tries to stun last year's minor premiers. Penrith grabbed three late tries but the damage had already been done as the Titans slipped into eighth spot on the ladder while the Knights – who were fourth two weeks ago – dropped to ninth. Special mention must go to every member of their backline for putting up some outrageous numbers, however the even spread means none of them feature in our 'players of the round' section.
Rabbitohs let huge opportunity slip
The Rabbitohs will be kicking themselves after letting a 14-0 lead slip against the ladder-leading Sharks. The scoreline of their 40-14 loss isn't an accurate reflection of the game but it does put a serious dent in South Sydney's hopes of playing in the finals. The Bunnies couldn't have asked for a better start and they looked like extending their unbeaten run to nine matches when they headed into the sheds holding a 14-6 advantage. Alas, the Sharks stormed home with 34 unanswered points to confirm their status as the team to beat in 2017. Souths are now four points outside the top eight with six games remaining and would have to win at least five of those if they are to feature in the finals.
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 – There were roughly 83 players who could have polled votes this week but we'll get the ball rolling with Roosters halfback Sean O'Sullivan who grabbed a double, set up two tries, broke five tackles and kicked six goals as the Roosters kept their premiership defence alive with a big win over the Knights.
2 – When we talk about Eels wingers doing well, we usually refer to Greg Leleisiuao. While he put up some huge numbers, this week's two points go to his teammate on the other flank Haze Dunster after he scored two tries, ran for 227 metres and had a staggering 18 tackle busts.
1 – The all-round performance of the week came from Storm hooker Harry Grant who scored a double, ran for 135 metres, had three line breaks and made 43 tackles in a terrific 80-minute effort.
Roosters 44 – Knights 22
Sharks 40 – Rabbitohs 14
Panthers 32 – Titans 52
Broncos 48 – Bulldogs 14
Raiders 24 – Storm 36
Cowboys 70 – Warriors 10
Dragons 46 – Sea Eagles 22
Wests Tigers 20 – Eels 24