Holden Cup wrap: Round 21
All the key stats and talking points from Round 21 of the National Youth Competition.
Snakes and ladders
With just two points separating the fourth-placed Cowboys and the ninth-placed Broncos, every game from here on out has a bearing on the finals. Brisbane started the round in seventh place but dropped out of the playoff picture following a low-scoring loss to the Eels. Their spot in the eight was taken by the Knights who claimed a crucial win over the Dragons who dropped back to third and are a whopping seven points adrift of the ladder-leading Sharks. The Titans – who remain in eighth – will be kicking themselves after they drew with the Tigers despite holding a 20-point half-time lead.
Anderson sees red
Roosters back-rower Jarred Anderson became the first player sent off in the NYC this season after he was given his marching orders for his involvement in a 48th-minute scuffle. He has since been slapped with a grade two dangerous contact (head/neck) charge and is set to miss a game regardless of the plea.
Sharks on record-breaking pace
They are the short-priced favourites to capture their maiden premiership and it's easy to see why when you look at some of Cronulla's stats in 2017. The Sharks are closing in on a number of Holden Cup records and should get there if they can maintain their incredible form. The Cowboys side of 2015 holds the record for most points in a regular season (923) but the Sharks can better that figure if they average 35.8 points per game for the rest of the year (they currently average 39.2). The record that will mean the most to them is Penrith's haul of 44 competition points in 2015. The Sharks (currently on 37) can afford one slip up, with four more wins enough to get them to 45 points.
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 – Greg Leleisiuao continued his remarkable year with 285 running metres, a try and 14 tackle breaks in Parramatta's gritty win over the Broncos.
2 – Cowboys fullback Kalyn Ponga showed why the Knights have paid him the big bucks with 149 metres, a try, two assists and seven tackle breaks in the narrow win over the Roosters.
1 – Sharks fullback Will Kennedy had one of his best games of the year with 155 metres, a line break and nine tackle busts on a night that saw him bamboozle the Warriors defence with every carry.
Panthers 36 – Bulldogs 18
Warriors 4 – Sharks 42
Eels 20 – Broncos 12
Knights 30 – Dragons 22
Storm 26 – Sea Eagles 34
Rabbitohs 46 – Raiders 16
Roosters 30 – Cowboys 34
Titans 26 – Wests Tigers 26