Holden Cup wrap: Round 23
All the key stats and talking points from Round 23 of the National Youth Competition.
Souths heading north
Having started the year with just one win from the opening nine rounds, the Rabbitohs have completed the greatest turnaround in NYC history to find themselves in the top eight with three weeks of the regular season remaining. Since their horror start, the Bunnies have had nine wins, two draws and one loss to move up to eighth spot with 26 competition points. They had to survive a tense final 10 minutes to hold on against the Bulldogs and then sat back as the Broncos and Titans both suffered heavy defeats to seal their place in the eight. To prove how tight the competition is, the Rabbitohs are only ahead of Brisbane by two points on for and against.
Kris's incredible 60 seconds
Raiders centre Sebastian Kris has etched his name into the record books with the young gun scoring two tries in as many plays to kick-start his side's easy win over the Warriors. Trailing 8-0 late in the first half, Kris scooped up a loose ball from a cross-field kick to get his side on the board. The scoreboard attendant had barely sat back down when Kris was in again after he backed up a break from big man Sione Afemui who skittled the defensive line with a huge charge from the kick-off and then offloaded to Kris who showed enough pace to cross for his second try in the space of a minute.
Wests Tigers finally win at home
It hasn’t been the easiest year for the Wests Tigers, but much like their NRL side, the Holden Cup squad is finishing the 2017 season with plenty of grit and determination. The black and golds headed into their Round 23 clash against the Sea Eagles with an 0-8 record at home (they drew with the Bulldogs in Round 8) but ended their drought courtesy of a hot start that saw them open a 30-point lead with 20 minutes to go.
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 a stack of players who grabbed hat-tricks in Round 23, but the performance of the week goes to Wests Tigers hooker Daniel Peck who set up four tries and made 40 tackles in a terrific all-round display.
2 – Cowboys fullback Kalyn Ponga must come into consideration for an NRL call-up after he crossed for three tries, set another one up and ran for 267 metres in his side's big win over the Panthers.
1 – Sharks winger Sione Katoa somehow missed out this week despite scoring a hat-trick and running for 276 metres. Instead, we've gone for Dragons halfback Jackson Willis after he ran in three tries in the opening 18 minutes and set up another one for good measure in a dominant display against the Titans.
Rabbitohs 28 – Bulldogs 24
Eels 50 – Knights 12
Broncos 12 – Sharks 40
Dragons 36 – Titans 12
Storm 16 – Roosters 42
Panthers 16 – Cowboys 40
Warriors 14 – Raiders 36
Wests Tigers 36 – Sea Eagles 30