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Broncos prop Payne Haas.

Payne Haas's magical season reaches new heights, Knights playmakers bounce back and the late-season injury curse finally hits.


It was the Payne Haas show at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, with the teenage behemoth rattling up an even 100 thanks to a phenomenal solo try that capped off a 12-bust, 218-metre effort in what is the greatest ever Fantasy season by an NRL rookie.

Manu Ma'u's late-season form spike continues to go from strength to strength with plenty of attacking stats on offer against the Titans; his 79 included two try assists and a four-pointer of his own.

Plenty of coaches were hoping for better than 61 from star halfback Mitch Moses given the calibre of opposition but it says plenty about the rare form the Eels No.7 is in that a 60-plus effort can now be regarded almost as a disappointment.

Plenty of front-rowers found their way over the try-line in round 22 and for Addin Fonua-Blake (74) and Josh Papalii (71) it translated into Fantasy rewards.

Get Caught Up: Round 22

James Tedesco (75) and Latrell Mitchell (67) were in vintage form in a big win over the Warriors while beleaguered Knights playmaker Mitch Pearce (72) finally bounced back in both NRL and Fantasy terms with two tries in a huge win over the Cowboys.

His fullback Kalyn Ponga (73) also bagged a double. Hooker Connor Watson (69 with five busts and two line breaks) is a Fantasy weapon when he starts at dummy half but is in doubt for round 23 having gone off early with a knee injury.


As mentioned at the top, the seemingly inevitable late-season flurry of injuries – which has mostly held off until now – looks to be upon us.

Jason Taumalolo withdrew during the week with a foot injury with a return date still unknown in what was a particularly untimely injury for coaches already dealing with Andrew Fifita's knee injury.

Braidon Burns (4) may miss the rest of the regular season after a recurrence of his hamstring issues and Sam Burgess (30) is set to be sidelined with a quadriceps strain. Ben Hunt (10) missed five tackles before a head knock ruled him out early in the second half against Cronulla.

Jazz Tevaga scored just 20 thanks to a sin bin and could face suspension for that late hit on Cooper Cronk. Jack Wighton (21) was another whose score was dented by a trip to the bin for a professional foul.

Mid-season cash cow Brent Naden produced a startling 26 demerits (seven missed tackles, four errors and two penalties) to finish on -8, one of the lowest Fantasy scores ever recorded.

There were also below-par scores from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (32 despite scoring a try), Paul Vaughan (34), Dylan Brown (18), Nathan Brown (36) and Martin Taupau (42).

Manu Ma'u scores for the Eels.
Manu Ma'u scores for the Eels. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Round 22 team of the week

  1. James Tedesco 75
  2. Kalyn Ponga 73
  3. Mitch Aubusson 69
  4. Latrell Mitchell 67
  5. Jamayne Isaako 68
  6. Connor Watson 69
  7. Mitch Pearce 72
  8. Payne Haas 100
  9. Damien Cook 70
  10. Addin Fonua-Blake 74
  11. Manu Ma'u 79
  12. James Fisher-Harris 63
  13. Josh Papalii 71
  14. Aiden Tolman 63
  15. Angus Crichton 62
  16. Cam McInnes 62
  17. Mitch Barnett/Chris Lawrence/Kotoni Staggs 62
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