The first of what is set to be at least four Cleary-less weekends tossed up some interesting captaincy results while five players hit scores of 90 or more without anyone joining the 100 club.
Eels back-rower Isaiah Papali'i (98) was a man on a mission with a try and 10 busts in a one-point loss to the Panthers to top the round's scoring and prove easily the best of the possible captaincy choices in round 16 – although only a little more than 1 per cent of coaches went with him.
Ben Hunt (95) was magnificent in a comeback win against the Warriors and while a less likely captaincy choice he rewarded those who punted on giving him the armband this week.
Jamal Fogarty (96) was huge in the Titans' win over Canberra while Manly wingers Reuben Garrick and Jason Saab (91) both made hay in the record-breaking win over Canterbury.
Knights utility Connor Watson has been sold by plenty of coaches lately but exploded off the bench with two tries and 86 points against the Cowboys.
Broncos prop Payne Haas (80) was magnificent against the Sharks while tries boosted a host of forwards to big scores including Wayde Egan (85), Api Koroisau (79), Eli Katoa (79), Dale Finucane (76) and David Fifita (75).
Get Caught Up: Round 16 must-see moments
Tom Trbojevic was the most popular captain in the first round after Cleary's injury and rewarded those who took the chance with 75 points including a hat-trick – although he scored most of those points and all three of his tries in the first 30 minutes of the match and was on track for a much bigger score.
Daly Cherry-Evans and Shaun Johnson (both 68) and Mitch Moses (67) put up good scores in the halves, Kalyn Ponga (64) looks like a keeper for the run home, Jason Taumalolo (60) may have turned the corner at last and Dom Young (60) was the best of the cheapies for round 16.
The second-most popular captaincy option was Tohu Harris, with the Warriors lock succumbing to a head knock and shoulder injury early on with just 18 points next to his name a chance of missing more games.
Tyrone Peachey was bumped to a bench hooker on game day; it is easily his worst-scoring position and exacerbated by his side's dominance, enabling Erin Clark to stay out there for most of the game.
He returned just four points in 25 minutes in a worrying development for his usefulness in fantasy over the run home.
Brodie Jones (12) was also bumped to the bench, making him a semi-urgent sell after this round.
Matt Burton (19) was bizarrely moved back to the centres after being named as Cleary's replacement in the halves, with utility Tyrone May again shoe-horned into the halfback role and Burton seeing little action out wide.
Every try from Round 16
It was a particular disappointment for any coaches who bought him in light of Cleary's injury, though a subsequent knee injury to Jarome Luai should see Burton into the halves from round 17 for at least a few weeks.
Jahrome Hughes was the third most popular captain and had his lowest score since round five, although 48 wasn't a disaster compared to Harris's 18.
The Storm's huge win wasn't great news for James Tedesco (41) or Angus Crichton (46), while Jayden Brailey's quiet run continued with 46 and Latrell Mitchell (34) missed out on the points spree against the Tigers.
Round 16 Team of the Week
- Tom Trbojevic (75)
- Reuben Garrick (91)
- Tesi Niu (66)
- Campbell Graham (64)
- Jason Saab (91)
- Ben Hunt (95)
- Jamal Fogarty (96)
- Payne Haas (80)
- Wayde Egan (85)
- Dale Finucane (76)
- Eliesa Katoa (79)
- Isaiah Papali'i (98)
- Connor Watson (86)
- Api Koroisau (79)
- David Fifita (75)
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (74)
- Jacob Liddle (74)