His side might have gone down in a close Golden Point defeat in Round 5, but North Queensland coach Todd Payten would have no doubt been pleased with the effort of his big men against the Warriors with several players standing out in the VB Hard Earned Index data.
Playing at prop, Indigenous All Stars representative Reuben Cotter continued his strong recent form with an 81-point showing sitting him in fifth position on the VB Hard Earned Index for Round 5. Cotter made 32 tackles without missing and had four tackle busts of his own, along with eight runs of eight metres or more.
Cotter's efforts were only just bettered by that of his teammate, Jason Taumalolo, whose 82-point effort was made up of five tackle busts and 12 runs of eight-plus metres. A third Cowboys player, Thomas Gilbert, had 13 runs of eight-plus metres to finish inside the top ten on the VB Hard Earned Index, with only Broncos tyro Payne Haas (15) having more eight-plus-metre runs of all players inside the top 20.
As is so often the case, Haas finished top of the weekly numbers to extend his lead in the overall VB Hard Earned Index — pushing further clear of Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray and Panthers skipper Isaah Yeo after the pair both spent time on the sideline in their respective side's wins on the weekend.
Parramatta forward Isaiah Papali'i (402 points) moved ahead of Yeo (399) to sit third overall for the year behind Murray (402), but the trio are significantly behind Haas (432 points) following the first full month of the Telstra Premiership competition.
Haas and Yeo will clash this Friday as Brisbane travel to Sydney to face the Panthers while Papali'i will face his future club, Wests Tigers, on Easter Monday.
Papali'is efforts for the Eels in their tight win over the Gold Coast Titans were matched by his fellow forwards Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Nathan Brown, who both finished inside the top 10 players for the round. A fourth player, Junior Paulo, was also on track to record a strong showing before his second half sin-binning saw him sidelined during the match and also facing a one-game suspension.
VB Hard Earned Index: Round 5
- Payne Haas (Broncos) — 94 points
- Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Eels) — 87 points
- Victor Radley (Roosters) — 82 points
- Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) — 82 points
- Reuben Cotter (Cowboys) — 81 points
- Euan Aitken (Warriors) — 81 points
- Isaiah Papali'i (Eels) — 81 points
- Josh Curran (Warriors) — 78 points
- Nathan Brown (Eels) — 78 points
- Thomas Gilbert (Cowboys) — 77 points