Round 2 of the NRL saw plenty of form reversals, particularly by Newcastle, Souths, Cronulla, Penrith, Wests Tigers, Dragons and, to a lesser extent, Canberra. It also saw plenty of points being scored and has ensured the next week of footy will be just that much harder to predict.
Four players have shot to the front of the Penalty Pullers leaderboard with some sterling efforts during the weekend – none better than Sharks captain Paul Gallen, who was penalised four times against the Raiders, while Iosia Soliola bagged a treble after last week’s pair to tie with Gallen at the top of the standings. Mitchell Pearce was nabbed three times – not bad for a halfback – while the Titans’ Leivaha Pulu got hit twice again.
Penalty Pullers Leaderboard
5 – Paul Gallen (CRO)
5 – Iosia Soliola (CAN)
4 – Mitchell Pearce (SYD)
4 – Leivaha Pulu (GCT)
3 – Blake Green (MAN)
3 – Aidan Guerra (SYD)
3 – Josh Hodgson (CAN)
3 – Ryan James (GCT)
3 – Josh McCrone (STI)
3 – Tyrone Peachey (PEN)
3 – Beau Scott (PAR)
3 – Jake Trbojevic (MAN)
3 – Christian Welch (MEL)
3 – Isaah Yeo (PEN)
Goalkickers missed a total of 24 goals in Round 2, converting at 70.37% which was a 5% decrease on last week but slightly better than the 68.92% achieved in Round 2 last year.
On the perfect goalkickers ladder (where all attempted goals are kicked every week), we had our first result change, with the Broncos beating the Cowboys 24-21 if they slotted every goal. This has seen a few dramatic ladder changes, most notably the fourth-placed Cowboys dropping to ninth and the seventh-placed Broncos rising to fourth.
Milestones achieved in Round 2
Aidan Sezer (Canberra) kicked 2 goals against the Sharks on Saturday to take his career points tally to 403. He started his career at the Titans, where he scored 12 tries, 156 goals and 5 field goals for 365 points. Since moving to the Raiders he has scored a further 5 tries and 9 goals for 38 points.
Iosia Soliola (Canberra) played his 250th career game. After starting his career with the Roosters in 2005, where he played 92 games, the big forward went to Super League and played 117 games for St Helens from 2010-14. He returned to the NRL with Canberra in 2015 and has played 41 games for the Green Machine. He’s also played 11 tests for New Zealand a further 4 tests for Samoa.
Shaun Johnson overtook Stacey Jones as the Warriors’ greatest-ever point-scorer with his first-half try against the Storm. Johnson tallied six points on the night to move to 677 (56 tries, 223 goals, 7 field goals) for the club in 126 games; Jones scored 674 (77 tries, 176 goals, 14 field goals) in 261 games.
— NRL (@NRL) March 10, 2017
Cameron Smith (Melbourne) reached the almighty 2000 career points mark with a superb 5 goals from 5 attempts in trying conditions at Auckland on Friday. He now has 2007 points. He has kicked a further 8 goals in total in the two World Club Challenge games he played in, while also scoring 120 points in 49 Tests for Australia and 52 points in 39 Origin games for Queensland.
Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland) also passed the 2000 career points mark this weekend with his first goal. He went on to kick 4 goals and the match winning field goal to take his career tally to 2008 points, just one ahead of Cameron Smith. He began his career in 2002 with the Bulldogs where he scored 40 points, all from tries. He moved to the Cowboys in 2005 and has racked up 75 tries, 826 goals and 16 field goals. He’s scored a further 372 points for Australia and 214 points in Origin for Queensland, both all-time records.
— Ladbrokes.com.au (@ladbrokescomau) March 10, 2017
Suliasi Vunivalu (Melbourne) scored his 100th career point with his try just after halftime. The big Fijian flyer exploded on the scene last year for the Storm, scoring 23 tries in 21 games and has picked up a further two this year.
Alex Johnston (Souths) bagged two tries for the Bunnies against Manly, the first of which saw him reach 200 career points. He now has 204 points, all from tries and all scored for Souths.
Jason Taumalolo’s (North Queensland) titanic effort in running for 295 metres in last week’s golden point win over Brisbane was the most ever by a forward since stats started being kept in 1998.
Milestones within reach in Round 3
Stacey Jones’ Warriors club records are tumbling all over the place, with Simon Mannering set to equal his former teammate’s mark for most first-grade appearances on Friday night. Mannering, who debuted for the Warriors in 2005, will play his 261st game for the club against Canterbury in Dunedin. The back-rower/centre has played at least 17 games in each of the last 11 seasons has scored 58 NRL tries – fourth in Warriors history – as well as representing the Kiwis in 40 Tests.
— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) March 14, 2017
Darius Boyd (Brisbane) could well knock off two milestones this week. He will play his 250th career game this weekend and needs one try to bring up 300 points in his career. Boyd began his career with the Broncos in 2006 before he followed coach Wayne Bennett for three-year stints at St George Illawarra and Newcastle before returning to Brisbane in 2015. He’s played 118 games for Brisbane, 69 for the Dragons and 62 for the Knights, while also playing 26 games for Queensland and 22 Tests for Australia.
Greg Eastwood (Canterbury) will play his 150th game for the Bulldogs on the weekend. He began his career at the Broncos in 2005 and after 64 games in 4 seasons, he moved to the Bulldogs where he has picked up a further 149 appearances. He’s also played 26 Tests for New Zealand.
Jarrod Croker (Canberra) returns from injury this week and is just 2 tries shy of becoming the third player to score 100 tries for the Raiders.
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) March 14, 2017
Tony Williams (Cronulla) needs 4 points to bring up his double century. Williams made his debut for Parramatta in 2008, scoring 4 tries before switching to Manly the following year. He scored 35 tries at the Sea-Eagles before moving to the Bulldogs in 2013 where he managed just 10 tries.
Andrew Fifita (Cronulla) needs 4 points to bring up his ton for the Sharks. He scored 8 tries for the Tigers before moving to the Sharks in 2012, where he has picked up 24 tries.
Dylan Walker (Manly) is just 2 points shy of reaching 200 career points. He began his career at Souths in 2013 and scored 33 tries and 2 goals for 136 points. He then moved to Manly last year and has since scored 8 tries and 15 goals for 62 points. He played an extra game for Souths in the World Club Challenge where he scored a try and has also played a game for City and 4 Tests for Australia in 2014 as well as 2 Origin games for NSW last year.
Kane Linnett (North Queensland) will play his 150th game this weekend. He began his career for the Roosters in 2010. After two seasons and 23 games for the Bondi side, he headed north and has played 126 games for the Cowboys. He has also got an appearance for Country last year as well as 6 Test matches for Scotland under his belt.
Robbie Farah (Souths) will bring up his 250th career game in Round 3. After beginning his career in 2003 at the Wests Tigers, he played a record 247 games for the club before moving to Redfern for the 2017 season, where he has played 2 games for Souths. He’s also played 6 games for City, 16 Origins for New South Wales, 1 game for Lebanon in 2002 and 8 Tests for Australia.