Several teams entered Round 21 needing to win every game between now and the end of the season to give themselves a chance at finals footy – and some delivered. The Panthers disposed of a woefully out-of-form Bulldogs, the Raiders showed signs they were starting to click in their comfortable win over the Rabbitohs. The Eels beat the Broncos, who lost not only the game but their hooker, while the Sharks accounted for the Warriors. The bottom two sides – the Knights and Tigers – both picked up emphatic wins as the Dragons and Titans crumbled, the Storm gave the Sea Eagles their second flogging in a row and the Roosters overcame a spirited Cowboys side.
Penalty Pullers Leaderboard
With James Maloney out injured, the rest of the field steadily closed the gap on him for most penalties conceded. Jarrod Wallace was pulled up three times to surge into equal-second with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
27 – James Maloney (CRO)
23 – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (SYD)
23 – Jarrod Wallace (GCT)
19 – Mitchell Barnett (NEW)
19 – Josh Hodgson (CAN)
18 – Ryan James (GCT)
17 – Sam Burgess (SOU)
17 – Joey Leilua (CAN)
17 – Nathan Brown (PAR)
16 – Nelson Asofa-Solomona (MEL)
16 – Luke Lewis (CRO)
Jordan Rapana’s suspension meant that he lost his place atop the Butterfingers leaderboard as he was overtaken by his Raiders team mate Jack Wighton, who fumbled three times, and Tim Lafai.
28 – Tim Lafai (STI)
28 – Jack Wighton (CAN)
27 – Jordan Rapana (CAN)
26 – Josh Addo-Carr (MEL)
26 – Kyle Feldt (NQL)
26 – Semi Radradra (PAR)
25 – Matt Moylan (PEN)
25 – Daniel Tupou (SYD)
25 – Jack Bird (CRO)
25 – Nene Macdonald (STI)
Perfect Goalkickers Ladder
Goalkicking improved for the second straight week, with 82.26% of goals converted, the sixth time this year that at least 80% of goals were kicked in a round. This was an improvement on the 79.41% converted last week and immensely better than the 68.25% in the corresponding round last year.
No results were reversed on the perfect goalkicking table this week, again with very little movement taking place.
First Half/Second Half Ladders
The Storm pulled further ahead as the best first half team in the competition, while the Sharks also extended their record as the best second half side. Both the Tigers and the Knights moved off the bottom of the second half ladder and now the Warriors are the worst team in the comp after half timE.
Milestones achieved in Round 21
Jordan Kahu (Brisbane) scored 6 points against the Eels to pass 400 for his career, all scored for the Broncos. Since starting his career in 2013, he has played 73 games and scored 38 tries, 125 goals and 2 field goals. He has also scored 6 points in 2 World Club Challenge games and 23 points in 9 Tests for New Zealand.
Valentine Holmes (Cronulla) kicked 5 goals against the Warriors to surpass 200 points for his career, all scored for the Sharks. The 21 year old began his career in 2014 and has scored 209 points in 73 games. He also has 4 tries to his name from just two Origin appearances and a further 2 tries in 5 tests for Australia.
Cameron Smith (Melbourne) became the third player in the game’s history to reach 350 games on Sunday, all played for the Storm. He made his debut in 2002 and has also played in 2 World Club Challenge games, 42 State of Origin games for Queensland and 50 Tests for Australia.
Josh Dugan (St.George-Illawarra) brought up 150 NRL appearances on Saturday. The talented fullback and centre made his debut with the Raiders in 2009 and after 5 years and 70 games, he moved to the Dragons and has played a further 80 games. He has also played in a World Club Series game for the Dragons, 2 games for Country, 12 Origins for the Blues and 7 Tests for Australia.
Gareth Widdop (St.George-Illawarra) scored 6 points against the Knights to see him pass 600 points scored for the Dragons, making him just the second player to do so after Jamie Soward. He is also 4 points shy of reaching 700 career points. Widdop made his debut in 2010 with the Storm, where he played for 4 years, scoring 91 points. He moved to the Dragons in 2014 and has scored a further 599 points. He has also scored 6 points for the Dragons in a World Club Challenge match and 70 points for England in 17 Tests.
Chris Lawrence (Wests Tigers) scored his 76th career try for the Wests Tigers which saw him equal the club record set by Benji Marshall. He began his career as a 17-year-old back in 2006 and has also scored 1 try in 3 games for City and 4 tries in 6 Tests for Australia.
Milestones within reach in Round 22
Anthony Don (Gold Coast) needs one try to reach 50 for his career and 200 career points, all scored for the Titans. He made his debut in 2013 and has played 80 games since then. He also has a try in his sole appearance for Country this year.
Dylan Walker (Manly) will play his 100th game this weekend. He began his career with Souths back in 2013 where he played 62 games over 3 seasons before moving to Manly last year where he has played a further 37 matches. He also played a World Club Challenge game for Souths, 1 game for City, 2 Origins for the Blues and 4 Tests for Australia. He also needs 8 points to bring up 300 in his career. He scored 136 for Souths and a further 156 at the Sea Eagles. He also scored 4 points in the World Club Challenge.
Blake Green (Manly) will make is 200th career appearance this weekend. The journeyman made his debut in 2007 at the Eels where he played 6 games. He then spent 2 years at the Sharks, playing 19 games. After switching to the Bulldogs in 2010 and playing 18 games, Green headed over to England where he played 40 games for Hull KR in 2011-12 and a further 48 matches for Wigan in 2013-14. He returned to Australia for two seasons at the Storm where he played 50 games. This year he moved to Manly where he has racked up a further 18 matches. He also has one World Club Challenge appearance for Wigan.
Cameron Smith (Melbourne) needs just 1 point to become just the fourth player in the game’s history to reach 2100 career points. He currently has 2099 points, all scored for the Storm since his debut in 2002. He’s also played 2 World Club Challenge games where he scored a further 16 points, 42 Origin appearances for Queensland for 58 points and 50 Tests for Australia, scoring 120 points.
Trent Hodkinson (Newcastle) is 4 points shy of bringing up 600 career points. He began his career at Manly in 2010 where he scored 19 points before switching to the Bulldogs the following year. In his 5 years at Belmore he scored 417 points before moving to the Knights in 2016, where he has scored a further 160 points. He has also scored 6 points for City and 28 points for New South Wales in Origin.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Newcastle) needs just 2 points to bring up 500 for his career. The big winger made his debut in 2007 for the Roosters where he stayed until mid-2017, scoring 490 points (121 tries and 3 goals) in 224 games. His 2 games at the Knights this year has produced a further 8 points. He has also scored 4 points for the Roosters in the World Club Challenge. He’s also scored 36 points in 21 Tests for New Zealand.
Lachlan Coote (North Queensland) will play his 150th career game this weekend. The custodian made his debut with Penrith in 2008, playing just 83 games in 6 injury plagued years. He moved to the Cowboys in 2014 and has played 66 games in 4 years. He has also played 2 games for City and 3 Tests for Scotland.
Michael Morgan (North Queensland) needs one more try to bring up 50 in his career and 200 points, all scored for the Cowboys. He made his debut in 2010 and has played 116 games. He has also played 7 Origins for Queensland for one try and 7 Tests for Australia for another try.
Leeson Ah Mau (St.George-Illawarra) will make his 150th appearance this weekend. He made his debut in 2009 for the Warriors where he played just 2 games before shifting to the Cowboys for two seasons. After 33 games there he moved to the Dragons in 2012 where he has been ever since, playing 114 games. He has also played 1 World Club Challenge game and 11 Tests for Samoa.
Gareth Widdop (St.George-Illawarra) is just 4 points shy of reaching 700 career points. He made his debut in 2010 with the Storm, where he played for 4 years, scoring 91 points. He moved to the Dragons in 2014 and has scored a further 605 points. He has also scored 6 points for the Dragons in a World Club Challenge match and 70 points for England in 17 Tests.
Michael Gordon (Sydney) is just 6 points away from becoming the 20th player in the history of the game to reach 1500 career points. He started out at the Panthers in 2006, where he scored 798 points in 7 seasons before spending three years at the Sharks, where he scored a further 400 points. He scored 162 points in his only season at Parramatta in 2016 and already has 134 points at the Roosters this year. He has also scored 10 points for Country and 6 points for the Blues.
James Tedesco (Wests Tigers) needs just one try to bring 50 for his career and 200 points, all scored for the Tigers. The brilliant fullback made his debut in 2012 and has played 85 games since. He has also played 2 games for City, scoring a try, 4 Origins for the Blues, scoring a try and 3 Tests for Italy, also scoring a try.