Workhorse Watch Rd 23

Well, there’s no shame in being beaten by the best…

NRLCEOs were in crisis mode as coaches began screwing around with their line ups just as NRLCEO Finals were getting underway. Angus Crichton who has scored 15 workhorse tries this season was benched by Michael Maguire causing him to miss a workhorse for the first time in 5 weeks. Crichton came on after 23 minutes and played the remainder of the game but it was not enough to register any points. Cam Murray, fresh from his debut workhorse try last week was the big winner, starting in Crichton’s place, playing 69 minutes and scoring his second workhorse try with 46 involvements.

Right across the board it was a terrible weekend for many of the league’s top workhorses. Also in the Rabbitohs vs Bulldogs game, Sam Burgess succumbed to rib injury and left the field after 56 minutes with 32 involvements. Burgess has 18 workhorse tries for the season and the possibility that he’ll be out for the season is a blow. In the same game, Josh Jackson, who has 13 workhorse tries for the season also failed  to get a workhorse despite playing the full 80 minutes.

Of the top 40 workhorse try scorers this season, 10 of them missed workhorse tries this week and that doesn’t include those who were out this week through injury, suspension or form. Andrew Fifita (43 involvements) and Josh McGuire (42) were the only players to score workhorse tries in the Brisbane vs Cronulla game with fancied workhorses such as Matt Gillett (37) and Paul Gallen (32) missing out. Manu Ma’u (39), Jack De Belin (38), Jarrod Wallace(30), Ethan Lowe (26) and the benched Issac Luke (18) all sit in the top 40 and all missed out as well.

News that Jai Arrow has signed with the Titans will create a headache for NRLCEOs in keeper leagues. After a disappointing 2017 season where he’s had no opportunity 2018 could finally be his breakout year. While it depends on how many keepers you allow in your league, most will think Arrow is too much of a risk to hold down a keeper spot but make no mistake, the Burleigh junior will be worth an early punt in next season’s drafts. Arrow has played just 8 games this season and averaged 28.4 minutes per game but you need only look at Jarrod Wallace’s output since moving back to the Gold Coast to get a gauge of what’s in store for Arrow.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Daniel Alvaro. Coming out of left field is Daniel Alvaro who posted a career high 65 involvements including 51 tackles against the Knights. The Eels certainly were put to work on Friday night with three players from the blue and gold making the Workhorse Pack of the Week.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Daniel Alvaro: 51 tackles + 14 hitups = 65
  2. Cameron King: 57 tackles + 4 hitups = 61
  3. Reagan Campbell-Gillard: 39 tackles + 19 hitups = 58
  4. Elijah Taylor: 51 tackles + 4 hitups = 55
  5. Jake Trbojevic: 43 tackles + 12 hitups = 55
  6. Nathan Brown: 52 tackles + 11 hitups = 63

14. Aiden Tolman: 41 tackles + 14 hitups = 55
15. Simon Mannering: 40 tackles + 14 hitup = 54

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Manu Ma’u: 29 tackles + 10 hitups = 39

Michael Chee-Kam: 24 tackles + 15 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Hard to imagine but 23 rounds into the season and we’re still seeing players scoring their inaugural workhorses. Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona scored his first workhorse try ever with 40 involvements against the Roosters. Asofa-Solomona started the game and played 48 minutes (0.83 SPM), well up on the 32 minutes per game he’s been averaging off the bench. The front rower has played all but one game this season but this is his first workhorse after coming close on two previous occasions when he ended up in the No Cigar Club in Rounds 4 and 18.

Shout out to Tim Mannah who played his 200th game on Friday night and while the Eels were flogged, Mannah had 41 involvements in just 37 minutes (1.11 SPM). Mannah regularly gets through a lot of work in his opening stint raising everyone’s hopes on a weekly basis but can sometimes be lucky to see 10 minutes in the second half. I say, raising everyone’s hopes, not me. I gave up on him a while back as I refuse to pick him and although he still sits in my squad it’s only because of the dearth of front rowers in my competition.

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I didn’t see the game but I’m intrigued to go back and watch now that I see that NRL.com had Coen Hess down for 12 missed tackles. TWELVE! Champion Data had him down for six missed tackles and just enough involvements to sneak in for a workhorse try with exactly 40 involvements (0.50 SPM). Then again, with Champion Data having the Cowboys down for 47 missed tackles and NRL.com marking them down for 56, maybe I should give it a miss.

Last week I noted the impressive season of Cameron McInnes and I would’ve kept my mouth shut had I realised I was up against him on the weekend. The Dragons’ hooker had his best game of the year notching up 18 points with a workhorse try (0.60 SPM) along with 2 tries, 2 line breaks and a line break assist. That’s now 20 workhorse tries for the season with the only blemish on his record, a 38 involvement performance back in Round 9 (and he scored an actual try in that game to make up for it).

 

JUST QUICKLY:

I’m not a Tigers fan but I’m glad to see Benji Marshall returning to where it all began. Some will argue it’s a bad move for the Tigers but if nothing else it will mean the club will always remember their greatest player fondly once he’s long retired and maybe give these kind of highlights from back in the day more of a run.

Workhorse Watch Rd 22

Few players have had breakout seasons, either this year or in previous years, that match the likes of Felise Kaufusi. The Storm forward scored his 17th workhorse try of the season, well up from the sole workhorse he scored last year. So good is Kaufusi’s season, when you take out metre eaters (and not all league play metre eaters), he is in fact the highest scoring player in the comp. Not bad for a player who was on average, the 160th pick in each league.

The same can’t be said for teammate Jesse Bromwich who sits on just six workhorse tries in 2017, well down on the double figure numbers he’s been posting for the last four seasons. Bromwich missed out again on the weekend with 28 involvements in 38 minutes of action. The Kiwi was the fifth most popular prop behind Graham, Tolman, Fifita and James at the beginning of the year but is the only one of the five not to be in double figures for workhorse tries with the other four all on 15 or more for the season.

Speaking of Ryan James, the prop lead the way with 60 involvements on the weekend for the Titans pack as they got pasted by the Broncos. All but one player in their starting forwards posted a workhorse try with James having a massive first half, registering 40 involvements in the opening 40 minutes. MASSIVE! But in a game where too many points is never enough, That, his 102 run metres meant NRLCEOs were already taking a double workhorse for granted at the break. Unfortunately the onslaught by the Broncos resulted in a second half that resulted in just three carries for 13 metres to fall short of his third double workhorse try of the season.

Anyone who picked up Cameron McInnes this season would be feeling pretty happy with themselves. The Dragons rake was picked 74th on average but out ranks all seven hookers who on average were picked before him. McInnes cracked the NRLCEO century against the Rabbitohs on Friday night and now has 19 workhorse tries for the season. That places him ahead of more fancied dummy halves Smith (97 – not including goals), McCullough (94), Hodgson (87), Friend (77), Farah (67), Lichaa (57) and Peats (49).

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Workhorse of the Week:

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Damien Cook. 18 NRLCEO points and a win for the Bunnies. Seems to me Robbie Farah’s days are numbered. Cook was the only player this week to score a double workhorse try and the former Bulldog threw a bunch of other stats including a 24th minute try to be this week’s Workhorse of the Week.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Ryan James: 45 tackles + 15 hitups = 60
  2. Damien Cook: 43 tackles + 14 hitups = 57
  3. Dylan Napa: 45 tackles + 12 hitups = 57
  4. Ethan Lowe: 45 tackles + 14 hitups = 59
  5. Jack De Belin: 43 tackles + 14 hitups = 58
  6. David Klemmer: 41 tackles + 18 hitups = 59

14. Nathan Peats: 55 tackles + 4 hitups = 59
15. Matt McIlwrick: 52 tackles + 3 hitup = 55

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Andrew Fifita: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

Corey Harawira-Naera: 25 tackles + 14 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE


Regular reader Adrian pointed out an interesting stat on Friday night concerning Leeson Ah Mau. The Dragons forward registered exactly 40 involvements for the third straight week. Since 2015, five players have registered 40 involvement games back to back but no player had done it three consecutive weeks. Bunty Afoa and Joe Greenwood have gone back to back this season while Cameron Smith (Rounds 2 & 3) and Manu Ma’u (Rounds 14 & 15) did it last year and Mike Cooper (Rounds 3 & 4) in 2015.

Like Ah Mau, Joe Greenwood is on a run of 40 involvement games having gone back to back in the last two weeks (0.50 SPM). He’s scored workhorse tries in each of his last four games to take his tally to eight for the season. That represents great value for NRLCEOs when you consider where he was picked up on average at the beginning of the season. Greenwood was picked 180th on average, making him a steal having produced 60 points this season.

Alex Twal scored his third workhorse try as the Panther downed the Tigers. The Parramatta City junior had a sensational stats per minute score of 1.05 with 44 involvements in 42 minutes. Fellow Tiger, Matt McIlwrick also scored his third workhorse of the season with career high 55 involvements in 80 minutes (0.69 SPM) as coach Ivan Cleary chose not to play Jack Littlejohn who only saw three minutes last week.

Congratulations to Cameron Murray who scored his first ever workhorse try with 47 involvements in 50 minutes (0.94 SPM). Prior to Friday’s game against the Dragons, Murray had been averaging 27.5 minutes per game with the most he’d played being 37 minutes against the Cowboys in Round 19.

Workhorse Watch Rd 21

One of the facets of the game NRLCEO doesn’t take into account is mistakes.

While there are penalties for players that are sin binned or sent off, there’s no fallout when a player misses a tackle (especially if it leads to a try) or gives away a penalty. Take Friday’s game between Parramatta and Brisbane. The Eels started aggressively in defence, with the Broncos’ first touch of the ball, they drove Darius Boyd back eight metres in a three man tackle. The second tackle was also strong but on the third, the Eels were penalised for being inside the 10. That sparked an eight minute period where the Eels saw very little ball and the Broncos put on two quick tries. Now credit to the Eels, they dug in and eventually won the game (in fact the Broncos didn’t score another try after that), but that only serves to prove my point.

When the Eels were composed in their defence and worked as a team they controlled the game, when they tried to show too much aggression in order to get the upper hand, they made costly mistakes. Nathan Brown had 65 involvements in the game and scored his third double workhorse in a month but finished the game under a cloud after his shot on Jonas Pearson. Sometimes contact can go awry but there was no need for Brown to run out of the line the way he did. It cost his side a penalty goal and could have had bigger repercussions if it meant Parramatta were to miss their best forward, which would’ve left NRLCEOs down a prop too.

For all the tackles we laud in fantasy, it’s the mistakes that are the most telling.

One player who probably hasn’t got the plaudits throughout the season is the Dragons’ Jack De Belin. The back rower scored his first double workhorse try of the year against the Knights to take his season total to 18 workhorses. In terms of points, he just needs just one more workhorse to surpass his total from last year and yet we still have five games to go. De Belin flies under the radar somewhat as he averages 49 involvements a game which means he’s never at the very top of the workrate list each week but because he is so consistent, he’s scored a workhorse in all but one game this season.

Workhorse of the Week:

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Nathan Brown’s round high of 205 metres gained to go along with his 65 involvements saw him sweep past Aiden Tolman (69 involvements) and Cam McInnes (68 involvements) for Workhorse of the Week honours. In fact it was a big week for props, with Paul Vaughan and David Klemmer filling the Pack of the Week bench spots.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Ryan James: 48 tackles + 15 hitups = 63
  2. Cameron McInnes: 68 tackles + 0 hitups = 68
  3. Aiden Tolman: 56 tackles + 13 hitups = 69
  4. Ethan Lowe: 45 tackles + 15 hitups = 60
  5. Jack De Belin: 43 tackles + 17 hitups = 60
  6. Nathan Brown: 45 tackles + 20 hitups = 65

14. Paul Vaughan: 41 tackles + 17 hitups = 58
15. David Klemmer: 34 tackles + 22 hitup = 56

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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After a massive week last weekend, just one player made the No Cigar Club this week. However, there were nine players who scraped in for a workhorse try with 40 involvements.

Joe Stimson: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Moses Mbye scored his first ever workhorse try as the Bulldogs went down to the Panthers. The Bulldogs half only just got there with exactly 40 involvements (0.50 SPM) and is now one game away from a positional upgrade. Unfortunately Mbye’s switch to hooker did little for the Bulldogs attack which continues to languish as the worst in the league. Cameron King also scored his first workhorse try in the Eels’ win over the Broncos. Like Mbye, he finished with exactly 40 involvements (0.50 SPM).

Bryce Cartwright made his return to the NRL after a two month lay off. The Panthers backrower came off the bench and had 27 involvements in 33 minutes (0.82 SPM). It was a tentative return though with the St Mary’s junior missing four tackles. In other news, I just checked his bio and the guy is only 22 years old! I know players are young these days but it blows my mind when you consider that he made his NRL debut back in 2014.

The injury list for hookers has reached a new level of disaster with the injury to Andrew McCullough. McCullough managed to secure a workhorse try (0.58 SPM) before doing some major damage to his ACL and MCL which is said to leave him out for up to eight months – next season is seven months away. He joins a long list of first choice hookers now sidelined for the season including Jayden Brailey, Kaysa Pritchard and Matt Ballin. Throw in the turmoil at hooker at both the Rabbitohs and the Bulldogs and the pickings are very slim.

Fortunately though we have Victor Radley, who scored his first ever workhorse try with 52 involvements in 80 minutes. (0.65 SPM). The Clovelly Crocodile played on after injuring his hand in the first ten minutes, topping the tackle count for the game. With Jake Friend still a week away from returning, the fact it wasn’t more serious is a welcome relief for the Roosters faithful.

 

JUST QUICKLY:

The finals have come a week early to my private league with eight teams battling it out for six finals spots. The top three are safe but the next three are up for grabs. Due to the way the draw is in the final round, the scenario for each team is simple, win and you’re in. Meanwhile, the rest of the league is looking to the future and shit is already getting real with the likelihood of our league introducing trade offers involving draft picks. This could get messy!

Workhorse Watch Rd 20

If AFL ever takes over rugby league in Sydney, I’ll understand the what but not the why and how. Your workhorse correspondent headed to the SCG on Saturday night to see  Sydney take on St Kilda and while the Swannies are in great form at the moment and the 35,773 was the biggest crowd I’d watched a footy game with in quite a while, I was honestly bored. I was ready to go home at quarter time. My favourite part of an AFL game is the macho, push and shove game that happens before the ball is in play which then immediately subsides the moment umpire blows time on. Seriously, what is that about? Thankfully not all was lost, with the tackle by Isaac Heeney on Jarryn Geary an absolute ball tearer. Unfortunately it probably would have been deemed an illegal tackle had it been made in the NRL and in AFL it’s just shy of a hangable offence.

Meanwhile, has the NRL looked into claiming Auskick juniors for themselves? Obviously the rules of all sports are modified to help kids develop but apparently when you’re really little, the concept of touching the ball on the ground is completely thrown out the window. Instead kids just tuck the ball under the arm and run the length of the field with a swarm of other players in toe. These kids are born league players!

No sir, give me a day out at the 8th Wonder of the World, Henson Park alongside “8,972” rugby league die hards any day. The Newtown Jets hosted their second annual Beer, Footy & Food Festival with resounding success. The hill was packed, the craft beer was flowing and the jerk chicken and buttermilk chicken tacos were well worth the wait. On the field it was all Newtown as the Jets ran in 7 tries to 2 with fringe Sharks forward Sam Tagataese getting across the stripe twice and Captain America himself Joseph Paulo, scoring a try to go with 4 goals.

Up front, former Wagga Kangaroo Jaimin Jolliffe lead the way for the home side with 32 tackles and 17 runs for 140 metres in 70 minutes of action while for the Warriors, the very appropriately named King Vuniyawa topped the tackle count for the match with 36 tackles to go with 7 runs.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Ryan James. Simon Mannering topped the involvement count but Ryan James had the metres to ensure his 63 involvements added up to a double metre eater. It was a big bounce back for the Titans prop having missed out entirely last weekend with 38 involvements.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Ryan James: 48 tackles + 15 hitups = 63
  2. Nathan Peats: 46 tackles + 4 hitups = 50
  3. Jarrod Wallace: 37 tackles + 15 hitups = 52
  4. Elliott Whitehead: 49 tackles + 9 hitups = 58
  5. Simon Mannering: 54 tackles + 14 hitups = 68
  6. Jake Trbojevic: 49 tackles + 9 hitups = 58

14. Jack De Belin: 32 tackles + 24 hitups = 56
15. Aidan Guerra: 39 tackles + 16 hitup = 57

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Standing room only in the No Cigar Club this weekend. Prior to this weekend, eight was the amount we’ve had over the last three rounds combined.

Joe Wardle: 31 tackles + 8 hitups = 39

Shaun Fensom: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

Ben Matulino: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

Daniel Alvaro: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

Paul Vaughan: 24 tackles + 15 hitups = 39

Sam Burgess: 22 tackles + 17 hitups = 39

Mitchell Pearce: 31 tackles + 8 hitups = 39

Alex Twal: 28 tackles + 11 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

Mitchell Pearce was given a thorough workout against Newcastle with the Knights sending so many runners at him that he found himself in the No Cigar Club. Pearce had 31 tackles and 8 runs (0.49 SPM) which was his highest number of involvements since Round 9 when he qualified for a workhorse try against the Warriors. Pearce is one of the most worked over halves in the game and averages 21.7 tackles per game; Daly Cherry-Evans is the only halfback who averages more (24.3). Compare that to Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston who average just 13.6 and 13.3 tackles per game and it’s little wonder they get the plaudits as the best playmakers in the game – they do a fraction of the work of the more maligned Pearce and DCE.

The Trent Robinson continues to draw directly from the Brian Smith School of Coaching with some last minute mind games. Whilst Connor Watson finally got to run out in the position he had been named in, Mitch Cornish was demoted back to the bench in favour of rookie Victor Radley. Radley had 37 involvements in 67 minutes (0.55 SPM) to fall just short of a workhorse try on debut.

NRLCEOs scrambling for a decent front rower late in the season might want to look at Raiders forward Joe Tapine. The former Knights has been a frequent member of Ricky Stuart’s 17 throughout the season but in the last two weeks has strung together consecutive workhorse tries. Tapine’s workrate has exploded going from an SPM of 0.72 to 0.92 in the last fortnight. In that two week time frame he’s missed just one tackle.

My foray into AFL meant I missed one of the truly remarkable moments of the season and that was Shaun Fensom starting Saturday night’s game as a prop forward! I know I said Fensom was having some great games in terms of meterage recently but naming him in the front row?! Fensom fell into the Close But No Cigar club after only managing 36 minutes (1.08 SPM) after coming off with a rib injury in the second half. Meanwhile teammate Coen Hess went even better with 46 involvements in 41 minutes (1.12 SPM)

Workhorse Watch Rd 18

What was I saying last week about the Sea Eagles only averaging 2.4 workhorse tries per game? That stat got blown out of the water against the Panthers with Manly scoring SIX workhorse tries including Lloyd Perrett and Shaun Lane scoring their first workhorse tries of the season. Both players made the Workhorse Team of the Week with Lane accruing 53 involvements and Perrett getting 51. Neither had scored a workhorse try since 2015 and joined teammates Brenton Lawrence, Api Koroisau, Frank Winterstein and Martin Taupau in getting workhorse tries this week.

Martin Taupau had his best workhorse game of the season racking up 45 involvements against the Panthers. Taupau’s workrate in attack is among the best in league as he averages the third most metres per game among forwards with 164 metres per match but his average of 23 tackles a game means he’s generally only 50/50 on getting a workhorse and when he does, he only just gets there; four of his eight workhorse tries have come from either 40 or 41 involvements.

Free Connor Watson!

NRLCEOs were disappointed to see the five-eighth benched prior to kick off after initially being named in the starting side for the Roosters in Friday night’s game. Watson may not be a forward but he is one of several players that were earmarked for promising things at the start of the season especially after scoring 44 points last year but he still hasn’t been given a legitimate shot. It begs the question, ‘which is worse’? Having a player coming off the bench getting sporadic opportunities or one getting none at all? At least if a player like Jai Arrow or Nat Butcher isn’t getting a run you can just cut them, but a player like Watson who is there every week can be frustrating especially during bye affected weeks.

Nate Myles played his first game for Melbourne and came close to a workhorse try with 37 involvements against Parramatta. Myles was a late inclusion in the starting side but despite this, and playing 47 minutes (well up on the 35 minutes he was averaging at Manly) Myles still couldn’t crack it for his first workhorse try of the season.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Aiden Tolman. Tolman again takes Workhorse of the Week honours for the third time this season, edging out the Eels’ Nathan Brown. If not for the fact that Brown has dual positioning and Waerea-Hargreaves made more metres than Dale Finucane, we would have seen the exact same front row as last week.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Lloyd Perrett: 42 tackles + 9 hitup = 51
  2. Jake Friend: 62 tackles + 2 hitups = 65
  3. Aiden Tolman: 49 tackles + 17 hitups = 66
  4. Shaun Lane: 41 tackles + 12 hitups = 53
  5. Slade Griffin: 40 tackles + 10 hitups = 50
  6. Nathan Brown: 49 tackles + 22 hitups = 65

14. Api Koroisau: 49 tackles + 4 hitups = 53
15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves: 30 tackles + 20 hitups = 50

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Nelson Asofa-Solomona: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

Tohu Harris: 25 tackles + 14 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

Whilst Nat Butcher is still yet to really get a proper crack in first grade there’s no doubting his workhorse potential. Butcher played just 12 minutes on Friday but had 16 involvements to post the best stats per minute score of the round with 1.33. That beats his work rate in Round 16 (1.09 SPM) and in his NRL debut last year (0.82 SPM).

Daniel Alvaro had arguably the best stats per minute though considering he scored a workhorse try. Alvaro had 44 involvements in just 34 minutes (1.29 SPM) on the way to his seventh workhorse try of the season. His teammate Tim Mannah was also tracking well with 17 involvements before coming off with concussion after just 13 minutes (1.31 SPM). With that being said, Mannah usually has a heavy involvement early, safe in the knowledge that once he goes off after 20 minutes he usually doesn’t come back on until the last 15.

Des Hasler’s search for some form from the Bulldogs has cost NRLCEOs one of the league’s leading workhorses with Michael Lichaa dumped to the bench against Newcastle and only coming on with six minutes remaining. Lichaa (0.33 SPM) only got 5 touches of the ball (and no runs) and only had to make 2 tackles as the final six minutes of the game were the most chaotic as the Bulldogs ran in two tries to win the game. The man who shifted to dummy half, Moses Mbye played the full 80 minutes but only had 35 involvements (0.44 SPM).

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Well done to Leilani Latu who scored his first workhorse try of the season with an excellent stats per minute score of 1.02. Latu had 43 involvements in 42 minutes. His minutes were only marginally up on his normal average (37 minutes per game) but his work rate was much higher than the usual 0.70 SPM. The difference was in attack with Latu running the ball twice as much as what he normally does to bring up his first workhorse.

Workhorse Watch Rd 17

With the last of the major bye rounds upon us weekend, player selection will be crucial as competitions come down to the business end of the season. Omitting one player in favour of another can be the difference between winning and losing and despite there being a couple of blowouts between high ranking teams last weekend, Workhorse Watch research indicates you’re better off leaning towards players who are involved in matches between high quality teams (or at least evenly matched teams) rather than players in struggling teams who seemingly will have to do a lot of defence.

Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Roosters all rank in the top four in both workhorse tries scored and conceded while the Sharks are ranked 6th for workhorse tries scored and are 4th for workhorses scored against them. Melbourne in particular have been involved in several games with a high number of workhorse tries against varying opposition, both high quality teams like Cronulla (12 workhorse tries in their Round 6 match) and lesser teams like Souths (12 workhorse tries in their Round 11 match) and the Warriors (11 workhorse tries in their Round 2 game).

At the other end of the ladder it’s a similar story, if you’re tossing up between a player that’s playing against a bad team, compared to a good team, you’re better off going for the forward in the better team. The Newcastle Knights are ranked last for workhorse tries scored and third last in workhorse tries conceded. Teams continue to rack up big scores against the Knights and there just isn’t time for players to score workhorse tries. It’s a similar story over at the Titans who are ranked last for workhorse tries scored against them (2.3 per game).

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and games involving Manly are some of the worst for producing workhorse tries. Despite sitting in the top four, the Sea Eagles only average 2.4 workhorse tries between them per game (15th) and teams only score 2.9 workhorse tries against them each game (13th).  There are also exceptions to the tries conceded rule as well. Despite languishing in second last place on the ladder, more tries are scored against the Tigers than any other team.

 

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Aiden Tolman. Just another day at the office for the Bulldogs prop but a huge way to bounce back after being in the Close But No Cigar Club last week. When he made the club back in Round 13 I predicted he’d bounce back with Workhorse of the Week, he didn’t, but second time’s the charm.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Nathan Brown: 42 tackles + 25 hitups = 67
  2. Jake Friend: 65 tackles + 3 hitups = 68
  3. Aiden Tolman: 54 tackles + 19 hitups = 73
  4. Simon Mannering: 53 tackles + 18 hitups = 71
  5. Bodene Thompson: 44 tackles + 10 hitups = 54
  6. Jake Trbojevic: 48 tackles + 15 hitups = 63

14. Andrew McCullough: 55 tackles + 6 hitups = 61
15. Leeson Ah Mau: 44 tackles + 10 hitup = 54

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Lewis Brown: 36 tackles + 3 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

Nathan Brown (0.79 SPM) had a huge game on Thursday night as he scored his first ever double workhorse and while he fell short of Aiden Tolman’s 73 involvements he did outrun the Bulldogs’ workhorse gun with 206 metres gained. Brown’s work in attack was double that of every other Eels forward as the blue and golds struggled to get the ball out of their own territory for much of the second half.

The Eels’ cause wasn’t helped by Kenny Edwards who made some of the most bone headed decisions in the one game that I’ve seen in a while including backing away from a player after being called offside then going in to tackle him anyway as well as lunging for an intercept after three consecutive sets when instead he could have paused for a moment waited for Mbye to catch the ball and then diffuse the play with a ball and all tackle. However from a workhorse point of view he had his best game with a career high 53 involvements (0.62 SPM).

Simon Mannering posted a massive 71 involvements this week with 53 tackles and 18 runs (0.89 SPM). His efforts in the last two weeks have been some of the best of the season and up there with several efforts he had last year including that epic game in Round 16 where he had 80 involvements. The difference this time round was he had the metres to go with it, giving him a double workhorse.

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Andrew McCullough came within a metre of his second double workhorse try of the year racking up 61 involvements (0.76 SPM) for the game. It was the opposite story last weekend when he ran for 76 metres but only had 44 involvements. Can the Tantasy boys get Macca on the podcast and run him through the numbers required for a double workhorse, it’s killing some NRLCEOs, including me. And while you’re at it, get Josh McGuire on the phone too and tell him we know how tough he is, he doesn’t need to soldier on after taking a bad hit. McGuire was in Disneyland after copping a heavy knock in the early goings and had to be wrestled off the field by the trainers. The images highlighted how important it is that the powers that be continue to be strong managing concussion, it’s going to cost someone big time if we don’t remain vigilant.

You reckon Ricky is regretting letting Shaun Fensom go? It’s hard to remember that Stuart opted against Fensom last year, eventually forcing him out of the club due to the fact he wasn’t a ball runner. The former Raider out ran all the Canberra forwards in the Cowboys’ 31-18 win. Fensom had 49 involvements in 53 minutes (0.92 SPM)  and ran for 178 metres, his best in almost two years.

 

JUST QUICKLY:

If you haven’t already, check out the piece written by Josh Wells on the NRLCEO comp I play in – UV2RL. Digging up some old photos for it brought back a lot of memories, albeit rather vague ones.

Read more here: www.nrlceo.com/building-a-franchise-online/

Workhorse Watch Rd 16

After failing to name Angus Crichton last week and not hearing the end of it from rival Hamish Neal, he’s gone one better this week by failing to name the ‘Ross Dog’ Nathan Ross who crossed for three tries against the Dragons.

At least my mistake was by accident and didn’t cost me the win. His omission was a conscious one and cost him victory. How a team sitting second last can choose Dylan Edwards on the bench instead of Ross is beyond me, but it probably explains why he’s second last. At least he had Max King. You gotta love a front rower playing in the back row. Sadly there is a shortage of quality front rowers among the fresh faces that pop up each week so when you can find one that was listed as a prop at the start of the season but plays in the back row, you’d best hold onto him. King had 42 involvements to register his second workhorse try in as many weeks.

Still on the topic of positions, another week and another workhorse try gone begging for Ryan Matterson. The Roosters backrower scored his third workhorse in four weeks but most NRLCEOs won’t be able to take advantage of it due to the fact he’s listed as a five-eighth. NRLCEO has a rule where if a player plays three consecutive games in a position or five in total they get a position upgrade. But surely three workhorse tries deserves a positional upgrade?

Paul Vaughan’s fantastic season hit a speed hump over the weekend after the Dragons prop injured his calf muscle just three minutes into the game against the Knights. It was just the third time this season that he’s missed out on scoring points with the former Raider currently sitting pretty with 12 workhorse tries for the year. His injury did create an opportunity for Leeson Ah Mau who scored just his second workhorse try of the season with 35 tackles and 18 runs for 171 metres (a career best).  

Speaking of injury, it’s unfortunate to see Matt Ballin’s career succumb to injury with the 220 game veteran announcing his retirement, effective immediately. At the beginning of the year I listed Ballin as one to step up now that Farah had departed, unfortunately injury has dogged the former Sea Eagle since arriving at the Tigers allowing him to play just three NRL games in two season, and just 10 minutes this year. But let us remember Ballin for the incredible career he had prior to that where he played for nine years at Manly and had 100 workhorse tries just from 2011 to 2015 alone. He is a workhorse gun and while the presence of Cameron Smith probably cost him a few Origin jerseys, it made him an NRLCEO gem.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Simon Mannering posted a massive 75 involvements this week with 62 tackles and 13 runs. It was the most number of involvements he’s had in a game this season and up there with several efforts he had last year including that epic game in Round 16 where he had 80 involvements. The difference this time round was he had the metres to go with it, giving him a double workhorse.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Aaron Woods: 40 tackles + 15 hitups = 54
  2. Jake Friend: 71 tackles + 3 hitups = 74
  3. Leeson Ah Mau: 35 tackles + 18 hitups = 53
  4. Simon Mannering: 62 tackles + 13 hitups = 75
  5. Gavin Cooper: 40 tackles + 15 hitups = 55
  6. Dale Finucane: 44 tackles + 16 hitups = 60

14. Mitch Rein: 52 tackles + 4 hitups = 56
15. Nathan Peats: 50 tackles + 3 hitup = 53

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Aiden Tolman: 28 tackles + 11 hitups = 39

David Klemmer: 25 tackles + 14 hitups = 39

Kenny Bromwich: 28 tackles + 11 hitups = 39

Mitch Barnett: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

Ethan Lowe: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

Caption: Yes, I know Tim Browne doesn’t play for the Dogs anymore, but there aren’t many photos of him celebrating in Panthers colours!

I don’t know how it is even possible but Tim Browne has posted the most remarkable Stats Per Minute score in the history of the concept on the way to scoring his first workhorse try of the season. Browne had 46 involvements, no issues there, but nrl.com (my source for game time stats) has him down for just 32 minutes of game time.

That’s a stat per minute score of 1.44!

Insane! I’m not sure if it’s some sort of error as I haven’t watched the tape but 32 minutes is in line with what he usually plays (30.9 minutes) and the stats providers used by NRLCEO aren’t normally liberal with the numbers; either way, it stands.

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He may have finished in the Close But No Cigar Club this week but Ethan Lowe’s stocks have suddenly gone up following the injury to Jonathan Thurston. Lowe had 39 involvements in 80 minutes (0.49 SPM) but thanks to JT’s absence, Lowe kicked three goals against the Panthers including the match winner from the sideline. Lowe should have cruised in for a workhorse try but missed four tackles (nrl.com had him down for seven misses!).

It’s rare to see Bulldogs forwards fall short of the mark but Aiden Tolman and David Klemmer both found themselves in the No Cigar Club this week. Klemmer usually doesn’t score workhorse tries so to see him finish on the wrong side of 40 (0.75 SPM) isn’t surprising. Tolman (0.72 SPM) on the other hand finished with 39 for the second time in three weeks. NRLCEOs can take heart in the fact that not since 2014 has Tolman played a season with more than two games where he was workhorse-less.

What has happened to Kevin Proctor? Proctor went from a stronger forward pack to a weaker one when he moved to the Gold Coast and yet he has just three workhorse tries this season compared to the ten he had at the same time last year. It doesn’t help that he’s missed rounds through suspension and injury but even now that he’s back, he’s fallen desperately short in the last two weeks. His minutes this year are basically the same as last year (71.8 minutes compared to 70.1 last year) but his involvements have dropped from 45 a game to 37.

Is he lazier or is Gold Coast’s style of play not conducive to scoring workhorse tries the same way Melbourne’s is?

Workhorse Watch Rd 15

Here’s a free tip. If you want to do well at NRLCEO, especially during a round heavily affected by Origin and the bye, be sure to name every player you have that is playing. Especially if that player is Angus Crichton. That’s right, you’re so called resident forwards expert here at NRLCEO failed to name one of the breakout stars of 2017 in a week when he had just 5 forwards playing. The worst part is Crichton has been a mainstay in my team every week since Round 4 but was somehow accidently omitted this week. Crichton put on one of the greatest displays by any player in NRLCEO history, scoring three tries, a workhorse try, four line breaks and a double metre eater. Fortunately I still got away with a win but the omission is up there with some of my greatest fantasy blunders which include cutting Anthony Watmough in my first season of fantasy football in 2003 to make room for Andrew Gee and the time I didn’t keep track of who I was drafting and ended up with six five-eighths.

A couple of the North Queensland boys really rolled up their sleeves against Melbourne on Saturday evening including Jason Taumalolo who the NRL credits with running 300 metres for the game. As NRLCEO only count hit up metres, they had him down for 268 metres which is his best since Round 1. Ethan Lowe once again showed it all comes down to the minutes, getting his second workhorse try in as many weeks. The Goondiwindi junior played the full 84 minutes on his way to having 48 involvements. However the star performer was Scott Bolton who scored his first ever double workhorse try with 60 involvements and a metre eater with 182 metres made. Taumalolo would have joined him for a double workhorse but fell one involvement short with the Kiwi wrecking ball missing 4 tackles. Meanwhile John Asiata could’ve had his first workhorse try of the year but missed a massive seven tackles!

Matt Eisenhuth proved that the acorn doesn’t fall too far from the tree (sort of). The cousin of Paul Gallen played his first NRL game on Saturday night, going head to head with his workhorse of a relative where he more than held his own scoring a workhorse try on debut. Eisenhuth had 41 involvements whilst Gallen was just one involvement off a double workhorse try. Both Sydney papers ran a story on Saturday about Eisenhuth’s struggle with injury over the years but it was the Telegraph’s piece that I happened to read first; it was a lovely story and the polar opposite of the shit they ran during the week on Tim Glasby.

This round was also a good opportunity for a number of forwards to get amongst the workhorse tries for the first time this season. The Parramatta vs St George Illawarra game saw Tariq Sims (45 involvements) and Kenny Edwards (47) score their first workhorse tries of the season. Meanwhile congratulations to Manu Ma’u who scored his first ever double workhorse try with a huge 61 involvements. His 173 metres was the most he’s in run in a game since bursting onto the scene back in 2014 when he ran for 188 metres in his NRL debut.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Tohu Harris is back averaging a workhorse try per game, scoring his first double workhorse of the season after missing out by two involvements in his return game back in Round 10. Harris played the full 84 minutes in the forwards after being named in the backs earlier in the week and had 65 involvements to go with 141 run metres.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Jesse Bromwich: 44 tackles + 19 hitups = 63
  2. Cameron McInnes: 47 tackles + 4 hitups = 51
  3. Scott Bolton: 40 tackles + 20 hitups = 60
  4. Tohu Harris: 52 tackles + 13 hitups = 65
  5. Manu Ma’u: 41 tackles + 21 hitups = 61
  6. Elijah Taylor: 57 tackles + 8 hitups = 65

14. Paul Gallen: 42 tackles + 17 hitups = 59
15. Jason Taumalolo: 34 tackles + 25 hitup = 59

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Kyle Lovett: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Round 15 proved to be a great round for unknowns to make their mark and whilst everyone is talking about Brodie Croft and Angus Crichton, there were few other notable performances including Crichton’s teammate Tyrell Fuimaono. Fuimaono took full advantage of his first game in the starting side scoring his first ever workhorse try with 41 involvements in 80 minutes (0.51 SPM). Both he and Crichton were the only Rabbitohs forwards to play the full 80 minutes.

In the same game, Pat Politoni scored a workhorse try on debut filling in for Nathan Peats. Politoni had a cracking game from an NRLCEO perspective with 42 involvements along with a try and a try assist in 69 minutes of game time (0.61 SPM). Politoni served his purpose this week but unfortunately he also had 7 missed tackles and with the Titans having the bye prior to Origin 3, I wouldn’t be scrambling to pick him up anytime soon if he’s still available in your league.

Still with the Titans, Max King also scored his very first workhorse try, registering exactly 40 involvements in 50 minutes of game time (0.80 SPM). King played with the same rate of involvement that he normally does (0.82 SPM) with the workhorse coming courtesy of the extra minutes (he normally averages 31.6 minutes per game).

Matt Prior made his minutes count on the weekend scoring a workhorse try with 42 involvements in just 38 minutes. His stats per minute rate of 1.10 was the best of any workhorse tryscorer over the weekend and second only to teammate Jeremy Latimore who had 32 involvements in 26 minutes of game time (1.23 SPM). Prior’s opposite number, Ava Seumanufagai was also extremely efficient with 48 involvements in 51 minutes (0.94 SPM) as he once again stepped up in the absence of Aaron Woods.

Workhorse Watch Rd 14

Following on from a look at pre-season predictions last week, there are a number of players that are really dragging the chain this leaving NRLCEOs wondering…

“What gives?”

What’s happened to Ethan Lowe for example? The Cowboys back rower scored just his fifth workhorse try for the season on Saturday, well down on the 19 workhorse tries he scored last year and the 20 the year before that. Lowe is averaging just 57.4 minutes a game, compared to the 78.9 minutes per game he averaged last season. The emergence of Coen Hess (who’s averaging an extra 12 minutes per game) and the arrival of Shaun Fensom has been largely responsible for Lowe’s low output.

It could be argued that the fall of Dylan Napa has been even worse. Napa scored 16 workhorse tries last year and after 14 rounds had 12, this year he has just two. Napa hasn’t scored a workhorse since Round 3 and hasn’t troubled the scores at all since Round 4. Although his minutes are not as severely down as Lowe’s, he’s still averaging 12 minutes less per game than he did in 2016. What’s interesting is that this has mainly affected the amount of work he’s doing in defence where he’s gone from averaging 31 tackles per game down to 22. The number of runs he’s making is about the same (13 a game in 2016 versus 12 a game in 2017) however the lightened load in defence has done little for his attack as he’s averaging 18 metres less per game and has just one Metre Eater for the season compared to the four he had at the same time last year.

If you’re counting on Chris Lawrence for a workhorse presence then you have some massive problems but NRLCEOs who drafted him at the beginning of the season would be rightly disappointed with his 2017 output. The Tigers’ veteran scored a handy 10 workhorse tries last season which put him just outside the top 50 for workhorses. This year he has just 2 workhorse tries in 11 games.

The workhorse output from the Broncos front row has been discussed before in this column but it’s worth bringing up again as we look at the players with the biggest drop offs from last season. In 2016, Korbin Sims scored twice as many workhorse tries as Adam Blair, Herman Ese’ese and Joe Ofahengaue combined. Sure it was for the Knights but this year he trails all of them in the workhorse department. Sims scored 10 last year and only has one to his name this season, which is bested by Blair (4), Ese’ese (3) and Ofahengaue (2). Once again minutes are a huge factor with Sims playing 20 minutes less per game compared to last year. He’s still making the same number of runs as he did last year but the drop in defensive workload has done nothing to lift his metres per run.  

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Josh Hodgson has got his season back on track as far as workhorse tries go, scoring his first double workhorse try of the season. Hodgson had 51 involvements, taking his workhorse tally to 7 for the year and in sight of the 11 he scored last season. Unfortunately the rest of the Hodgson’s numbers remain down, especially the try assist and line break assist department. Hodgson had 19 try assists and 16 line break assists last year and has just 7 and 5 respectively this year.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Aaron Woods: 37 tackles + 18 hitups = 55
  2. Josh Hodgson: 39 tackles + 12 hitups = 51
  3. Jarrod Wallace: 36 tackles + 16 hitups = 52
  4. Elijah Taylor: 51 tackles + 10 hitups = 61
  5. Mitch Barnett: 58 tackles + 14 hitups = 72
  6. Matt Gillett: 45 tackles + 14 hitups = 59

14. Nathan Peats: 55 tackles + 6 hitups = 63
15. Cam McInnes: 57 tackles + 3 hitup = 60

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Sam Thaiday: 24 tackles + 15 hitups = 39

Morgan Boyle: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

Jacob Lillyman: 25 tackles + 14 hitups = 39

Tim Grant: 31 tackles + 8 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

In addition to the strong performers that have been highlighted in recent weeks there are a few more worth mentioning that are quietly going about their business, putting together really good seasons compared to last year. Issac Luke finished with 10 workhorse tries last season but already has 9 so far this season. Luke’s (0.53 SPM) average minutes and average involvements are virtually identical to last year, it’s just that he’s being more consistent from one week to the next. In 2016 he’d often finish in the 30-39 involvement bracket but his average would be offset by all the times he would make over 50 involvements. This year when he scores a workhorse try he is more likely to do it with involvements that sit in the 40s and has been falling short of the 40 threshold far less frequently than last season.

In addition to leading NSW to victory in Game 1, Boyd Cordner is having a cracking NRLCEO season. Cordner sat out Sunday’s match against the Tigers but at the rate he’s going is set to have his best season ever. Currently Cordner (0.57 SPM) has 10 workhorse tries which equals the amount he scored in an injury plagued 2016 and it’s also not far off the 11 or 12 he usually scores in non-injury affected seasons.

I don’t blame Kevin Walters for making changes to his Queensland side but an apology from every Maroon, whether they be an official, player or fan would be nice. The banana benders can defend the move all they want saying it’s not the same because Queensland are moving on older players who are past it, but the principle is the same. Queensland picked a team they thought would win Game 1, it didn’t and now they can’t wait to make changes. I’m not for one minute arguing they should stick with the same players, I’m just saying if they’re in need of a new jersey sponsor, the word ‘hypocrite’ across their chest would look rather fitting.

It’s easy to stick with the same players when you’re winning and Queensland have done plenty of that in the last decade but don’t for minute think they wouldn’t have made changes if they’d been losing. Remember, this is the state who after three straight series losses prior to the beginning of their dynasty feared that Origin was dead because they couldn’t win. Darius Boyd is the equal highest try scorer in Origin history and while he’s not a bad player, plenty of those tries came from just falling over the line thanks to the great work of players inside him. Boyd’s timing was perfect, he came into first grade just as the dynasty started, and it was red hot by the time he got picked but if Queensland had have lost a series or two then Darius’ name would be more likely on the honour roll alongside Ty Williams rather than Greg Inglis. Whether the four fresh faces in the forward pack in Jarrod Wallace (0.79 SPM) Coen Hess (0.53 SPM) Tim Glasby (0.79 SPM) and Gavin Cooper (0.51 SPM) are up to the task remains to be seen.

Workhorse Watch Rd 13

So NRLCEO wants to drag me into Dream Team predictions that I don’t even remember making. And tell us all how wrong we were?

This is the same NRLCEO who wrote in this year’s Season Guide that “Gareth Widdop sucks”.

But I’m happy to be accountable, however let me distance myself from said Dream Team predictions and focus on the workhorses of our game.

Starting with the players I said would be major improvers – two of those are current Dream Team leaders Paul Vaughan and Cameron McInnes. I also said “Any of the top 40 workhorses from last year will serve you well” so that covers me for the other four Dream Team leaders – Sam Burgess, Simon Mannering, Paul Gallen and Jake Trbojevic. Other players I predicted who would go well include Jarrod Wallace (from 4 workhorse tries last year to 11 so far this year), Nathan Brown, (8 workhorse tries this year) and Robbie Farah who only has 4 workhorse tries to his name but has enough points to be the 8th highest scoring hooker in the league. Unfortunately there will always be variables that can cruel a player’s season and unfortunately injury (Jamie Buhrer, Rory Kostjayson), stupidity (Kevin Proctor) and a lack of opportunity (Robbie Rochow) can be hard to predict. I’m happy to cop James Tamou as a bad pick though, however I’m already serving my penance on that one having picked him as a marquee draft acquisition in my keeper league.

It’s all good news though when you look at who I said should be avoided. This was pretty easy to predict so I won’t go on too much about it, however it’s worth noting how keen NRLCEO was for Dave Taylor at the start of the year. Tony Williams, Daniel Mortimer, Curtis Sironen, Josh Starling, Jeremy Latimore and Manaia Cherrington, all duds. The one I will make an exception for is Mitch Rein who played his first NRL game of the year last week and whilst he missed out on a workhorse try with 37 involvements, did score two tries.

Lastly there were the guys I said to look to now that more prominent workhorses had left their NRL teams. The stand out here is Scott Bolton. Even before Matt Scott got injured for the season, Bolton was having a blinder of the year. He’s scored 11 workhorse tries for the season and last week’s game against the Titans was the first time he missed a workhorse try all year. The rest unfortunately have done nothing. So maybe NRLCEO is right, maybe I am shit at making predictions, certainly the fortunes of my NRLCEO team this year is testament to that.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Ryan James lead all comers with 66 involvements on the weekend but only ran for 59 metres so a double workhorse was never on the cards. He and Jarrod Wallace make up the front row in this week’s Pack of the Week and have narrowed the gap between themselves and Aiden Tolman/James Graham after both Bulldogs failed to score a workhorse on the weekend. Tolman and Graham still have 25 for the season followed by James and Wallace with 23.

 

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Ryan James: 56 tackles + 10 hitups = 66
  2. Jake Friend: 57 tackles + 7 hitups = 64
  3. Jarrod Wallace: 48 tackles + 11 hitups = 59
  4. Elijah Taylor: 54 tackles + 8 hitups = 62
  5. Kyle Lovett: 47 tackles + 13 hitups = 64
  6. Simon Mannering: 45 tackles + 11 hitups = 56

14. Cameron McInnes: 58 tackles + 5 hitups = 63
15. Nathan Brown: 38 tackles + 11 hitup = 49

 

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Aiden Tolman missed a workhorse try for the first time this season and instead finds himself in the Close But No Cigar Club. I predict he’ll bounce back with Workhorse of the Week honours next week.

Aiden Tolman: 31 tackles + 8 hitups = 39

Tepai Moeroa: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

Aidan Guerra: 28 tackles + 11 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Kyle Lovett is not having a good time of it off the field this season but on the field, his last two weeks have been stellar. Lovett scored his first workhorse of the season in Round 12 and backed it up with 60 involvements against the Dragons last week in 80 minutes of football (0.75 SPM). Such is the ordinariness of the Tigers pack when it comes to workhorse tries, his efforts in the last fortnight already puts him in equal third for most workhorse tries scored by a Wests forward this season.

I’m glad Ricky Stuart is happy to have Origin players in his side for the back end of the year because he may struggle to get much from his lone Origin star over the coming weeks. Josh Papalii had his lowest number of involvements (27) of the year on Sunday despite playing 82 minutes. His stats per minute score of 0.33 was the lowest of any forward last week and below his usual 0.49 which always leaves him as a 50/50 chance of scoring a workhorse. Incidentally, teammate Shannon Boyd had the highest SPM of the round (1.43) but sadly he only played 7 minutes.

I’ve already mentioned Ryan James (1.05 SPM) and Paul Vaughan (1.09 SPM) this week but the other front rower with an impressive stats per minute score was Parramatta’s Daniel Alvaro. All three had more involvements than minutes on their way to workhorse tries with Alvaro registering 49 involvements in 46 minutes (1.07 SPM). It was his fourth workhorse of the year and second in as many weeks.

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Morgan Boyle scored his first workhorse try after Neil Henry was forced to shuffle his team around following the injury to Nathan Peats. Boyle had 42 involvements while playing the full 80 minutes (0.53 SPM). Karl Lawton also scored his first workhorse try (0.53 SPM) but unless your league allows backs to score workhorse tries then it will have no consequence to you. Lawton has been coming off the bench as a forward for most of the year but has never been in workhorse calculations even if he did qualify as a forward. Either way, it doesn’t really matter seeing as though Peats is back this week. I know everyone has already said it and it was a week ago, but how good was Peats in Origin 1!