Category Archives: Workhorse Watch

Workhorse Watch Rd 19

Eisenhuth is German for Iron Hat and the Tigers forward showed plenty of strength in his opening three weeks but finds himself in the No Cigar Club this week. The Germans have an expression for that

“Knapp daneben ist auch vorbei.”

Translation: Coming close is also missing it.

It concludes the best start to a workhorse’s career in living memory with no other forward beginning their career with three straight workhorse tries. Usually forwards have a slow start, making their top grade debut off the bench before working their way into the side and becoming established workhorses. But Matt Eisenhuth has proven he’s got just as much ticker as his cousin Paul Gallen and while his run of consecutive workhorses may have ended hopefully there more to come – or as the Germans say,

“Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.”

Translation: Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.
Elliott Whitehead had a similar start to his NRL career with the Raiders forward scoring three workhorses in a row when he started back in Round 1 2015. He then missed two workhorses but then went on another 14 in a row to total 21 for the season. Of course Whitehead did have 177 Super League games under his belt and was an English representative by the time he donned the lime green. Whitehead got back amongst the workhorse tries on the weekend with 41 involvements against the Dragons after missing out in Round 17.

Mitch Barnett kind of comes into calculations if you discount his two games for the Raiders in 2015 (which we’re not although it should be noted that Barnett is actually younger than Eisenhuth, a player who has spent several years injured and in the lower grades). After moving to the Knights, Barnett went on a tear, scoring nine straight workhorses to finish the 2016 season. On Saturday he scored his 12th workhorse try of this season and had his best running game, clocking up a season high 126 metres. Similarly, Ethan Lowe played two games off the bench in 2013 and didn’t play first grade again Round 11 2014, where he went on a five game workhorse run.

Jayden Brailey is the obvious choice for Workhorse Rookie of the Year with nine workhorse tries for the season including three in his first four weeks. However there have been six weeks where he’s missed out, so on strike rate the balance falls back to Eisenhuth. If the Tigers’ forward can get back on track and score a workhorse every week between now and the end of the season, he’ll draw level with Brailey and strengthen his claim on the title, depending whether the Sharks hooker makes it back from a broken jaw and can add to his tally.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Paul Gallen had a personal season high of 74 involvements as the Sharks were pasted by the Titans in torrential conditions on Saturday night. I’ve been critical in the past when Gallen has hogged so much of the pill but Saturday’s game played on what resembled more of a pond than a field, were the exact conditions his style of play calls for. Unfortunately none of his teammates caught on.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Aaron Woods: 38 tackles + 20 hitups = 58
  2. Robbie Farah: 46 tackles + 6 hitups = 52
  3. Andrew Fifita: 37 tackles + 14 hitups = 51
  4. Mitch Barnett: 43 tackles + 14 hitups = 57
  5. Simon Mannering: 53 tackles + 12 hitups = 65
  6. Paul Gallen: 52 tackles + 22 hitups = 74

14. Cameron McInnes: 68 tackles + 2 hitups = 70
15. Jack De Belin: 43 tackles + 14 hitup = 57

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Wade Graham: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

Martin Taupau: 19 tackles + 20 hitups = 39

Sam Lisone: 32 tackles + 7 hitups = 39

Tom Burgess: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

Matt Eisenhuth: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Congratulations to Josh King who scored the first workhorse try of his career, accruing exactly 40 involvements against the Broncos. The Knights forward played 50 minutes (0.80 SPM), well up on the 37 minutes he’s been averaging so far this season. At 21 years of age, King is very young to be starting prop, then again, coach Nathan Brown has little choice but to bring these players through.

Congratulations also goes to Jai Arrow who scored his first workhorse try of the season in the same game. It’s been a miserable year for those who were hoping Arrow would be the next big thing, with the Broncos backrower playing just seven games this season and averaging just 24.5 minutes per game. On Saturday Arrow played 51 minutes after getting called into the run on team and finished with 42 involvements (0.82 SPM) and 154 metres gained.

It didn’t do much for the NRL result but NRLCEOs boasting Robbie Farah were happy to see the Rabbitohs rake secure his first double workhorse try of the season. Farah played the full game and had 52 involvements (0.65 SPM). His 80 minutes came at the expense of Damien Cook who was dropped by coach Michael Maguire prior to kick off and left NRLCEOs seething. Coming in at the expense of Cook was rookie Cameron Murray who had 17 involvements in 25 minutes (0.68 SPM) – not a bad effort for a guy who, according to the picture and link in his NRLCEO bio, is usually playing sixth or seventh tier soccer in England!

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Normal service resumed over at the Sea Eagles on Sunday with the team only scoring three workhorse tries against the Tigers, the team that normally concedes the most amount of any team. Well done to Shaun Lane who managed to not only hold down his place in the Manly back row but also score another workhorse try with 42 involvements in 80 minutes (0.53 SPM). Once Jake Trbojevic returned (0.61 SPM) I assumed that at the very least Lane’s numbers might drop below the 40 mark but with Trbojevic only playing 66 minutes there was enough work for Lane to get his second workhorse of the season. Trbojevic usually plays upwards of 75 minutes a game so Lane might still feel the pinch in coming weeks but for now, those who took a punt on him are feeling pretty chuffed.

 

JUST QUICKLY:

My thanks to the Commissioner, Jamie B for his data gathering efforts this week. We’ll make a workhorse watcher out of you yet!

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!

Workhorse Watch Rd 11

Commentators say some silly things at times. In fact, you could write a weekly column calling out the dumb stuff they say but that would require sitting through some dull games, and even duller commentary. The one I will mention though comes from Matt Thompson. I like Thompson but saying “Such a sad thing to see such a young player suffer an injury like this” when Josh Aloiai lay injured on Friday night is as benign as it gets. It’s so lazy and implies if it happened to an older player it wouldn’t be so bad. Aloiai had only been back on the field for three minutes having replaced Aaron Woods who in his return game had 41 involvements including 18 runs. Not to labour the point of recent weeks but 11 of those hit ups came in the first half, the rest of the Tigers’ starting pack combined for 9 hit ups in the first half. No support? Let someone else have a run Aaron.

Angus Crichton has emerged as a bonafide workhorse following his first ever double workhorse try. The Temora born backrower even out performed the great Sam Burgess (just) as he racked up 65 involvements to the Englishman’s 64. Coach Michael Maguire has made plenty of changes from week to week as the Bunnies struggle for form but one consistent has been Crichton in the back row. Crichton is a solid scorer provided he gets the minutes. In his last five games he’s only failed to trouble the scorers once and that was in Round 9 when he played just 47 minutes.

I’m glad to see Nathan Peats get his shot at Origin although disappointed to see that it may have come only because Peter Wallace is injured. The three main contenders (Wallace, Peats and Robbie Farah) all had a case to put forward although I’m glad Peats has been given the nod over Farah. Regular readers will know I’ve been a big Farah fan and he’s been posting some good fantasy numbers despite limited game time but I think it’s time to see what Peats can do. Peats had 48 involvements on the weekend to score is second workhorse try of the year but it was probably his three try assists against Melbourne the week before that secured him the NSW gig.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

Jason Taumalolo had a massive game on Thursday night scoring the first double workhorse of his career. Taumalolo ran for 211 metres off 19 runs which is just another day at the office for the New Zealand international but his 48 tackles to go with it was a personal best.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Aiden Tolman: 46 tackles + 12 hitups = 58
  2. Cameron Smith: 58 tackles + 4 hitups = 62
  3. Scott Bolton: 44 tackles + 15 hitups = 59
  4. Sam Burgess: 43 tackles + 21 hitups = 64
  5. Angus Crichton: 47 tackles + 18 hitups = 65
  6. Jason Taumalolo: 48 tackles + 19 hitups = 67

14. Jayden Brailey: 57 tackles + 5 hitups = 62
15. Trent Merrin: 38 tackles + 21 hitup = 59

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

James Graham: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

Daniel Saifiti: 35 tackles + 14 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

Andrew McCullough’s injury against the Tigers had a number of repercussions. It meant that McCullough’s run of consecutive workhorse tries dating back to Round 17 last year was broken. But it did create an opportunity for a young forward I thought would get more of a chance by now. With Josh McGuire shifting to hooker for the remaining 22 minutes, Joe Ofahengaue scored his first workhorse of the season playing 48 minutes, way up on his average of 21 minutes per game. The Tongan representative had 48 involvements for an SPM of 1.00.

Still with the Broncos and a number of young and not so young forwards have the opportunity to step up this week with three forwards away on Origin duty. One of those players is Alex Glenn who has been left in the workhorse wilderness in recent years. Glenn scored 12 workhorse tries back in 2015 but in the year and a half since then has scored only three. Glenn currently averages 28 involvements per game in 43.2 minutes of game time (0.65 SPM) but without Thaiday, McGuire and Gillett away with the Maroons, that should go up during Origin.

The Roosters are also well represented In Origin with Boyd Cordner, Dylan Napa and Aiden Guerra all set to line up next Wednesday night. That’s good news for Siosiua Taukeiaho (0.82 SPM for the season) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (0.85 SPM for the season) who both missed out on workhorse tries against the Bulldogs. Waerea-Hargreaves only just missed out (38 involvements) while Taukeiaho was well short of a workhorse (32 involvements) after only playing 39 minutes compared to the 55 minutes per game he’d averaged in the previous 3 games. Kane Evans meanwhile has a stats per minute score of 0.81.

Let’s get back to some high stats per minuters with Tim Mannah also registering an SPM of 1.00 as he played 40 minutes and scored just his second workhorse try of the season. Mannah’s only other workhorse this season was back in Round 1 in a performance that had workhorse fans wondering if this was going to be the year he returned as a genuine workhorse. The answer to that is no but at least he only needs one more workhorse try to equal his output from 2016.

Workhorse Watch Rd 10

When the Close But No Cigar Club was first started, it was a bit of fun. Oh look at these guys that have just missed out. Well it’s no longer a bit of fun. It’s down right frustrating. Especially when you include players at the expense of guys like Robbie Farah who ended up having his biggest round of the year. In Round 9 there were ten players in the Close But No Cigar Club and this week there were nine! This is getting ridiculous.

It is often said that players returning to club football from representative duties come back as better players with rep footy providing a boost in confidence if nothing else. Considering the disdain many have for City vs Country that line of thinking may not apply, but there was plenty of evidence to the contrary over the weekend. James Tamou (40 involvements) scored his first workhorse try since Round 6, Curtis Sironen (43) scored his first since Round 5 and Daniel Alvaro (44) broke a workhorse drought dating back to Round 4. Dale Finucane had his best performance since Round 6 and although the Dragons didn’t get the win against Cronulla, Paul Vaughan, Jack De Belin and Cameron McInnes all scored workhorse tries despite having to back up five days later. Meanwhile the Bulldogs and Raiders who refused to partake in the City/Country match got beaten by the Thurston-less Cowboys and the Knights respectively. Imagine if they hadn’t had a rest the week before!

Just four players remain in the race to be NRLCEO’s most consistent workhorse. Felise Kaufusi fell two involvements short of a workhorse bringing an end to his 9 game streak of consecutive four pointers. Players still yet to play a game this year without missing a workhorse are Broncos forward Josh McGuire (12 workhorses), teammate Andrew McCullough (11), Bulldogs’ trojan Aiden Tolman (11) and the Cowboys’ Scott Bolton (10).

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Apisai Koroisau. Koroisau was the only forward to post a double workhorse try this week although Sam Burgess did score two tries to go with his workhorse.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Josh McGuire: 35 tackles + 21 hitups = 56
  2. Apisai Koroisau: 52 tackles + 7 hitups = 59
  3. James Graham: 33 tackles + 18 hitups = 52
  4. Sam Burgess: 35 tackles + 19 hitups = 54
  5. Elijah Taylor: 61 tackles + 6 hitups = 67
  6. Paul Gallen: 42 tackles + 17 hitups = 59

14. Josh Hodgson: 53 tackles + 5 hitups = 58
15. Shannon Boyd: 43 tackles + 8 hitup = 51

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

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Another massive week in the Close But No Cigar Club.

Adam Elliott: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

Josh Jackson: 31 tackles + 8 hitups = 39

Jayden Brailey: 38 tackles + 1 hitups = 39

Cam Smith: 34 tackles + 5 hitups = 39

Gavin Cooper: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

Jason Taumalolo: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

Bodene Thompson: 33 tackles + 6 hitups = 39

Isaah Yeo: 32 tackles + 7 hitups = 39

Thomas Burgess: 21 tackles + 18 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Aaron Woods’ claim he has no help at the Tigers continues to be laughable as Ava Seumanufagai scored his first workhorse since Round 2 with his captain absent. Seumanufagai registered 39 involvements last round and this week had 47 in 54 minutes (0.87 SPM). Admittedly there was little else to write home about for the Tigers with no other forward getting over 60 metres as the side got pumped by the Rabbitohs.

Junior Paulo scored his first workhorse try in almost two years as the Raiders were beaten by the Knights. It was his first workhorse since joining the Green Machine with the one time Oatley rah-rah playing 59 minutes, up from his average of 54.5. Paulo had precisely 40 involvements for an SPM of 0.68, up from his usual 0.61 and enough to get his first workhorse try since Round 20, 2015.

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Titans’ front rower Morgan Boyle showed some promising signs in just his third match after he was forced to play 57 minutes after his side had players dropping left, right and centre. Although he missed out on a workhorse try by two involvements (0.67 SPM), he did get a metre eater, racking up 188 metres off 18 runs which was only bettered by Jarrod Wallace who ran for 212. Even more impressive was the fact he didn’t miss tackle against Melbourne which is a big improvement on his debut against the Knights in Round 6 where he made 20 tackles but missed 4.

Manly may have come away with a loss but Api Koroisau had a huge fantasy game as he crossed for a try and also posted a double workhorse try, his first since Round 16, 2015. 59 involvements in 75 minutes (0.79 SPM) along with 79 run metres made for Koroisau’s best NRLCEO performance ever.

Workhorse Watch Rd 9

Cameron Smith surpassed Jason Taylor for most premiership goals in the Storm’s rout of the Dragons.

It lead NRLCEO to declare him “the best NRLCEO kicker ever.”

The Melbourne rake, who had bang on 40 involvements against St George Illawarra, began his career just as fantasy rugby league began to emerge and whilst he certainly has the numbers on the board, is longevity the only thing that counts when considering who is the greatest?

Smith may be the best NRLCEO player of all time, but the name that has to be considered when you talk about greatest fantasy kicker of all time is Hazem El Masri.

El Masri averaged more goals per game than Smith over the length of his career despite only taking 12 attempts his first five seasons. When El Masri started in 1996 there was a bloke by the name of Darryl Halligan, himself a pretty prolific goal kicker, ahead of him. It wasn’t until 2001 that Hazem got the gig full time and when you compare his record when he started kicking on a permanent basis to when Smith did, he blows the Melbourne captain out of the water. From 2001 to 2009 El Masri kicked 882 goals in 223 games at an average of 3.96 goals per game. After splitting the duties with Matt Orford for a couple of years Smith began kicking on a regular basis in 2006 and since then has kicked 862 goals in 272 games for an average of 3.17 goals per game. Also, El Masri has a career accuracy of 82% compared to Smith with 73%. Smith may have workhorses and try assists to help regard him as the greatest of all time but when it comes to putting it over the black dot, give me ‘El Magic’ every day of the week.

The Panthers continue to find themselves firmly entrenched towards the bottom of the ladder and the question in the back of my mind whilst watching them on Thursday night was, where’s Mitch Rein? Rein signed a two year contract last year and whilst it was always clear he’d be second fiddle to Peter Wallace, I’m amazed that strategy hasn’t changed after the Panthers’ indifferent start to the season. Rein has played 7 out of 8 games this season for the Panthers’ NSW Cup side and has played 80 minutes in every game, averaging 44.4 tackles a match. Where I think Rein’s inclusion could really help is in the halves. Combinations take time but at present Nathan Cleary appears to be trying to do too much. Cleary averages 50.7 touches per game compared to his halves partner (be it Martin or Cartwright) with 28.1. Peter Wallace is clearly the leader of the team despite not having the (c) next to his name and the inclusion of Rein could shift Wallace into the halves to take some pressure off the 19 year old Cleary. It would also allow Cartwright to move back into the forwards where he can be more effective instead looking completely lost like he did on Thursday.

The Eels sure know how to dodge a workhorse try. Led by the Grand Emperor of the Close But No Cigar Club, Tim Mannah, the Eels had five players register between 35 and 39 involvements. Only Nathan Brown (52 involvements) scored a workhorse, his sixth consecutive at that. Mannah had 25 involvements in his first stint and with 10 minutes to go had 35 and his second workhorse of the season in sight. But the only thing rarer than a Tim Mannah workhorse try is a Tim Mannah actual try, his last meat pie was back in Round 23, 2015. Mannah barged over the line in the 74th minute and with just three involvements needed to get a workhorse it looked like a try/workhorse try was on the cards. Instead Brad Arthur brought him off the field; goddamnit Brad, you couldn’t leave him on for 6 more minutes? Other Eels adding to the workhorse frustration included Manu Ma’u (39), Kaysa Pritchard (38), Beau Scott (38) and Suaia Matagi (35).

Amid the booing, the banners and the projectiles, two young Tigers forwards scored their first workhorse tries of the season as the Tigers went down to the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval. Jacob Liddle and Josh Aloiai both scored workhorses with Liddle registering his first ever and Aloiai getting just the second of his career. The game though will be remembered for the three things I mentioned as well as Aaron Woods’ injury 25 minutes into the contest. As if to back up my point from last week it’s interesting to note is that in Woods’ absence, Ava Seumanufagai ran a season best 116 metres while Sauaso Sue ran 126 metres, his highest meterage since Round 1. Chris Lawrence also stepped up with 112 metres, well up from his average of 78 metres per game. Whilst none of those players average the same metres per run as Woods, they did enough to give their side enough of a platform to get back into the match by halftime.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

Simon Mannering. Were there Test match jerseys up for grabs this week? Whilst Mannering doesn’t need a Test jersey dangled as a carrot to put in a big performance, he certainly didn’t do his chances any harm with his third double workhorse of the season. Mannering will line up for the Kiwis this weekend after missing last year’s Four Nations tournament due to injury.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Aiden Tolman: 35 tackles + 21 hitups = 56
  2. Issac Luke: 44 tackles + 12 hitups = 56
  3. Andrew Fifita: 40 tackles + 15 hitups = 55
  4. Boyd Cordner: 41 tackles + 15 hitups = 56
  5. Josh McGuire: 44 tackles + 17 hitups = 61
  6. Simon Mannering: 49 tackles + 16 hitups = 65

14. Andrew McCullough: 54 tackles + 6 hitups = 60
15. Elijah Taylor: 49 tackles + 6 hitup = 55

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

I can’t remember the last time the No Cigar Club was this full. 10 in total this week!

Reagan Campbell-Gillard: 25 tackles + 14 hitups = 39

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

Ryan James: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

Josh Papalli: 24 tackles + 15 hitups = 39

Nathan Peats: 36 tackles + 3 hitups = 39

Will Chambers: 28 tackles + 11 hitups = 39

Josh Starling: 32 tackles + 7 hitups = 39

Jack De Belin: 27 tackles + 12 hitups = 39

Dylan Napa: 29 tackles + 10 hitups = 39

Ava Seumanufagai: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

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STATS PER MINUTE

Expect a green patch of form from Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess over the coming weeks as brother George serves a 4 match suspension. Tom’s two workhorse tries this season have come in his brother’s absence, the most recent being on Friday night with a season high 47 involvements against Manly (0.92 SPM) Tom averages 41 involvements when George isn’t in the team compared to 33.7 when he is.

Sam Stone scored his third straight workhorse try courtesy of 45 involvements (0.65 SPM) against the Titans on Saturday afternoon. It was shades of 2016 for the Knights as they had just 40% of possession for the game and 10 less sets of six than their opponent. Despite the amount of defence Newcastle were forced to do, Stone and hooker Daniel Levi were the only Knights forwards to score workhorse tries. Stone was also the Knights’ lone try scorer, getting the first of the game before the Titans wracked up a 30 point win.

Neither Connor Watson nor Nathaniel Roache got on the field on Sunday afternoon despite both sides backing up just 5 days after they played on ANZAC Day. That was a boon for Issac Luke who scored his first double workhorse try since Round 19 last year with 56 involvements and 87 metres in 80 minutes (0.71 SPM). It was just another day at the office for his opposite number, Jake Friend, who had 52 tackles and just the one run.

Still on the Warriors vs Roosters game and Sio Siua Taukeiaho is well and truly back scoring his second straight workhorse of the season after returning from injury in Round 7. Taukeiaho is averaging 41 involvements per game despite averaging just 37 minutes a match (1.11 SPM) and should be back on everyone’s radar as the rep season approaches and players like Boyd Cordner will be away.