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:
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
- Ryan James: 48 tackles + 15 hitups = 63
- Cameron McInnes: 68 tackles + 0 hitups = 68
- Aiden Tolman: 56 tackles + 13 hitups = 69
- Ethan Lowe: 45 tackles + 15 hitups = 60
- Jack De Belin: 43 tackles + 17 hitups = 60
- 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
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
Embed from Getty Images
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.
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!