In the tightest ever race to the finals, Round 23 featured some outstanding rugby league for everyone to enjoy.
The highlight of the round was a hat-trick of hat-tricks! Three players, Joel Reddy (Bears), Chris Centrone (Roos) and Malika Filimo (Panthers) all excelled by scoring three tries a piece.
North Sydney Bears are the Cinderella story; they have now won four straight after defeating sixth-placed Newcastle 52-20.
Tyrone Phillips scored again in round 23 and remains the leading try-scorer in the VB NSW Cup with 22 tries. Phillips has a six-try lead, leaving second-placed Kurtis Rowe with a near-impossible task.
Doubles were scored by five very talented players: Jarrod McInally from the Bulldogs, John Olive from the Bears, James Tuitahi from the Magpies, Omar Slaimankhel from the Roos and Marata Niukore from the Warriors.
The Penrith Panthers topped the leader board in completion rates making an outstanding 84 per cent in their game against the Newtown Jets, winning 20-18.
The Manly Sea Eagles worked their way into the top eight by convincingly defeating the Canterbury Bulldogs 26-12. Manly’s Tony Satini and Jayden Hodges came away with three offloads for the game.
The goal-kicking in round 23 was also special, Dylan Kelly slotting five from five against the Bulldogs – now kicking at an impressive success rate of 89 per cent for the season.
The Wyong Roos continued to dominate; they sit at top of the VB NSW Cup ladder and have the VB NSW Cup Grand Final in their sights. They have proven running metres win their games. For the season they lead the way with 31097 metres and in round 23 they charged for 1630 metres.
Flying Sea Eagles fullback Dom Reardon has an electrifying turn of foot and the stats prove it. Reardon has run 2842 metres for the season but it was Warrior Viliami Kaveinga with the best record in round 23 with 218 metres.
Wyong Roos steward Mitch Williams has continued to put players through gaps – he is the leader for the 2015 season for line-break assists with 25. Williams made five assists over the weekend, continuing to impress his coach Rip Taylor.
Mounties have had a great season sitting just behind the Roos in second position. Jeremy Hawkins has been magnificent, exciting the crowd with 17 blistering line-breaks.
Jayden Hodges has been the shining light for the Sea Eagles. He has the most dummy-half runs for the 2015 year and in round 23 he topped the leader board again.
The Bulldogs have been a surprise packet and will try and give the finals a shake-up. Errors have been their own worst enemy with Lindon McGrady having 14 errors for the year. Round 23 saw McGrady and Chase Stanley make three errors a piece.
Two games remain and it’s anybody’s guess who will finish in the top eight – let’s bring it on!
For the latest Prozone statistics on the VB NSW Cup, visit www.nswrl.com.au each Wednesday.