NRL: The best plays from round 21
CLAYTON'S SHOULDER CHARGE: Roosters prop Kane Evans escaped the judiciary despite nailing massive Bulldogs forward Sam Kasiano with an outlawed shoulder charge. Kasiano loved it and even endorsed the hit saying he wished they were still allowed in the NRL. Well, Sam, seems they are as Evans got away with it because there was no contact with the head or neck and no whiplash. It prompted speculation the crowd-pleasing big-hitting shoulder charge could rise again but don't hold your breath, some tragic recent events mean it is dead and buried forever.
MIRACLE PASS: We see a lot of "no-look" passes, overhead speculators and tap-ons, but Johnathan Thurston's pass for Jake Granville's try against the Raiders at the weekend was an absolute pearler. I scored it a 9.9 out of 10, okay a perfect 10 when you considered he was sandwiched between two Raiders defenders, had limited sight of Granville, yet somehow threaded the ball between them into Granville's safe hands. Little wonder JT is on his way to an amazing fourth Dally M Player of the Year award.
THE NAME ON EVERYONE'S LIPS: It's hard to pronounce at first but the name Trbojevic is on everyone's lips. Manly brothers Jake and Tom Trbojevic play vastly contrasting positions, Jake in the front-row and Tom either fullback or wing and they both are outstanding. Tom has commentators gasping for superlatives when stepping into first grade from the Under-20s. APN compiled a list of young players to follow at the start of the season and young Tom was in the stable. He reminded us of a young Darren Lockyer.
THE NRL'S OWN SURVIVOR: Parramatta's loss to the Titans appears to have closed the door on their finals hopes. In the closest NRL season in memory, every game, every premiership point and indeed every point scored or conceded is going to be crucial in the next five weeks as 11 teams fight for top eight positions. The wooden spoon is equally as intense with five teams a chance of taking the unwanted gong on 2015.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
- Fullback: Josh Dugan (Dragons)
- Wing: Valentine Holmes (Cronulla)
- Centre: Jamie Lyon (Manly)
- Centre: Ricky Leutele (Cronulla)
- Wing: Tom Trbojevic (Manly) (RIGHT)
- Five-eighth: Kieran Foran (Manly)
- Halfback: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
- Prop: Chris Heighington (Cronulla)
- Hooker: Jake Granville (Cowboys)
- Prop: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters)
- Second row: Feleti Mateo (Manly)
- Second row: Boyd Cordner (Roosters)
- Lock: Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)