With just two more rounds before the finals start I thought I would introduce something new and look at the best performances each weekend in the lead up to the big one, The 2010 NEX-Cup Grand Final.

As we all look for something extra to secure our spot in the finals you can bet the real NRL coaches will be doing what they can to secure their spot as well.  We should finally see some consistent performances from the NRL front runners, which should mean regular high 700 plus scores from our coaches like we saw in round 20.

The criteria for my review are the players must be a regular in their clubs line up each week, averaging 40 or more for the season and posted a score of 55 or better in the particular round.

(74) Paul Gallen 2RF @ $332,600.00, a jump of $10,600.00, now averaging 51.12 from 17 games.  In 17 games he has only had 1 score below 40 and that was a 38 way back in round 2.  His 74 in round 20 tops his previous high score of 65 in round 4 against the Eels and since then he has only 4 games below 50.  The score of 74 came from 48 TA, 19 MG and 10 OL.  I had a chance to pick him up in round 8 when he reached a season low of $319,000.00 but didn’t because I was concerned about loosing him through suspension.  Other coaches may have had the same opinion because he only owned by 11.85%, a total of 11,501

(74) Luke Bailey FRF @ $276,600.00, a jump of $22,800.00, now averaging 42.59 from 17 games and ranked the number 1 front rower.  The 74 points, now his highest for the season, came off the back of 56 tackles and 18 MG.  His previous highest was a 52 in round 12 against the Roosters.  The tackle count is unusually high for Bailey, normally around the high 20’s and low 30’s, but the MG points are on par with his season so far.  The 74 wasn’t perfect though, he did miss 4 tackles and concede a penalty to loose a total of 6 points.  He is owned by 9.10% of coaches, a total of 8,835 selections. 

(66) Nathan Friend HOK @ $307,100.00, a jump of $18,900.00, now averaging 46.61 from 18 games.  The 66 points is a new high for Friend, the previous high of 63 came in round 7 against the Sea Eagles.  He made a massive 61 tackles in round 20, loosing just two points from missed tackles.  He is owned by 15.53% of coaches, a total of 15,058 selections.   

(59) Cameron Smith HOK @ $345,100.00, a jump of $2,600.00, now averaging 54.36 from 14 games.  It’s his tackling that dominates his scoring and the 59 scoring in round 20 was from 43 tackles.  His lowest score was 43 in round 18 against the Bulldogs and while he does have a few scores in the 40’s he is a regular 50 plus scorer so I don’t quite understand why he is not more popular amongst the DT top coaches.  He is owned by 18.28% of coaches, a total of 17,737.  Compare that to Robbie Farah @ $332,800.00 averaging 51.56 who is more inconsistent but owned by 24.57%, a total of 23,848

(59) David Stagg 2RF @ $310,400.00, a drop of $1,200.00 after the weekend.  He is now averaging 53.22 with a massive 958 points for the season from 18 games.  His 59 came off the back of 50 tackles, loosing only 1 point from a missed tackle.  He is now owned by 26.24% of Dream Team coaches, a total of 25,465 selections, which includes the top coaches of the NRL Dream Team.  

(59) Jamie Soward HALF @ $318,200.00, a drop of $900.00, now averaging 46.83 from 18 games.  Soward doesn’t make a lot of tackles so coaches have to rely on his kick metres (KM) to crush the opposition.  His score of 59 was a result of a massive 46 points in KM.  Of the 843 points he has scored this season 474 points have been from KM, 56.23% of his total season score.  His lowest score since round 9 has been 42 against the Rabbittos in round 19.  He is now owned by 26.03% of coaches, a total of 25,261.  

(57) Corey Parker 2RF @ $354,700.00, a drop of $2,400.00 now averaging 57.47.  Well he did again, another 50 plus score, not the highest of the round but after 15 rounds played he still only has one sore below 50 and that was the 47 in round 2.  His 57 in round 20 came from just 27 tackles but it was the points from goal kicking and MG that added the gloss, yet he still lost 6 points from missed tackles and a penalty.  It seems that Dream Team coaches have finally got the message that if you don’t have him in your side then you can’t win.  He is now owned by 25.45% of coaches, a total of 24,693.  

(57) Anthony Laffranchi 2RF @ $308,400.00, a jump of $15,500.00, averaging 46.00 from 17 games.  His season has been up and down with a solid start averaging 49.50 from his first 6 games only to fall in a slump mid season to average 30.25 from the next four games to round 12.  Since then he has played 7 games averaging 52.00, with only one game under 50 and that was a 38 against New Castle in round 16.  The back end of the season has also produced his highest score of 60 in round 15 against the Bulldogs.  He is now owned by 19.19% of coaches, a total of 18,626.  

(56) Scott Prince HALF @ $267,600.00, a jump of $11,600.00, now averaging 45.77 from 13 games.  It has been the points scored from KM and tackles (TA) that have dominated his season so far but he does have a good spread of points across all scoring areas.  His downfall has been the points lost through mistakes, which has stopped some of those 50’s becoming 60’s and the 61 in round 2 could have been a 70.  He is owned by only 10.66% of coaches, a total of 10,346.  That doesn’t make him the most popular of the Halves but with the Titans making a run to secure a position in the top 8 he is worth considering and is great value for money if you are not happy with your current combination.