Ricky Stuart's Raiders scored a stunning last-minute win over the Knights to stay in touch with the top eight on Sunday, and it was the work of their forwards that helped the home side over the line.
Remarkably, Canberra had four forwards feature in the top ten of the VB Hard Earned Index numbers from Round 15, the most of any team in the competition.
Adam Elliott (4th overall), Joseph Tapine (5th), Josh Papalii (7th) and Hudson Young (10th) all performed admirably in the Raiders' win, while interchange forward Corey Horsburgh also finished in the top 20 players with 71 points.
Young stole the headlines with his match-winning try in the 79th minute, but the edge forward also had an impressive eight tackle busts — a numbered bettered only by Sione Katoa and Josh Addo-Carr, who each had nine tackle busts.
Hudson like a hawk swoops to grab the match winner
Origin-bound Eels prop Junior Paulo topped the charts with 20 runs of eight-plus metres leading to a massive 105-point effort in his side's win over the Roosters.
Dragons prop Blake Lawrie finished with his best score of the year as his 95-points helped the Red V home against the Rabbitohs, while tireless Titans skipper Tino Fa'asuamaleaui produced another 90-plus effort to round out the podium.
Tevita Pangai jnr topped the offload count with eight against Wests Tigers while Knights hooker Chris Randall had the most tackles with 48 in his side's defeat.
While he might have only managed the fifth highest score of the round, Tapine's brilliant run of form for the Raiders has seen him climb up the leaderboard to take top spot on the ladder. The Kiwi international now holds a narrow six-point lead over Eels forward Isaiah Papali'i, while Panthers duo Isaah Yeo and James Fisher-Harris are also within 70 points of the Raiders prop heading into Round 16.
Interestingly, of that quartet, only Papali'i will play in the upcoming Round 17 bye with Penrith and Canberra both on the bye, so we could see another change at the top of the leaderboard once again in the near future!
VB Hard Earned Index: Round 15
- Junior Paulo (Eels) — 105 points
- Blake Lawrie (Dragons) — 95 points
- Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Titans) — 94 points
- Adam Elliott (Raiders) — 93 points
- Joseph Tapine (Raiders) — 83 points
- Siosiua Taukeiaho (Roosters) — 80 points
- Josh Papalii (Raiders) — 78 points
- Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) — 77 points
- Max King (Bulldogs) — 77 points
- Hudson Young (Raiders) — 76 points
VB Hard Earned Index: Leaderboard
- Joseph Tapine (Raiders) — 1071 points
- Isaiah Papali'i (Eels) — 1065 points
- Isaah Yeo (Panthers) — 1047 points
- James Fisher-Harris (Panthers) — 1003 points
- Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) — 969 points
- Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Titans) — 956 points
- Payne Haas (Broncos) — 951 points
- Dylan Edwards (Panthers) — 946 points
- Paul Vaughan (Bulldogs) — 946 points
- Angus Crichton (Roosters) — 943 points