Raiders forward Joseph Tapine has extended his lead atop the VB Hard Earned Index leaderboard with another mammoth effort for the Green Machine in their hard-fought defeat to the Dragons.
In driving wind and rain at Wollongong, the Kiwi international once again led the way for his side in both attack and defence — making 13 runs of eight-plus metres, 18 total hit-ups, five tackle breaks and 43 tackles, all more than any player.
His 100-point score in the VB Hard Earned Index was the most of any player in the competition, with Roosters prop Siosiua Taukeiaho (92 points) and Rabbitohs forward Thomas Burgess (91 points) close behind Tapine.
Originally named in the centres, Euan Aitken's shift back to the back row proved a masterstroke from interim Warriors coach Stacey Jones as he made 49 tackles en route to an 89-point overall effort, while teammate Tohu Harris (83 points) also finished inside the top ten players of the round with a customary strong game.
Taukeiaho's 15 runs of eight-plus metres were the most by any player in the round, with Knights big man David Klemmer and Wests Tigers winger Ken Maumalo also equalling the mark, while only three players topped more than 50 tackles for the round — Reed Mahoney (52), Joe Ofahengaue and Apisai Koroisau (both 51).
After starring in the Representative Round for New Zealand, in-form Roosters outside back Joseph Manu once again led the tackle break numbers with 13.
Tapine's ton has seen him pull even further ahead on top of the overall leaderboard as we head into Round 17, with the Raiders forward leading Isaah Yeo by 49 points.
Parramatta forward Isaiah Papali'i sits in third — 68 points behind Tapine — but could take the lead given the Eels feature in Round 17 with the Raiders and Panthers on the bye. James Fisher-Harris (1076 points), Jason Taumalolo (1039), Payne Haas (1018), Dylan Edwards (1016) and Paul Vaughan (1008) have also now topped the thousand-point mark as we head into the final third of the regular season.
VB Hard Earned Index: Round 16
- Joseph Tapine (Raiders) — 100 points
- Siosiua Taukeiaho (Roosters) — 92 points
- Thomas Burgess (Rabbitohs) — 91 points
- Euan Aitken (Warriors) — 89 points
- Adam Elliott (Raiders) — 84 points
- Jai Arrow (Rabbitohs) — 84 points
- Tohu Harris (Warriors) — 83 points
- Toby Rudolf (Sharks) — 83 points
- Joe Ofahengaue (Wests Tigers) — 81 points
- David Klemmer (Knights) — 79 points
VB Hard Earned Index: Leaderboard
- Joseph Tapine (Raiders) — 1171 points
- Isaah Yeo (Panthers) — 1122 points
- Isaiah Papali'i (Eels) — 1103 points
- James Fisher-Harris (Panthers) — 1076 points
- Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) — 1039 points
- Payne Haas (Broncos) — 1018 points
- Dylan Edwards (Panthers) — 1016 points
- Paul Vaughan (Dragons) — 1008 points
- Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Titans) — 987 points
- Angus Crichton (Roosters) — 985 points