Ricky Ricardo: NRL Team of Week

Ricky Ricardo lists his chargers for the NRL Team of the Week Round 2 –

Fullback – Jarryd Hayne: All of the words to describe this man’s talent have already been exhausted. Coach Daniel Anderson’s reaction said it all ‘amazing, unbelievable’. Took it upon himself to inject himself at the right time and did so with catastrophic destruction as seen in his part in the Eels 109m try which is already a contender for try of the year. Could this be a surge similar to that of last year for Hayne?

Winger – Brett Morris: Looks like the Dragons brother is currently winning the bet between his brother. Apparently, the one who scores the most tries gets a case of beer from the other. Not a bad incentive hey? Far too skilful for a weak and slow Bulldogs backline, and used his pace and awareness to get over the line on three occasions. Get your money on him for leading try scorer.

Centre – Israel Folau: The giant is back baby!! After suffering a severe injury at the back of last season, and with a full pre-season under his belt, Folau is reaping the benefits. He was perhaps one of the Broncos best players in their loss to the Raiders getting on the score sheet twice and showing off his brute strength in both attack and defence.

Centre – Phil Graham: For a man that has struggled with career-threatening injuries in the past, he’s doing a fantastic job to retain his place at the Roosters. He scored two tries on the weekend in the Roosters win over the Tigers, and will be looking to bag many more on the back of great play from the Roosters halves.

Winger: Manu Vatuvei: The man dubbed as ‘The Beast’ is quite simply unstoppable right now. Leads the try scoring list with 5 tries in just two rounds, which is a fantastic record. Whether it’s in the air, or close to the line, ‘The Beast’ just has too much strength and skill for his opponents and he has shown it with his current career best form. With a firing Manu, and good support from the halves and forwards, the Warriors could find themselves in the 8.

Five-Eighth: Due to McCrone’s strong game, I’ve had to put JT at five-eighth. JT single-handedly orchestrated a fantastic comeback for the Cowboys in their win over the Panthers. With his skill, vision, creativity and quickness of the mark, he confused and bedazzled the Panthers defence in the second half with a tremendous showing of skill in both kicking and passing. Thurston is currently the best half in the competition, perhaps even the world, and he’s showing why.

Halfback: – Josh McCrone: For a man thrust into a Raiders side purely because of Herbert’s poor form, my word didn’t he show that he belongs in the halfback spot. Scoring two tries of his own, and having a hand in the others, he really took control and showed why he deserves to be in the starting side for Canberra. If he can keep it up, he and Campese may prove to be a valuable halves combination.

Prop – Fui Fui Moi Moi: What can you possibly say about the Tongan apart from barnstorming, earth-shattering, mind-boggling etc. Moi Moi is perhaps the most devastating front-rower in the game given that he is hard to tackle, has tremendous upper and lower body strength, and legs the size of tree trunks that move as quick as Flash Gordon. Incredible player to watch and he showed his worth to the Eels side with a try that got them back into the game.

Hooker- Luke Priddis: In what may be his last year as an NRL footballer, Priddis was given the chance to show his talents once more following the injury to Nathan Fien and he did just that. Despite his age, he doesn’t appear to have lost any quickness out of dummy half and provided great service for the forwards and set the platform to gain quick and easy metres. He’s also very close to reaching an elusive club.

Prop – Michael Weyman: Without a doubt, he’s in career best form and he showed the NRL world again why he is currently NSW’s best prop with a dominant display against a weaker Bulldogs side. Made good metres on each carry and is a handful to bring down at full speed. Most likely will be the first prop picked for NSW.

Second Row – Aiden Guerra: One of the more inspiring stories in the NRL. A man who whilst at the Melbourne Storm suffered long-term injuries time and time again, and as a result was let go, much to the annoyance of Craig Bellamy. Under Brian Smith at the Roosters, Guerra has been re-born and showcasing the talents that had him touted as a future star in the NRL in his mid teens. Fantastic player, and he only looks like getting better. Bagged two tries on the weekend as well.

Second Row – Mark Flanagan: Looks like the Tigers have a knack for recruiting strong and mobile English recruits and Mark Flanagan is no exception to that. Given more game time in their loss to the Roosters, he showed exactly what he’s capable of with perhaps one of the best performances of the year so far by any forward. Strong in defence, mobile in attack, he seems to be a player of the future and one the Tigers may rely on in the later stages of the season.

Lock- Scott Bolton: Mainly a second-rower who can also play lock, the under-rated forward had perhaps one of his best games of his career. Scoring twice, which is virtually unheard of for second-rowers these days, he proved too much to handle for the Panthers in the second half. He’s come a long way since debuting and he is only going to get even better.

Reserve 1 – Benji Marshall: Once again, we saw some Benji magic, but once again, it’s never enough. Quite simply, Benji is a one-man show for the Tigers. Without him, they seem to crumble. With him, they just don’t give him the support that he needs. This was evident in their loss. For every amazing thing Marshall does or pulls off, there’s a dropped ball later on in the set. One of the most exciting players in the modern game to watch.

Reserve 2- Josh Perry: Although he didn’t have a great game in the Sea Eagles loss to the Eels, I think Perry deserves some recognition for not giving up the chase when Hayne made the break that led to their 109m try. For a front-row forward to make an effort like that is incredible and he deserves to be commended for it.

Reserve 3 – Scott Prince: Widely regarded as the under-study to JT for both QLD and Australia, Prince showed how much he means to the Titans side, by slotting home a field goal in golden point to give the Titans the win. Surely it’s only a matter of time before Scott Prince gets a chance to show what he can do in Origin.

Reserve 4 – Beau Champion: Scored two tries in the Bunnies narrow loss to the Titans and has come a long way over the last few years. Get your money on him for the Bunnies leading try scorer.

Player of the Week: Tie between Jarryd Hayne and Jonathon Thurston

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