Expert weekly NRL commentary from Ricky Ricardo, today RR picks his team of the week. Some interesting, some would say controversial appointments by Ricardo – but RR rarely gets it wrong. Here’s how we saw things after NRL Round 3, 2010:
RickyRicardoâ€™s Team of the Week Rd 3
Fullback: Lance Hohaia â€“ Perhaps one of the most under-rated players in the game, Hohaia single-handedly led the charge for the Warriors in their crushing win over the Broncos. He scored a try himself and was involved in various others, to solidify his position as a hard-working under-rated fullback.
Winger: Lote Tuqiri â€“ Who would have thought that the big man would have made such a successful return to League and so quickly too? Heâ€™s scored 4-5 tries already this season to be amongst the leading try scorers, and heâ€™ll undoubtedly score more. Fantastic player to watch in full flight.
Centre: Josh Morris â€“ Words simply canâ€™t describe the manâ€™s performance over the weekend. 4 tries in one game is phenomenal, and the skill and speed that he showed to create them and score them was incredible. Definitely get your money on him for leading try scorer.
Centre: Beau Champion â€“ The under-rated centre does it again. Perhaps one of the Rabbitohs who doesnâ€™t receive as many accolades, he sure knows how to make a statement. He scored the opening two tries with some good skill and good awareness. Definitely an important player in the Souths system.
Winger: Brett Morris â€“ The Morris brothers keep on doing it. Josh with 4 and Brett with 3. They actually have a competition going to see who can score the most tries. Loser has to buy the other a case of beer. Nothing like a bit of brotherly rivalry, hehe.
Five-Eighth: Benji Marshall – Only one word can describe this man. Freak. His running game, his passing game, his kicking game, were all phenomenal and it doesnâ€™t look like heâ€™s about to slow down. If he keeps this up, the Tigers are a chance to really cause some problems this year. Never seen anything like it.
Halfback: James Maloney â€“ A journeyman of the NRL has finally found a home at the Warriors. After being previously left out of Parramatta and Storm sides in the past, Maloney has shown his talents after bagging three tries in a fantastic effort against the Broncos. Great creativity with some of his tries and others, and definitely has played himself into form over the last two weeks. Very under-rated player also.
Prop: Tim Mannah â€“ Perhaps the Eels best player in an otherwise poor effort from the club. Coming off the bench, he gave them a bit of a spark with his strong runs, good leg-drive and enthusiasm. He might only be young, but you can tell that Mannah loves the game and has a lot of enthusiasm every time he plays the game.
Hooker : Isaac Luke â€“ Had his best performance of the year as did the Bunnies, to help them get the job done for the Bunnies. Whether or not he can keep it going remains to be seen, but with Sutton/Sandow at the helm, theyâ€™ll either be hot or very cold.
Prop: Aiden Tolman â€“ This man is the future of the NSW Front Row forward stocks. Every single week, he makes in excess of 15 hit-ups, 100 metres and 25 tackles. He is an absolute machine for a young player and he just keeps getting better and better.
Second Row: Anthony Laffranchi â€“ Starting to re-capture his form of 2007-2008 that saw him play Origin. Whether or not he can maintain it, remains to be seen, but if he can, he could be an outside chance of regaining his Origin spot in the second row for NSW.
Lock: Shaun Fensom â€“ Perhaps the best up-and-coming second rower/lock in the game. Amassed a phenomenal 56 tackles despite the Raiders loss, and has every chance of making a NSW side that are in desperate need of defensive workhorses. Hindmarsh along with Fensom in the NSW second row, will be a very hard to team to get past.
Reserve 1: Jason Nightingale â€“ Now a mainstay on the wing for the Dragons following Dellâ€™s departure, he didnâ€™t disappoint bagging two tries and being involved in a lot of the attack. Great combination with the Dragons backs to wreak havoc.
Reserve 2: Steve Matai â€“ After toning down his levels of aggressiveness, Matai has become a more aware player, and he showed this after he bagged two tries on the weekend. Whether or not the aggressiveness stays away remains to be seen though.
Reserve 3: Scott Anderson â€“ Easily the Broncos best player in an otherwise poor performance from the club. Heâ€™s come a long way since the early days at the Storm and will only get better.
Reserve 4: Mitchell Pearce â€“ The only Roosters player who looked interested in the shellacking at the hands of the Dogs. Scored a try, ran, passed and tackled his heart out as always.
Player of the Week: Benji Marshall