Here we are at the completion of yet another round (man, time goes fast), so I’ll be casting my eye over the best 17 players of the round.
Just keep in mind, as I’ve re-iterated before, this is based on the 3, 2, 1 points system that I myself decide upon viewing the games. Best to clear that up to avoid any confusion.
Do you agree with the names listed or is there someone else you would have included?
So, without further adieu, here’s the team of the week:
1. Jarryd Hayne – Often criticised for a lack of form, especially over the last few years and into this year, the Eels captain seems to have embraced the role well and is maturing into an even better player. Set the win up for the Eels with a monster kick for touch, before a cheeky yet brilliant field goal before half-time. Good signs for NSW fans leading into Origin.
2. David Simmons – Not the flashiest winger nor the most well known, David Simmons is the quiet achiever of this year as he enjoys a successful season so far. He seems to be making line-breaks for fun and is a key cog of the Penrith Panthers side moving forward.
3. Blake Ferguson – Who’d have thought that just a few short weeks after he was suspended for his involvement in that Josh Dugan incident, that we’d be talking about Blake Ferguson for Origin? His performance against the Knights was incredible, scoring 3 tries and setting up others – doing his Origin chances no harm.
4. Greg Inglis – Likely to play in the centres for Queensland during the Origin series, Inglis or GI as he’s known, seems to get better and better every week. A strong ball-runner from the back with a powerful fend, he’ll be a deadly strike weapon for not only Queensland but also Souths moving forward.
5. Sandor Earl – Another player who perhaps didn’t start the year as well as he could have but after a solid performance that saw him bag 3 tries in the Raiders big win, you would imagine he has held down his spot and finally found the form that can see him move forward.
6. Todd Carney – Fresh from re-signing a new deal with the Sharks, Carney got straight down to business when it mattered, as he put on a show to guide the Sharks to a win. A talented five-eighth, Carney is once again being considered as the man to assume the pivot position for NSW, though will battle it out with James Maloney for that role.
7. Chris Sandow – Heavily criticised last season in particular for his form despite some good games, the Eels half has burst out of the blocks in 2013 despite his team’s position on the ladder, putting in several solid performances – on Saturday night especially, with his running game leading to a try and setting up opportunities for the Eels.
8. Tim Grant – Grant continues to do his Origin chances no harm whatsoever, after another terrific display in regards to metres gained. In doubt to make the side at the beginning of the year, Grant has taken his game to another level and you would think that he has all but cemented a spot in the NSW side, even if it is off the bench.
9. Jake Friend – A live-wire hooker who has had his fair share of problems in the past, Friend has put all of those behind him and is now enjoying a purple patch at the Roosters over the last few years, especially this year with Trent Robinson at the helm. He’ll only continue to get better.
10. James Graham – He’s only just returned to the Bulldogs side but he continues to lead from the front, as Bulldogs prop James Graham set the platform when it mattered for the Dogs to get the win. With the Dogs starting to hit their straps, you would imagine that such form will continue.
11. Greg Bird – A key part of the Titans side, Greg Bird is one of the form back-rowers of the competition, continuing to cause problems for opposition defenders. He isn’t the fastest forward out there, but he makes up for that with a good footy brain and knows when to exploit gaps in a side’s defence.
12. Boyd Cordner – Another player going from strength to strength, Cordner has come a long way under Roosters coach Trent Robinson, putting in consistent performances. Justifying his earlier selection in City/Country, Cordner will only get better as the season wears on and eventually become a contender for Origin in a couple of years.
13. Sam Burgess – Without a doubt one of the best Englishmen to have played NRL in recent times, Burgess is a hard-nosed, hard-running forward who gets the job done every week. Amassing consistent numbers on a weekly basis, he’s the sort of player every club wants or needs – to the extent where many Supercoach fans get him in their side.
14. Junior Moors – Another player that has excelled under the Melbourne Storm system under Craig Bellamy, who has an uncanny knack of taking players from other clubs that aren’t in first-grade and turning them into consistent first-graders. Not the most well-known player, but he knows the role he has to play for Melbourne.
15. Luke Bailey – A veteran of not only the Titans side but of the NRL, the prop is set to go around for another year, after battling his way back from injury to get into the Titans side once more. Off the bench, he gave the club great impact and go forward when it counted, as he led from the front.
16. Frank Pritchard – Nicknamed ‘Frank the Tank’, Pritchard has also played well for the Dogs since his return. A player who can sniff out a gap when he has to, he has a great ability to hold up defenders and offload, a trait that the Bulldogs look to exploit and build on to get solid go-forward.
17. Andrew Fifita – Another one who is doing his Origin chances no harm, as he again amassed fantastic numbers (off the bench is what made it even more astonishing), as Fifita looks to continue that ahead of an open bench spot for NSW. The form he’s in, you wouldn’t put it past him to do so.
So, there it is. My team of the week. Again, just to re-iterate, it’s based on the points system that I use, which in turn selects the team.