It's that time of the week again (gee, it's come around quick) for my team of the week. Some fantastic performances this round, so here's my top 17 players of the round. If you agree or disagree, let me know via Twitter or leave a comment on this post.
Without further adieu, here's the team:
1. Josh Dugan – You might agree or disagree about his return to the NRL and what it means for his former side the Canberra Raiders, but there's no denying that Dugan is a talented player and he showed why, with a fantastic debut performance for the Dragons, one that helped his side to a win this past week.
2. Ben Pomeroy – A player that is heavily criticised by Sharks fans and at times, it's justified – Pomeroy was a key player in the Sharks win this week, causing problems on the fringes with some solid aggression and good play, making breaks or creating them down that particular side. With form like that, if it continues, he may become more likable for Sharks fans.
3. Jamie Lyon – Touted as one of the best centres in the game, if not the best, Lyon is a no-nonsense player whose defensive technique and prowess as a centre is among the best in the league. His side may not have got the win last night, but Lyon was an influential player in defence and attack, with the Manly centre showing a great awareness of the game and knowing the right position to be in at the right time.
4. Matt Gillett – A player that is destined for big things, Gillett, whilst primarily a back-rower has been known to fill in at centre when required, with the Broncos young gun putting in a solid display. Not the biggest forward, what Gillett lacks in size, he makes up for in determination, aggression and passion. He certainly wouldn't look out of place in Origin and with his form, you'd expect him to be there.
5. Lewis Brown – Brown is perhaps the ultimate utility, being able to cover a range of positions from centre to wing to five-eighth to the back-row and even at hooker. Watching the Penrith game, I'd say he had his best game for the Panthers to date as he was involved in everything and was causing problems for the Warriors, as the Panthers cruised to victory.
6. John Sutton – Sutton has come a long way the last couple of years in many regards. Once touted as a rather inconsistent player who would find it tough to string a run of good game together, the last couple of seasons has seen Sutton in a more dangerous fashion. Taking the line on, causing gaps and creating problems, or putting players through a hole on the back of his strength to pop an offload in a tough position.
7. Issac John – He might not be a veteran half but he doesn't have to be – he is instead, a live-wire half. You don't often see a half score three tries in a game but John put in perhaps the best game of his NRL career to date, simply tearing the Warriors to shreds with a fantastic display of running and passing. He read the game well and played what was in front of him – clearly, it worked.
8. Kade Snowden – Another player criticised somewhat, particularly last year for his slow start to the year and then some inconsistency – Snowden is another player that has cemented his first-grade spot and probably had his best game of the year this past week for the Knights. Whilst not in Origin contention for this year anyway, Snowden, when in form and in sync, is a valuable prop for the Knights, working in tandem with Willie Mason.
9. Issac Luke – Another Souths player who has seen his game go to a new level the last couple of years. Not the biggest half and at times, not the best defender, what Luke lacks in regards
to defence, he gains in the way he plays the role of hooker. Alert, assertive and able to read the game well, he is perhaps one of the best dummy half runners in the game, often chewing up metres and catching opposition defenders napping.
10. Andrew Fifita – Very rarely do you see such consistency in mammoth proportions but for the last few games now, Fifita has averaged over 200m a game, an astonishing feat. Factor in that some of those games, he's been coming off the bench and it makes it even more spectacular. With that vacant Origin spot open in the prop forwards, Fifita, you would think, has done enough to earn that spot.
11. Anthony Watmough – He may not have the best reputation nor be the most likable character, but it cannot be denied that what Anthony Watmough brings to the Sea Eagles is commitment, determination and a willingness to win. Arguably one of the best back-rowers in the game, Watmough has been a loyal servant to the Manly club and a consistent one – often putting in solid performances week after week.
12. Robbie Rochow – If you had asked any Knights fan or NRL fan for that matter that Robbie Rochow would be the Knights best and most consistent back-rower this season, they may have had a laugh at you. Fast forward 10 rounds, though and that is exactly the case, as the talented back-rower has been in tremendous form for the Knights this year, keeping his spot in the side whilst club veteran Chris Houston gets demoted.
13. Corey Parker – There once was a time when Corey Parker was a Supercoach God. That time receded but it looks like it's returning again, as the veteran forward is carving up opposition teams with commitment, drive, offloads and a love for the game. He's found his mojo once more, after it went missing for a while there, and you would imagine that he nabs an Origin spot for QLD from the bench.
14. Peni Terepo – If you haven't heard of him, I don't blame you, given he's relatively new to the NRL scene. An Eels junior, Terepo has been waiting for his opportunity for some time now and he's taken it with both hands, scoring both of the Eels tries on the back of fantastic runs. He hits hard, runs hard and tackles hard and is very similar to fellow forward Fui Fui Moi Moi, though he packs more of a punch, if that's even possible.
15. James Graham – Yep, the blonde-haired Englishman is here again & rightfully so. His side may have been comprehensively beaten, but Graham is the workhorse his team needs him to be and was a handful at times for the Knights defence. Having missed a good chunk of the season early on due to his biting suspension carrying over from last year, it seems Graham is out to make amends. Fast.
16. Jack De Belin – In and out of the first-grade team last year, young Jack de Belin seems to have become an important staple off the bench for the club this season. Coming off a game where he was committed and making metres easily, it's the sort of form you want to see from De Belin – a player that has long been touted as a forward that can have success in the NRL.
17. Anthony Milford – I've seen a lot of talented kids come through the ranks in the NRL, but I don't think I've ever seen a 17-year old come into first-grade and make as big of an impact, as Anthony Milford has. Able to play fullback, centre or in the halves, Milford is the perfect interchange player. He can take advantage of tiring defences but despite his small size, he has the ability to shrug tackles and make breaks at will. Long-term, if the Raiders can keep him, he'll be their halfback.
Player of the week: Issac John
Once more, just to re-iterate – the players listed in this Team of the Week are based on the points system that I use to determine the best players of the week.