Here we are again. The end of another week and that means a Team of the Week. With a lot of fantastic performances in the lead-up to Origin by Origin players and by players that weren’t selected, who would be in your team of the week? Here we go, the Team of the Week for Rd 11.
Just to re-iterate, this is based on the points system I use at the completion of every game.
1. Jarryd Hayne – The Eels side may have been struggling of late and shown inconsistency, but one player who has stepped up in form and with his overall play of late, has been Hayne. With the first Origin game fast approaching and Hayne picked at fullback, the Eels play-maker seems to be running back the ball with more intent and has been producing some fantastic defensive displays over the last few weeks.
2. Travis Robinson – Not the most well-known winger but you may recognise his surname, as he’s related to Canberra Raiders fullback Reece Robinson. In the absence of several back-line players, Robinson was given a chance to prove his worth in 2013 and he’s taken it well, producing some consistent performances, potentially seeing him retain his spot even when injured players are slated to return.
3. Jamal Idris – With the form he’s in, you could have very nearly picked him for the NSW Origin side. In the best form of his life and one of the form centres in the game right now, Idris is going from strength to strength. More mobile and sharp in attack than in past years, it is his strength that is causing problems for opposition defences as he bulldozes opposition defensive lines.
4. Jamie Lyon – Once again, Lyon makes this list and shows the rest of the NRL how it’s done as a centre. Widely tipped as the best centre in the game at the moment, had he not declared he wanted to focus on club footy and not representative footy, he’d be a shoe-in for NSW. His form over the last few years has been extremely consistent and every game of every year, he plays a vital role for the Sea Eagles as to whether or not they win games or lose games.
5. Sisa Waqa – Waqa is quite literally, a wrecking ball. When you look at him, he’s a huge, huge man and playing on the wing, he has the chance to show his destructive nature and speed when the ball comes to him. The Fijian may not be a household name nor a name that some are familiar with, but the way he plays and the way he has played this year, makes him an under-rated asset for the Storm this season.
6. Feleti Mateo – Inconsistency has plagued Feleti Mateo in 2013 but he produced perhaps his best performance of the season for the Warriors this week, in their win over the Knights. When he’s composed and calm and doesn’t attempt to force things or overplay his hand, Mateo is arguably, the best ball-running lock in the game, if not in rugby league in general. With a tendency to force too many offloads and often resulting in dropped balls or errors, it’s moments like that frustrate any Warriors fan.
7. Robbie Farah – Not usually a halfback but named here for the purposes of putting together an entire 17, Farah is a player probably could play just about anywhere. The heart and soul of the Wests Tigers, Farah wears his heart on his sleeve as a player and gives it his all in every clash that he plays. Rewarded for his stellar form in a largely poor Tigers outfit for most of the year, Farah is a player that has stood out above his team-mates for his consistent play.
8. Andrew Fifita – If there’s one term that you use to describe Fifita, it’d either be a human wrecking ball or a machine. Named in the Origin side and rightfully so given his stellar form, what makes it all the more impressive is that of late, he’s been coming off the bench and racking up colossal metres the last few weeks, all in excess of 200. With his form, he’s see live sex currently in the best props in the game.
9. Cam Smith (C) – If you want a player to change the course of the game when you’re losing or with the game hanging in the balance, Cam Smith is your man. With a single change in what he thinks and sees in front of him, Smith has the ability to turn a game on its head and produce something out of nothing to lead the Storm, QLD or Australia to victory when required, making him one of the best players in the game, if not the best right now.
10. Nigel Plum – An underrated piece to the Panthers recent resurgence, Nigel Plum is a hard-nosed, bruising forward who is known for his huge hits in defence. With the Panthers on a mini-run, Plum has been a key part of that recent run of form, producing fantastic games, minutes and metres as a starting prop and will be a key player in games to come for the Panthers.
11. Frank Pritchard – Injured to start the season, the last few weeks have seen Pritchard hit back with a bang, producing some stellar form to guide the Dogs to victories over the last few weeks. A veteran of the Bulldogs forward pack, in the absence of Tony Williams, it was Pritchard who stood up and produced a man-of-the-match performance. Solid with the ball in hand and able to pop off unexpected offloads, Pritchard is a player that is invaluable to the Bulldogs side.
12. Paul Vaughan – If you haven’t heard of Paul Vaughan, that’s not surprising, given it was only very recently he came into the NRL foray. After his performance in a losing Raiders side, however, perhaps his best game in his career to date, you’ll remember his name. He was probably the Raiders best forward and off the bench for that matter, as he made solid metres, solid runs and was strong in defence when required.
13. Sam Burgess – Another player that makes this side consistently, given the consistent nature and play every week from Sam Burgess. A powerhouse forward that can play anywhere in the pack, Burgess is a player that plays his heart out every week and you know what you’re going to get from him. Has a motor like there’s no tomorrow and runs all day, tackles all day and, if you give him the chance, makes breaks all day.
14. Sam Rapira – Rapira’s a player who has been plagued by injuries several times in his career but when he’s playing and on song, he’s a talented forward to have in your ranks and he showed why, producing a solid display in the Warriors win. Able to cover prop and back-row, Rapira hits the ball back with speed and is a hard man to bring down if opposition teams aren’t careful.
15. Jesse Bromwich – Another key piece to the Melbourne Storm puzzle, Bromwich is one of the form forwards for the Storm and in the NRL. A New Zealand international, he quite often lays the platform for the Storm’s play-makers to create something. Still young, he will only get even better as he gets more minutes and more experience.
16. Adam Blair – Criticised excessively this season and at times, rightfully so, Adam Blair played perhaps his best game of the season, one that saw him start at prop. It forced him to get more involved, run harder and play harder, something he seemed content to do, especially after recent criticisms of him over the last few weeks by fans, NRL experts and journalists, that he was being lazy. It’s the sort of form Tigers fans hope isn’t a one-off.
17. James Graham – The blonde-haired Englishman has been revelation since returning from his suspension. Coming off the bench, he gives the Dogs the spark they often need to press on in games and he has been a key part of their recent success. A dogged and determined player, Graham does whatever he can to ensure that his team wins the game and often shows that by putting in monster performances in both attack and defence.
Well, there we have it, the Team of the Week for Rd 11. Do you agree?