Another round of games is over (albeit a shortened one due to the Origin period) but over nonetheless and we’re at that time of the week again – my team of the week. With just 4 games and thus meaning 12 players available for selection, I’ll be picking 5 other players over the weekend that I thought had stellar games also, in order to make a complete side.
Again, as I always re-iterate, the players chosen (bar the 5 I’ll add in this week) are chosen on the back of the players that I personally award points to on a 3, 2 & 1 basis.
Without further adieu, here is the side:
1. William Zillman – It was just last year when his form was all over the place and some fans felt he’d be better off moving into the halves to get some of the pressure off him. Fast forward to 2013 and the Titans fullback is on fire, recording about 7 line-breaks in his past two games including four this week alone. One of the form Titans players and a key part of their march towards a finals berth.
2. Kevin Locke – If you weren’t aware of Kevin Locke’s ability, you will be after his performance against the Broncos in Rd 12. He was the catalyst in tearing the Broncos defence to shreds with enthusiasm, speed, agility and other assets, something the Broncos could not handle. Finished with 3 line-breaks and was all over the slower and more tired Broncos defence.
3. Tim Lafai – With Krisnan Inu suspended again, this is the 2nd time Tim Lafai has come in to replace him and he’s made his impact known, producing solid performances each game which is sure to give Dogs coach Des Hasler some selection headaches. Off-contract at years end and a fan favourite, Dogs fans will be hopeful that the club chooses to retain the talented centre.
4. Kevin Naiqama – Able to cover multiple positions across the back-line, his side may have lost, but don’t let a loss make you believe all Knights players were poor – far from it. Kevin Naiqama, filling in due to Origin duties performed admirably and was a handful for the Souths defence and gave coach Wayne Bennett some selection headaches, especially with Akuila Uate out for at least a month.
5. Sam Perrett – Perhaps an under-rated player in terms of some not being aware of him, his work on and off the ball don’t go unnoticed if you’re paying attention, with the New Zealand international a handy player to have in the backfield to take the pressure off forwards. A great finisher who links up well with his inside men, Perrett is a valuable asset for the Dogs back-line and side in general.
6. Feleti Mateo – Criticised by many for a very inconsistent start to the year and disappointing Supercoach fans everywhere, the sort of performance from Feleti Mateo was the one you expect to see every week. Popping offloads away at will and causing havoc for the Broncos defensive line, Mateo put in a solid performance (perhaps his best of the year), as he starts to show some consistency.
7. Albert Kelly – Talk about second chances and even third or fourth chances, not all players take them. That can’t be said of Kelly, however, who in his final lifeline has shown the Titans and the NRL world that he is the real deal with a top-notch season to go with his consistent season. Another brilliant display from the Titans little man, who seems to go from strength to strength.
8. James Graham – He just can’t put a foot wrong right now. In even better form than he was in last year, Graham’s impact off the bench for the Bulldogs is huge in every way and a big reason behind their recent successes. You might get him confused with his partner in crime, one Aiden Tolman, but Graham is without a doubt, one of the competition’s form props.
9. Thomas Leuluai – Many Warriors fans were critical of the way Viagra Online he started this year but now that he has had time to gel with his team-mates, Leuluai is on fire and he showed what he can do with a fantastic display. Scoring a rare double, Leuluai was everywhere in the Warriors win and was involved in a lot of the teams tries in one way or another. Warriors fans will hope the form continues.
10. George Burgess – The Englishman goes from strength to strength as he put in yet another fantastic performance off the bench, one that helped the Origin affected Bunnies to a narrow win. With he and older brother Sam in stellar form, you have to wonder whether any team can stop them, as the two seem to firing on all cylinders and proving too much for the opposition defence to handle.
11. Dave Taylor – Disappointed at his Origin snub due to a lack of form and earlier misdemeanours, Dave Taylor responded well with a commanding performance from the back-row on the fringe. Causing havoc down his side, he was linking up with his inside and outside men left, right and centre and played perhaps his best game all season for the Titans, a game that is sure to send a little message to QLD coach Mal Meninga saying, ‘Hey, Mal, I’m here.’
12. Ben Creagh – He might be captain of the Dragons side but he too cops his fair share of criticism, though Creagh did a lot of work to get some of those monkeys off his back as he produced a performance that reminded Dragons fans of the Creagh of old. Hitting the line up hard and with speed, producing sturdy defence and linking up well with team-mates, it’s the sort of performance the Dragons fans want from their captain every week.
13. Jason Taumalolo – Perhaps one of the best young forward prospects you will see at the Cowboys and in the NRL, Taumalolo is a machine. Given a chance to show what he can do once more in the absence of the Cowboys Origin stars and injured players, he was on fire and certainly sent a message to coach Neil Henry that he is ready for continued first-grade action. Scary thing is, he’ll only get better.
14. Kade Snowden – He had a rough first year back in Newcastle but 2013 is the year that has seen Kade Snowden lead from the front and take the Knights forward pack with him. Combining well with front-row partner Willie Mason, Snowden has improved his work rate and work ethic, something that was not apparent in 2012 and drew intense criticism from Knights fans.
15. Jeff Lima – Another player who has had a rough start to his NRL return due to injuries or being left out of the squad, Lima bounced back well in the Bunnies narrow win, with a key contribution from the bench. A big, hard-nosed and no-nonsense forward, Lima goes about his work and runs hard, chases hard and tackles hard. A big bopper from the Bunnies bench, he is a handy player to have in your ranks.
16. Jacob Lillyman – Another player that comes off the bench for his side, the work-rate from Lillyman was phenomenal, as he put his hand up to lead from the front when he was on. Running with aggression and speed, Lillyman was causing problems for the Broncos defence on Monday night and is an under-rated cog in the Warriors impressive forward pack, as he proved.
17. Luke Bailey – He might be pushing the mid 30’s in regards to his age, but don’t think that that will slow down the Raging Bull, as he played an astonishing 71 minutes – his most in some time – and led from the front for his Titans side, as they overpowered the Cowboys. A natural born leader, Bailey is the veteran of the Titans pack and he’s a player that will give it his all, all of the time.
That brings us to the end of another Team of the Week.
Player of the round: William Zillman.