It’s that time of the week again, where I’ll name my Team of the Week. Some more wonderful performances in Rd 14, so it’ll be hard to fit everyone in. Who would you pick?
So, without leaving you in the dark any longer, here’s this week’s team:
1. Reece Robinson – Not the first name you think of when fullbacks come to mind, but when you’re in a Raiders side currently on fire, your name is sure to come up, and for Reece Robinson, like always, he’s enjoying a great run of form. Chiming in well from the back and able to create something on his own accord, Robinson is a key player for the Raiders, one that perhaps doesn’t get as much of the shine as some of his team-mates.
2. Beau Ryan – Moving to fullback to cover for the injured Michael Gordon in the Sharks most recent win, Ryan played perhaps his best game for the Sharks to date. Great under the high ball and when under pressure, he took the load off of his forwards having to make the hard yards with some great metres from the back and on kick returns. With a return to the wing imminent in the next few weeks, Sharks fans will hope he can do the same when he moves back there.
3. Joey Leilua – His younger days may have seen him put a foot out of line on a few occasions but at the Knights, he’s a reborn player and performs on a weekly basis evidenced by his performance against the Storm. Scoring both of his side’s tries and capitalising on errors, Leilua, who is a bigger unit now than during his time at the Roosters, is enjoying a great run of form, one that Knights fans hope continues.
4. Josh Hoffman – Usually a winger (he’s playing centre for the purposes of fitting into the team), Hoffman is just about one of the form wingers in the competition. Able to find the try line seemingly at ease and create great opportunities for himself to score showing his aerial ability or strength, he’s in great form for the Broncos and is showing no signs of letting up. You don’t have to like the Broncos to know that Hoffman is a tremendous talent.
5. David Simmons – Perhaps one of the more under-rated wingers of the comp, Simmons is also a player enjoying a recent good run of form and has subsequently been rewarded with a new contract by the Panthers. Not the flashiest winger nor the quickest, what he lacks in those attributes, Simmons makes up for with a desire to win and great heart, commitment and passion for the club, his team-mates and to himself. One of the form Penrith players at the moment.
6. Kieran Foran – Playing alongside Daly Cherry-Evans, Foran can sometimes be forgotten in the Manly side, but don’t let that fool you into believing he isn’t a talent. Foran, who is a Kiwi, was perhaps the Sea Eagles best performer and very nearly won the game for the club, as he produced some brilliant moments. With a great running game and a great awareness for the game in general, Foran is an asset to both the Manly club and to the New Zealand national side.
7. Albert Kelly – If you had asked anyone at the start of the year whether Albert Kelly would have lasted as long as he has this year & been one of the form halfbacks, they’d have laughed at you. In a testament to Kelly, though, through hard work, dedication, a change in attitude and an overall improvement to his game, the Titans halfback is enjoying a stellar run of form as he scores tries, creates tries and puts players through gaps. Right now, he’s on fire.
8. James Graham – Is there a better prop in rugby league right now? Starting a game for a change instead of coming off the bench, Graham is an absolute workhorse in every sense of the word. He runs hard, carries hard, tackles hard and plays hard. There’s no first or second gear for him, it’s just a million miles an hour, as he gets involved in just about every set both defensively and in attack. If he wasn’t an Englishman, you could bet he’d be playing Origin.
9. Cam Smith – When Buy Levitra you talk about influential players and players that can single-handedly alter the course of the game, you look no further than Storm hooker, Cam Smith. Whether it’s a switch in his brain that suddenly turns on or something that wills him to propel his side forward and launch an attack for the winning play, you just know that when Smith gets his hands on that ball, he’s looking to create something. 9 times out of 10, that’s exactly what he does.
10. Paul Gallen – He may not be the most liked forward, but rest assured, Paul Gallen is one of the most influential players for the Sharks and in the NRL. When he wants his side to lift and perform, he takes it upon himself to do so and more often than not, he succeeds. Although some of his actions leave some with a bitter taste in their mouth, when it comes on-field ability alone, Gallen is the sort of player that all clubs need.
11. Ben Te’o – Plagued by the assault investigation hanging over him for some time, Te’o looks like he has put that behind him and is focusing on his footy, putting in a stellar performance for Souths, probably his best of the season. There was no stopping the back-rower, as he finished with some tremendous numbers overall and a try to boot. With that form, although he may not be selected, he’ll certainly re-enter the Origin frame.
12. Ryan Hoffman – An Origin player and rightfully so, Hoffman is an under-rated piece to the puzzle that is the Melbourne Storm side. Getting involved where he can even if the ball doesn’t go down his side of the field, Hoffman is a tireless 80 minute back-rower who goes about his business in a great manner. A solid performance against the Knights was just one of his great performances in 2013.
13. Shaun Fensom – As it stands, Fensom may well go down as one of those players that is one of the best to have never played Origin. Amassing spectacular numbers in defence and attack, Fensom is quite literally the heart and soul of the Raiders club and is in everything. Making 3-4 tackles a set most times and always putting his hand up for the ball whether as a runner or as the decoy, Fensom is a tireless player and a valuable one for the Raiders side.
14. Trent Hodkinson – Coming back into the side following an injury to Kris Keating, the young halfback from Manly has taken his chance and is now a key cog in the Bulldogs side moving forward. Boasting an impressive record with the boot in regards to accuracy, this sort of form from the halfback is slowly propelling the Bulldogs back to their 2012 heights, a place they’re yet to reach in season 2013.
15. Ben Hannant – In first game back from injury and pressing for an Origin claim, Ben Hannant did his chances no harm, as he carved up the Tigers poor ruck defence and ran them ragged. Had it not been for injury, he would have been a certainty for the QLD side, giving them some extra aggression, size and a much needed boost in the forward stocks overall.
16. Wade Graham – Touted as a future star and a future back-rower for NSW, Graham is certainly nudging Laurie Daley gently with his form as if to say, “In future years, keep an eye on me, I’ll be ready.” He wouldn’t look out of place in one either judging by his form. Whilst not the biggest name in the Sharks pack, he is one of the most committed and is always looking to get involved, as he sets out plays for his team-mates.
17. Sonny Bill Williams – After a bit of a lean run of form, SBW burst out of the blocks and absolutely dominated for the Roosters, particularly in the first half of the game. Producing one of the best 40 minutes you will ever see, SBW was in everything from offloads, to line-breaks, to tries and to everything else in between. It was the most complete half from a player I can recall seeing in recent memory. With form like that, despite the Roosters recent string of losses, SBW is a player that will continue to perform.
Player of the Week: Albert Kelly.