The team of the week is back! After a bit of a hiatus, the best players from the course of the weekend will be analysed and included in the weekly team.
With fewer games due to the bye round, there were still top performances from some players – who do you think will make the Team of the Week? Do you agree with the players selected?
Without further adieu, here is the team:
1. Anthony Milford – Raiders fans are going to miss him when he departs at the end of the season and he showed why, with a scintillating display in the Raiders win over the Cowboys. Nippy from the back and blessed with incredible pace and acceleration, Milford has a knack for popping up when you least expect it and you just know he is going to get involved in the game somehow. The Broncos may well have found their star utility back of the future.
2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall – Kenny-Dowall has received his fair share of criticism over the years and at times, the argument can be made that it was justified but so far in 2014, the centre/winger has proved the critics wrong and performed well. At times shifted to the wing this year, the Kiwi international has taken his game to a new level and is impressing Roosters fans immensely.
3. Dylan Walker – Perhaps one of the most improved players from this year to last, Walker’s game-breaking ability puts teams on a knife-edge. Able to find space where at times, there is often none, Walker is blessed with sheer acceleration and uses his speed and quickness to bamboozle defenders and get outside his man. With a lot of the focus this year on other players, Walker deserves all the kudos he gets.
4. Konrad Hurrell – In and out of the side this year and involved in a minor indiscretion a few weeks ago, sheer power is the name of the game for Hurrell. His size as a centre is physically imposing and when he has a chance to run over an opposition defender, he relishes it. Utilised, at times, as a back-rower off the bench, his impact regardless of the position he is playing is well-known and on show for all to see.
5. David Fusitua – One of the Warriors young guns and highly rated by both fans and the coaching staff, the talented winger has seen his fair share of first-grade this season. Performing well and showing fans what he is capable of, the young winger has made his mark on the team and he will only get better as a player as he gains more experience and as the years go by.
6. Jack Wighton – Five-eighth was a position that did not quite work for Wighton and with the move back to centre, he immediately excelled, producing his best game of the season. There was just no stopping the crafty centre who was involved in everything from tries, to line-breaks, to try assists and other stats. Performances like that will leave Raiders fans happy as they want to ensure their team can prove the doubters wrong under coach Ricky Stuart, who is on the receiving end of a plethora of criticism.
7. Ben Hunt – For some time, the Broncos have been searching for a talented half to step up following the departure of Darren Lockyer and it looks like they may have found their man, with Ben Hunt having the season of his life. A crucial cog in the Broncos side, Hunt is enjoying a ripper season and is close to the top in most key attacking statistics, such is the tremendous nature of his play. The Broncos hopes hinge on his continued stellar performances.
8. Sam Burgess – Departing at the end of the year to pursue rugby union, the oldest of the Burgess brothers is all class and excitement on the field, often producing something out of nothing. When Souths might be struggling or when they need some inspiration, it is Big Sammy B that provides it and his performance last night was no different. He knows what is required, he knows what his role in the team is and he will give 100% every game and every hit-up.
9. Cam McInnes – Young, talented and with a big future ahead of him, Souths fans often rave about how good Cam McInnes can become in the future. A crafty, nippy rake with a good head on his shoulders, he has been given a chance this season due to some injuries and he has taken it well. With first-choice hooker Issac Luke likely to return next week, has McInnes done enough to retain his spot?
10. Dane Tilse – The quiet achiever of the Canberra Raiders pack, Dane Tilse often goes about his business and hits the ball up with venom. His tall, imposing presence can be a problem for opposition defenders and he has so far enjoyed a decent season, playing his best game of the year in the Raiders big win last week. His efforts will be crucial for the Raiders forward momentum over the next few months and he will be looking to have similar impact.
11. Sonny Bill Williams – Another player departing at the end of the year to head to Union and after a slow start to the season for him, the man nicknamed SBW burst out of the blocks like you would not believe. Putting on a show in the Roosters rout of the Bulldogs, there was no stopping the dual Kiwi international. Love him or hate him and regardless of one’s views on him, he is an elite back-rower of the game and when he departs, the code will miss him.
12. David Taylor – Criticism galore is never too far away from Dave Taylor and a lot of the times, even his side’s own fans expect so much more from him. Often plagued by a lack of consistency, Taylor does have those special, magical games in him and despite a loss for his side last week, it is one of those games for him. Causing havoc on the left fringe, there was no stopping him as he scored three tries and used his hulking frame to cause all sorts of problems for the opposition defence. More of that please – at least that is what Titans fans would be saying.
13. Corey Oates – The young utility has been in and out of the side so far this year but he was given a chance to showcase his talents yet again and he made the most of it, scoring a double. With a break-out year in 2013 that had Broncos fans and other NRL fans raving about his talents, new recruits and a new system of sorts has seen Oates play fewer games in 2014. Though with performances like last week, he may be handed more opportunities.
14. Nene McDonald – It is not often you see a talented kid come up through the ranks and look at home straight away but that is what Roosters young gun Nene McDonald did. He relished the opportunity and looked at ease throughout the game, even scoring on debut with a great acrobatic effort. Whether he sees more games this season remains to be seen but his efforts in just one game, suggest he has a very bright future ahead of him.
15. Terry Campese – Some Raiders fans love him and know how valuable he is to the side. Others think he should probably retire. Regardless of their thoughts on him, Campese’s experience is valuable and it shone through over the weekend, as he played a crucial role in their win. He may not have the legs or the speed to cause problems with his running game but all other facets of his game are in fine order, and they were on show in the Raiders big win.
16. Alex Glenn – With all their other back-rowers firing on all cylinders this year, Glenn has probably been the quiet achiever in that sense for the Broncos. Hitting hard and running hard on the fringes, the Kiwi back-rower has enjoyed a solid start to the season and knows what he has to do.
17. George Burgess – It should be no surprise to see George Burgess feature in any team of the week, such is his dynamic nature and power running style. Often so hard to stop in full flight, Burgess powers through a huge workload every week for fun. A crucial part of the Rabbitohs go forward as they try to physically manhandle opposition teams in the forwards, his efforts will be crucial both this year and moving forward.
Player of the Week: Jack Wighton/Sonny Bill Williams