2 rounds in and there are players playing out of their skin consistently – as hard as that may sound – and others that appear to be building towards a purple patch. A lot of good performances over the week and this article will go over those very players who made a crucial difference for their sides.
So, here it is. The round 2 team of the week, according to Ricky:
1. James Tedesco – There are concerns, concerns and more concerns regarding whether his body will hold up but so far in season 2015, Tedesco is showing great signs with his form. Tigers fans are cheering and happy with how he has progressed and how he is playing, with the old, nippy, creative Tedesco on show this week. With a try of his own and two try assists to boot, Tedesco is coming along nicely and forming solid partnerships with the young halves at the club.
2. Brett Morris – Whether it is playing alongside his brother again or simply a change of scenery at a new club, Brett Morris is electric right now. Somehow, he seems to be involved in every attacking raid and as a result, is either scoring tries himself, creating tries for his team-mates or breaking the lin almost at will. A true performer and a talented player, his form so far this season – even after just two rounds – as him as one of the most in-form fullbacks.
3. Joey Leilua – Sensationally dumped during the trials for an apparent lack of fitness and a bad attitude, either Leilua has seen the error of his ways or a pasting from Rick Stone has down the trick. Leilua is playing out of skin right now and for the second week running makes this team, as well as leading the Knights to another victory. His form and partnerships with team-mates have him primed to continue his good start to the season.
4. Jamal Idris – It would be fair to say that Idris has had his fair share of ups and downs in rugby league over the years. This past week was an up, and a mighty one at that. A hat-trick, involvement in tries and plays galore and overpowering the Titans side with ease. His power, strength and finesse are what made his performance so good and with form like that, if he can continue it, he will be more potent than many might have thought.
5. Jack Reed – Perhaps a surprise contender here but the Englishman has shown that when he is in the right frame of mind and confident in his ability, he can be a handy asset for the Broncos side. Striking up partnerships with centre partner Justin Hodges in the past, that is the sort of combination Broncos fans will want from Reed moving forward.
6. Corey Norman – Under pressure to perform before Foran signed with the Eels and even more so now that he has, Norman deserves some credit for the way he has started the season. It would have been easy to admit defeat and ask for a move away from the Eels but Norman has dug deep, and is playing some great footy to start the season. If he keeps it up, he may well stay at the Eels, even if it is as a fullback.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans – He would be the first to admit that round 1 was a rather poor game by his own standards but he put it behind him and burst out of the blocks in Rd 2. It was vintage Cherry-Evans as he passed well, kicked well and ran well, with the Storm having no answer to his destructive ability on all fronts. Although he will be leaving the club at season’s end, DCE is keen to finish it with a bang and on his own good terms.
8. George Burgess – All the headlines last year were surrounding his brother and at the time, rightfully so. But with Sam now gone and playing rugby union, the onus and impetus is on younger brother George to take the step up and fill the void left by Sam. He has started well and was on fire against the Roosters. He hits the ball up with venom and runs like a man possessed. He is now the leader of the pack and has to be consistent in doing so every week.
9. Blake Austin – Many were surprised when Austin opted to move to the nation’s capital but so far, the move has paid off. He was solid in Rd 1 but even better in Rd 2, on the back of a blistering display of perfectly timed running. His running game was simply too good for the Sharks to contend with and he almost seemed to do it effortlessly. Form like that, and Raiders fans will be pleased throughout the season.
10. Kade Snowden – Another forward that has been tasked with a job of leading a forward pack, particularly with the departure of veteran forward Willie Mason. The last couple of years have been tough for Snowden for various reasons but so far in 2015, he has started with a bang and is performing well. Whilst not a household name, his performances will have Knights fans happy and it will have the Knights coach expecting similar things.
11. Manu Ma’u – The entire NRL saw just how destructive Ma’u could be before his injury and it seems like the Eels back-rower is keen to reach those heights yet again. Although his side lost the game, a two-try effort from Ma’u, some hard hitting and sheer vigour in his runs, were an indication that the old Ma’u is back and raring to go. On the fringes, he is a crucial player for the Eels in every sense if they are to win games moving forward.
12. Dylan Napa – Another young forward at the Roosters afforded more game-time in light of the depature of Sonny Bill Williams. Napa has taken the opportunity well and is becoming an under-rated proponent of the Roosters pack. With the focus on some of the more experienced forwards, Napa goes about his business with aplomb and plays his natural game designed to bust open the defence and to hit the line hard and at speed.
13. Ryan Hoffman – His final year at the Storm was not his best by any means but a sea change and a shift across the Tasman seem to have done the trick for the veteran back-rower. He is back, is form is sky high and right now, it looks like there is no stopping him. A valuable player for his experience among other things, Hoffman’s work on the fringes for the Warriors has set them up with multiple tries and plays already. You would expect it to continue.
14. Kodi Nikorima – Making a debut is never easy with the pressure and expectation placed upon you, but young Nikorima performed well without being brilliant. His versatility as a player, his nifty and quick feet and his game awareness, are three traits that Broncos fans have raved about. He is the sort of player you can build a side around and if given further opportunities, he will take them and show why he dominated the Holden Cup for a couple of years.
15. Tim Simona – Injury plagued his 2014 season and whilst he may have lost a yard of pace because of it all, Simona is still as potent now as he was then. Only this time, it comes with a new-found ability to create open space from the centres and provide opportunities to his wingers on the outside. Simona is a valuable player for the Tigers and is slowly starting to establish a dangerous yet exciting partnership with Pat Richards.
16. Tim Glasby – You might not expect to see a player like Glasby on a team of the week like this but when you look at his stats, it is justified. He receives fewer plaudits and accolades than some of his team-mates but Glasby does not need them nor want them. He loves the game and plays it with enthusiasm and goes about his work and business like a pro.
17. Andrew Fifita – Workhorse personified. Fifita runs hard all day, tackles hard all day and delivers pinpoint offloads at the right times, just what you expect from him. The scary thing for opposition fans is that he can and will only get better, as the Sharks find their mojo and as their players rally around him and sniff for the offload. When truly at his best, there are very few props at his level.
Player of the Week: Daly Cherry-Evans.