Rickyâ€™s Team of the Week
Fullback: Nathan Gardner â€“ The former Parramatta player had a strong performance against his old club getting on the scoresheet and slotting home the conversions for the Sharks. Hasnâ€™t really had the chance to live up to the hype that was placed on him a few years ago, but he seems to be on his way there with the Sharks.
Winger: Michael Gordon â€“ The man they call â€˜Flashâ€™, despite Gordon not being the fastest player on a team, amassed a total of 22 of the 31 points the Panthers scored. Scoring a hat-trick, and converting 5 tries, he seems to be well on his way to finishing with a huge points total at the end of his career.
Centre: Jerome Ropati â€“ Often criticised for his poor performances, the NZ born centre had a strong outing scoring two of the Warriors tries in their narrow win. Having always been regarded as a player with a mountain of potential, he sometimes doesnâ€™t seem to live up to that hype. Could this be a turning point for him?
Centre: Kyle Stanley â€“ Getting a start in the NRL because of Origin week, the centre grabbed it with both hands scoring a try and playing out of his skin despite his young age. Heâ€™s a player for the future, and could very well be a replacement for Matt Cooper should Gasnier not return to the club.
Winger: Fetuli Talanoa â€“ Another player who can at times be inconsistent, the Souths winger had one of his better games of the season with a two-try performance in the Bunnies narrow loss. Having bulked up, yet maintained his speed, at times, he can prove to be a real handful for opposition defences when he is on song.
Five-Eighth â€“ Benji Marshall â€“ Perhaps the most entertaining player in the game, he had a very good performance in the Tigers win over the Knights. Hot one minute and cold the next, you have to wonder whether he can maintain the form and steer the Tigers towards a finals berth.
Halfback: Tim Smith â€“ They say that players seem to lift against their former clubs and Tim Smith did just that. He didnâ€™t have an amazing game, but he did enough to ensure that the Sharks got the win, and he even got on the scoresheet himself with a sneaky dart from dummy half.
Prop: Russell Packer- A player of the future who has really come out of his shell in 2010, and is playing some very good footy. He is still young and has a great future ahead of him and heâ€™ll only get better.
Hooker: Glen Butriss â€“ One of the more under-rated players of the Canberra pack, the livewire hooker held his own, and took it to a weakened Dragons side with a stellar display in the Raiders win. Loves to find gaps in the defence and dart out, and is a good support player for the halves.
Prop: Tim Grant â€“ Another under-rated player in some senses, but he has the potential to be a Petero type player with his similar running style and similar metreage. Definitely a player to look out for in the future.
Second Row: Nathan Hindmarsh â€“ The fact this man wasnâ€™t at Origin is a travesty in of itself, and he showed why that is the case with a strong performance despite his teamâ€™s loss to the Sharks .He tackles, makes good metres, gets offloads away and acts as a true spiritual leader for club, state and country.
Second Row: Gareth Ellis â€“ The curse of the British has struck again. Whether or not itâ€™s coincidence or simply a case of goodwill, both Ellis and Burgess always seem to have standout games on a regular basis. Ellis has really taken his game to another level and is becoming a very good player. Almost on par with some of the best second rowers in the game.
Lock : Paul Gallen â€“ Perhaps another player unlucky not to be named in the Origin side. Whilst he does have a fiery temper and can give away incessant and needless penalties at times, thereâ€™s no doubting what he brings to a side with his tenacity, his ferocity to make metres and his ability to get offloads away. He should consider himself a bit hard-done by.
Player of the Week: Paul Gallen.