We’ve reached that time for another week, where I give you my top 17 players of the weekend. The players who performed brilliantly in their respective games and played a role in their side winning or challenging for the win. So, here it is.
Please note, this team of the week is based on the points that I myself collate.
1. Corey Norman – For some players, when they sign a deal mid-season to go to another club the following year, their form wanes. Not for Corey Norman. Leading the Broncos to victory over the Titans this week, Norman is playing some fantastic footy and is keen to impress his future club the Eels.
2. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa – With a name that can become quite confusing at times, KFFL let’s his on-field play do the talking and he’s done a fantastic job filling in for the injured Ashley Graham, scoring some great tries in the process, instantly gelling with his inside centre.
3. Konrad Hurrell – Nicknamed the Hurrellicane, Konrad Hurrell certainly lived up to that billing, as he produced his best game of the season despite the Warriors narrow loss. Warriors fans will be hoping that that sort of game is more frequent, after a slow start to the season for Hurrell.
4. Mahe Fonua – Whilst out of position in this list and naturally a winger, the Victorian-bred Storm player has cemented his spot in the Storm side very well and is going from strength to strength as a player.
5. Michael Gordon – His side may not have got the win in the inaugural Johnny Mannah Cup, but that did not stop Gordon from continuing his solid form in 2013. Scored a rather fortuitous try, but it is work from the back that often sets up the Sharks for good field position.
6. James Maloney – We know how good James Maloney is, but I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good so early. Easily the Roosters most consistent player so far in 2013, his stats at this stage are simply amazing. He’ll look to continue that form.
7. Johnathan Thurston (C) – After some disappointing games over the last couple of rounds, Thurston bounced back in a dominant win over the Panthers as he wreaked havoc for the Cowboys and linked well with his team-mates and partner in crime, Matt Bowen.
8. Aaron Woods – The young Tigers prop goes from strength to strength. Already touted as an Origin bolter before the season began, Woods has lived up to that expectation, playing brilliantly and consistently for the Tigers this year, despite some inconsistent performances by the team overall.
9. Cameron Smith – Easily the world’s best hooker for his uncanny ability to turn a game on its head and just dominate it, Smith put in a solid performance for his side against the Tigers, but has started the season perhaps a bit slower than he may have liked.
10. Tim Mannah – Playing in a game that had an emotional significance to him, Mannah knuckled down and did the work that he had to, as he played out of skin to guide his side to victory in the inaugural Johnny Mannah Cup. A true toiler, he has been consistent this year and might be a bolter for NSW.
11. Anthony Watmough – A lot of fans may not necessarily like him, but you can’t deny that he is one of the form back-rowers, as he turned out yet another convincing performance for the Manly Sea Eagles. One would expect him to feature for NSW in Origin also.
12. Matt Gillett – When you think of young, talented players, Gillett is one that springs to mind, and the youngster did not disappoint, putting in a stellar performance for Brisbane, as he gets his form up to the level required for Origin.
13. Corey Parker – Once regarded as the spearhead of the Broncos forward pack and a Supercoach God, the times have changed, but Corey’s form has not. Putting in what was perhaps his best performance of the year in the win over the Titans, Parker is worthy of a spot on this team of the week.
14. George Burgess – You probably wouldn’t have thought it possible, but if he continues to play consistently, George Burgess may outshine his more experienced brother Sam, as he continues to put in strong performances for Souths.
15. Dan Hunt – Making metres as a prop is expected, but with astronomical figures and surpassing the 200m mark in metres gained, Dan Hunt was on fire this week for the Dragons.
16. Kelepi Tanginoa – He might not be a player every NRL fan has heard of, but he is a name you will hear a lot more of, as young Eels prospect Tanginoa played his best game of his short career so far, wreaking havoc in attack and packing a punch in defence.
17. Sam Burgess – Mr Consistency for one Sam Burgess and Souths know exactly what they’re going to get from him every week. Solid performance in both attack and defence.
Player of the Week: James Maloney.