Each week The Wolf announces his NRL Team Of The Week from the best fullback to all four bench players. He will also announce his captain of the team, awarded to the best player out of the 17 players named in The Wolf’s team. The players will also be named in the positions that they played for their clubs in the relevant week.
1. Ben Barba (Cronulla) – Barba features in The Wolf’s Team Of The Week for a second week running and with good reason. He scored a double and could have easily had a hat-trick with better luck from The Bunker. He might not be at his 2012 form but he’s not far off as the Sharks’ winning streak extends to 15 in a row.
2. Antonio Winterstein (North Queensland) – Scored the first two tries and the last try in the Cowboys’ 36-0 romp over the Bulldogs.
3. Jarrod Croker (Canberra) – The Raiders centre had a quiet start to the season but has finally recaptured his form as the Raiders head towards the finals. Scored a hat-trick and was a constant threat for the Warriors defence.
4. Jack Bird (Cronulla) – Bird has gone from strength-to-strength since making his Origin debut earlier in the season. He had a hand in two tries, made three line-breaks and scored a double himself. He might not be happy in the centres but coach Shane Flanagan will be ecstatic with the job he is doing.
5. Valentine Holmes (Cronulla) – Like Bird, it was field day for Holmes as the Sharks romped to a 36-4 victory over the Knights. Scored a double and ran for over 200 metres.
6. Jamie Lyon (Manly) – Manly might have left their run to the finals too late but Jamie Lyon is doing everything in his power to get the Silvertails to the finals. Scored the first try and provided good direction alongside Daly Cherry-Evans in Manly’s 20-12 win over the Rabbitohs
7. Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland) – Thurston might have only played 47 minutes in the Cowboys’ 36-0 thrashing of the Bulldogs before exiting with a hamstring injury, but the damage was done early in the contest and the Cowboys will be sweating on his return over the coming weeks.
8. Lelani Latu (Penrith) – Latu has been an unsung hero for the Panthers this season and set up two tries in the Panthers’ 31-12 win over the Broncos. Merrin was the standout in the Panthers pack but Latu was a close second in the absence of Reagan Campbell-Gillard in the engine room.
9. Cameron Smith (Melbourne) – Smith was at his clinical best as the Storm grinded out a tough victory over the gallant Roosters. Set up two tries, kicked 5/5 and made 39 tackles in a workman-like performance.
10. Aaron Woods (Wests) – The early loss of Tim Grant saw Woods play more minutes than coach Jason Taylor would have anticipated. Ran for over 200 metres and had four offloads in a strong performance from the Tigers’ captain.
11. Josh Papalii (Canberra) – Papalii led the Raiders forward pack in hit-ups and set up two tries in the 26-22 golden point win over the Warriors.
12. Ethan Lowe (North Queensland) – It was arguably a career-best match for Lowe, who led the tackle count for the Cowboys, scored a try and rolled up the sleeves with 14 runs for 126m.
13. Trent Merrin (C) (Penrith) – Merrin is The Wolf’s captain this week after a dominant display that was the catalyst for the Panthers win over the Broncos. He had 22 hit-ups, made 37 tackles and was rewarded with the final try of the match in an impressive 80-minute effort.
14. Nathan Brown (Souths) – Provided great impact off the bench for the Rabbitohs in a losing side and could find himself back in the starting side next week at the expense of Tom Burgess.
15. Ava Seumanufagai (Wests) – Like Woods, Seumanufagai was forced to play extra minutes due to Tim Grant’s injury and didn’t shirk the task. Provided good go-forward with 13 hit-ups and contributed 36 tackles.
16. Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra) – It might be Mike Cooper’s final season at the Red V before heading back to Super League and he once again reminded the Dragons of what they’ll be missing. Led the hit-up count with 19 and ran for the most metres by a forward only behind Aaron Woods
17. Kenny Bromwich (Melbourne) – The younger brother of Jesse lifted for his brother’s milestone game and continues to play a vital part in Craig Bellamy’s forward rotation.