Each week The Wolf will announce 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 (c) (Cronulla) – Barba continued his outstanding season and quest for a second Dally M Medal with yet another brilliant performance in the Sharks’ 32-20 win over the Roosters. Barba had three try assists and was a handful for the Roosters all night.
2. Corey Oates (Brisbane) – Oates was one of Queensland’s best in State of Origin 3 and backed it up for the Broncos. He crossed for two tries and ran for 250 metres in his side’s 30-10 win over the Rabbitohs.
3. James Roberts (Brisbane) – Roberts had gone off the boil in recent weeks, but rediscovered his mojo against the Rabbitohs. He broke tackles at will and ran for close to 200 metres in a strong performance that could help get the Broncos season back on track.
4. Tyrone Peachey (Penrith) – Mr Fix-It bounced back from his relegation to NSW Cup last week to be one of the major contributors in Panthers’ win over the Eels. Peachey showed his versatility in the centres to score a try, set up another and break through 8 tackles.
5. Josh Mansour (Penrith) – Mansour was easily the best winger of the weekend and was a powerhouse every time he touched the ball. Not only did he break 12 tackles, but he ran for over 2oo metres and crossed for a try for good measure. A great effort like Oates after backing up from Origin.
6. Clint Gutherson (Parramatta) – Gutherson stepped into the No.6 jersey vacated by Corey Norman and didn’t miss a beat. He made 3 line-breaks, scored a try and set up another in the best performance by a player in a losing side in Round 19.
7. Chad Townsend (Cronulla) – Townsend has been a revelation since returning to The Shire and he’s contribution to the Sharks’ winning streak hasn’t gone unnoticed by The Wolf.
8. Darcy Lussick (Manly) – Lussick has stepped up in the absence of Nate Myles over the past few weeks and is arguably player the best rugby league of his career. The potential has always been there, but he can cross a very line with his aggression on occasions.
9. Api Koroisau (Manly) – Koroisau has been impressive for the Sea Eagles all season and has made it difficult for Matt Parcell to take the starting hooker position when he returns from injury.
10. Robbie Rochow (Newcastle) – Rochow has been inspirational since moving to the front row and wasn’t afraid of rolling up the sleeves against the Storm. Unfortunately for Rochow, he picked up a season-ending pec injury in the loss to the Storm and it will be interesting to see if he sticks with the Novocastrians next season.
11. Bunty Afoa (New Zealand) – Playing just his second NRL game, Afoa was a shining light for the Warriors with two tries in the loss to the Sea Eagles. Bodene Thompson should be an automatic inclusion when he returns, but Andrew McFadden at least knows he has a suitable replacement in Afoa.
12. Zeb Taia (Gold Coast) – Taia has been one of the most consistent performers for the Titans since his return from the Super League and Friday night against the Dragons was no different. 21 hit-ups and 39 tackles are the workhorse statistics that makes Taia such an invaluable piece of the Titans puzzle.
13. Jake Trbojevic (Manly) – Trbojevic is arguably the best young forward in the game with many experts predicting he will get a taste of State Of Origin next season. Produced a match-winning charge down on Shaun Johnson and carted the ball strongly all game against the Warriors.
14. Ben Matulino (New Zealand) – Provides great impact off the bench and usually plays big minutes with Charlie Gubb and James Gavet lacking the stamina to play 80 minutes. Made 42 tackles and 19 runs for 164 metres in a strong performance in a beaten side.
15. Daniel Alvaro (Parramatta) – Stepped up when both Tim Mannah and Danny Wicks went off with head knocks and was heavily involved with 15 runs for 126 metres in a 44-minute stint.
16. Sam Moa (Sydney) – Didn’t get as much game time as he would have liked, but provided good impact off the bench when Napa had a rest.
17. Chris Heighington (Cronulla) – Ran the ball strongly all night and showed glimpses of the form that saw him win a premiership with the Tigers in 2005.