Team of the Week: Round 21
1. Jarryd Hayne (Eels)
It took less than two minutes for Hayne to split open the Sharks' defence on Saturday afternoon, and with another length-of-the-field effort late in the game he continued his run of career-best form. His contribution of two tries, 280 metres, a line break assist and eight tackle breaks is now becoming a week-to-week occurrence, giving the Eels every shot of September football.
2. Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs)
The 19-year-old Rabbitohs flyer continued his try-scoring success when a second half hat-trick saw him jump to 14 tries in only 10 NRL appearances. On top of this Johnston made 189 metres, three line breaks and three tackle breaks in the Rabbitohs' flogging of Newcastle.
3. Will Chambers (Storm)
The Storm centre was a pivotal point of attack on Monday night as Melbourne took down the Tigers. Chambers scored a long-distance try, ignited another and ran for 210 metres to accompany his three line breaks.
4. Dylan Walker (Rabbitohs)
Another 19-year-old is making all the right moves out Redfern way, with Walker rapidly becoming one of the most dangerous centres in the competition. His freakish try from the boot of Chris McQueen helped his cause but his 167 metres, two line break assists, two try assists and five tackle busts told the real story of his performance against the Knights.
5. Manu Vatuvei (Warriors)
The Beast returned to form on Sunday when the Warriors well-and-truly dismantled the Raiders in Canberra. Vatuvei scored a second-half hat-trick and his performance was furthered with a solid 157 metres, two line breaks and five tackle breaks.
6. Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles)
The Manly five-eighth only just made it out of his sickbed on Friday to help the Sea Eagles' cause against the Broncos. Foran punched out two tackle busts, a try assist and 133 metres against Brisbane to help his club all but secure the minor premiership.
7. Cooper Cronk (Storm)
The Melbourne halfback was instrumental in the Storm's big win over the Tigers on Monday night. The Maroons and Kangaroos lynchpin laid on four tries in a vintage performance and well and truly deserved man of the match honours in Campbelltown.
8. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
With Paul Gallen and Bryce Gibbs missing and the Sharks undoubtedly struggling, Fifita has been a one man wrecking ball of late and it showed again against Parramatta on Saturday. Leading the metre and tackle counts at half-time, Fifita ended the game with 173 metres and 38 tackles as well as busting eight tackles and producing a try assist and a line break assist.
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9. James Segeyaro (Panthers)
The Panthers livewire will need to continue his form shown against the Bulldogs on Friday night if Penrith are to go deep into finals football. With the club's casualty ward growing each week, Segeyaro's man of the match performance saw him score twice before ending the game with 37 tackles and eight tackle breaks in an impressive win for the underdogs.
10. Matthew Scott (Cowboys)
The Cowboys prop made his long-awaited return on Saturday against the Titans with great force. With James Tamou ruled out during the week, Scott lifted after recovering from facial fractures to smash out 195 metres, 26 tackles and six tackle breaks in the Cowboys' 20-point win.
11. Chris McQueen (Rabbitohs)
The Rabbitohs back-rower made his return to first grade against the Knights, on his birthday no less, and didn't let anyone down. With Ben Te'o and Sam Burgess missing from Souths' line-up, McQueen came off the bench and scored a try to go with his line break, line break assist and two try assists, including a brilliant kick across field to Dylan Walker to score.
12. Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)
The young Cowboys enforcer makes our best 17 for the second consecutive week following his outstanding showing against the Titans. The 21-year-old made 160 metres, 23 tackles (with no misses) plus a solid nine tackle breaks and is ticking all the right boxes under new North Queensland mentor Paul Green.
13. Jamie Buhrer (Sea Eagles)
While the Sea Eagles have been missing Glenn Stewart for a large portion of the season Buhrer has stepped into the role and done an outstanding job in his absence. Against the Broncos on Friday, Buhrer produced 156 metres and 31 tackles as well as a rare line break assist.
14. Jamie Soward (Panthers)
With rookie five-eighth Will Smith by his side, Soward did extremely well on Friday against the Bulldogs and proved there is life in the Panthers' finals hopes yet. With Peter Wallace ruled out for the season during the week, Soward stood up and produced two line break assists and a try assist and kept the Bulldogs on the back foot all night with his 374 kicking metres.
15. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
The Cowboys captain turned North Queensland's game against the Titans on its head on Saturday. With his side down 8-0 late in the first half, Thurston went to town on the Gold Coast and punched out a try, 197 kicking metres, a line break, two line break assists and an outstanding three try assists.
16. Tony Williams (Bulldogs)
With the Bulldogs facing with some undeniably rough calls on Friday, Williams kept the ball rolling for his team throughout the game to only come up short by six points against the Panthers. His 138 metres, line break assist, three tackle busts and try assist worked wonders but it just wasn't quite enough.
17. Feleti Mateo (Warriors)
With the Warriors missing Shaun Johnson and the club having not won in Canberra since 2001, it was the likes of Mateo who stood up to help his side destroy the Raiders 54-18. Mateo was able to produce two line break assists and two try assists after starting off the bench and added another 87 metres towards the Warriors victory on Sunday.