Round 9: Team of the Week
A trio of Roosters and Melbourne stars as well as a fleet-footed New South Wales fullback contender headline NRL.com's Team of the Week for Round 9.
1. Josh Dugan (Dragons)
By far the best player on the field in a losing Dragons team on Monday night, Dugan had one hand on another Blues jumper by game's end after recording a game-high 289 metres and eight tackle breaks.
2. Daniel Tupou (Roosters)
The incumbent New South Wales Origin winger solidified his place in Laurie Daley's team for Origin I following his hattrick-scoring performance against the Wests Tigers on Friday.
3. Jarrod Croker (Raiders)
The Raiders captain's 24-point haul (two tries, eight goals) against the Titans helped the Green Machine to their third-straight win on Saturday afternoon. The face of Ricky Stuart's new-look Raiders team, Croker continues doing all the right things in his first season as club skipper.
4. Will Chambers (Storm)
Fresh off his Australian debut, Chambers scored a try, ran for 201 metres and made five tackle-breaks against the Eels in another electrifying performance.
5. Anthony Don (Titans)
While the Titans went down by 40-points, Don managed to score a hattrick to ensure he'll keep teammate Kevin Gordon in the Intrust Super Cup for the immediate future.
6. Blake Austin (Raiders)
The calls for Austin to play for the Blues grew louder on Saturday when he led the Raiders to a 56-16 win over the Titans. Austin scored an amazing double with a brace of solo runs that cut the Gold Coast defence to smithereens. He is arguably the form player of the competition.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)
Cherry-Evans had the Brookvale faithful celebrating on Sunday when he led the Sea Eagles to their third win of the season against a disappointing Knights outfit. His try and try assist were timely as was his momentum changing 40/20. It was a good performance considering Queensland team selection is just around the corner.
8. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
Fifita looked to have won the Sharks the game against the Warriors when he broke through six would-be defenders to put his team in front with just three minutes on the clock. While it wouldn't end up being the match-winning play, he couldn't have done much more, the prop's 207 metres, seven tackle breaks and 33 tackles was welcomed by the Shire-based club.
9. Michael Lichaa (Bulldogs)
Lichaa continued building on his promising start to his Bulldogs career with a solid showing against North Queensland on Saturday. His 60 tackles (for only one miss) were important in the context of the game despite the Cowboys leaving it late to sink his team.
10. Jesse Bromwich (Storm)
Bromwich further pressed his claims as the world's best front-rower against Parramatta on Sunday afternoon after producing another punishing display with 174 metres, three tackle breaks and 24 tackles to his name.
11. Boyd Cordner (Roosters)
Cordner bounced back after being overlooked for representative round with a dominant display against the Wests Tigers. The Roosters back-rower's 159 metres, 29 tackles and handy try assist and try showed he still could be an integral member of the New South Wales team.
12. Kevin Proctor (Storm)
Proctor was a dominant force against Parramatta, overshadowing his fellow back-rowers by making 150 metres and 31 tackles.
13. Corey Parker (Broncos)
The veteran lock put forward another one of his typical displays in Brisbane's tight affair against the Panthers on Friday night. Remaining a rock in the middle of the paddock, Parker was also solid with ball in hand – producing 169 metres.
14. Mitch Pearce (Roosters)
The Roosters halfback did his Origin chances zero harm against the Wests Tigers after guiding the Tricolours to a big 36-4 victory. Pearce's two try assists will put more pressure on incumbent Blues halfback Trent Hodkinson's shoulders before they face off against one another this Friday night.
15. Ben Lowe (Rabbitohs)
The veteran back-rower proved a worthy replacement for teammate Glenn Stewart against the Dragons. Promoted to the starting team an hour before kick-off, Lowe's 162 metres and game-high 38 tackles were instrumental in the Rabbitohs' win.
16. Simon Mannering (Warriors)
The Kiwis captain backed up his performance in the victory over Australia with a solid winning display over the Sharks on Saturday. Edged out by Parker for a starting spot in the Team of the Week, Mannering's 46 tackles and 113 metres including an important run to set up the match winning try were instrumental for the Warriors.
17. Michael Morgan (Cowboys)
Proving to be more valuable for North Queensland every time he plays, Morgan's try assist, two tries and four tackle breaks proved once again why he is preferred as Johnathan Thurston's halves partner.