Round 18 Team of the Week
A backflipping Warrior and the Roosters' dominant right edge headline NRL.com's Round 18 Team of the Week.
1. Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)
What he lacks in running metres, Manly fullback Stewart certainly makes up for in scoring plays. Setting up two tries and scoring one himself, Snake managed to also break eight tackles in a man-of-the-match effort against the Titans on Monday.
2. Tuimoala Lolohea (Warriors)
Lolohea finished off arguably one of the greatest tries in rugby league history, scored another try and broke four tackles in the Warriors' 28-14 win over the Storm.
3. David Fusitu'a (Warriors)
In just his 14th NRL game, Fusitu'a ensured the Warriors didn't miss the injured Konrad Hurrell by setting up Lolohea's try-scoring double.
4. Blake Ferguson (Roosters)
In his best performance since returning to rugby league, Ferguson made over 200 metres and seven tackle breaks against Penrith as the Roosters showed why they are genuine title contenders.
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters)
The Roosters' right edge has become one of the dangerous flanks in the competition, with Kenny-Dowall capitalising on the work of men Ferguson and Mitchell Aubusson to score twice in the win over the Panthers.
6. Blake Austin (Raiders)
Scoring a hat-trick within the first 14 minutes of the Raiders' 36-22 win over Newcastle, Austin single-handedly put the game out of reach for the Knights within the first quarter of the game.
7. Shaun Johnson (Warriors)
Melbourne had no answers when it came to stopping the Warriors halfback. Johnson made everyone – from the experienced Cameron Smith to the rookie Cameron Munster – look silly throughout his try-scoring, 200-plus metre producing performance.
8. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
Earning Channel Nine's Man of the Match award against St George Illawarra on Sunday, Fifita scored his fourth try in three matches and dominated the Dragons from the get-go in Cronulla's 28-8 win.
9. Nathan Friend (Warriors)
Producing more than just his spectacular no-look, through-the-legs offload while upside down in mid-air, Friend held his own in the middle of the paddock against former club Melbourne by producing 34 tackles.
10. Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
Settling in to play the remainder of the year in the front row, Thaiday didn't look out of place after making a memorable line break and 32 tackles in Brisbane's eight-point win over the Bulldogs.
11. Mitchell Aubusson (Roosters)
In one of the finest performances of his career, Aubusson was unstoppable in the Roosters' 24-4 victory over Penrith. Starting in the back row, Aubusson set up two tries and ran for over 100 metres in the win.
12. Wade Graham (Sharks)
Continuing one of his best seasons in the NRL to date, Graham produced 209 metres, a try assist, six tackle breaks and 31 tackles.
13. Corey Parker (Broncos)
Backing up for the Broncos just four days after Queensland's Origin victory and his own Man of the Series performance, Parker starred in Brisbane's win over the Dogs with 182 metres, five offloads and 27 tackles.
14. Paul Vaughan (Raiders)
Kicked off proceedings against Newcastle by setting up Austin's second try and finished the game with 100-plus metres and 20 tackles.
15. Luke Lewis (Sharks)
In his 250th NRL game, Lewis capped of his big milestone by scoring his 103rd career try and was duly voted best on ground by the Sharks faithful at Remondis Stadium.
16. Joe Tapine (Knights)
Replacing Beau Scott in the starting back row, Tapine handled the transition adeptly – despite Newcastle's loss – after running for over 100 metres and making a game-high 47 tackles.
17. Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles)
Appearing unperturbed by an ankle complaint he carried into the game, Foran's try and all-round performance helped take some pressure off halves partner and the crowd's No.1 enemy Daly Cherry-Evans on the Gold Coast.