Team of the Week: Round 3
A trio of Sea Eagles, some inspired Dragons forwards and a pair of rampant Raiders highlight the performances in NRL.com's Team of the Week for Round 3.
1 Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)
Fullback in the TOTW for the second week running only this time on the back of a big Manly win. Broke the game wide open with a long-range try and was an ever-present threat to the Cowboys defence, finishing with 181 run metres.
2 Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
Addo-Carr's duel with Broncos centre James Roberts was a beauty and he got the last laugh when he scored the match-winner in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Had six tackle busts and 149 metres.
3 Euan Aitken (Dragons)
His powerful runs on the right edge not only produced six tackle busts but two crucial tries for his team. Also came up with some important defensive plays as the Sharks attempted to mount a comeback in the second half.
4 Tyrone Peachey (Panthers)
Peachey isn't just developing into a centre, he's fast becoming one of the best in the NRL. Again he was the high point of the Panthers' attack, busting through six attempts at tackle by the Roosters and running for a game-high 170 metres.
5 Jordan Rapana (Raiders)
The speed and skill he showed in setting up Blake Austin's try just prior to half-time proved to be the killer blow against the Tigers but if there was any doubt he busted the Tigers wide open with a run from dummy-half and pass to Jack Wighton who scored under the posts. Scored twice himself in a Raiders rout.
6 Cody Walker (Rabbitohs)
As he did against Manly a week ago Walker engineered three of South Sydney's four tries, linking with Adam Reynolds for Alex Johnston's try, providing a superb short ball for John Sutton to score and with his team trailing by two put in a perfectly placed grubber for Bryson Goodwin to cross. Has six try assists after three rounds - two more than any other player in the NRL.
7 Ashley Taylor (Titans)
Playing well above his 22 years, Taylor sparked the majority of the Titans' try-scoring opportunities and his kicking game in the second half gave the Eels little chance to fight back into the contest. His pass leading up to Tyler Cornish's try was pure class and his kicks were responsible for both his side's second half tries.
8 Paul Vaughan (Dragons)
Further showed why he has been such a valuable pick-up for the Dragons with a 71-minute performance that gave the Dragons the foundation to upset the Sharks. Vaughan thundered forward for 206 metres from just 14 runs with five tackle breaks and 30 tackles against the defending premiers.
9 Cameron Smith (Storm)
Stats rarely tell the full Cameron Smith story but against the Broncos he laid on a try for Ryley Jacks, had 89 judicious kick metres, made 51 tackles and kicked the match-winning goal from the sideline. Astonishing.
10 James Graham (Bulldogs)
In a team that had to dig as deep as the Bulldogs did against the Warriors it helps when you have James Graham leading the way. Another whole-hearted 58-minute performance that yielded 139 run metres, 38 tackles and a host of inspirational plays for his teammates.
11 Boyd Cordner (Roosters)
In a grinding contest against the Panthers everything Cordner did he did with purpose, including some incisive runs and some rollicking hits in defence. Produced a team-high 157 metres to go with 29 tackles across 80 minutes of action.
12 Josh Papalii (Raiders)
Rocking a haircut that Mr T would be proud of, Papalii was too big and too strong for the Wests Tigers defence, rampaging his way through for 225 metres, two line breaks, two line-break assists and a try of his very own. A sight for sore eyes for Queensland coach Kevin Walters.
13 Jack de Belin (Dragons)
It's no surprise the Dragons' two wins have come on the back of dominant performances of their forward pack and Jack de Belin has been prominent on both occasions. He was ferocious against the Sharks, running for 143 metres and making 34 tackles, chiming in with a line-break assist, an offload and three tackle busts.
14 Apisai Koroisau (Sea Eagles)
Beside his cameo at halfback last year this was perhaps Koroisau's finest performance in the NRL to date. The Manly hooker probed around the Cowboys ruck at every opportunity and earned a try assist when he brought Brenton Lawrence in under from close range. Lifting tackle aside, a superb display.
15 David Klemmer (Bulldogs)
The Bulldogs may not have had much of the ball but when they did Klemmer carried his team up the field with some power-packed charges. In just 35 minutes of game time Klemmer crammed in 20 runs into the Warriors line for a yield of 201 metres which given the amount of defence the Bulldogs were forced to do was a godsend for his fellow forwards.
16 Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)
As the Cowboys repeatedly pounded away at the Sea Eagles line more often than not it was Trbojevic who was last up off the ground and the last line of defence. All told he came up with 42 tackles along with 99 run metres.
17 Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)
In a game where South Sydney were far from their best it took an inspired display from their captain to get the better of the Knights. Burgess accumulated 196 run metres and 39 tackles and took a power of stopping with every charge.