Team of the Week: Round 9
The Sea Eagles fly high, fullbacks come to the fore and a school of Sharks take a bite out of the Wests Tigers in the Round 9 Team of the Week.
1. Will Hopoate (Bulldogs)
The No.23 jersey has seen some phenomenal sporting performances over the years and Hopoate joined their ilk with an astonishing display first game back. He laid on Adam Elliott's second try with a beautifully timed pass and ran for an astonishing 308 metres from 29 carries with 10 tackle busts in the process.
2. Akuila Uate (Sea Eagles)
Scored a quartet of tries for the second time in his career incredibly against the same team against who Uate did it the first time almost six years ago. Yes, he may have only travelled a total of 14 metres to score his four tries but it's such a rare feat it automatically qualifies you for Team of the Week.
3. Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles)
A devastating display against his former club who simply couldn't handle his power and speed. Was the provider for each of Uate's four tries with his offload while being tackled by four South Sydney defenders indicative of Manly's night. Four try assists, two line-break assists, two line breaks, five tackle busts and four offloads; what a night indeed.
4. James Roberts (Broncos)
Effectively took the result away from the Panthers in the blink of an eye, first making a bust from a scrum on halfway to set up Kodi Nikorima's try and then flashing past three Penrith defenders who could barely lay a hand on him as he set off on an 85-metre run to the try-line. Had six tackle busts in his 180 running metres.
5. Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
His wing partner on the other side of the field scored a double of his own in spectacular fashion but with two tries, 226 running metres and five tackle busts Addo-Carr's influence was all over the field, not just down the pointy end.
6. Blake Green (Sea Eagles)
With forwards rumbling downfield and a defence on retreat it was the night playmaker's dream of, Green cashing in by laying on the first try for Brenton Lawrence, providing another line-break assist and backing up to score a try of his own in the 46-8 rout.
7. Chad Townsend (Sharks)
We're a sucker for a chip-and-chase at NRL.com and to do it with the game hanging in the balance to score the match-winner 11 minutes from full-time shows just how far Townsend has come as a first grade halfback. Fitting way to celebrate his new three-year deal with the club.
8. Aiden Tolman (Bulldogs)
When James Graham left the field after just 14 minutes other Dogs forwards had to pick up the slack and it came as no surprise when Tolman was first to put up his hand. Had 21 carries that yielded 203m in addition to making 36 tackles.
9. Api Koroisau (Sea Eagles)
Another former Rabbitoh who came back to haunt his former club, Koroisau took full advantage of his side's momentum to probe away around the ruck and continually worry the South Sydney defence.
10. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
Perhaps inspired by being overlooked for the Kangaroos, it was another dominant performance in the middle from Fifita, who bent the Wests Tigers defence with each charge. Mal Meninga must have been impressed because by the end of the weekend he was back in the green and gold.
11. Wade Graham (Sharks)
Unlucky to have been left out of the Australian team Graham made another case as the form back-rower of the NRL, providing a superb cut-out pass for Sosaia Feki to score and then snaring a Townsend bomb before offloading to Valentine Holmes to score.
12. Boyd Cordner (Roosters)
In a beaten team playing in awful conditions Cordner was arguably the best player on the field, carrying his side forward with inspirational runs on his way to a game-high 183m, 40 tackles and a line break.
13. Josh McGuire (Broncos)
Seemed determined to prove a point against Kangaroos incumbent Trent Merrin that he was in fact more deserving of the Australian No.13 jersey. Seventy-six of his 171 metres came post-contact and he made 44 tackles at an efficiency rate of 88 per cent.
14. Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)
This spot could have very easily gone to fellow fullbacks Clint Gutherson (Eels) or Billy Slater (Storm) but Trbojevic was integral to Manly's flogging of Souths, running for 239m and coming up with two try assists, three line-break assists, two line breaks of his own and three tackle busts.
15. Nathan Brown (Eels)
An important and convincing win for the Eels in Townsville where Brown again delivered much of the punch in the middle of the field. Amassed 186 metres and 31 tackles and even chalked up a try assist when he supported a Michael Jennings bust before passing to Will Smith.
16. Adam Elliott (Bulldogs)
The first 80-minute game of Elliott's career produced rich rewards for the Buldogs, the Tathra junior scoring twice with typically vigorous runs on the edges, the second of which sealed an against-the-odds win for his side.
17. Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles)
The Kiwi enforcer ripped the Rabbitohs to shreds, powering his way forward for 229m with five tackle busts from 50 minutes of game-time.