Round 20 Team of the Week
A spectacular debut by a Dragon, two strike centres, a play-making Broncos hooker and two Storm forwards lead the way in the Round 20 Team of the Week.
1. Matt Dufty (Dragons)
Dragons fans have been waiting patiently to see Dufty in the top grade and he didn't disappoint in his NRL debut. He looked lively from his very first touches and completed a memorable day out with a try a minute from full-time, two try assists, two line breaks, 11 tackle breaks and 188 run metres.
2. Daniel Tupou (Roosters)
Whether patrolling the left wing or heading in-field for a carry Tupou caused problems for the Newcastle defence wherever he turned up, scoring a try, registering two line breaks, five tackle busts and amassing 179m.
3. Waqa Blake (Panthers)
Turned the clash with the Titans on its head with a 70-metre solo try against the run of play and then scored a second to kick-start Penrith's point-scoring blitz, finishing with a total of 199 run metres and four tackle busts.
4. James Roberts (Broncos)
Tore a Bulldogs defence that was tiring midway through the second half to shreds with a spectacular individual four-pointer and then sealed the 42-12 win with a try right on the buzzer. Had six tackle busts, two line breaks and 170m.
5. Gerard Beale (Sharks)
The Sharks' back five were integral in Cronulla's win over the Rabbitohs on Friday night and Beale was outstanding, running for 156 metres and capping it off with a well-deserved try in the 70th minute.
6. Gareth Widdop (Dragons)
With opposite Blake Green rested Widdop took the opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck, laying on two tries and giving his 172 run metres a significant boost with a 90-metre intercept that put the Dragons away on their 30-point first half.
7. Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
It paled in comparison to his Warriors master class a week earlier but when the game needed to be won Nathan Cleary stepped up and dragged the Panthers across the line and in so doing keep their finals hopes alive.
8. Leeson Ah Mau (Dragons)
Against a Manly forward pack that has bulldozed plenty in 2017 the Dragons needed their big men to step up and none made more of an impact than Ah Mau who rumbled forward for 175 metres from just 12 carries.
9. Andrew McCullough (Broncos)
Continues to show his growing attacking prowess, sparking Brisbane's first try with a clean line-break from well inside his own half and then setting up one for Josh McGuire in the second half with a clever kick into the Bulldogs' in-goal.
10. Jesse Bromwich (Storm)
Big showing from the Melbourne front-rower, particularly given the loss of both Cameron Smith and Billy Slater. Ran for 160 metres and made 30 tackles in 56 minutes of game time.
11. Matt Gillett (Broncos)
Refreshed after a week off Gillett threatened to bust through the Bulldogs' left edge defence all night, playing a key role in the try for Jordan Kahu just prior to half-time, making 148 metres and 34 bone-rattling tackles.
12. Dale Finucane (Storm)
Got the Storm started in the right fashion with a try in the opening six minutes and then scored his second 11 minutes from full-time to give his side decimated by injuries a handy buffer that ultimately proved the difference.
13. Jack de Belin (Dragons)
Another monster statistical output for the Dragons lock forward with 251 run metres and 30 tackles in a 76-minute performance.
14. Wade Graham (Sharks)
Enjoyed the return of James Maloney with a try inside three minutes and threatened to cause more issues for the Souths' right-edge defence all night. Ran for 123 metres and made 22 tackles.
15. Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Panthers)
Named in the starting team but pushed to the bench for the second week in succession, Campbell-Gillard once again changed the tempo of the game when introduced, coming on after just 20 minutes and racking up 181m and 28 tackles.
16. Gavin Cooper (Cowboys)
Helping to make Te Maire Martin's transition into the North Queensland team seamless with another solid performance on the Cowboys' left edge.
17. Simon Mannering (Warriors)
Typically courageous performance from the stand-in Warriors skipper, scoring a try, racking up 54 tackles and running for 133 metres in his side's narrow loss to the Cowboys.