Round 23 Team of the Week
It was a weekend for the Knights and the Dragons as Newcastle and St George Illawarra players dominate the best of the best from Round 23 of the Telstra Premiership.
1. Dane Gagai (Knights)
Brilliant against a team touted for the top four, running for 224 metres, busting 11 tackles, setting up three tries, creating line breaks for two of his teammates and making a line break of his own.
2. Josh Mansour (Panthers)
Along with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak Mansour gave the Panthers great impetus from the back-field, breaking through an incredible 14 tackles, dishing up four offloads, making two line-breaks and scoring just his third try of the season.
3. Jarrod Croker (Raiders)
Celebrated his contract extension at Canberra with another typically classy display, scoring a try of his own, setting up a Nick Cotric try with one of his two line breaks and kicking six goals from as many attempts.
4. Tautau Moga (Broncos)
Turned a tight contest into a commanding Brisbane win with two superb individual tries early in the second half against the Sharks. Although blessed with plenty of size it was Moga's speed that proved too much for the Sharks' defence, Kurt Capewell and Gerard Beale left stranded in quick succession.
5. David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers)
Another tackle-busting performance from the Wests Tigers winger who had 10 tackle breaks in his 240 run metres to help give his side the impetus they needed to mount a stunning second half comeback against Manly.
6. Brock Lamb (Knights)
Lamb's two seasons of fast-tracked education in the NRL is starting to come to fruition, the Newcastle No.6 outshining both Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses in the Knights' upset victory over the Eels. Lamb laid on a try and scored a crucial one himself in the 60th minute to go with six tackle busts, two line breaks and a line-break assist.
7. Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
Once again stepped up when the game was there to be won, scoring twice in the final half hour and controlling the tempo of the contest with his kicking game.
8. Thomas Burgess (Rabbitohs)
Responding to criticism from Souths legend Mark Carroll, Burgess began the game against the Bulldogs full of running, amassing 115 run metres in the first half alone to set the tone for a convincing South Sydney win.
9. Apisai Koroisau (Sea Eagles)
Not often a player from a losing side makes the Team of the Week but for the first 60 minutes Koroisau was the best player on the park. Tore the Tigers to shreds with a line break that led to a try for Daly Cherry-Evans and was a constant menace around the ruck.
10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Panthers)
Continued his awesome run of form with a devastating performance against the Cowboys off the bench including a second half where he was more than a handful for a tiring North Queensland defence, racking up 158 metres in the second 40 for a total of 230 metres along with a line break, four tackle busts and two offloads.
11. Joe Stimson (Storm)
The only Storm player to officially cross the stripe against the Roosters, Stimson provided plenty of power on the edge for Melbourne, busting five tackles in his 79 metres and making 29 tackles.
12. Joel Thompson (Dragons)
Hard to argue Thompson isn't currently in career-best form and he had a field day against the Titans, making three line breaks and scoring a try in which he charged through three would-be defenders. Also credited with a try assist in a sensational 80-minute effort.
13. Josh McGuire (Broncos)
On a night that was supposed to be all about Paul Gallen it was McGuire who emerged victorious in the battle of the lock forwards, running for 168 metres and making 22 tackles.
14. Cameron McInnes (Dragons)
Revelled playing behind a forward pack rumbling down field all afternoon, scoring twice and making 58 metres from his nine runs from dummy half.
15. Jack de Belin (Dragons)
One of the many Dragons forwards who set an aggressive tone early and paved the way for the convincing victory. De Belin challenged the Titans line both with the intensity of his charges and his ability to play at the line, running for 172 metres and making 26 tackles.
16. Lachlan Fitzgibbon (Knights)
One of the big improvers for the Knights this season, Fitzgibbon proved difficult to contain with every carry, busting through the Parramatta defence to score the first try of the second half and put Newcastle on course for victory.
17. Elliott Whitehead (Raiders)
The move to the middle of the field has worked not only for Whitehead but also the Raiders. He set up a try, made 40 tackles and ran for 93 metres against the Warriors.