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Cowboys half Tom Dearden.

According to Todd Payten, Cowboys halfback Tom Dearden's best attribute is his competitiveness - and that can be seen in the round 17 Telstra Tracker results.

While North Queensland lost 46-18 to South Sydney, 20-year-old Dearden recorded the most high-speed metres (more than 20km/h) of any player in the shortened four-match round with 673m.

The former Broncos playmaker also ranked inside the top 10 for maximum speed (31.1km/h) and total distance covered (8.7km).

While Dearden has yet to taste victory since moving to the Cowboys in round 14, Payten praised the No.7 on Tuesday.

"He's had a difficult time at his old club and he's come up here a little bit wounded in some ways," Payten told reporters.

"He has put himself in the game with the way he competes, and that's what I like about him, so if he continues to compete the way he competes, we'll be able to put the polish on his game."

Payten noted Dearden was involved in two tries last Friday - scoring one himself - and "saved a couple by working back with the ball".

That willingness to continually track the play helps to explain why Dearden racked up the most high-speed metres ahead of teammate Kyle Feldt (612m) and Manly winger Jason Saab (608m).

Meanwhile, we didn't see many players in full flight over the weekend, perhaps because the wet conditions weren't conducive to speed.

Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney was the quickest of the bunch, being clocked at 32.8km/h - a result that usually wouldn't crack the top five.

Next came North Queensland centre Connelly Lemuelu (31.9km/h), Sea Eagles flyer Reuben Garrick (31.9km/h), Canterbury halfback Lachlan Lewis (31.7k/h) and Roosters No.1 Joey Manu (31.7km/h).

Elsewhere, Warriors playmaker Sean O'Sullivan covered the most distance with 9.1km in Sunday's loss to the Sharks, Canberra's Matt Frawley (9.05km) and Cronulla's Will Kennedy (9.01km).

Young Roosters forward Egan Butcher finished atop the relative distance (metres-per-minute) category with an average of 110 but he only played 13 minutes off the interchange at Bankwest Stadium.

His Tricolours teammate Victor Radley, in his first game back from suspension, averaged an eye-catching 102m/m in 71 minutes - the lock maintaining a high intensity throughout a tight contest.