The NRL is back for another season and opening round was a real cracker, apart from the Sharks vs Titans game on Monday which was well and truly a shocker of a game.
Here is my team of the round. (I am not a stats guy, its all about the eye test)
Fullback: Greg Inglis
Brett Stewart (until he picked another injury), Anthony Millford and others had decent games at the weelkend but GI once again proved that he is the best player in the game. He hardly broke sweat and still scored a hat-trick.
Wingers: Josh Mansour and Semi Radradra
Mansour looks like a real star of the future and, if he stays healthy, could be a decent bet for top try scorer. Although, Radradra is a liability in defence, (ask Ryan Hall) he can find his way to the try line and will keep improving.
Centres: Steve Matai and Will Hopoate
I don’t think many centres stood out this round. I’ve included Matai because of the part he played early on against Melbourne. Hopoate is a bit of a token gesture, I was surprised with how solid he was given the fact he has been away for two years.
Halves: Johnathan Thurston and Gareth Widdop
Not much needs to be said about Thurston, he is a champion of a player and was the difference between winning and losing for the Cowboys. Widdop has stepped out of the shadow of Smith, Cronk and Slater and proved he is a quality player who can be a dominant halve in an NRL side. Also proved he is a better goal kicker than Cameron Smith.
Front Rowers: George Burgess and Sam Burgess
The Burgess boys really played well on Thursday. George won the battle against the Roosters front row and Sam worked as hard as usual. I prefer to see Sam on the edge running of a halve but he showed his versatility again.
Hooker: Cameron Smith
There was a lot of love for Peats’s performance for Parramatta and Luke’s for Souths but Cameron Smith edges it for me. He overcame the 20-point margin without his halfback and kept turning up to take his shots at goal. The greatest Hooker of the modern era without question.
Back Row: Manu Ma’u, Jason Taumololo and Elijah Taylor
Some good performances in the backrow this weekend. Chris McQueen just misses out but he was very good. You may be surprised by the inclusion of Elijah Taylor but the kid works and works and works. He’s got some nice footwork before he hits the line, he tackles, he hits the ball up and he gives 100% on every play. Manu Ma’u at the Eels made his debut on Sunday at the ripe old age of 25 and was causing all kinds of problems on the left edge, the Warriors just couldn’t deal with him. Jason Taumololo was also rampaging on the edge for the Cowboys, if he keeps it up we all know he has the talent to be the next destructive forward. He reminded me of a young Willie Mason (without the hair) on Saturday against the Raiders.
Dud Of The Week: Braith Anasta
Time to give it up now Braith. You’ve been stealing a living for the last three years.
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