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ISP NSW Team Of The Week | Round 2

NSWRL.com.au staff writers

BURGESS BACK: Tom Burgess replaced brother George in the Bears' team in Round 2 - and played well enough to make the Team of the Week. Image: Steve Little.
BURGESS BACK: Tom Burgess replaced brother George in the Bears' team in Round 2 - and played well enough to make the Team of the Week. Image: Steve Little.

Each week, the NSWRL.com.au staff writers will name their 17 best performers from the weekend's Intrust Super Premiership NSW. These selections, heavily based on statistical data, are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSWRL.

1 - Luke Sharpe
Club: Wyong Roos; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

122 total metres, one try-assist, two line-breaks, five tackle-breaks, one offload, two tries.
Luke Sharpe was the star of the show in the Fox League Match of the Round, having a big influence on the result at McDonald Jones Stadium. The Central Coast-raised fullback tore the Knights apart with two tries in quick succession in the first half as the Roos remained undefeated; it wasn't his first taste of success for Wyong, either - he later told NSWRL.com.au of the time he won two premierships for the club in one afternoon.

2 - Kalifa Faifai Loa
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

20 total runs, 197 total metres, four tackle-breaks.
Faifai Loa was a big part of Illawarra's premiership success last year, scoring a vital try in the Grand Final and posing a threat on his edge all season. After a wet weather contest in Round 1, the former Cowboy and Titan continued his class in the competition, running for significantly more metres than any other back on the weekend. His high involvement is a positive for the defending premiers.

3 - Tyrell Fuimaono
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

166 total metres, one try-assist, two line-break-assists, one line-break, nine tackle-breaks, one offload, 14 tackles.
He arrived at the Rabbitohs and Bears system as a key signing for the clubs' future and on Sunday, Fuimaono showed glimpses of why. The centre/second-rower was solid in Round 1 in a back line featuring Braidon Burns and Robert Jennings - both of whom made the Team of the Week and earned NRL call-ups - but was a standout in the second week of competition. Fuimaono proved hard to handle every time he ran the ball, later telling NSWRL.com.au that he's comfortable in both the three-quarter line and back row.

4 - Lachlain Stein
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

192 total metres, nine tackle-breaks, one try.
The Panthers well and truly outclassed the Wests Tigers in Round 2, surging to early favouritism in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW - and Stein's efforts with the ball certainly helped their cause. Described by coach Garth Brennan as a "powerful and explosive-running outside back," that description was justified to all in attendance at Campbelltown as the 20-year-old broke nine tackles and scored late in the first half.

5 - Rau Tuisese
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

126 total metres, two line-breaks, five tackle-breaks, one try.
Stein's outside man was equally hard to handle for the Panthers, proving it early with a four-pointer. Known for finding the line in the Panthers' Holden Cup system - he topped the side's try scorers' list as they raced to the Grand Final last year - the flying Fijian made the task extra difficult for the Tigers defence on Sunday.

6 - Jordan Turner
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

Two try-assists, one line-break, two tackle-breaks, seven goals, one try.
Mounties' five-eighth was exceptional on Saturday, setting up two tries and scoring his own as the side overcame the Jets 46-28. While both sides' general statistics were relatively similar, Turner was one point of difference as he helped convert the home side's opportunities.

7 - Darren Nicholls
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

11 total runs, three try-assists, four tackle-breaks, one offload, eight goals.
NSWRL.com.au reported in Round 1 that Darren Nicholls had switched between state competitions five times in pursuit of his NRL dream and with performances like the one he came up with against the Wests Tigers, he'll do his chances no harm. The Intrust Super Cup's 2016 leading point-scorer added 16 to his tally this year and was another reason the Panthers were so dominant in Round 2.

8 - James Gavet
Club: Warriors; 2017 TOTW Selections: 1.

195 total metres, 81 post-contact metres, two tackle-breaks.
Gavet is one of just two players to make both Teams of the Week this season, thanks to ridiculous running metres which gave the Warriors a much-needed edge over the Bulldogs. While the visitors were actually better in most key statistical area, Gavet's 81 post-contact metres played a part in rattling the Canterbury-Bankstown defence and ultimately giving the Warriors two extra tries at Mt Smart Stadium.

9 - Brad Deitz (c)
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

Four total runs, two try-assists, two line-breaks, two tackle-breaks, 20 tackles.
The Bears co-captain gets the Team of the Week captaincy this week after some great service against the Sea Eagles at HE Laybutt Fields. Running the ball just four times, Deitz made two tackle-breaks, resulting in two line-breaks, while he also laid on two tries. The no.9 combined brilliantly with halfback and fellow captain Eli Levido in very good signs for the North Sydney faithful.

10 - Moses Leota
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

195 total metres, one line-break, four tackle-breaks, two offloads, 21 tackles, one try.
Relegated from the Panthers' 21-man NRL squad, Leota proved his worth at Intrust Super Premiership NSW level with an early try and big metres against the Tigers. The prop, who was named in the Auckland Nines Team of the Tournament in February, has already caught the attention of many and appears to be close to a first grade opportunity with Anthony Griffin's side.

11 - Luciano Leilua
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

157 total metres, one try-assist, two line-break-assists, five tackle-breaks.
A human wrecking ball in the Holden Cup last year, Leilua was destructive again in Illawarra's defeat of Wentworthville in Round 2. Leilua showed he can not only break tackles himself but put his teammates through holes and is already pushing his case for more NRL time after he finished the season there in 2016.

12 - Corey Harawira-Naera
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW Selections: 1.

116 total metres, one try-assist, two line-break-assists, one line-break, seven tackle-breaks, two offloads, one try.
The dominance of the Panthers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday is indicated in the fact that Harawira-Naera - one of the team's best forwards in their demolition of the Wests Tigers - actually made fewer tackles than any other starting second rower in Round 2. Truth be told, the 21-year-old wasn't required to do a heavy workload in defence, instead offering his services in attack which propelled Penrith to their big win.

13 - Brendan Attwood
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

108 total metres, 48 tackles.
In a team performance which, it must be said, was below par, the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles co-captain led from the front. While there were no outstanding attacking stats to come from Attwood's game, his 48 tackles were the equal-most of Round 2 and kept the Sea Eagles more secure in the middle of the field.

INTERCHANGE

14 - Josh Cleeland
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

12 total runs, two try-assists, four tackle-breaks, one offload, one try.
The 2016 Five-Eighth Of The Year is adjusting to his new club nicely, as shown by an impressive performance for the Bulldogs. The side enjoyed a second-half resurgence, thanks in part to a Cleeland try and two try-assists; Canterbury-Bankstown is none from two to start the year, but their no.6 will not stop trying as they chase their first victory.

15 - Rod Griffin
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

20 total runs, 159 total metres, five tackle-breaks, three offloads, 48 tackles.
Another new Bulldogs recruit who was impressive in a losing effort was former Tiger Rod Griffin - the PNG international notched up the equal-most tackles of Round 2 (along with Attwood) and also ran for a team-high 159 metres. Griffin is proving to be a solid signing for the club early in 2017.

16 - Jacob Hind
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

141 total metres, two tackle-breaks, 39 tackles.
A solid effort both with and without the ball earn Hind a place in the Round 2 Team of the Week, with a showing that Illawarra needed in a close contest with the Magpies. The home side appeared to have a relatively safe brand of football and players like Hind are required to help grind out a victory in those circumstances.

17 - Tom Burgess
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW Selections: 0.

163 total metres, one line-break, five tackle-breaks, one try.
The Englishman returned from NRL duties in Round 2, replacing brother George in the Bears' front row - but he was equally destructive. Burgess was afforded 47 minutes but made an impression in that time, scoring a first-half try and running further than any other forward on the field.

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