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ISP NSW Team Of The Week | Round 8

NSWRL.com.au staff writers

The Penrith Panthers host the Wentworthville Magpies in Round 8 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW. Image: David Napper.
The Penrith Panthers host the Wentworthville Magpies in Round 8 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW. Image: David Napper.

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 – Dylan Edwards
Club: Penrith Panthers

23 total runs, 257 total metres, one line-break, eight tackle-breaks, one offload.
With two NRL games to his name, Edwards continues to impress for the Panthers – leading many to expect another club to snap him up before too long. In the meantime, he’s performing well at Penrith and ran further than any other player in Round 8.


2 – Tuimoala Lolohea
Club: New Zealand Warriors

Two tries, one try-assist, 154 total metres, one line-break, one line-break assist.
Lolohea proved to be the biggest threat on the field in the New Zealand Warriors 24-8 victory over the Bears at North Sydney Oval. He opened proceedings by supporting Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to score in the right corner, before setting up Matthew Allwood just 28 minutes later. He then scored a long-range intercept try in the second half, which was a vital moment in the game given the scores were locked up at 8-all.


3 – Reubenn Rennie
Club: Mounties

12 total runs, 117 total metres, two line-breaks, four tackle-breaks, three tries.
Rennie has only made the Team of the Week once so far this season, but has been going about his business successfully in Mounties’ three-quarter line. Scoring all three of the side’s tries against Illawarra, the hat-trick brings his season tally to nine – pitting him in second place overall behind Bureta Faraimo.


4 – Matthew Allwood
Club: New Zealand Warriors

One try, 140 total metres, one line-break.
Matt Allwood was at his reliable best once again for the New Zealand Warriors, scoring a try in the 33rd minute against a stubborn North Sydney defensive line. It was one of the tries of the round with a string of exciting passes, but Allwood was in a perfect position to support Tui Lolohea and score the valuable four-pointer. He also ran for 140 metres, helping his side to remain undefeated at North Sydney Oval.


5 – Izaac Thompson
Club: Illawarrra

12 total runs, 138 total metres, three line-breaks, four tackle-breaks, one offload, three tries.
While Rennie scored a hat-trick for Mounties, Thompson mirrored the effort on the other side of the field with three of his own. The 20-year-old, who starred for the Dragons in their run to the Holden Cup Preliminary Finals last year, has been solid so far for Illawarra and proved his worth with his best performance in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW to date.

6 – Vairu Mapesone
Club: Wests Tigers

Three try-assists, three line-break-assists, one tackle-break, 20 tackles.
Directly laying on three of the Tigers’ five tries, Mapesone was on song against the Sea Eagles at Leichhardt. A late inclusion, he fitted in well alongside halfback Jordan Rankin, also making 20 tackles as the Tigers held Blacktown out for the final 20 minutes.


7 – Shaun Nona (c)
Club: Illawarra

Three try-assists, two line-break-assists, 11 tackles, six goals.
Nona earns his first Team of the Week selection of 2017 with three vital try-assists which helped Illawarra get one over their 2016 Grand Final opponents. The halfback, who was a key part of Illawarra’s ultimate success last season, was in control throughout the second half as the home side piled on the points at WIN Stadium.

Please note the captaincy is awarded to the chosen best performer each round and is not based on any club captaincy or leadership qualities.


8 – Alex Twal
Club: Wentworthville Magpies

13 total runs, 124 total metres, three tackle-breaks, 47 tackles.
Twal put forward a noticeably large workload against the Panthers, playing out the entire first 40 minutes and returning for a further 19 at Pepper Stadium. Topping the tackle count in the closely-contested match, it was a huge effort to result in his second Team of the Week selection.


9 – Craig Garvey
Club: Canterbury Bulldogs

One try, one line-break, 24 tackles
As usual, Craig Garvey was instrumental for the Canterbury Bulldogs, heaviliy assisting his side in turning a half-time deficit into two competition points. He scored the try that would give his team the lead in the 54th minute, gave brilliant service out of dummy half as usual, and also shaped up in defence with 24 tackles to his name.


10 – Makahesi Makatoa
Club: Mounties

21 total runs, 161 total metres, three tackle-breaks, one offload, 35 tackles.
Makatoa ran further and made more tackles than anyone on the field on Saturday afternoon, with the significant performance getting him a maiden Team of the Week call-up. Always willing and proving hard to handle at times, the prop was among Mounties’ best in his 65 minutes.


11 – Tautalatasi Tasi
Club: North Sydney Bears

30 tackles, 101 total metres, seven tackle-breaks.
While Tasi played off the bench in the North Sydney Bears' defeat to the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday afternoon, his incredible performance earned him a starting spot in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW team of the week. He came on early, playing 73 minutes of the match, running for 101 metres with seven tackle-breaks, and made 30 tackles. He is a dangerous asset with the ball in hand, and proved that once again at North Sydney Oval.


12 – Brendan Attwood
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles

11 total runs, 98 total metres, 43 tackles, two tries.
The Sea Eagles skipper continues to be a shining light for the 11th-placed side, consistently running threatening lines and bringing in a well-deserved double on Saturday. Attwood, alongside lock Jamil Hopoate, made more tackles than anyone else in the game and scored at the first- and third-quarter marks to give Blacktown every chance on defeating the Tigers.


13 – Jamil Hopoate
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles

18 total runs, 181 total metres, four tackle-breaks, one offload, 43 tackles.
While Attwood and Hopoate both topped the tackle count at Leichhardt, the latter also ran further than any other player with 18 strong runs at the Tigers’ defence. Another significant performance has Manly fans hopeful that Hopoate can be cleared to play NRL soon; when he is allowed, it is only a matter of time until Trent Barrett utilises his services.

INTERCHANGE

14 – Jayden Nikorima
Club: Wyong Roos

One line-break, four tackle-breaks, two offloads, 21 tackles, one try, three goals, one field goal.
The Roos were bolstered by the inclusion of star centre Latrell Mitchell on Saturday, but it was their crafty five-eighth who was the star of the show against the Jets. Nikorima was heavily involved in attack and, scoring 11 of the Roos’ 19 points, led his side to a narrow Round 8 victory.


15 – Cheyne Whitelaw
Club: North Sydney Bears

66 tackles, 116 total metres.
Topping the tackle count for the round is Cheyne Whitelaw, with a massive 66 to his name against the New Zealand Warriors in an 80-minute performance at lock. Despite his side being on the wrong end of the scoreboard, Whitelaw is a winner that his teammates want to play with and that his coaching staff want playing for them. He is a strong defender, one of the best in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, and continues to put in solid performances for the North Sydney Bears.


16 – Andy Saunders
Club: Canterbury Bulldogs

164 total metres, 70 post-contact metres, 21 tackles.
Saunders has been one of the Bulldogs' best in season 2017, consistently putting in the hard yards for his side in both attack and defence. This week, he ran for 164 metres and made 21 tackles at Cessnock Sports Ground against the Newcastle Knights, helping his side get on the front foot in their 30-18 victory.


17 – Lachlan Stein
Club: Penrith Panthers

15 total runs, 205 total metres, eight tackle-breaks.
Stein, who has been selected in the centres twice in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Week, found himself on the wing on Saturday – and despite the result, he delivered. Cracking the 200 running metres mark thanks largely to eight tackle-breaks, he proved hard to handle when in possession.

The next generation of NRL and NSW VB Blues players come directly from the Intrust Super Premiership NSW – click here for the latest on NSWRL’s blue-ribbon open-age competition.