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VB Blues Team Of The Week | Round 25

NSWRL.com.au staff writers

AaronWoods6

Each week of the NRL season, the NSWRL.com.au staff writers will have their say on the round's best performing New South Welshmen. These are based entirely on the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSWRL or the State of Origin selection process.

1 – Jack Wighton
Club: Canberra Raiders; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

12 total runs, 105 total metres, one line-break, two try-assists, five tackle-breaks, one line-break-assist, one try.
In what was a high-scoring affair in the nation's capital, Jack Wighton was the Canberra Raiders' every-man against the Newcastle Knights on Friday night. He put two teammates over for four-pointers to go with a try for himself, and was as destructive as ever returning the ball with 105 running metres and five tackle-breaks. The Canberra needed a win against the Knights as they still had a slim chance of making the finals, and Wighton stepped up to the plate for his team.

2 – Josh Addo-Carr
Club: Melbourne Storm; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 4.

11 total runs, 194 total metres, three line-breaks, five tackle-breaks, three tries.
The Storm were at their absolute best against South Sydney last night, romping up a massive 64 points against a side which has never won a game against Melbourne in Melbourne. Arguably the best wing combination in the competition, Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu lit up AAMI park scoring six tries between them, including a try of the year contender when they combined for the final four-pointer of the game. Addo-Carr has been one of the best value signings of the season, and proved that once again against the Rabbitohs with an impressive performance. 

3 – Michael Jennings
Club: Parramatta Eels; Origin appearances: 18; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

Eight total runs, 108 total metres, one line-break, 20 tackles, two tackle-breaks, two tries.
Parramatta kicked off a weird round in the NRL where points were aplenty, blowing the Brisbane Broncos off the park in their own backyard in a 52-34 blockbuster. Michael Jennings was in the thick of the action, scoring two tries to go with Semi Radradra's quardruple, meaning that left side piled up a massive six tries for the game. Jennings showed his class and experience on Thursday night, something that will go a long way if the Eels want to go deep into the 2017 finals series.

4 – Josh Morris
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; Origin appearances: 14; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

13 total runs, 132 total metres, one line-break, one try-assist, one offload, one tackle-break, one try.
In a frustrating year for the Bulldogs, Josh Morris and his Bulldogs have had a fantastic fortnight in a bid to end their season with pride. For a team that has struggled to score points in season 2017, the Bulldogs ran in five tries against the Gold Coast Titans yesterday afternoon, with Morris scoring one and having a hand in another to help his team to a convincing victory away from home.

5 – Josh Mansour
Club: Penrith Panthers ; Origin appearances: 3 ; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

18 total runs, 204 total metres, one line-break, one try.
The forward pack from Penrith must love Josh Mansour, as he constantly take hit-ups inside his own half to give them a rest. He once again ran for over 200 metres, and is well and truely back to his best since suffering an ACL injury in the Four Nations campaign last year. He also scored an important try for the Panthers, however they did not end up with the win.

6 – Tyrone May
Club: Penrith Panthers ; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

12 total runs, 102 total metres, 24 tackles, one line-break, one try.
Tyrone May burst onto the NRL scene earlier in the season in a very impressive fashion. He, along with teammates Dylan Edwards, played in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents earlier in the year, and they are both week-in-week-out footballers now due to their incredible form. Unfortuantly for May, he tasted defeat for the first time today, but he will play an important part for Penrith come finals time.

7 – Mitchell Pearce
Club: Sydney Roosters ; Origin appearances: 18 ; 2017 TOTW selections: 7.

One try-assist, 31 tackles.
Mitchell Pearce will play an imperative part in the Sydney Roosters finals campaign as they locked up a top four spot with a win against the Cronulla Sharks last night at Southern Cross Group Stadium. The Sharks ran at him all night yet he shaped up with 31 tackles, and also set up a try as he has been doing all season for the Roosters. Luke Keary was sent to the sin bin at a critical moment, and Mitchell Pearce really stepped up in the final 10 minutes to take control of the game.

8 - Tariq Sims (c)
Club: St George Illawarra Dragons; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

14 total runs, 143 total metres, 24 tackles, one try.
Tariq Sims came up with an incredible play when he stripped the ball off Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and out-sprinted Tyrone Peachey to score a game-changing try that put the Dragons ahead on the scoreboard against Penrith to save their season. Braith Anasta called it the play of the season on the FOX League coverage, and Cooper Cronk backed him up. Big games are won when players rise in big moments, and that is exactly what Tariq Sims did for his team this evening. 

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

9 – Michael Lichaa
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

16 total runs, 95 total metres, two try-assists, three offloads, 39 tackles, one tackle-break, one line-break-assist.
He's moving on from Belmore at the end of the season, but Michael Lichaa is determined to end his Bulldogs career on a high. The statistics tell the story for the hard-working hooker, who managed to set up two tries, throw three offloads, break a tackle and go close to scoring himself, despite being forced to make almost 40 tackles. No doubt it has been a tough year for Lichaa who has copped more than his fair share of critism, but he certainly has the ability to find another home in the NRL. 

10 – Aaron Woods
Club: Wests Tigers; Origin appearances: 14; 2017 TOTW selections: 6.

21 total runs, 191 total metres, one line-break, 36 tackles, three tackle-breaks, one try.
Alike the Canberra v Newcastle game with Junior Paulo, a front-rower opened the scoring in the Wests Tigers clash against the Cowboys when Aaron Woods pulling off an incredible show-and-go to score his second try of season 2017. His side may have gone down, but Woods was superb in his second-last showing in Wests Tigers colours, clocking up almost 200 metres and making a mountain of tackles, as he so frequently seems to do. 

11 – Luke Lewis
Club: Cronulla Sharks; Origin appearances: 17; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

14 total runs, 143 total metres, one line-break, one offload, 28 tackles, 12 tackle-breaks, one try.
Who knows what will stop Luke Lewis, because it is certainly not father time. Like a fine wine, Lewis seems to improve with age, and he was instrumental for the Cronulla Sharks last night despite the heartbreaking loss. Lewis clocked up over 10 metres every time he carried the ball and was an imminent threat at all times, and his late try could not have come at a better time, crossing the stripe in a critical moment to get the Sharks back into the game. 

12 – Boyd Cordner
Club: Sydney Roosters; Origin appearances: 9; 2017 TOTW selections: 8.

14 total runs, 137 total metres, 35 tackles
Roosters fans didn't think they could adore their co-captain any more than they already did before last night, but after yet another mammoth performance and a quick play the ball that earned his side a critical penalty to win the game, they were proven wrong. Cordner has proven to be one of the best and most consistent players in the NRL, and the fact that he pumps out incredible numbers on a weekly basis is remarkable. He frequently finds himself in this team of the week, and it's no coincidence that he is the current captain of NSW.

13 – David Klemmer
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; Origin appearances: 9; 2017 TOTW selections: 6.

26 total runs, 235 total metres, one line-break, 24 tackles, five tackle-breaks, one line-break-assist, one try.
It's incredible to think that David Klemmer is only 23 years old due to both his size and what he has achieved in the game already, and he stood up like a veteran once again against the Titans on Saturday afternoon. Cracking the 200 metre barrier for a forward is an achievment in itself, but he blew that away with 235 metres off a massive 26 runs, and also had to work hard in defence with 24 tackles. He was rewarded for his efforts with his first try of the season. 

INTERCHANGE

14 – Will Hopoate
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; Origin appearances: 5; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

15 total runs, 174 total metres, two tries.
It's been an uncharacteristic and frustrating year for Will Hopoate on the try-scoring front, but he finally broke his 2017 duck on the weekend with his first two tries of the season. With so much uncertaintly surrounding the Bulldogs at the moment due to an ever-changing roster for next year, it's unclear if Hopoate will certainly play fullback, but he proved his worth against the Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon.

15 – Nathan Brown
Club: Parramatta Eels; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 5.

22 total runs, 207 total metres, two offloads, 33 tackles, one tackle-break.
Along with Josh Addo-Carr, Nathan Brown has been one of the NRL's best value signings for season 2017. He is a tough, no nonsense front-rower that charges in from the back fence and refuses to stop until he is pulled down, and he never goes down without a fight. On Thursday night he cracked the 200 metre mark with the ball in hand, and also worked hard in defence with 33 tackles. No doubt Brown will be imperative for the Parramatta Eels in their 2017 finals campaign.

16 – Matt Prior
Club: Cronulla Sharks; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

12 total runs, 155 total metres, one offload, 22 tackles.
Matt Prior was an unsung hero for the Cronulla Sharks in their premiership triump last year, and he put in a 2016-like performance at Southern Cross Group Stadium last night. He averaged 13 metres every time he carried the ball, and made 22 tackles with some of them being absolute bone rattlers. Unfortuantly his side did not get the result, but the Sharks will hope that Prior carries this form into the finals. 

17 – Junior Paulo
Club: Canberra Raiders; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 6.

16 total runs, 152 total metres, two line-breaks, one offload, seven tackle-breaks, one try.
One of the NRL's big men was at his destructive best to tear apart the Newcastle Knights, and opened the scoring for the match with a rare try just three minutes into the contest. A true leader of one of the biggest forward packs in the competition, Paulo once again stepped up for the Raiders and was almost impossible to handle with the ball in hand, making two line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks and an offload to go with his try.

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