VB Blues' Team Of The Week Round 4
Every week of the Intrust Super Premiership, NSWRL.com.au pick the best-performers of the previous round. Here’s who impressed us most in Round 4.
1 – Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Extremely unlucky to miss out on a Team Of The Week berth in Round 3, there was no denying Dugan following his exceptional display against the Panthers. Dugan was close to the best on ground and has now surpassed 200 running metres in both of his appearances at fullback this season. He also produced 14 tackle-breaks, the most important coming in the 76th minute to score the match-winning try.
2 – Josh Mansour (Penrith Panthers, second appearance)
Dugan’s 211 metres on Sunday afternoon were second only to one other player: Josh Mansour. Like Dugan, he has now reached the 200-metre figure twice in a row – his 255-metre effort is the highest individual tally this year – and like Dugan, he scored a thrilling late try to come close to winning his side the game.
3 – Josh Morris (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, second appearance, captain)
Morris isn't simply named captain this week due to it being his 200th NRL appearance, but it certainly makes his selection all the more special. The 13-time VB Blues centre scored a double in his milestone match, also running 149 metres in what was a dominant team performance over the Rabbitohs.
4 – Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters)
The one-time VB Blues representative put his best foot forward for a return to the sky blue jersey in Round 4, combining beautifully with 200-gamer Shaun Kenny-Dowall on what was a potent right flank for the Roosters. Ferguson set up Kenny-Dowall early in the contest and was visibly more dangerous, fending off Lewis Brown to score his own in the second half.
5 – James Roberts (Brisbane Broncos)
Given Morris and Ferguson’s outstanding performances in Round 4, NSWRL.com.au has been forced to pick James Roberts on the wing; after his game against the Cowboys on Friday night, it was impossible to leave him out altogether. The only New South Welshman in the Brisbane Broncos side makes his first Team Of The Week appearance thanks to three scintillating line breaks, a try-assist and a four-pointer himself. Roberts will want another strong performance against former club the Titans in Round 5.
6 – Josh Reynolds (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Reynolds only had the one try-assist to show for the Bulldogs’ eight-tries-to-two victory, but it was his best showing of 2016 on and off the ball. While perhaps overshadowed by rookie halves partner Moses Mbye, the 2014 Origin-winning five-eighth was a dog with a bone – and a huge factor in Canterbury-Bankstown’s impressive go-forward throughout the entire 80 minutes.
7 – Chad Townsend (Cronulla Sharks, third appearance)
Townsend is judged the best-performing New South Welshman to don the number seven jersey on the weekend, thanks to a hoodoo-breaking win over the Melbourne Storm. The returning Shark has gelled nicely with new five-eighth James Maloney, who also played well. After a clean Valentine Holmes drop prevented Townsend from registering an early try assist, he was repaid by Holmes who set him up for his third try of the year.
8 – Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers, fourth appearance)
In the form he's in, the Tigers skipper doesn’t look like missing a Team Of The Week – his 216-metre tally was his highest of the year, plus he made 34 tackles. He was unable to inspire his side to victory on Monday afternoon, but it wasn’t from lack of trying as the VB Blues prop seemed to be in everything. Woods is benefitting from increased minutes this year – more than 67 per game, up from 56 in 2015.
9 – Mitch Rein (St George Illawarra Dragons, second appearance)
The Dragons hooker seems to grow a leg and provide even more impact every week; Rein was heavily involved as the home side narrowly beat the Panthers. Even Rein’s 48 tackles and 11 dummy-half runs don’t tell the full story of his aggression, which included complete domination around the ruck and a few solid hits to rattle the defence.
10 – David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
The Bulldogs firebrand had the best of his three games in the side’s domination of the Rabbitohs, running a massive 183 metres from 18 runs after coming off the bench. Along with fellow props James Graham and Aiden Tolman, Klemmer contributed to his side’s 300 more metres than the opposition.
11 – Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, second appearance)
A fourth Bulldogs player makes the Round 4 Team Of The Week, thanks to a hard-working game in defence and the fantastic support play that many have come to expect. Through his decoys and supports, Jackson shouldn’t be overlooked as an integral part of the right-side attack that brought four line breaks and three tries on Good Friday.
12 – Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
Captaining his side from the bench, James put in a ferocious performance to inspire his side to a come-from-behind victory over the Raiders. The 24-year-old ran 157 metres – more than anyone else on the park – which included an individual effort for a vital first-half try. James’s maiden captain’s knock also included a team-high 37 tackles in his 61 minutes.
13 – Jack De Belin (St George Illawarra Dragons, second appearance)
De Belin makes the team again this week thanks to another solid defensive effort; he attempted 50 tackles for zero misses. The Dragons lock may have been feeling a little under the weather after copping a gut-wrenching hit in the second half, but knowing he helped defend his side to victory will certainly ease the pain.
14 – James Tedesco (Wests Tigers, fourth appearance)
Tedesco still leads the NRL’s tryscoring race in 2016, despite not adding to his tally in the Tigers’ scoreless defeat to the Eels. The VB Blues hopeful makes his fourth-straight Team Of The Week regardless, thanks to two incredible try-saving tackles on Parramatta powerhouses Semi Radradra and Michael Jennings. The form player of the NRL also looked dangerous in attack – he had a hand in several try-scoring opportunities which fell apart due to other players' errors.
15 – Jake Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, third appearance)
Trbojevic has been the most consistent forward at Manly in 2016; he has made 46 tackles in each of his three games at lock, while this week’s 13 runs equated to slightly more involvement with the ball. Another 80-minute game earns the 22-year-old a third selection in the Team Of The Week.
16 – James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys, third appearance)
Tamou did enough to earn a third selection and while he didn’t reach the heights of his captaincy-earning knock in Round 3, he did hold his own in what was an incredibly fast-paced encounter at Suncorp Stadium. The VB Blues prop made a team-high 43 tackles in his 47 minutes as the Cowboys lost to the Broncos in golden point extra-time.
17 – Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks, third appearance)
Fifita was as usual a standout of the victorious Cronulla outfit, taking far more runs than any of his team-mates (19) for 131 metres. His 31 tackles were standard of a player who consistently injects life into his team with and without the football.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the NSWRL.