Every week of the Intrust Super Premiership, NSWRL.com.au picks the best performers of the previous round. Here’s who impressed us the most in Round 4.
1 – Mitch Brown (Newtown Jets, second appearance)
After being initially named on the wing for the Jets, Brown played in the familiar position of fullback and was instrumental in their victory over the Wests Tigers. The Newtown skipper ran for 129 metres, which included a line-break, two tackle breaks and try, but was also prevalent in his support play and solid in his defence when needed.
2 – Josh Hall (Penrith Panthers, captain)
AFL convert Hall earns the captaincy in his first appearance in the Team Of The Week, scoring 22 of the Panthers’ 50 points in their big win over the Sea Eagles. The seven-game Gold Coast Suns player crossed for both of his two tries within five minutes and it was his AFL-learned skills in the air that brought the first. Hall made an incredible three line-breaks and five tackle breaks, which brought a game-high 199 metres. A very promising performance for just his fifth game of competitive Rugby League.
3 – David Fusitua (New Zealand Warriors)
Fusitua was hard to handle in the Warriors’ loss on Sunday, running 109 metres which included a try assist to set up an early lead. He was busy in defence as well, making more tackles (17) than any other back on the field.
4 – Ed Murphy (North Sydney Bears, second appearance)
Murphy was at his usual best in leading the Bears to their second victory over the Knights this season, typically involved as the North Sydney side shut out their opponents in the second half. Murphy sent Tautalatasi Tasi over for his third and final try to lock up the victory.
5 – Kato Ottio (Mounties, second appearance)
Ottio was the beneficiary of some very good service from the rest of the Mounties team, crossing for a hat-trick in the visitors’ victory over the Cutters. With that said, the electric winger was heavily involved, running 13 times for a game-high 158 metres and busting four tackles. The PNG International now tops the competition’s try-scoring list with seven four-pointers – he has crossed in every match of 2016.
6 – Omar Slaimankhel (Wyong Roos, second appearance)
Slaimankhel was dynamic once again in just his second game in the halves, running the ball nine times for a massive 106 metres. The experiment appears to have paid off early in the season, with the former Warrior’s game-high seven tackle breaks, two line-breaks, two offloads and try assist propelling the Roos to a come-from-behind victory. Importantly, Slaimankhel scored the match-sealing try, bamboozling the tired Bulldogs’ defence in the 76th minute.
7 – Fa’amanu Brown (Newtown Jets)
Brown was hard to contain as usual on Saturday, breaking five tackles and scoring the Jets’ second through a fantastic solo run in the first half. The halfback shared the kicking duties with five-eighth Josh Cleeland and hooker Matt McIlwrick, but his attacking kicking game looked dangerous when given the opportunity.
8 – David Fifita (Newtown Jets)
After being hospitalised for 10 days with a golden staph infection, David Fifita rose from the hospital bed to put in an outstanding performance for the Newtown Jets. Fifita made a team-high 29 tackles and ran for 138 metres in the victory, also bagging a try by pouncing on a McIlwrick grubber. The prop, whose twin brother Andrew made this week’s VB Blues Team Of The Week, will be hopeful of a family reunion in the NRL ranks as soon as next week.
9 – Mitch Williams (Wyong Roos)
Aside from a 10th-minute concussion in Round 2, Sunday’s game against the Bulldogs was the first in which Williams played less than a full game. The Roos’ stocky dummy-half played 60 minutes in the victory, but his 28 tackles were still the second-most on the Wyong side and a big kicking game got them well out of their own half at key times – including a 40-20 under pressure to set up for the match-winning try. Earlier, Williams also sent Abraham Papalii over for a four-pointer as the Roos mounted a comeback.
10 – Zane Tetevano (Wyong Roos, third appearance)
Our Man Of The Match in our Fox Sports Match Of The Round was outstanding against the Bulldogs, running 153 metres and making a team-high 37 tackles. Tetevano particularly provided valuable go-forward late in the game, as the Bulldogs appeared to tire and the Roos were in danger of playing too sideways. He capped that off by barging his way over for the second-last try of the game.
11 – Kelepi Tanginoa (Wentworthville Magpies, second appearance)
Over 80 minutes, Tanginoa ran more times (20) than anyone else in Round 5 and was also the only player to crack 200 running metres (201). Two offloads and 11 supports prove he was exceptional in providing continuous pressure on the Warriors defence, which eventually led the Magpies to victory. Tanginoa is a big reason the Magpies are perched on top of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Ladder.
12 – Asipeli Fine (Wests Tigers)
In a strong 80-minute performance, Fine made more tackles (35) than anyone else at Henson Park, also notching the second-biggest tally of metres run (142). The 23-year-old was typically damaging with and without the ball and there is no reason why he can’t appear in the NRL again in 2016 – after more than a year out of the top grade.
13 – John Palavi (New Zealand Warriors)
Palavi locks the pack in the Round 5 Team Of The Week after another busy game against Wentworthville. His 157 metres were the most of the Warriors forwards, which included a line-break, while his tally of 33 tackles was a team high.
14 – Hugh Pratt (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, second appearance)
It is hard to find highlights for Manly, who were beaten comprehensively by Penrith at Brookvale Oval, but Pratt’s big workload is definitely worth a mention. A massive 49 tackles for zero misses tell the story of the young hooker’s big day, who also put forward two line break and try assists, plus two tackle breaks from just four runs of the football.
15 – Ray Moujalli (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Moujalli was a shining light in the losing Bulldogs side, running hard for a game-high 157 metres and making 35 tackles. He gets a maiden selection in the Team Of The Week by laying a platform in his 64 minutes.
16 – Craig Garvey (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
While carrying two hookers on the bench might not be the most conventional move, it impossible to overlook Garvey’s efforts with and without the football. A late inclusion in the side after Michael Lichaa was deemed fit for an NRL return, Garvey made a game-high 41 tackles and set up three of the Bulldogs’ four tries – he has most definitely benefitted from further NRL experience at Belmore.
17 – Clayton Williams (North Sydney Bears, second appearance)
Williams was strong in defence for the Bears and managed to force a number of errors throughout the game. His unrelenting pressure on the Newcastle defence was valuable for North Sydney, who slowly but surely gained the ascendency in their Round 5 encounter at T G Millner Field.
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