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 9.
1 – Henare Wells (New Zealand Warriors)
With a couple of tries, two try assists and five tackle breaks – all from just eight runs – Wells was clearly a beneficiary of the supercharged Warriors Side on Sunday. With the likes of Matulino, Vete and Bodene Thompson laying a platform and crowd favourites Manu Vatuvei and Konrad Hurrell outside him, Wells was excellent as the Warriors made light work of the Bulldogs in Auckland.
2 – Manu Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors)
Vatuvei, like all of his usual NRL team mates, looked out of place in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW – and so he should have. The experienced winger ran 177 metres, which included two line-breaks, six tackle breaks and earned him two tries; Vatuvei reminded the crowd at Mt Smart Stadium that he is every bit a first grader and he will hope to return to the NRL soon.
3 – Dominic Reardon (Wyong Roos, second appearance)
On a damp track in Woy Woy, Reardon came into his own for the Roos including a tally of 173 metres with the ball. The former Sea Eagle broke three tackles for that effort and was rewarded with a four-pointer on the back of some good momentum in the second half.
4 – Brad Parker (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Parker was a standout in Manly’s win over Illawarra, running for a huge 254 metres thanks to a line-break an two tackle-breaks, scoring a double in the process. The centre also set up one try and put two men into space as Manly caused an upset at Nowra.
5 – Obed Karwhin (Wests Tigers)
Karwhin was a late inclusion for the Wests Tigers after Josh Addo-Carr was omitted – and repaid the faith with a classy double against the Bears. The winger scored twice consecutively to give the Tigers the lead in Moss Vale and the team never looked back, piling on another 22 points in a promising start for Karwhin.
6 – Ata Hingano (New Zealand Warriors, third appearance, captain)
While the Warriors’ spotlight was justifiably hogged by the returning brigade of NRL players, Hingano proved what he can do in a high-quality and experience team; the young five-eighth’s treble of try assists and five tackle breaks were outstanding, in addition to the try he scored himself in the second half. Having been touted as a long-term halves partner for Shaun Johnson, Hingano should get a shot in 2016 given the injury to Tuimoala Lolohea. He is a deserved captain in Round 9.
7 – Nicholas Hynes (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Hynes can consider himself unlucky not to be named as captain after bagging two first-half tries and setting up another two in a great all-round performance for the Sea Eagles. Along with 22 tackles and eight runs, Hynes’ nine kicks were dangerous in attack as the Manly side put Illawarra to the sword.
8 – Sebastine Ikahihifo (Illawarra Cutters)
With and without the ball Ikahihifo was outstanding, running 159 metres from 16 runs and also making 31 tackles. The big man also busted six tackles and was a shining light in defence for a Cutters side that was badly beaten in Nowra.
9 – Craig Garvey (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Garvey is judged the best dummy-half from Round 9 despite being part of a truly outclassed Bulldogs side in Auckland. He took on kicking responsibilities both in-play and kicking for goal, but most importantly put forward a standard defensive game of 39 tackles. He must have been close to consideration for the NSW Residents squad named on Sunday night.
10 – Albert Vete (New Zealand Warriors, second appearance)
Vete, along with Matulino, was outstanding in the front row for the Warriors and while he was not one of the players initially dropped from the NRL, he did put his best foot forward for more regular first grade time this season. 219 metres from 21 runs – which included four tackle breaks, four offloads and four valuable points from a try – ensures a starting spot for the 23-year-old.
11 – Jarrad Kennedy (Mounties, fifth appearance)
In a Team Of The Week featuring 10 new faces, Jarrad Kennedy remains a near-constant; the Mounties second-rower earns his spot for the fifth time and an incredible third pick as Man Of The Round. The 27-year-old made 102 metres, 40 tackles, one line-break, one try assist and two tries himself in another incredible performance, justifying his selection in the NSW Residents squad and further pushing his case for more NRL time.
12 – Mitch Barnett (Mounties, third appearance)
With his 193 metres coming from 15 runs, it’s hard to look past Barnett as another workhorse in Mounties’ successful team. A line-break and 21 tackles also featured as the side’s entire second row was on song in Bathurst.
13 – Glen Buttriss (Mounties)
Buttriss beats Taylor as the starting lock for the Round 9 Team Of The Week and rounds out an all-Mounties second row, breaking 5 tackles and setting up a line-break in addition to earning one himself. His tally of 42 tackles was also an exceptional effort in yet another strong team effort by Mounties.
14 – Abraham Papalii (Wyong Roos, second appearance)
Papalii stamped his authority on the Roos’ game in Woy Woy and forced selectors to pick him for the NSW Residents squad. The prop just broke the 200-metre mark (204 metres) from 18 runs and set up a try in the victory, also breaking the line once himself, busting four tackles and offloading the ball four times.
15 – David Fifita (Newtown Jets, second appearance)
There is little doubt that Fifita is NRL standard and has been unlucky not to get regular game time in what is a well-performing Cronulla Sharks team; the prop proved that with a barnstorming game against the Magpies on Saturday. His 186 metres came from a massive nine tackle breaks and also included a line break which lead to a genuine Try Of The Year contender.
16 – Elijah Taylor (Penrith Panthers)
Taylor, too is another player who many rightfully believe should be a mainstay in an NRL side – which the former New Zealand international looks to have secured with a mid-season switch to the Wests Tigers. His last game in Panthers colours featured 44 tackles for just one miss and his defensive game will be appreciated at Concord. Read more about Taylor’s signing from NSW Resident’ opening training session.
17 – Ben Matulino (New Zealand Warriors)
Some strong forwards performances across the board relegate Matulino to the bench this week, but rest assured he did not look like he belonged at any level below the NRL. While overlooked for a 24th cap for New Zealand, he could not have hoped for much more in a 182-metre, two tackle-break, 41-tackle game against the Bulldogs.
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