VB Blues Team Of The Week | Round 7
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 - Tom Trbojevic
Club: Manly Sea Eagles; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.
22 total runs, 187 total metres, two line-breaks, one try-assists, one offload, four tackle-breaks, three line-break-assists.
Tom Trbojevic was at his electrifying best once again at Lottoland last Saturday against Melbourne, being one of the best players on the field in a losing outfit. He set up his brother Jake for a try in the second half, and also created some late chances, bursting the line on two occasions and setting up three line-breaks. It wasn’t meant to be for the Sea Eagles, but without Tom Trbojevic, they would not have got as close as they did.
2 - Jorge Taufua
Club: Manly Sea Eagles; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
17 total runs, 143 total metres, one line-break, one tackle-break, one try.
In a match where the Sea Eagles conceded the first four tries, it would take a patience to take control of the game and gain any momentum, which started with Jorge Taufua’s work at the beginning of each set. Time and time again the big winger clocks up important metres for his side, this time running for 143 off his 17 runs. He also broke the line and scored a try in the late Manly surge, edging out Nathan Ross and Ken Sio for a wing spot, who also put in fine performances in a losing Knights outfit.
3 - James Roberts
Club: Brisbane Broncos; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
17 total runs, 182 total metres, two line-breaks, one try-assist, two offloads, 21 tackles, 11 tackle-breaks, three tries.
When James Roberts is in form, it is one of the greatest sights in Rugby League. He is one of the fastest players in the game, and knows how to find the try-line, doing so three times in his side’s tight win over the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday night. Wayne Bennett described his performance as inspirational, and said he was a genuine threat every time he touched the ball. No try was more important than his last-minute effort to win the game, and his performance re-ignited his claim to debut for the VB Blues next month.
4 - Tim Lafai
Club: St George Illawarra Dragons; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
16 total runs, 117 total metres, two line-breaks, one try-assist, four offloads, 19 tackles, four tackle-breaks, two tries.
It was a phenomenal effort from the Dragons centre, who is quickly returning to his best after a mediocre 2016 season. Lafai was involved in three of the home side's five tries - all of which came in the first half - as he scored two and set up another. A perfect flick pass to find Kurt Mann in the 26th minute encapsulated just how dangerous the Samoan international can be. He edges out the likes of Joseph Leilua, Jack Bird and Blake Ferguson for the second starting centre position, all of whom had terrific performances on the weekend.