VB Blues Team Of The Week | Round 8
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 – Jarryd Hayne
Club: Gold Coast Titans; Origin appearances: 20; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
17 total runs, 109 total metres, one try-assist, two offloads, one tackle-break, one line-break-assist.
The 20-time NSW representative returned to the NRL in ideal fashion on Saturday night, guiding his side to an upset win over the defending premiers and earning the Man of the Match Anzac Medal in the process. After a slow start to the game, Hayne should have set up Dan Sarginson for a try in the first half – the winger fumbled what was a bullet pass from dummy-half – before sending Leivaha Pulu over late in the game as the Titans clawed their way back. Narrowly beating out fellow VB Blues contender Josh Dugan – also returning from injury in great fashion – Hayne spoke about his performance here.
2 – Anthony Don
Club: Gold Coast Titans; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
15 total runs, 203 total metres, one line-break, seven tackle-breaks.
With another good game on the Titans’ wing, Don earns back-to-back Team of the Week selections with some good runs impacting the result at Southern Cross Group Stadium. A line-break helped the Grafton Ghosts junior reach 200 running metres for the first time in his 173-game career to date.
3 – Dylan Walker
Club: Manly Sea Eagles; Origin appearances: 2; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
Nine total runs, 103 total metres, one line-break, 14 tackles, six tackle-breaks, one try, four goals.
Walker, admittedly, had an up-and-down game with the boot – despite missing two goal-kicking attempts throughout the game, he eventually slotted a difficult one to sink the Raiders in the nation’s capital. At the centre of what was at times a fiery affair, Walker broke six tackles on his way to posting 12 of the Sea Eagles’ 18 points.
4 – Tim Lafai
Club: St George Illawarra Dragons; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
15 total runs, 149 total metres, five offloads, two tackle-breaks.
Lafai earns back-to-back Team of the Week selections thanks to another classy game on Anzac Day, posing a threat every time he touched the football. He looked likely to score throughout the 85 minutes and while he was unable to convert opportunities into points, the potent left edge of the Dragons was one of their best assets against the Roosters.
5 – David Nofoaluma
Club: Wests Tigers; Origin appearances: 0; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.
17 total runs, 255 total metres, one line-break, two offloads, six tackle-breaks, one try.
Topping the metre count across the NRL in Round 8, Nofoaluma was determined by the Wests Tigers to be their best on ground (while Aaron Woods, below, picked up the official award and Anzac Medal). Having re-signed with the Tigers throughout the week, Nofoaluma scored an early try off James Tedesco and almost had a second when he picked up a wayward Sam Kasiano pass, racing 80 metres before being chased down.