ISP NSW Team Of The Week | Round 13

Each week, the NSWRL.com.au staff writers will name their 17 best performers from the weekend's Intrust Super Premiership NSW. These selections, heavily based on statistical data, are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSWRL.

1 – Matt Dufty
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

10 total runs, 108 total metres, two try-assists, two line-break-assists, one line-break, two tackle-breaks, one try.
The much-hyped Illawarra fullback, who had been a star for the Dragons at Holden Cup level, earns his first place in the Team of the Week with his best performance to date. Dufty took just 90 seconds to set Izaac Thompson up for his first try of the night, repeating the effort 20 minutes later and capping the game with a try of his own in the second half.

2 – Izaac Thompson
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

11 total runs, 139 total metres, three line-breaks, four tackle-breaks, two offloads, three tries.
Not only did Thompson score a hat-trick which ultimately set up a big Illawarra victory – all inside the first half an hour of play at WIN Stadium – he also took the intercept which would lead to Dufty’s try later in the game. Having played alongside Dufty through the lower grades, the 20-year-old is one half of a dangerous combination.

3 – Pat Mataele
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

15 total runs, 173 total metres, four tackle-breaks, one offload, two tries.
Coincidentally, both Mataele brothers find themselves in the centres of the Round 13 Team of the Week, with both scoring doubles on opposite sides of the field on Sunday. It was Blacktown’s Pat who perhaps had the better all-round game, which included taking a Cameron Cullen grubber twice within five minutes to score both times.

4 – Alofi Mataele
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

11 total runs, 102 total metres, one line-break, four tackle-breaks, two tries.
Alofi Mataele was similarly impressive for Mounties in a winning outfit, first doing well to get under the Sea Eagles defence in his corner and later getting first to a loose ball in-goal to give his side the final lead. With the two competition points, Alofi had the last laugh over his brother and former Mounties teammate.

5 – George Jennings
Club: Wentworthville Magpies; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

10 total runs, 101 total metres, two line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks, two tries.
The Magpies had looked all but certain to secure an upset victory over the ladder-leading Roos, leading 28-10 with 16 minutes remaining thanks in part to a double from Jennings. The winger finished off two well-executed plays to score early in each half at Ringrose Park.

6 – Paul Momirovski
Club: Wyong Roos; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

One try-assist, one line-break-assist, two tackle-breaks, one offload, one try, one field goal.
Momirovski has found himself in various back-line positions before, earning the Team of the Week captaincy as a centre in Round 6, but returns to the competition’s best 17 via an impressive game at five-eighth. Alongside Kauri Aupouri in the halves, Momirovski helped engineer a successful comeback, setting up Matt Ikuvalu soon after the half-time break before diving on a loose ball to level the scores with 10 minutes remaining. He capped an impressive game with a field goal inside the final two minutes, before a Chris Centrone try put the icing on the cake.

7 – Shaun Nona
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

Three try-assists, two line-break-assists, 221 kick metres, two offloads, 16 tackles, two goals.
After taking the captaincy with his only other Team of the Week selection in Round 8, Nona was close to repeating the feat after a fine individual game against the Wests Tigers. The experienced halfback set up Thompson, Dufty, Pat Herbert and Jacob Hind for tries throughout the game and maintained pressure with the boot in a fine showing at home.

8 – Moses Leota
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

15 total runs, 149 total metres, one tackle-break, one offload, 44 tackles.
The inclusion of first grader Leota in the lead-up to the game proved to be beneficial, as the front-rower did all he could to swing the momentum the way of the Panthers. Outrunning all of his fellow Penrith forwards and looking the most dangerous in attack, Leota was solid in his 63-minute stint against the Bulldogs.

9 – Mitch Williams
Club: Wyong Roos; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

Three try-assists, two line-break-assists, one line-break, two tackle-breaks, 40 tackles.
Wyong’s consistent no.9 returns to the Team of the Week after, alongside Momirovski, setting up a comeback which at times looked unlikely. Credited with laying on three of the Roos’ six tries, Williams took responsibility with a somewhat unfamiliar halves pairing, while still making a typical 40 tackles in a fantastic all-round game.

10 – Andy Saunders
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

19 total runs, 162 total metres, one line-break-assist, six tackle-breaks, 29 tackles.
It was a scrappy win from the Bulldogs, but two of their most consistent performers were among their best yet again: Andy Saunders and Rod Griffin. Coming up against former club the Panthers, Saunders made big metres and more tackle-breaks than any of his teammates, vital to a grinding victory at ANZ Stadium.

11 – Jacob Host
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

19 total runs, 231 total metres, four tackle-breaks, 11 tackles.
Host ran further than any other player in Round 13 and perfectly laid the platform for an Illawarra victory. Hard to handle all evening, the second-rower was not required to do much tackling, but ensured the home side’s bulk of possession was put to good use against the Tigers.

12 – Scott Sorensen (c)
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

14 total runs, 174 total metres, one try-assist, one line-break-assist, one line-break, three tackle-breaks, one offload, 24 tackles, two tries.
One of the most consistent second-rowers in the competition this year – and especially in recent weeks – Sorensen earns the captaincy with a fine attacking performance against the Sea Eagles at Lottoland. The 24-year-old is credited with one try-assist but was heavily involved with two, as both Dominic Reardon and Brent Naden found themselves scoring off his pass throughout the game. Sorensen also crossed for two of his own in the high-scoring affair and becomes the first edge second-rower to earn the captaincy in a 2017 Team of the Week.

13 – Rod Griffin
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 4.

19 total runs, 179 total metres, three tackle-breaks, one offload, 30 tackles.
Griffin, like Saunders, rolled up the sleeves to perform admirably for the Bulldogs on Sunday, also making more metres than any other Canterbury-Bankstown forward along with his 30 tackles. At times a quiet achiever, he has settled into life at Belmore nicely with five Team of the Week selections.

INTERCHANGE

14 – Cameron Cullen
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 3.

Three try-assists, one line-break-assist, one line-break, one tackle-break, 336 kicking metres, one try.
Cullen’s relegation to the bench is only due to Nona’s class for Illawarra, but the halfback was simply sensational for the Sea Eagles against the heavily-favoured Mounties side. The former Burleigh Bears half almost single-handedly kept his side in the contest with a fine individual try and directly setting up three more, in fine form with the boot as he maintained pressure on the opposition and kicked a 40-20 which also led to a four-pointer. His opposite number Isaac John and the Knights’ Trent Hodkinson were two other halfbacks in contention for the bench utility role.

15 – Braeden Robson
Club: Newcastle Knights; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

One line-break, one tackle-break, one offload, 24 tackles, two tries.
In, remarkably, the fifth draw of season 2017, Robson offered fine support play to score two of the Knights’ three tries, taking the home side from 12-6 down to 18-12 up in the second half. Both tries were off the timing of halfback Trent Hodkinson who, as mentioned, can consider himself unlucky to miss out this week.

16 – Josh King
Club: Newcastle Knights; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

16 total runs, 149 total metres, one tackle-break, 35 tackles.
King ran further and made more tackles than anyone else on the field at Cessnock Sports Ground, with easily the biggest individual workload in the 18-all stalemate. After consecutive NRL appearances in Rounds 9, 10 and 11, the versatile forward did his best to be considered for selection once again in the top grade.

17 – Mitch Kennedy
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

12 total runs, 162 total metres, one line-break, three tackle-breaks, 23 tackles, one try.
Kennedy’s involvement as a try scorer only came with five minutes remaining, to seal an already-likely result, but his workload with the ball throughout the game was one of many highlights for Mounties. A total of 162 metres and 23 tackles off the bench is solid by anyone’s measure.

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