The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs host the Newtown Jets in Round 22 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW. Image: Mario Facchini.

ISP NSW Team Of The Week | Round 22

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 – Eli Levido
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

Two try-assists, two line-break-assists, one tackle-break, five goals.
After spending most of the time in the halves for the Bears, Levido has adjusted to the no.1 jersey after six games at the back, laying on two tries in the side’s demolition of the Tigers. He continues to fill a playmaking role at the back and in a fantastic team performance, Levido makes the Team of the Week at fullback for the first time.

2 – Tautalatasi Tasi (c)
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.

20 total runs, 195 total metres, one line-break-assist, four line-breaks, eight tackle-breaks, one offload, five tries.
Players had earned the Team of the Week captaincy from every starting position except winger this year, but Tasi’s efforts against the hapless Tigers were impossible to ignore in Round 22. It was a South Sydney player – Alex Johnston – who completed a stunning five-try haul at NRL level just over a month ago, and the left winger for their feeder club became the first to achieve the feet at Intrust Super Premiership NSW level in 2017.

Please note the captaincy is awarded to the chosen best performer each round and is not based on any club captaincy or leadership qualities.

3 – Reimis Smith
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

14 total runs, 226 total metres, five tackle-breaks, one try.
Smith was a constant threat on his left edge, exploiting one of many vulnerabilities in the Jets’ defence on Saturday afternoon. The speedster came up short with what was ruled to be a knock-on early in the game, but redeemed himself with a try in the second half. Smith is one of six Bulldogs selected in the Team of the Week and while the side wasn’t perfect in Round 22, they are coming together nicely.

4 – Ed Murphy
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

10 total runs, 132 total metres, one try-assist, two line-breaks, six tackle-breaks, one offload.
A knock-on in goal denied Murphy the chance to get on the scoreboard at Leichhardt Oval, but he proved hard to handle for much of the game and sent Abbas Miski over for a 22-0 lead. Murphy is a consistent performer for North Sydney but makes the competition’s top 17 for the first time this year.

5 – Edrick Lee
Club: Newtown Jets; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

One line-break, two tackle-breaks, two tries.
Lee scored his double in quick succession – just four minutes – to give the Jets a glimmer of hope midway through the second half, with two identical plays bringing points on the right-hand touchline. It is the stats that aren’t there for the winger, however, that earn him a place in the Team of the Week; Lee had no missed tackles or try causes, with the far left defence the only area which held solid on Saturday afternoon. It is a wonder that Lee only got seven uses of the football against the Bulldogs, however.

6 – Josh Cleeland
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 6.

13 total runs, 150 total metres, one try-assist, two line-break-assists, one line-break, five tackle-breaks, one offload, two tries.
Another week, another Team of the Week selection for Josh Cleeland; the five-eighth has now made the team in the past five rounds the Bulldogs have played. An incredible run of form at the business end of the season is a major threat for the rest of the competition and while the chorus grows louder for his NRL debut, he will be safely back in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW come finals time.

7 – Cameron Cullen
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 5.

Nine total runs, 129 total metres, two try-assists, one line-breaks, five tackle-breaks, two offloads.
The Sea Eagles came into their David-and-Goliath battle with the Roos boasting their ideal spine of Pita Godinet, Jackson Hastings, Cameron Cullen and Joey Lussick – and sure enough it was the Hastings and Cullen show in the major upset at Lottoland. Cullen was heavily involved in Blacktown’s opening try in just the first minute of play, before directly setting up the next two, including for his halves partner late in the first half.

8 – Francis Tualau
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

13 total runs, 173 total metres, one line-break, five tackle-breaks, one offload, 24 tackles.
Back in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW for the past two weeks, Tualau makes the Team of the Week for the first time off the back of a damaging game against Newtown. The prop was destructive alongside front-row partner Andy Saunders, his game highlighted by a break late in the first half that lead to Rhyse Martin’s second try.

9 – Michael Lichaa
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

Two try-assists, three line-break-assists.
The returning Michael Lichaa and experienced hooker Craig Garvey got half a game each against the Jets – and we could barely split the two, but the usual NRL rake marginally gets the nod for helping break apart the Newtown defence early on. Lichaa, who has been criticised for his lack of a running game at NRL level, had been benched for several weeks, before being relegated to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW for the first time since joining the club in 2015. The Lebanon Cedars hopeful showed his class, however, setting up two of the Bulldogs’ three tries in the first half and threatening for more. While he only ran four times before his scheduled interchange at half-time, he helped put the side in a good position for when Garvey took over.

10 – Dave Tyrrell
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

10 total runs, 107 total metres, one tackle-break, 26 tackles.
If Tyrrell is to remain in the Intrust Super Premiership come finals time, his 154 games of NRL experience will come in handy, as evidenced with a solid game up front on Saturday afternoon. The 107-metre performance was just what the Bears needed as they completely dominated the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

11 – Dean Britt
Club: North Sydney Bears; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

15 total runs, 160 total metres, three tackle-breaks, 21 tackles.
Britt has been a valuable acquisition for the Bears in 2017 and is sure to feature prominently in the finals series. The NSW Under-18s and Under-20s representative ran the furthest of any forward against the Tigers, also carting the ball up the most in his 72 minutes. The son of former Bulldogs forward Darren Britt, he has already shown similar attributes up front.

12 – Rhyse Martin
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 7.

11 total runs, 107 total metres, one line-break-assist, two line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks, one offload, two tries, three goals.
Four tries in two games is some record for a second-rower and one of the Bulldogs’ most consistent attacking forwards was in strong form again on Saturday afternoon. Martin’s eighth selection – and fourth in the Bulldogs’ past five games – has him the equal-most selected player alongside Tigers (and former Magpies) prop Alex Twal and lock Jamil Hopoate. Twal has since become a regular NRL player and there are calls for Martin to be rewarded in the same way.

13 – Jamil Hopoate
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 7.

14 total runs, 144 total metres, one line-break-assist, two tackle-breaks, one offload, 32 tackles, one try.
Twal, like Martin, is selected for an eighth time in the Round 22 Team of the Week, arguably the most consistent player in a poor season for the Sea Eagles. He took just 47 seconds to score for the home side with some nice support play, continuing to run hard and defend well for the rest of the clash.

INTERCHANGE

14 – Jackson Hastings
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

Two try-assists, one line-break, two tackle-breaks, 20 tackles, one try, two goals.
While Cullen was sensational to start the game for Blacktown, Hastings took the spotlight shortly after, combining with the no.7 to score the side’s third try before setting up the final two. His work in broken play to send Tyler Cassel over was superb, before a bomb for James Tuitahi to score was pin-point – and he did it all with a groin complaint sustained late in the first half. Hastings narrowly beats benched Bulldogs hooker Craig Garvey for the utility spot this week.

15 – Eloni Vunakece
Club: Wyong Roos; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

11 total runs, 125 total metres, one line-break, seven tackle-breaks, 23 tackles, one try.
Vunakece was willing as usual for Wyong and ran hard to score what could have been a vital try late in the game. While the Roos were unable to score again and seal the two points, the prop had a solid game with 125 metres and 23 tackles.

16 – Jarrad Kennedy
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.

11 total runs, 131 total metres, one tackle-break, 30 tackles, one try.
Along with Hopoate, Kennedy showed the class that we have come to expect of him at this level, scoring the second try off a grubber from Cullen. His 30 tackles and 131 metres are standard and following some more NRL experience, he is back performing strongly for the Sea Eagles in the back end of the season.

17 – Renouf To’omaga
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.

10 total runs, 166 total metres, two line-breaks, two tackle-breaks, 14 tackles.
To’omaga was second only to Tualau among Bulldogs forwards in his metre tally, with each of his 10 runs providing impact and breaking the line on two occasions. Coming off the bench for 46 minutes, he was a valuable addition for the victorious home side.

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