ISP NSW Team Of The Week | Round 24
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 – Honeti Tuha
Club: Wentworthville Magpies; 2017 TOTW selections: 3.
18 total runs, 195 total metres, one try-assist, one line-break-assist, two line-breaks, eight tackle-breaks, four offloads, two tries.
The best in a losing side against the Knights, Tuha finds himself in the Team of the Week for the second consecutive round with another good attacking performance. As noted in commentary, Tuha appears to be a standout whenever he plays in a televised game – and sure enough, he has made the Team of the Week on both occasions he’s started in a match on Fox League. After the defeat, Wentworthville will rely on an Illawarra loss and need to defeat the in-form Panthers to play finals in 2017, but if they can, Tuha will be key to their premiership hopes.
2 – Tyrone Phillips
Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
17 total runs, 242 total metres, two try assists, one line-break assist, four line-breaks, eight tackle-breaks, 2 offloads, two tries.
Departing Canterbury winger Tyrone Phillips earns his maiden Team of the Week selection for 2017 on the back of an all-inspiring effort against the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Lethal with ball in hand, Phillips crashed over for two tries in his side's 48-4 win over the Tigers, also laying on two other four-pointers en route to the eventual eight-tries-to-one win.
3 – Eddie Aiono
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
18 total runs, 208 total metres, two line-breaks, four tackle-breaks, 22 tackles, one try.
Aiono's 208 metres came via two line-breaks against Newtown. Points were hard to come by at Henson Park, but Aiono crossed for one of the game’s four tries – vital in the two-point win.
4 – Brendan Elliot
Club: Newcastle Knights; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
11 total runs, 121 total metres, one line-break, four tackle-breaks, one offload, two tries.
It was perhaps the most remarkable comeback seen this season – and Elliot played a major role. As the Knights emerged from a 24-8 deficit to score four times in the final 11 minutes without the Magpies touching the ball, Elliot crossed twice to secure his side’s top-eight place. Playing on the wing for the majority of the contest due to an early injury to Thomas Cronan, Elliot first scored with a fantastic take from a Jack Cogger kick, before weaving through the broken Wentworthville defence six minutes later.
5 – Peter Schuster
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
14 total runs, 207 total metres, two line-breaks, five tackle-breaks, one offload, one try.
Second only to Aiono in metres run, Schuster was key to the Sea Eagles’ upset win over Illawarra with the side’s opening try and a hand in their third, which tied scores up in the second half. He found himself on the end of a grubber to score 17 minutes into the game before a break in the second half got the side in position to level the contest later on, with conversions ultimately the difference.
6 – Jaelen Feeney
Club: Newcastle Knights; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
10 total runs, 106 total metres, two try-assists, three line-break-assists, four tackle-breaks, one offload.
One half of the dynamic Knights duo at the core of the Newcastle attack, Jaelan Feeney's efforts to steer his side to a miraculous come-from-behind victory over Wentworthville earns a place in this week's, Team of the Week. A noted runner of the football, Feeney was only all too happy to take the Magpies' line on when presented with time and space, freeing up his outside men, who inturn proved the beneficiaries.
Please note the captaincy is awarded to the chosen best performer each round and is not based on any club captaincy or leadership qualities.
7 – Jack Cogger
Club: Newcastle Knights; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.
One try-assist, two tackle-breaks, 23 tackles, one try.
Cogger was as influential as any in the Knights’ immense comeback, with just a three-minute period of brilliance earning him the no.7 in the Team of the Week. Two minutes after his halves partner Feeney showed his class to send Braden Robson over, Cogger’s pin-point kick for Elliot got the side’s second in quick succession, then followed by his own try down the right-hand touch line. Cogger’s composure in such high-pressure moments bode well for the Knights’ hopes of making a run in the finals.
8 – Kurt Dillon
Club: Newtown Jets; 2017 TOTW selections: 6.
19 total runs, 204 total metres, one offload, 50 tackles.
Rarely does any player at a senior level achieve the feat of both 200 running metres and 50 tackles, but that’s just what Dillon did for Newtown on Saturday. The prop was one of two Jets – alongside Jayden McDonogh – to make 50 tackles, while his strong game with the ball gave the side their best chance of causing an upset. Two missed conversions meant it wasn’t to be, but Dillon continued his good year with a seventh Team of the Week selection.
9 – Adam Clydsdale
Club: Newtown Jets; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.
Two line-break-assists, one line-break, two tackle-breaks, 37 tackles, one try.
Facing up against his former club, Clydsdale was key for the Jets, setting up two of the side’s four line-breaks, making the other himself and scoring a try in the process. Add in 37 tackles for no misses and it was a fine showing from the hooker, who edges out the in-form Mitch Rein for the best 17 this week.
10 – Eloni Vunakece (c)
Club: Wyong Roos; 2017 TOTW selections: 2.
13 total runs, 130 total metres, one line-break, six tackle-breaks, one offload, 51 tackles, one try.
Hard-running Wyong Roos forward Eloni Vunakece takes the honours of 'Captain' in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Week for Round 24 on the back of a big showing in his side's 26-all draw with the Warriors at Morry Breen Reserve. The big-haired prop turned in a trademarked effort in the five-tries-apiece clash, averaging 10 metres per hit-up, before nabbing a rare try to start the second-half.
11 – Scott Sorensen
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW selections: 5.
17 total runs, 144 total metres, one try-assist, one line-break-assist, one tackle-break, five offloads, 31 tackles.
No stranger to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Week, Mounties back-rower Scott Sorensen earns his sixth appearance for the 2017 season, on the back of his efforts in the side's tight win over the Newtown Jets at Henson Park. On a blustery afternoon where even doing the basics correct proved a challenge, Sorensen rolled up the proverbial sleeves, getting through the graft and grind - before also showing his attacking nous to lay on a try.
12 – Corey Waddell
Club: Penrith Panthers; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
12 total runs, 147 total metres, two line-breaks, two tackle-breaks, 19 tackles, one try.
The Panthers' Corey Waddell was rewarded for his efforts in the form of a try against the Bears, and big efforts they were in aiding his side's cause over a gallant North Sydney outfit at St Marys Leagues Stadium in Round 24. Racking up the second highest running metres in the Panthers win, Waddell paved the way for his fellow forward pack members to follow his lead. Playing 66 minutes in the win, Waddell took a well-earned reprieve before being injected for a second stint - which was just as damaging, if not more so - than his first period on the field.
13 – Tyrone Amey
Club: Newcastle Knights; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
18 total runs, 153 total metres, five tackle-breaks, two offloads, 24 tackles, one try.
There’s nothing quite like the sight of a big man in space and on Saturday afternoon, Amey’s try had it all. With the ball in his hands on the last, the lock forward surprisingly put a grubber through the line for himself, then stepping and dummying on the inside to crash over for the Knights’ second. His remarkable effort didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates – or coach Simon Woolford, who handed him a well-earned break immediately after – but along with the most metres of anyone else at McDonald Jones Stadium, Amey is a deserved Team of the Week selection.
14 – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Club: Warriors; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
16 total runs, 191 total metres, two line-breaks, eight tackle-breaks, three offloads, one try.
A member of the ISP NSW Team of the Year last season, Warriors utility back Charnza Nicoll-Klokstad earns his first start in the Team of the Week in 2017. A mammoth effort in his side's 26-all draw with Minor Premiers the Wyong Roos at the weekend earns 'CNK' a call-up; wearing '2' on his back but playing in the custodian role, the flyer crossed for a vital try before his teammates ran in four additional four-pointers.
15 – Blake Lawrie
Club: Illawarra; 2017 TOTW selections: 3.
18 total runs, 158 total metres, five tackle-breaks, one offload, 32 tackles.
Illawarra workhorse Blake Lawrie earns his fourth start in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Week in 2017, having got through a mountain of work in his side's eventual two-point loss to the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in Wollongong.
16 – Liam Knight
Club: Mounties; 2017 TOTW selections: 1.
18 total runs, 181 total metres, four tackle-breaks, one offload, 34 tackles.
Following the lead role of teammate Scott Sorensen, Liam Knight also churned out phenomenal numbers in his side's two-point win at Henson Park against the Jets. Averaging in excess of 10 metres per carry, Knight proved a tough task for the Newtown defence to maintain, breaking four tackles also.
17 – Kelepi Tanginoa
Club: Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles; 2017 TOTW selections: 0.
16 total runs, 182 total metres, one line-break-assist, one offload, 35 tackles.
Blacktown prop Kelepi Tanginoa nabs the final place in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW TOTW on the back of a barnstorming performance against premiers Illawarra in Wollongong. Tanginoa's work in the middle of the field ensured his side were able to overturn an early deficit; running down an early llawarra 12-point lead to eventually pip the hosts by two.