Following each week of the NRL season, nswrl.com.au selects the round’s best 13 of New South Wales eligible players. These selections are based on the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSWRL or the selection process for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues. Captaincy is awarded based on that week's on-field performance and is not based on club captaincy or leadership qualities.
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen (c). Club: Melbourne Storm. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Papenhuyzen has claimed the captain’s armband after his four-try effort on Sunday, a feat he previously achieved, remarkably, in the corresponding round last season.
He even had a hand in another try, broke the line on three occasions, made three tackle busts, landed six out of eight conversions, and ran for 188 metres on the way to a massive haul of 28 from the 44 points Melbourne scored.
2. Waqa Blake. Club: Parramatta Eels. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Blake was at his devastating best on the Eels’ left edge in Round Four and as Parramatta hit their straps in the second half, so did he.
He scored two tries including a 90-metre intercept, made one line-break, had four tackle busts and ran for 201 metres.
3. Siosifa Talakai. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Talakai’s damaging ball-running ability was on full display with a huge 17 tackle busts against Newcastle Knights, who simply had no answers on Thursday night.
The bullocking Sharks centre also scored a try and produced one line-break assist, running for 223 metres including 57 post-contact.
4. Stephen Crichton. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.
Crichton has yet to step a foot wrong this season following his third TOTW selection.
In Friday’s Grand Final rematch he scored a four-pointer, made one line-break and ran for 206 metres including 61 post-contact.
5. Taylan May. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
Taylan May’s trajectory has skyrocketed with another strong performance on the left flank and A double against South Sydney, making it five tries in just two weeks.
His night out at BlueBet Stadium also included two line-breaks, four tackle busts and 204 run metres including 73 post-contact.
6. Jarome Luai. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 2. TOTW selections: 1.
Luai has steered the ship strongly for Penrith during co-captain Nathan Cleary’s delayed start to 2022, yet even upon his return the No.6 had one of his better outings of the season so far.
Luai had two try assists, made one line-break, ran for 61 metres and made 15 tackles in the Panthers’ 14-point win.
7. Mitchell Moses: Club. Parramatta Eels. SOO appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 2.
Moses’ performance to pull the curtain on Round Four may well be the best of his career, you just need to look at the numbers from Parramatta’s 48-14 victory.
Two outrageous tries, two try assists, two line-breaks, one line-break assist, eight from eight conversions, 105 run metres and 460 from the boot for a tally of 24 points – a fair stat-sheet.
8. Matthew Lodge. Club: New Zealand Warriors. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Lodge makes his first TOTW for 2022 after defying the warm conditions at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe to crank up 175 metres off 18 runs – and he was only on the field 47 minutes.
He busted out of five tackles on his way to 79 post-contact metres, revealing a “get out of my way” attitude to defenders. Along with his 20 tackles, Lodge’s error count was clean.
9. Blayke Brailey. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
The livewire Sharks hooker is getting better each season, earning his maiden TOTW spot for 2022. He made 54 metres with five runs from dummy-half helping his forwards to a nice roll-on against the Knights.
He had a line-break assist, a try assist and made 37 tackles. The try assist will be forever remembered in the Shire as it gave Aiden Tolman a four-pointer in his 300th game – the first prop in NRL history to score in that milestone match. Brailey’s only blemish was a professional foul with 20 seconds left in the game.
10. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 7. TOTW selections: 3.
His name will keep bobbing up in TOTW if he keeps up the kind of energy levels he does. In a losing side Haas made 19 runs for 176 metres – the most of any Bronco – with 91 post-contact metres and six tackle-breaks.
He was just as reliable in defence with 45 tackles only missing one. It was a mighty effort from a front rower with a magnificent motor – he played 72 minutes.
11. Ryan Matterson. Club: Parramatta Eels. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
A member of the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues extended squad in 2019, Matterson is dangerous on an edge with his ability to offload in traffic.
Against the Dragons he was second-highest in metres covered (128) by an Eels forward behind Isaiah Papali’i (136). Matterson also made 30 tackles, missing just the one.
12. Teig Wilton. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
He’s our fifth forward to enjoy his maiden TOTW appearance, and he earned it with his willingness to take the ball up and his support play against the Knights.
Wilton has only played 22 NRL games but shows great maturity with his timing in attack. He had the most hit-ups of any Sharks forward (16) last Friday night and made 36 tackles, missing only one.
13. Victor Radley. Club: Sydney Roosters. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
He’s been warming up to a performance like this, with the match against the Cowboys showing up his ‘Victor the Inflictor’ reputation.
Radley had 19 runs for 163 metres, while racking up two line-breaks, four tackle-busts, and scoring a try himself. His tackling work rate was equally as impressive – 37 with just one miss.
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