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. Club: Melbourne Storm. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
There aren’t many better sights in Rugby League than when Papenhuyzen – the outright competition leader for both tries (10) and points (101) – and the Melbourne Storm attack are in full swing.
His Anzac Day performance included two tries, three try assists, seven goals, two line-breaks and 158 run metres – earning him a richly-deserved Spirit of ANZAC Medal for Player of the Match on Monday night.
2. David Nofoaluma. Club: Wests Tigers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
It was all but déjà vu on Saturday when Nofoaluma crossed for a double as the Wests Tigers secured a one-point win at CommBank Stadium, only this time courtesy of Luke Brooks’ left boot. The Tigers’ talisman also made two line-breaks and six tackle busts, threw two offloads, ran for 140 metres and finished the match without an error or missed tackle to his name.
3. Siosifa Talakai (c). Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.
Talakai’s destructive outing on Thursday at PointsBet Stadium has already been touted as arguably the best performance in one half by an NRL player, and it’s easy to see why for the man who took the game away from the Sea Eagles in just a tick under 30 minutes.
Claiming the TOTW captaincy for Round Seven, Talakai scored two tries and set up the next three, broke the line three times and had two line-break assists, made eight tackle busts, threw three offloads and ran for a huge 262 metres including 63 post-contact.
4. Stephen Crichton. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.
As soon as the prospective NSW centre battle started heating up, Crichton simply re-asserted himself as one of the front-runners with his first NRL hat-trick. He also had two line-breaks and five tackle busts, ran for 111 metres and made nine tackles with only one missed, as well as zero errors for the game.
5. Nick Meaney. Club: Melbourne Storm. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Meaney’s Round Seven display was his strongest for Craig Bellamy’s men since making the trip South in 2022. He scored two tries including a 26th-minute intercept to regain the lead, made one line-break and a tackle bust, kicked two from three conversions and ran for 126 metres.
6. Matt Moylan. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 3. TOTW selections: 2.
Moylan continues to go about his business with strong performances for the Sharks each week, and was again a key role-player in the spine on Thursday night. Against the Sea Eagles he produced two try assists and two line-break assists for his damaging outside man in Talakai, had two tackle busts and made 20 tackles.
7. Adam Reynolds. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 2. TOTW selections: 1.
On Friday night in front of the Suncorp Stadium faithful, Reynolds showed why he was the prized recruit at Red Hill with a vintage playmaking display to get his team home in the second half.
At 12-10 in front the No.7 chipped over the top for Jordan Riki before backing up inside to score, then five minutes later threw a pearler for Selwyn Cobbo in the corner, and soon after put in a grubber for the in-goal to set up the winger’s second. He also had one more try assist and two line-break assists, five from six off the boot, 94 run metres and 466 kick metres in what was his best performance as a Bronco.
8. James Tamou. Club: Wests Tigers. SOO appearances: 14. TOTW selections: 1.
While the Tigers’ halves have been getting the plaudits during the last two wins, one of the men up front needs a pat on the back and rightly deserves his first TOTW appearance.
Tamou, a True Blue who last played for NSW in 2016, was a man on a mission against the Rabbitohs last weekend with 17 runs for 159 metres, including 60 post-contact. He also had a tackle bust, an offload and made 30 tackles – missing none. And his work for the afternoon was completed in just 47 minutes on the field.
9. Jacob Liddle. Club: Wests Tigers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Another hard-working Tiger who helped underpin their last-gasp win over the Rabbitohs to propel him into the TOTW for the first time.
Remembering he was up against current Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues rake Damien Cook, Liddle still shone out making seven runs from dummy-half for 66 metres to keep his team on the front foot. That was alongside three tackle busts and 49 tackles of his own.
10. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 7. TOTW selections: 5.
Not even a left shoulder injury could keep Haas down in the 20-point win over the Bulldogs.
The incumbent Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues front-rower had to leave the field to have his joint attended to but returned to continue his metre-eating ways. He made 23 runs for 254 metres but incredibly 138 of those were post-contact, as he dragged opposition tacklers along the Suncorp Stadium turf. From his 39 tackles he only missed one.
11. Keaon Koloamatangi. Club. South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
This talented back-rower is likely to once again find himself in NSW coach Brad Fittler’s squad if he keeps up his current form.
His 205 metres was the most by either team at CommBank Stadium last Saturday, and 86 of those were post-contact. Koloamatangi also broke five tackles, made a line-break and completed 35 tackles.
12. Ryan Matterson. Club: Parramatta Eels. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
It could be argued a few Eels stood out in their 39-2 romp over the Knights on Sunday, but Matterson was slightly above the rest with the most metres – 193 off 17 runs – and was only on the field for 38 minutes. Matterson is such a strong and powerful edge runner he made 80 post-contact metres with considerable ease, and busted his way out of three tackles in the process.
13. Cameron Murray. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 7. TOTW selections: 2.
Murray didn’t deserve to be on the losing side after rattling off 66 tackles against the Wests Tigers. His 327 tackles after seven rounds, along with teammate Damien Cook’s 342, make them the only two players in the NRL who have eclipsed the 300 mark so far.
Murray also had enough energy for 17 hit-ups and 119 metres, which makes him a fan favourite with not just the Rabbitohs’ faithful.
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