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NSW Team of the Week | Round 22

Following each week of the NRL season, 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. Latrell Mitchell. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 7. TOTW selections: 2.

After another stellar performance Mitchell reminded the competition to watch out for South Sydney, with the Rabbitohs getting better every week on their charge to the finals.

Souths’ No.1 ran for a career-best 211 metres including 65 post-contact from 14 carries, along with a try assist, three line-breaks, two line-break assists, nine tackle busts and two offloads.

2. Alex Johnston. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.

Another two tries on Friday night puts Johnston six ahead in the Ken Irvine Medal race, and it’ll be hard to stop him claiming it for a third-straight season with three rounds remaining.

As well as scoring a double against Parramatta, Johnston also produced two line-breaks, three tackles busts and 155 run metres, making 10 tackles without a miss.

3. Kotoni Staggs. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 3.

The Brisbane Broncos went another step closer to locking in a top eight finish on Saturday night and Staggs played very strongly as inside man to hat-trick hero Selwyn Cobbo.

Staggs came up with a try assist for his wing partner, two line-break assists, two tackle busts, 152 run metres and 17 tackles.

4. Brian Kelly. Club: Gold Coast Titans. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.

In the Titans’ first win since Round 10, Brian Kelly was causing plenty of headaches for the Sea Eagles’ right edge.

He snatched two intercepts – one resulting in a try – and had a tackle bust, threw three offloads, ran for 175 metres from 14 carries and made 14 tackles.

5. Joseph Suaalii. Club: Sydney Roosters. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.

It’s become a frighteningly regular occurrence to watch Suaalii improve with just about every game he plays, and his hard running ability came to the fore to help the Roosters to a win against the second-placed Cowboys.

Suaalii opened the try-scoring at the SCG, had two line-breaks and four tackle busts, making 15 runs for 160 metres with 59 post-contact.

6. Talatau Amone. Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.

St George Illawarra didn’t finish ahead on the scoreboard, but the performance of their recently re-signed No.6 was his best for the Red V.

Against the Raiders Amone scored a hat-trick of tries and assisted one more, managed three line-breaks had eight tackle busts. He also made 14 tackles.

7. Nicho Hynes. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 6.

Hynes’ remarkable work-rate in both ball-running and defence is what makes him stand out among the game’s top halfbacks, and he proved it again in Saturday’s display.

The Sharks’ No.7 recorded a try assist and line-break assist, a game-high 223 run metres and 15 tackles – missing only one. He was just as great off the boot with 322 kick metres and six goals from seven attempts.

8. Tevita Tatola. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.

Souths’ resurgence up the NRL ladder has a lot to do with how their forward pack is motoring and Tatola has both hands around the steering wheel in that regard.

Against an Origin-standard opposition pack, Tatola – in just 44 minutes – rattled off 19 runs for 208 metres with 97 of those post-contact. He also busted out of two tackles, made 23 of his own and missed none.

9. Sam Verrills. Club: Sydney Roosters. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Up against the likes of Damien Cook for TOTW selection, Verrills regularly holds his own, but this week he shone in the Roosters’ attack against top four side the Cowboys.

He was rewarded for his efforts with two tries, two line-breaks, a line-break assist, a try assist, two tackle busts, an offload and 12 hit-ups. Verrills found time to defend as well, making 35 tackles to earn his maiden TOTW appearance.

10. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 11.

The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues prop remains head and shoulders above the crowd with another key contribution for his club against the Knights last weekend.

Haas made 43 tackles, missing none, alongside his 17 runs for 184 metres – dragging through defenders for 83 post-contact. It begs the question of what he eats pre-game to fuel that kind of energy.

11. Keaon Koloamatagi. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 6.

Koloamatangi is making a big an impression on TOTW each round with teammate Tatola. His 94 post-contact metres was only three shy of Tatola for the Rabbitohs in that area. Koloamatangi made 172 metres total from his 17 runs.

He was also dynamite on Souths’ right edge with a line-break assist, try assist and a tackle bust, while making 31 tackles.

12. Euan Aitken. Club: New Zealand Warriors. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Another TOTW debutant, many may know Aitken more as a centre which he spent most of 2021 playing. But this year he’s been predominantly in the back row and played all 80 minutes in the win over the Bulldogs.

Aitken made 13 runs for 147 metres – one run from dummy-half found the opposition napping as he garnered 15 – with 67 post-contact. That put him close behind props Addin Fonua-Blake and Tohu Harris in getting over the advantage line continuously. Aitken also made 29 tackles with no misses.

13. Cameron Murray (c). Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 10. TOTW selections: 4.

Every team would love to have a ‘Cam Murray’ on the park each week with his high work-rate and ever-present skills in both attack and defence.

Against a quality Eels pack, Murray had two line-break assists, a tackle bust and four offloads, while bringing down 42 defenders and missing none of his tackles.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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