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NSW Team of the Week | Round Six

After each round of the NRL season, selects the round’s best 13 of New South Wales eligible players. These selections are based on the writers' opinions and do not reflect the views of the NSWRL or the selection process for the Westpac 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 (c). Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 7. TOTW appearances: 1.

The Souths custodian celebrated his 150th NRL game in style in the 50-16 win over Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. He scored more than half the Rabbitohs points after finishing the afternoon with 26 from three tries and seven goals.

He also had two try assists – including one where he grabbed a bouncing ball, shrugged off the defence and threw a one-handed pass for Campbell Graham to score out wide – a line-break assist, four tackle-busts, an offload and 191 run metres.

2. Albert Hopoate. Club: Canberra Raiders. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW appearances: 1.

The Canberra winger typified the fighting spirit of the Raiders after they upset the top-of-the-table Brisbane Broncos 20-14 at Suncorp Stadium.

He rebounded from a horror collision with Raiders teammate Sebastian Kris in the in-goal which led to a Broncos try, to score a crucial one himself after leaping over the top of Kotoni Staggs to pluck a Jamal Fogarty bomb out of the air. He also ran for 152 metres and had three tackle busts.

3. Bradman Best. Club: Newcastle Knights. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW appearances: 1.

The Newcastle centre has always shown potential after featuring in NSW pathways teams and turned in a strong showing in the 34-24 win over the Warriors. He had three try assists – including one where he put in a great stab kick off his left foot from out wide for Phoenix Crossland to grab and touch down underneath the posts – two line break assists, a tackle bust and an offload.

4. Campbell Graham. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW appearances: 2.

Graham has been in sublime form for the Rabbitohs this season and grabbed his first hat-trick for 2023 against the Bulldogs.

What was even more impressive is they all came in the final 10 minutes after he shifted out to the wing to cover for the injured Izaac Thompson.  Graham, affectionately known as ‘Stretch’, also had three line-breaks, three tackle-busts, an offload, 15 tackles – without missing one – and 150 run metres.

5. Brian To’o. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 6. TOTW appearances: 1.

The nuggety Panthers winger has always had a reputation as a tackle-busting, metre-eater and proved too strong in the 44-12 win over Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. He grabbed two tries, had a try assist, three line-breaks, three tackle-busts and ran for 246 metres including 70 post-contact.

6. Cody Walker. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 2. TOTW appearances: 4.

Walker has always been one of the most entertaining and natural-gifted players to watch when he is on his game and was certainly in a menacing mood against the Bulldogs.

The Souths No.6 scored a well-deserved try in the big win over the Bulldogs, set up three others, had four line-break assists, a line-break, five tackle-busts, an offload and 75 running metres. 

7. Nathan Cleary. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 13. TOTW appearances: 2.

The Panthers will always be a competitive force as long as their halfback is calling the shots and unfortunately for the Sea Eagles they came across him in one of his more ominous moods.

He scored a try and landed eight goals from as many attempts for a personal haul of 20 points, had two try assists, two line-break assists, three tackle-breaks, an offload, 185 run metres, 274 kick metres, a forced drop out and 15 tackles without any misses.

8. David Klemmer. Club: Wests Tigers. SOO appearances: 14. TOTW selections: 1.

True Blue Klemmer was celebrating his 200th NRL game in his first season with his new club, but he’s proving his worth for the Wests Tigers like he did with Canterbury-Bankstown and Newcastle Knights. His time with the Westpac NSW Blues over five years underlines that.

In an arm wrestle with the Eels on Easter Monday, Klemmer had 20 runs for 176 metres – 78 of those post-contact – alongside two offloads, 19 tackles (no misses), and no errors or penalties from his 50 minutes on the field.

9. Soni Luke. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Luke had to bide his time when Api Korisau reigned in the Panthers No.9 jersey, but now this 27-year-old Tonga international can let his light shine.

He came off the bench against Manly Warringah, relieving Mitch Kenny for 54 minutes, and had a line-break assist, two try assists, three dummy-half runs, two kicks, a forced drop out and 25 tackles (no misses).

10. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 5.

You start to run out of superlatives for someone like Haas, who again topped the run metres (203) for the Brisbane Broncos off 22 hit-ups in 58 minutes’ work.

In a losing side Haas stands out like a beacon with 68 post-contact metres, six tackle-busts, five offloads, and 29 tackles – missing none.

11. Tyson Frizell. Club: Newcastle Knights. SOO appearances: 14. TOTW selections: 2.

Reminiscent of his Origin debut in 2016, when he chased Maroons winger Dane Gagai down the right-hand touchline for 80 metres, Frizell ran another 70 metres across field at the weekend to tackle Warriors winger Edward Kosi.

He scored a try in both matches, showing he still had something left in the petrol tank each time. Against the Warriors he also had 46 post-contact metres, four tackle-busts, an offload, 12 hit-ups and made 36 tackles, missing just one.

12. Keaon Koloamatangi. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selecctions: 3.

Koloamatangi can handle either edge for the Rabbitohs with aplomb and against the Bulldogs he had that typical ‘take no prisoners’ style with 17 runs for 152 metres – 51 post-contact.

He also had a line-break, a line-break assist, two tackle-busts and an offload.

13. Isaah Yeo. Club: Penrith Premiers. SOO appearances: 8. TOTW selections: 2.

For a lock to run over 200 metres in a NRL game takes a special kind of player – and that’s True Blue Yeo.

His 23 runs, two offloads and two tackle-busts, was supplemented by 25 tackles with no misses. He also touched the ball 40 times – the most after his hooker and halfback.

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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