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NSW Team of the Week | Round Eight

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: 3.

Mitchell’s aura was again on full display in Anzac Round at Accor Stadium on Thursday.

The Rabbitohs fullback is an ever-present threat with the ball. He made 12 tackle-breaks in the nail-biting 20-18 win over Penrith – and scored two of his team’s four tries, along with four goals to give him a personal tally of 12 points.

He defused four kicks, had two offloads, a forced drop-out, a line-break, line-break assist, and 27 kick return metres among his 109 off 18 runs.

2. Jason Saab. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Injury may have hampered Saab’s start to the season, but his presence in scoring two tries in three games of his comeback earns him his first TOTW selection.

In addition to his four-pointer, he made 13 runs and 133 metres against the Wests Tigers, along with two line-breaks.

3. Mosese Suli. Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Another 2023 TOTW debutant, Suli couldn’t be ignored with his feats on Anzac Day against the Sydney Roosters in front of 40,191 fans at Allianz Stadium.

He made 17 runs for 159 metres, creating havoc almost every time with a line-break, two line-break assists and three try assists. He also busted out of six tackles.

4. Stephen Crichton. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 3. TOTW selections: 1.

It was a one-man show for the player they call ‘Critta’ with a hat-trick and three goals to give him every point for the Panthers in the 20-18 loss to the Rabbitohs.

He had two line-breaks and six tackle busts in his 15 runs for 181 metres, and defused a kick.

5. Brian To’o. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 6. TOTW selections: 3.

To’o has such drive in his legs he racked up 67 post-contact metres – the most of any Panther on Thursday night – from his 18 runs for 181 metres. He also broke free of two would-be tacklers.

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

If it wasn’t for Walker’s final pass to Isaiah Tass in the 78th minute, it would have been Penrith celebrating their fifth win of the season – instead it was the Rabbitohs.

Walker linking with Mitchell down the left edge is a thing of beauty, and the No.6 created opportunities for his outside men with a line-break, line-break assist and two try assists on Thursday. He also had three dummy-half runs and five kicks in an energetic performance.

7. Nicho Hynes. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.

It took a bit to stand out for the Sharks after Will Kennedy’s hat-trick against Canterbury-Bankstown, but Hynes had plenty of tricks up his own sleeve in Round Eight.

He converted all five Sharks tries, kicked a penalty goal and field goal, had three line-break assists, two try assists and two tackle busts. Hynes also ran for 93 metres and kicked 14 times for 424 metres.

8. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 7.

Haas not only sits on top of the Dally M leader-board, but he has the most appearances in the NSW TOTW because he never stops running, pushing through defenders, or offloading the ball.

In the win over the Eels in Darwin, his 54 minutes on the field included 17 hit-ups, 212 run metres (77 post-contact) and seven tackle busts. He also had an offload and made 17 tackles without missing any.

9. Damien Cook. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 15. TOTW selections: 2.

Cook opened up the Rabbitohs’ scoring against the reigning NRL Premiers with his first try of the year, while making 41 tackles to top his team’s defensive stats.

He had a line-break, tackle bust, three dummy-half runs and had the fastest play-the-ball speed of any teammate – just 2.0 seconds – which gave him great momentum around the ruck.

10. David Klemmer. Club: Wests Tigers. SOO appearances: 14. TOTW selections: 2.

Klemmer is one of the Tigers’ most reliable each week. Despite the 22-16 loss to the Sea Eagles on Sunday, made 15 runs for 155 metres ( 53 post-contact) in 47 minutes played.

He had a tackle-break, an offload and made 24 tackles without missing any.

11. Haumole Olakau’atu. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.

Olakau’atu was the only Manly Warringah forward to crack 100 metres against the Wests Tigers with his 10 runs for 111 (41 post-contact).

He had a line-break, two tackle busts, an offload and scored his fifth try of the year, while also making 34 tackles.

12. Jack Bird. Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. SOO appearances: 5. TOTW selections: 1.

Always an energetic competitor, Bird did his best to inspire the Dragons at Allianz Stadium to earn his first TOTW selection for 2023.

The True Blue scored his opening try for the season, made a stunning 14 tackle busts in his 14 runs for 88 metres, and completed 36 tackles.  

13. Isaah Yeo. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 8. TOTW selections: 4.

It was another iron-man style performance with 22 runs for 188 metres against South Sydney.

But his flawless defence had him pull off 45 tackles with no misses, again proving why Yeo is valued not only by coach Ivan Cleary but also by the Westpac NSW Blues coaching staff.

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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