Scorching conditions befell as June came to a close, both on and off the field as the tension mounted in what was a dramatic round of rugby league!
Clubs alike inching closer to survival as well as a play-off place, this year is proving to be the best yet and following another exhilarating round of action, another team of heroes who stood out were selected to feature in another edition of Team of the Week!
Coach – Tony Smith
No doubt about it, Hull Kingston Rovers’ new boss Tony Smith bags the Coaches role in what was a memorable night for the red and whites.
The Robins stunned an in-form Hull FC with an 18-10 triumph to clinch the Clive Sullivan Memorial trophy with a 2-1 derby series win.
With Smith successfully coaching it out of them, KR look to have turned a new leaf since his arrival as they now may look easy money for another survival.
Full-back – Jordan Rankin
Rotating positions this week was Castleford’s Jordan Rankin, who arguably produced his best performance of 2019 so far in an easy win over London.
Rankin notched a try, provided two assists, 11 tackle busts and a staggering 156 metres from 16 carries as the Tigers bounced back to winning ways.
He has proved to be a smart purchase by Darryl Powell as Castleford regained their play-off place and should he remain fully fit, could pose a threat to anyone at the end of the season.
Wingers – Liam Marshall & Tom Makinson
Playing for rival clubs, who will face off in a historic clash soon enough, and what a way to build up to it as both Liam Marshall and Tom Makinson line up on the wing.
Marshall scored two tries in a valuable win for Wigan over play-off rivals Salford that took them up to fourth in the table.
He also managed eight tackle busts and 123 metres from 12 carries, proving to be too elusive and tricky for Salford to handle on the night.
Same could be send for the ‘golden feet’ of Makinson as the Saints stretched even further clear at the top by dispatching Warrington.
No tries to his name, but what a fantastic contribution regardless; four busts and 213 metres from 26 carries, the most for any winger over the weekend, takes some living up to.
Interesting times ahead for either player and club after displaying such form, even on top of their upcoming meeting.
Centres – Ben Crooks & Konrad Hurrell
Two players who can afford to shed a few tears at winning in Hull KR’s Ben Crooks and Leeds’ Konrad Hurrell.
Crooks came back to haunt his former club as he helped the Robins to another derby win, taking them off the foot of the table in the process.
Providing a superb assist, completing 21 tackles, six busts and 122 metres from 15 carries, Crooks was awesome all round and will be a crucial player in their run-in!
As will the machine Hurrell, who rediscovered his best form as he helped Leeds return to winning ways against the Catalan Dragons.
Hurrell notched a try, nine tackle busts and 128 metres from 14 carries, proving to be too hot and heavy to handle plus setting up a mouth-watering match up against Crooks in two weeks’ time when both sides clash!
Stand-off – George Williams
The ‘forgotten international’? Wigan’s George Williams finally made his back into this selection in what has been a quiet season, but also at what could be just the right time!
Williams led by example in Wigan’s win against Salford; assisting with a try, ten tackles, six busts five attacking kicks and a staggering 150 metres from 19 carries.
Superb stuff from the Englishman, who seems to be on the verge of an exit to the NRL soon so will no doubt want to bow out on a high come October.
Scrum-half – Danny McGuire
There’s life in this old dog yet as scrum-half this week is Hull KR’s Danny McGuire.
The KR skipper guided his side to a highly valuable win, not bad for an ‘old timer’ who has experienced a career on the opposite side of the table!
McGuire completed 22 tackles, two busts, put in five attacking kicks and amassed 89 metres from 13 carries and should he remain in the side, could be the very key to the Robins’ survival!
Props – Adam Cuthbertson & Alex Walmsley
In the front row sees two old adversaries in Leeds’ Adam Cuthbertson and St Helens’ Alex Walmsley.
Cuthbertson may have endured a season of woe but on Sunday he was at his very best, helping the Rhinos’ pack topple Catalans.
Scoring a try, providing an assist, completing 23 tackles, five busts and up to 142 metres from 18 carries demonstrate just how uncontainable he was.
But as was Walmsley as the Saints silenced any ‘high-flying’ doubters on Friday.
The Yorkshireman scored a try, completed 27 tackles, three busts and 143 metres from 17 carries.
He has not had his share of luck with injury this season but when he regains full fitness, is there any English forward in this country that is better? Really?!
Hooker – Tyler Randell
And now, arguably, Wakefield’s hero of the hour from Friday as hat-trick hero Tyler Randell lines up at hooker.
A rarity for a player in such a position to score three tries but Randell was not one for tradition as he guided Trinity to a crucial win over local rivals Huddersfield.
On top of his three, he completed 38 tackles, five busts and managed up to 124 metres from 11 carries as the Giants simply has no answer.
Second-row – Mike McMeeken & Kelepi Tanginoa
Another two players who feature for arch-rivals as Castleford’s Mike McMeeken and Wakefield’s Kelepi Tanginoa are at second-row.
McMeeken rediscovered his previous best in the Tigers’ 42-10 win over London, scoring a brace of tries, assisting in just as many for a start.
But add 17 tackles completed, five busts and 104 metres from 12 carries, you have a serious work horse and a valuable asset to your team on your hands!
Tanginoa meanwhile, is proving to be a smart purchase by Wakefield as he was outstanding again for the West Yorkshire side.
He completed 16 tackles and managed five tackle busts and 163 metres from just 13 carries to keep the Giants on the back foot throughout.
Loose-forward – Trent Merrin
Rounding things off is ‘ever-green’ Trent Merrin, who reclaims loose-forward from Sean O’Loughlin.
But this is all about Merrin, who deserves all the credit he gets and perhaps more as he was top notch for Leeds on Sunday.
A thumping 39 tackles and 127 metres made was enough to see off a sorry Dragons outfit as Merrin lived up to his pre-season hype and perhaps more to follow in what should be an exciting finish to the season for his side!