NRL Round 9: Team of the Week

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Round nine really caused a stir down under. Brisbane Broncos denied South Sydney Rabbitohs glory completing a home and away double over last year’s Grand Finalists. Friday saw Canberra Raiders bounce back with a hard-fought win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs before Parramatta Eels somewhat controversially ended Penrith Panthers’ 100% record.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles saw off a second half fightback from the Wests Tigers, Sydney Roosters eased past Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys continued their surge with a comprehensive defeat over bottom club Newcastle Knights. Finally on Sunday, Melbourne Storm cruised over the St George Illawarra Dragons before 12-man Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks overturned a deficit against the New Zealand Warriors.

So after such an eventful weekend, who makes our team of the week?

Fullback: James Tedesco
For the second week running, James Tedesco was outstanding. The Australian international and Origin representative was in top form for the Roosters, scoring a hat-trick of tries for good measure. He backed that up with ten tackle busts as well as 226 metres from 16 carries in what was a dominant performance.

Wingers: Reuben Garrick & Taylan May
A very difficult choice but Reuben Garrick and Taylan May are selected. The likes of Selwyn Cobbo, Daniel Tupou and Nick Meaney went close but here is why the former two were chosen. Garrick scored two tries, slotted over four goals as well as managing 12 tackle busts and 141 metres with ball in hand. May also touched down twice and made 192 metres from 20 carries. Clearly a workhorse and one who has a bright future ahead in this great game.

Centres: Joseph Manu & Siosifa Talakai
Joseph Manu was another star for the Roosters, providing a try assist as well as seven tackle busts and 161 metres from 17 carries. Siosifa Talakai also provided a try assist as well as seven tackle busts and 193 metres from 19 carries, helping the Sharks overcome the daunting task of playing with a man short for the majority of the game and ending up on top.

Stand-off / Five-Eighth: Cameron Munster
For the fifth week running, Cameron Munster lines up at stand-off. Named in the Kangaroo’s Form Team of the Month and with good reason, this guy just does not know when to stop producing magic. Scoring a try, providing a direct assist, six tackle busts, eight kicks and a staggering 183 metres from 19 carries, he is potentially leading, not only Melbourne back to another NRL title but to the Dally M award itself?

Scrum-half / Halfback: Nicholas Hynes
This was a very close call but Nicholas Hynes is the one who edges it. Hynes scored a try, provided two assists, slotted over four conversions and a field-goal as well as putting in 17 kicks, five tackle busts and 164 metres from 20 carries. A smart purchase by the Sharks who could well be genuine title contenders come the business end of the season.

Props: Joseph Tapine & Junior Paulo
Another difficult choice, Joseph Tapine grafted hard for the Canberra Raiders throughout. He put in 18 tackles, three busts and 201 metres from 17 carries in a much-needed win for the former NRL Finalists. Junior Paulo put in 26 tackles in comparison as well as managing 207 metres from 23 carries as the Eels edged the Panthers in a thrilling contest.

Hooker: Harry Grant
Melbourne’s Harry Grant provided two try assists, three tackle busts, 167 metres from 21 carries as well as 38 tackles, helping to restrict the Dragons to just six points in another dominant defensive display.

Second-rowers: Isaiah Papali’i & Ben Trbojevic
Dally M back rower Isaiah Papali’i is chosen along with newcomer Ben Trbojevic. Papali’i was also prominent for the Eels, putting in 48 tackles as well as nine busts and 186 metres from 22 carries, demonstrating that the Panthers may not be invincible after all. Trbojevic is on his way to greatness in similar to fashion to his siblings, starring with two tries, an assist, 24 tackles, two busts and 72 metres with ball in hand as he helped the Sea Eagles to another all-important win.

Loose-forward: Cameron McInnes
This may subvert expectations. Cameron McInnes put in a good shift for the Sharks over the Warriors. From 39 tackles, two busts and 159 metres from 19 carries, McInnes helped show how difficult the Sharks are to contend with and why they are a force to be reckoned with.

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