NRL Round Six: Team of the Week

The NRL Easter period produced results that subverted many expectations. North Queensland Cowboys recovered a 12-0 deficit to silence the Canberra Raiders. Friday saw easy wins for last year’s Grand Finalists South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers respectively.

Then Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles held off a fightback against Gold Coast Titans before Melbourne won a thriller against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

Sydney Roosters battled past New Zealand Warriors on Sunday followed by the St George Illawarra Dragons edging Newcastle Knights before Wests Tigers got off the mark in the most dramatic of fashion away at Parramatta Eels.

Fullback: Kalyn Ponga
He may have been on the losing side but what a fantastic individual effort from Kalyn Ponga. The Queensland representative scored a try and provided an assist for the Knights as well as amassing 240 metres and ten tackle busts for his troubles. A monumental achievement and certainly one who did not deserve to be on the receiving end of a defeat and made all the more impressive by the recent uncertainties about his future.

Wingers: Ronaldo Mulitalo & David Nofoaluma
Ronaldo Mulitalo may have lost with the Sharks but once again, but there’s no denying his efforts. Two tries scored as well as six tackle busts and 210 metres made with ball in hand. Meanwhile, David Nofoaluma was key in helping the Tigers off the mark. Two tries also to his name as well as six busts and 143 metres from 17 carries.

Centres: Siosifa Talakai & Moses Suli
Completing the three-quarters sees another Sharks member in Siosifa Talakai named alongside Moses Suli. Talakai amassed some impressive statistics in the clash with the Storm, scoring a try, providing two assists as well as eight busts and 182 metres for good measure. Suli was arguably the top player for the Dragons against the Knights. From providing two try assists to nine tackle busts and 177 metres from 20 carries, Suli will remain an important figure for the Dragons for the remainder of the season.

Stand-Off: Cameron Munster
Cameron Munster, like Ponga, shone despite uncertainty over his future and scored an impressive solo try in the clash against the Sharks as well as provided a direct assist, four busts, six kicks and 183 metres from 16 carries, the highest amount from any number six over the weekend.

Scrumhalf: Nathan Cleary
Arguably the world’s best number seven Nathan Cleary shone again this weekend. He was the main man for the Panthers over the Broncos, with three try assists, six goal kicks, 15 tackles, three tackle busts, 18 kicks and 122 metres made. The Panthers remain unbeaten after six rounds and should his form continue, can anyone really stop them from back-to-back titles?

Props: Liam Knight & James Fisher-Harris
Liam Knight came off the bench and got through a lot of hard work in the pack. From 16 tackles to three busts and 202 metres from 21 carries, Knight proved to be a valuable asset for the Bunnies as they came back and downed the Bulldogs. Fisher-Harris demonstrated his Dally M credentials once again this weekend; putting in 30 tackles as well as 200 metres from 18 carries, helping Penrith see off Brisbane to maintain their 100% record.

Hooker: Damien Cook
No doubt about this one. Hat-trick hero Damien Cook was always going to feature. The Australian international also totalled 34 tackles for the Bunnies as well as three busts and 89 metres, helping to ensure the win.

Second-rowers: Liam Martin & Haumole Olakau’atu
Liam
Martin was another key figure for the Panthers, scoring a try, providing an assist, 23 tackles, five busts and 147 metres from 13 carries. Haumole Olakau’atu proved to be a juggernaut once more for the Sea Eagles, scoring two tries as well as putting in 29 tackles, five busts and 121 metres from 12 carries in what was another consistent performance.

Loose-forward: Jason Taumalolo
Finishing off the line-up is North Queensland Cowboys’ work horse Jason Taumalolo. Taumalolo may not have gotten over the try line but his 29 tackles, five busts and 255 metres from 27 carries are a clear demonstration of his sheer determination in helping them recover from a slow start to stun the Raiders.

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