The second round of NRL action certainly did not disappoint, with six of the eight fixtures finishing with a six or less deciding the contest. But not only that, we received our first taste of golden points in 2022.
Melbourne Storm produced the goods in extra time, holding off a memorable fightback against the South Sydney Rabbitohs that kick-started the weekend off. This was followed by a big win for Sydney Roosters over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles as well as reigning Champions Penrith Panthers edging St George Illawarra Dragons. Saturday saw Gold Coast Titans pip the New Zealand Warriors, Cronulla shatter Parramatta Eels with a last-minute winner and North Queensland Cowboys cruise over the Canberra Raiders. Newcastle Knights then continued their impressive start with a comfortable win over Wests Tigers. Brisbane Broncos then rounded off the weekend by defeating Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
So, a weekend of fantastic action in the NRL, but who makes our Team of the Week?
Full-back: Ryan Papenhuyzen
An extremely close call this one but Ryan Papenhuyzen’s match winning drop-goal sees him edge it. The Storm player also scored a try in the win against the Bunnies as well as produced two attacking kicks and 75 metres with ball in hand. Though his injury last year paved the way for Nicholas Hynes to emerge, Papenhuyzen’s return is a welcome one to the Storm and they will hope to retain his services should they wish to regain their NRL crown.
Wingers: Greg Marzhew & Corey Oates
Greg Marzhew and Corey Oates are included on the wings. Marzhew scored a brace of tries for the Titans in their tense win over the Warriors as well as managing 11 tackle busts and 222 metres with ball in hand, the highest amount from a winger over the weekend. As for Oates, edging out others in Dominic Young and Daniel Tupou, the Brisbane flyer was a try scorer in their second win of the season. His 209 metres though were also a key contribution as were his five tackle busts in what was a hard-fought win for his side.
Centres: Dane Gagai & Herbie Farnworth
Another difficult call but Newcastle’s Dane Gagai and Brisbane’s Herbie Farnworth are in at centre. Gagai retains his spot from last week, having scored a try and provided an assist for the Knights over the Tigers. He also put in 15 tackles, managed 11 busts and 160 metres from 18 carries, proving to be too much of a handful for the opposition. Farnworth meanwhile, highlighted his England international credentials with an impressive individual performance. From his two tries to nine tackles, three busts and 262 metres with ball in hand, Farnworth could well be one of the Broncos’ main assets throughout the 2022 season.
Stand-off: Dylan Brown
In defeat, Dylan Brown was outstanding providing a try assist, 22 tackles, five busts and 185 metres from 17 carries. He certainly got through a lot of hard work and very nearly steered the Eels to back-to-back wins.
Scrum-half: Nicholas Hynes
Nicholas Hynes for the Sharks is chosen at scrum-half. The versatile 25-year-old starred for Melbourne last year and is now impressing for the Sharks, helping them to their last-gasp win. A try assist, 28 tackles, five busts, 13 kicks and 114 metres from 16 carries, Hynes certainly has a bright future ahead of him and could well take the Sharks back to the play-offs come the end of the season.
Props: Siosiua Taukeiaho & Corey Waddell
An interesting choice in Sydney’s Siosiua Taukeiaho and Canterbury’s Corey Waddell. Taukeiaho was a stand-out for the Roosters as they bagged an impressive win over the Sea Eagles. He put in 30 tackles and managed 238 metres with ball in hand, certainly proving to be a handful in a match that never looked in doubt. As for Waddell, yes, the Bulldogs were condemned to defeat, but he still registered 28 tackles, three busts and 189 metres from 20 carries.
Hooker: Harry Grant
An easy one, Harry Grant netted the highest amount of fantasy points in this game and going by his stats, he’s a straightforward choice at hooker. Back from his absence, Grant produced the goods; two try assists, 42 tackles, five kicks and 145 metres from 12 carries, helping the Storm to back-to-back wins.
Second-row: Viliame Kikau & Nat Butcher
In the backrow is Penrith’s Viliame Kikau & Sydney’s Nat Butcher. Kikau demonstrated why he was in the Dally M team of the year in 2021 scoring two tries, making 32 tackles, four busts and 105 metres with ball in hand, helping the Panthers to a gutsy win over the Dragons. Butcher perhaps went under the radar in 2021 but during the win over Manly, it was certainly a different story. He also netted a brace of tries as well as putting in 27 tackles and 134 metres.
Loose-forward: Isaah Yeo
Closing things off, Isaah Yeo of the Penrith Panthers remains in the side. Yeo put in some hard graft against the Dragons; with 43 tackles, four busts and 151 metres with ball in hand, he was another key figure in yet another Panthers win.