ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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There was an absolute embarassment of riches to choose from for the five-eighth position in this round's LeagueUnlimited.com Team of the Week. Strong performance from Gareth Widdop, Jonathan Thurston and Ben Hampton meant we had to find room for all three of them in the team. As a result, our interchange bench is lighter than midday - although lets be honest, with a starting pack boasting as much strikepower as it does, the bench isn't getting a look in anyway.
It was slim pickings in the prop department this week as well - Tyson Frizell made his way into the starting team, mainly off the back of his tryscoring performances, while Sam Burgess was hard to ignore after running for over 160 metres from 18 hitups.
With such strong performances from the outside backs in Round 1, NSW star Jarryd Hayne couldn't even get a look in, but we're sure that'll change in the next few rounds.
FullBack: Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)
Continued from where he left off in 2013. Powerful running, brilliant lines, and made the SBW v Burgess debate look like a non-event. Racked up a huge 9 tackle breaks in his 80 minutes of football.
Wing: Semi Radradra (Eels)
Busted 11 tackles, and ran for 160 metres. Enough said.
Centre: Lachlan Maranta (Broncos)
Defused several sky-high bombs aimed in his direction, and looked calm and steady doing it. The Bulldogs looked to test him a few times, but he was more than up to the task.
Centre: Sisa Waqa (Storm)
Broke the line twice at vital stages of the game, not to mention busting tackles almost every time he touched the ball. Is a genius under the high ball.
Wing: Josh Mansour (Panthers)
Ran for a massive 184 metres, and trampled practically half the Knights outside defenders every time he got the ball. Finished with 7 tackle busts for the day, in a dominant attacking performance.
Five/Eight: Gareth Widdop (Dragons)
Was instrumental in his team's win. Not only did he kick every goal he attempted, but he steered his new club around the park perfectly - even after his halves partner left the field with an injured shoulder.
Halfback: Albert Kelly (Titans)
A dominant performance from Kelly - darting for almost 250 metres over the course of the match, and breaking 8 tackles. Also set up one try, and had a leading hand in almost all of the attack the Titans put together.
Lock: Trent Merrin (Dragons)
Ran hard. Tackled hard. Probably finished sore. Exactly what you want from your lock, especially in a team that is said to lack size and aggression in the pack.
Second Row: Jason Taumololo (Cowboys)
Topped both the hitup and linebreak columns for his team, and ran for 208 metres off only 16 hitups. Taumololo also broke 5 tackles during the game, making defenders look silly.
Second Row: Chris McQueen (Rabbitohs)
This guy did what he does every week - turned up, ran hard, and created second phase play with his tackle busts, offloads and line breaks. Ran for 130 metres off 10 hitups.
Prop: Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)
Looked unstoppable with the ball in hand, causing headaches for the defence all day. Also, may have won the battle against SBW - that is, if the criteria was "finish the match without getting suspended for 3 weeks."
Hooker: Andrew McCullough (Broncos)
Was everywhere for the Broncos - topped the tackle count with 53, many of which were at vital times in the match. Also didn't miss a single tackle.
Prop: Tyson Frizell (Dragons)
Played the most prop-like, and un-prop-like performance of the round, at the same time. Ran hard and broke 7 tackles, but at the same time made line breaks and scored 2 tries.
Interchange 1: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
Interchange 2: Ben Hampton (Storm)
Interchange 3: Manu Ma'u (Eels)
Interchange 4: Greg Bird (Titans)
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