DOGS DOWNED | Canberra came from the clouds to down Canterbury in the National Capital this afternoo...
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The weekly column here at Leagueunlimited is to highlight what we here on the site think are the best players in each round of the 2004 NRL competition. Based on the opinion received from the Leagueunlimited.com live updaters, we have put together what we think is the team of the Round 4.
A few new entries this week with Round 4 dishing up a couple of surprising results in some people's eyes, and the NZ Warriors finally having a win in the competition.
The Leagueunlimited team - Round 4:
1. Rhys Wesser - The first try for the 2004 competition early in the match against the Roosters set the stage for a great game by the Penrith fullback. Scoring two tries in the match, it was a definite pleasure to see Wesser back to his trademark best.
2. Henry Fa'afili - The first NZ Warriors player picked in the team. With his team finally winning their first game of 2004, it was great to see Henry Fa'afili step up as one of the more experienced members in the Warriors squad. Although not scoring any tries, Fa'afili went looking for work, and his defence was outstanding.
3. Ryan Girdler - His first game back for the Panthers this year, and what a game to come back to, the repeat of the 2003 Grand Final. Ryan Girdler looked as though he had never been injured and out of the competition. A stand out performance for the Penrith side.
4. Michael De Vere - Combining well with Lockyer, Michael De Vere scored two superb tries in the game against Melbourne Storm on Sunday. His second try just after the break, running 40 metres to score was the turning point in the game for the Broncos who had been trailing all game. To bring the scores level with the try and his boot, certainly lifted his side to their victory. A total of 18 points in the game for De Vere.
5. Adam Macdougall - While overshadowed by younger brother Luke's 3 tries in the match against the Sharks on Saturday night, big brother Adam certainly proved his worth in the Rabbitohs side. The brothers combined well throughout the game to help their side to victory. Definitely a class player, Adam MacDougall so far injury free, is proving his weight in gold for the Rabbitohs.
6. Darren Lockyer - He's a master of the game and his thriving in the five-eighth position. The grubber kicks, the line breaks and general play all help to set his side up well. A nifty little kick right on the break in Sunday's match against the Storm, gave De Vere his 1st try and was the start of a mighty comeback for the Broncos side.
7. Craig Gower - An exciting game for any Penrith fans as their team outshone the Roostes on Friday night. Leading from the front Craig Gower caused the Roosters defence a lot of headaches as he and Preston Campbell ran riot continuously all night. Great passing and great general kicking by Gower set up his side wonderfully.
8. Luke Bailey - With his side scoring 9 tries in the match against the Newcastle Knights on Sunday, a lot of the ground work was put in by the big men like Luke Bailey. Wet and slippery conditions at WIN Stadium certainly didn't make his job any easier, however Bailey definitely played his part in the Dragons outstanding victory.
9. Brad Drew - Steadying the ship for the Raiders game against the Eels in Round 4 seemed to be the order of the day for Brad Drew on Saturday evening. Combining well with Raiders five-eighth Mark McLinden, Drew with his placement kicks and general play certainly helped his team to victory. Noticeably when Drew was off the field, the Raiders were a little amiss at times.
10. John Skandalis - To have his side score their first ever victory in Townsville must've made his performance even sweeter for John Skandalis. His goal line defence was superb as he helped stopped the Cowboys from scoring on many occasions. He was exhausted by the end of the game showing the amount of effort put in by the big forward.
11. Ruben Wiki - As solid as ever in defence, Ruben Wiki certainly left his mark on the game between his side, the Canberra Raiders, and the Parramatta Eels on Saturday evening. A big game up front all night, and Wiki certainly led from the front as always.
12. Bryan Fletcher - Steering the Rabbitohs to victory against the Sharks, Bryan Fletcher led his side once again with commitment. A solid player who never seems to become unnerved by anything, Fletch certainly let the Sharks know, along with the rest of the NRL sides, that the Rabbitohs are not destined for the wooden spoon in 2004.
13. Shaun Timmins - Dragons coach Nathan Brown asked his senior players to step up in their match against the Knights after their disappointing loss in Round 3, and Timmins did just that. Apart from setting up a very nice try for Trent Barrett, his effort in the field is to be admired.
14. Epalahame Lauaki - The NZ Warriors rookie certainly has started to come of age in the NRL competition. Confidence is starting to build in the young man. A mature performance against the Sea Eagles in slippery conditions.
15. Scott Sattler - As mentioned before, Sattler has been a top signing for the Tigers in 2004. The workload he puts in week in, week out was truely shown on Saturday night against the Cowboys in Townsville, when Sattler's goal line defence helped to stop the determined Cowboys from scoring.
16. Luke Macdougall - 3 tries for the younger of the MacDougall brothers in the game against the Sharks on Saturday night. Luke is turning into the whizz kid with his speed. Playing well alongside older brother Adam, Luke MacDougall is destined to set his mark in the Souths side on the field.
17. Michael McLinden - One of the stars for his side in Round 4, Raiders five-eighth McLinden caused a large amount of trouble for the Parramatta side. Breaking the line on many occasions, McLinden showed just how important he is in the Raiders side, combining very well with the hooker Drew. The name Super Mac very fitting once again.