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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 7.
With the ANZAC test on Friday night, a lot of players backed up in Round 7 and looked as fresh as if they hadn't played an international test at all. It just shows the quality and the fitness of the players we have in the NRL competition.
Leagueunlimited Team of the Week - Round 7: (proudly sponsored by SportOdds)
1. Clinton Schifcofske - A tough match in Canberra on Saturday night up against the committed Knights. The Raiders play at times looked scrappy however the amount of times Shifcofske saved the day at the back of the pack seemed to be unlimited. A very important part in the Raiders side, Shifcofske was as steady as ever with the boot, and in defence.
2. Matt Geyer - Coming back from a knee injury Geyer put on a fine display on Saturday night up against the Cowboys. Playing his part in the bombed effort by Cowboys winger, Ty Williams, Geyer had run a massive sixty metres to follow up Orford's 40/20 attempt, and ended up scoring a bizzare try, showing the true worth of support play.
3. - Brent Tate - Another player this week backing up from a fine performance on Friday night against the Kiwis to put in superb effort for his club on Sunday afternoon when the Broncos took on the Penrith Panthers. Tate's defence and work within the backs was top notch considering he had spent most of this season so far on the sideline.
4. Willie Tonga - A fine performance by the talented Bulldogs centre has helped his side retain the top stop in the NRL competition in a scrappy game against the Rabbitohs on Monday afternoon. Working well with Utai on the wing, Tonga was rewarded with a well deserved try that could very easily have been two tries in the game however he passed the ball unselfishly for Mason to score in the second half.
5. Matt Utai - Combining well with centre Willie Tonga, Utai's game against the Rabbitohs on Monday was very strong. Many times the opposition fell off in the tackle when Utai had the ball. A dangerous player when he hits his straps.
6. Darren Lockyer - Not unexpectedly, Lockyer had a was stand out performer in the ANZAC test against the Kiwis on Friday night, and then backed up tirelessly on Sunday when the Broncos defeated the Panthers at home in front of an enormous crowd. A pivotal part of any team he's playing for, the position of five-eighth seems well and truely his.
7. Matt Orford - Once again the Melbourne Storm halfback showed his worth when the Storm defeated the Cowboys on Saturday night. Most memorable would be his kick that he was hoping would be a 40/20 being tapped back in play by Cowboy's winger Ty Williams. Unfortunately for Williams the ball went back into the in goal area where Geyer happily nabbed the try for the Storm. Orford's general play and direction helped the Storm to a comfortable win.
8. Robbie Kearns - Two weeks in a row the Melbourne Storm prop has made the place in the LU team of the round. Another solid performance by Kearns this time against the very tough Cowboys pack. He certainly had to do the hard yards in defence as the Cowboys quicker players darted around the field.
9. Barry Berrigan - Barry Berrigan once again had a fine game for the Broncos on Sunday against the might of the Panthers. His 1st try early in the match certainly caught the defence napping. But he'll be remembered more for his 2nd try which must rate as the try of the competition so far in 2004. Backing up a break by De Vere and Tate, it can only be described as a stunning try. The confidence in the Broncos hooker seems to be growing week by week.
10 John Skandalis - The big man can certainly move around the park. A top performance from the Wests Tigers prop. He made 19 tackles and a whopping 20 hit ups, surely making a few selectors stand up and notice. The amazing crowd at Leichhardt Oval may have spurred him on as he came within a whisker of scoring a well deserved try with three defenders on his back.
11. Adrian Morley - In a totally absorbing match Morley certainly contributed to his side's narrow victory over the Dragons at Aussie Stadium on ANZAC Day. Morley's hard hitting defence left its mark on numerous occasions. A massive 34 tackles and 23 hit ups by Morley showed the big men in Sunday's game helped pave the way for their team.
12. Lance Thompson - Although the Dragons went down to the Roosters on ANZAC Day in a thriller, Thompson was certainly involved in everything he could get his hands on and must certainly stake a claim for SOO jersey after his consistent performances over the last few weeks. Great defence and offloading, he's showing his worth time and again in the side.
13. Scott Sattler - In front of 14,000+ screaming fans at Leichhardt Oval, the Tigers came from behind to snatch a great victory over the Sea Eagles. A definite asset for the Tigers this year, Sattler continues to impress with his total commitment for the time he is on the field.
13. Daniel Abraham - His team may have just lost to the Raiders on Saturday night, however the Newcastle Knights second rower's part he played in the game was very important to his side. The committment he showed on defence was outstanding and he continues to be a handful for the opposition.
14. Willie Mason - Mason certainly put in a great effort against Souths on Monday afternoon and is definitely a force to be reckoned with, especially when he gets those big legs pumping.
15. Brett Kimmorley - A top performance by the Sharks halfback playing a big part in the game against the Eels which went into golden point extra time. A fine kick by Kimmorley put Daniel Dumas over the line to draw the scores level close to the end of 80 minutes. His direction in general play was the difference between winning and losing to the Eels.
1. Nathan Hindmarsh - Making his test debut for the Kangaroos, Hindmarsh looked right at home stopping the big Kiwi players right in their tracks. His effort to play another tough game against the Sharks the following night was outstanding to say the least.