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Round 19 Team of the Week
What a ripping round of footy we?ve chewed our way through with some real top quality games in the mix ? all matches were decided by no more than 9 points. Competition for spots this week was hotter than a two-peckered bill goat in heat with the selectors having to mull over the decisions until the wee hours this morning. So, here are the 17 to wear the proud colours of the Round 19 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
Fullback: Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders) ? The Schif was up to his usual tricks ? junking runs, solid defence and winning the game in extra time again. He?s the Colossus of Canberra and will be sorely missed when he heads to the Reds. Honourable mentions: David Peachey & Brett Stewart.
Wing: Jarryd Hayne (Eels) ? Mr Opportunity struck again, picking up a handy double after the Warriors got a bad case of the dropsies. He did well in other areas too, but you?ve got to give this guy credit, he?s on fire at the moment. Honourable mention: Sam Perrett & Nathan Merritt.
Centre: Ryan Cross (Roosters) ? Force-bound Cross showed he still has a bit of fire in the belly with one of his best efforts of the year. Backing up for two solid tries to help his team find the winner?s circle, he?ll be sorely missed out at Bondi next season.
Centre: Nigel Vagana (Sharks) ? Another player on the move with the hard-running Vagana headed for Redfern to spark the Bunnies a bit. He scored a good try and made several strong runs to at least get the Sharks in a position to win.
Wing: Michael Robertson (Sea Eagles) ? Nice work from this fella, completing a treble in first grade despite a long stretch without crossing the stripe. Tall and lanky, he played smart and appears to have all the hallmarks of a quality finisher.
Five-eighth: Mark Gasnier (Dragons) ? Gaz was at his menacing best on Friday night, grabbing two quality efforts to keep the Dragons yapping at the heals of the Dogs?. He certainly justified his pay packet and also had some stiff opposition from counterpart Daniel Holdsworth, who also had a fine game.
Halfback: Cooper Cronk (Storm) ? Probably not the most contentious position this week, but Cronk has got there through sheer guts and determination. Can play the game, and I bet he enjoyed breathing claret through his nose in the latter stages. He?s developing into a very solid first grader in his watershed season.
Lock: Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters) ? The Roosters captain was inspirational this week, making several busts, tackling all day and booting five important goals. He lead his men around the park well and would have enjoyed getting one up on the Sharks. Honourable mention: Ben Kennedy.
Second-row: Willie Mason (Bulldogs) ? Big Willie was bullying people around on Friday night again, making breaks up the middle and tackling hard. He?s difficult to stop in traffic and caused the Dragons plenty of headaches. Honourable mentions: Ben Creagh & Ryan Hoffman.
Second-row: Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels) ? Another big performance from the wearer of short-shorts. Hindmarsh scored a telling try for the Eels and did it easily, not to mention the other thousand tackles and hit-ups he partook in. It will be a pleasure to watch him if they can make the semi?s.
Prop: Joel Clinton (Panthers) ? Gotta give this guy a wrap this week. Saved his team with a grassing tackle on Ty Williams which he had absolutely no right to make. Also indulged in the heavy work with plenty of tackles and hit-ups next to his name. Honourable mention: Mark O?Meley.
Hooker: Luke Priddis (Panthers) ? Another Panther that kept the Mountain Men alive on Saturday night. Priddis scurried over the chalk in typical fashion, aiding the Panther?s steady surge towards the finals. One of the few remaining genuine rakes in the game.
Prop: Roy Asotasi (Bulldogs) ? Big Roy was unstoppable on Friday night, having a hand in one try and creating many opportunities for his backs to work with thanks to his inroads. He?s one prop with a brain in his head and will be a welcome addition in the Red and Green next year.
A versatile bench with Campbell and Smith adding plenty of options from the scrumbase. Both players stood out for their club on the weekend with Campbell particularly impressive.
Newton and Shillington likewise played hard and are two bright young forwards in a game that is currently being dominated by some of the older-stagers in the competition.
Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: Anthony Quinn (Knights) ? This boy is one French Fry short of a happy meal after forgetting to pay his brain bill and snapping at the touchie, resulting in a penalty and ultimately swinging the game to the Storm. He?d done well all day, bagging a double, but actions like this are unforgivable and it doesn?t matter that Joey thinks it?s a big game ? they started cracking down on back-chat in Round 1. You?d think he?d realise that by now?maybe the Merkin is just the sort of tonic needed up at the Hunter.
Honourable mention: Todd Payten. Geez, that one wasn?t half obvious Toddy!