FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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After a topsy-turvy round of NRL action including some big hits, big scores as well as a few tight games, we?ve put our heads together for the Round 2 League Unlimited Team of the Week and it?s another cracker.
Fullback: Wade McKinnon (Eels) ? Stood out for Parra on Saturday night, showing he?s a classy attacking and defensive fullback. Always backs up and has a great turn of pace.
Wing: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs) ? This guys just keeps turning up every week and putting in. Hazem was everywhere in the Round 2 Opener v Wests Tigers, scoring four fabulous tries and booting 9/10. What a champ!
Centre: George Carmont (Knights) ? Georgie-boy had a wow of a match and seems to have taken on a new lease of life after getting a haircut. But I kinda liked the ponytail. Carmont relishes the opportunities he?s given outside Johns and did well to bag a double this week.
Centre: Ben Smith (Eels) ? Big Ben is back and he gave the Warriors nightmares on Saturday with several strong runs, one resulting in a powerful try. He?s started the season a little slowly but methinks he?s just warming up.
Wing: Matt Sing (Cowboys) ? Ageless in his attacking flair, Sing was up to his old tricks against a determined Sea Eagles outfit. He scored a treble and bought up his 100th first grade try in the process. Two thumbs up for Matt.
Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? The reigning Dally M Player of the Year once again turned in a good performance, although it?s hard comparing it against his first round tirade. Thurston had a good night at home and came out on top.
Halfback: Andrew Johns (Knights) ? The master sure knows how to turn things on. Once again Joey joins Thurston as the halves combo of the LU Team of the Week and with good cause. He tore Canberra apart with skill and precision, scoring 30 points in total, although Newcastle?s defence left a little to be desired.
Lock: Regan Tanner (Knights) ? A surprise selection here but well earned. Tanner isn?t a household name just yet but he put in a solid display in the Nation?s Capital and kept the scorers on their feet with a handy try.
Second-row: Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels) ? Hindy looks to have shrugged off the knee complaint (injury if you will) that dogged him towards the end of last year and is now back in the thick of things. It?s great to see as he?s one of the game?s genuine talents and he kept his legion of fans happy with a two-try effort.
Second-row: Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys) ? The burly second-rower put in a gritty effort against one of the harder backrow?s going around in the comp. He had Beaver, BK and Watmough to contend with and showed he loves a good scrap.
Prop: Shane Webcke (Broncos) ? Whilst everyone thought the Broncos were gone after one game, someone forgot to tell Shane Webcke. He?s an animal and again proved a handful for the Sharks, keeping their defence busy all night and even bustling his way to score a great try.
Hooker: Cameron Smith (Storm) ? Cam Smith is going to be hard to keep out of this spot each week if he keeps playing the way he did on Sunday. He?s got an old head on young shoulders, gives great dummy half service, knows when to run and makes a truckload of tackles each week.
Prop: Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs) ? Shrek was clearly an angry man with a point to prove on Friday night. The running battle between he and Bryce Gibbs was some great niggle and it?s no surprise to see him come out on top. Gibbs could learn plenty from an experience campaigner like O?Meley.
Interchange: Brad Thorn (Broncos), Todd Lowrie (Knights), Dean Widders (Eels), Kurt Gidley (Knights) ? A well balanced bench here with hard-heads Thorn and Lowrie ready to come on and mix it up with the big boys, whilst junior Gidley and Widders know a thing or two about explosion from the bench.
Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: The New Zealand Warriors get a team discount for the most prized award in rugby league this week. Unbelievably, they still cannot win a game in their native land outside Auckland, the closest being a draw with Canterbury in round 8, 2001 at Westpac Trust Stadium. It could be a long season boys ? you?re still minus 4 and not getting anywhere in a real hurry.