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We?ve scoured every game this week to come up with another robust mob that?s ready to run out bearing the standards of League Unlimited. The funny thing about the Round 4 League Unlimited Team of the Week is the number of senior players it contains. It adds up though, with most games this round tighter than Gary Larson?s vocal chords.
Fullback: Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders) ? The Schif was a tower of strength for the Raiders on Saturday night, helping them to bounce back after back-to-back drubbings with a great goal from the sideline, the match winning field goal and some good all-round leadership.
Centre: Paul Whatuira (Tigers) ? Once again Whatuira has surprised me with a solid performance in the face of some incredible backline talent at the Storm, finding his way to the line. He does all the simple things right and I can?t remember the last time he made a mistake.
Centre: Steve Bell (Sea Eagles) ? Silent hero for the Sea Eagles, much like Whatuira. Plays the game hard and is a renown defender. Crossed the chalk again for his new club and could be a smoky for Queensland.
Wing: Matt Sing (Cowboys) ? The evergreen winger just keeps keeping on. Matt Sing is a modern day marvel at the Cowboys, racking up try after try, breaking the line, cleaning up at the back and he?s always strong on kick returns. Picked up a double.
Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? Our five-eighth of the week for the fourth week running. He?s simply in another class at the moment and is by far and away the front-runner for the number 6 jersey against the Kiwi?s. Kicked 5/6 and orchestrated most of the Cowboy?s attack.
Halfback: Trent Barrett (Dragons) ? Found himself feeding scrums this week and must have thought he was back in 1999. Baz probably wishes he was in some ways but he put in a pretty good effort this week and deserves his dues.
Second-row: Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers) ? This fella certainly added some grunt to the Tigers pack at the weekend, proving he?s going to be a handy addition to the Titan?s forward pack in ?07. Frankie is another unsung hero who just gets on with the job.
Second-row: David Fauiumu (Cowboys) ? Came off the bench again but his workload and presence of mind has got him a start here. He did well to score the try which broke the Eels back early in the second half.
Prop: Steve Price (Warriors) ? Pricey played his natural game brilliantly agains the Knights, troubling Newcastle?s kickers all day long until they couldn?t handle the pressure any longer. He finally got some support from his mates in the forwards and he looks ready for a big season.
Hooker: Luke Priddis (Panthers) ? Priddo can hold his head high after a quality performance for the Panthers in a disappointing loss. First class service from dummy half and if Preston Campbell put a bit more effort into his kicks they might have gone home with the points.
Prop: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Raiders) ? Tommy?s seems to have settled well in the Nations Capital and had his best game of the year on Saturday night. Scored a try and put in many powerful displays showcasing his raw ability.
We?ve got plenty of utility players here on the bench but they?re all worthy candidates this week. Gorrell and Rovelli have proved themselves to be terrific off the bench this season for their respective clubs. And Ennis and Fien are in the groove and they look like they?re enjoying their footy a bit more these days.
Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: Well, we?ve got a podium finish this week. Rhys Wesser takes bronze for his offload to an opponent when all he needed to do was submit in a tackle. Billy Slater lines up for silver after he couldn?t quite get the mud out of his boots by scraping them on Skando?s head. And the dumbest thing I?ve seen in a while was when Scott Hill forgot his table manners and rubbed up Robbo the wrong way, ensuring the gold Merkin was his. Strap ?em on boys!