FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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The Guru had his work cut out for him this week with North Queensland and Newcastle again putting in splendid performances, dominating talk at the selection table like most previous weeks. Again our halves combination of Thurston and Johns come together, forming the most potent attack known to mankind. Will it come to an end in on Sunday when the two wily playmakers, each brilliant in their own way, lock horns at Marathon Stadium for what is without doubt the most anticipated clash of the season? We?ll just have to wait and see. For now, let me present the Round 5 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
Fullback: Rhys Wesser (Panthers) ? Stood up for the Panthers when the chips were down after Gower left the field, bagging a double. Wesser has been in great touch early in the year reminiscent of his 2002-2004 form, culminating in Origin duty.
Wing: Tame Tupou (Broncos) ? Scored a brace of tries against the Bunnies in another strong performance from this young lad. Bennett has another real prospect on his hands here, with Tupou enjoying his time in the top-flight this season.
Centre: George Carmont (Knights) ? Carmont is an interesting style of centre. He tends to sneak up on the opposition when you least expect it and has made a living off Joey?s slick passing. Can?t fault him though, puts in 100% every week and deserves the number 3 guernsey.
Centre: Justin Hodges (Broncos) ? Hodgo has been a standout for the Broncos this season, consistently performing above a team that isn?t playing so well at the moment. Caused plenty of headaches for the Bunnies and along the way scored a good try.
Wing: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs) ? It?s hard to leave this bloke out each week. Never gets the wraps he deserves and twice came within a whisker of scoring on the weekend. Booted 7 from 7 ensuring the Raiders were kept at arms length all day.
Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? Well, here he is again. Our current League Unlimited Player of the Year leader with an unthinkable 15 points after 5 rounds. Again Thurston was in the thick of things, scoring a try, setting a couple up and potting 5 goals. He seemed to enjoy tormenting the Tigers and will relish the opportunity to take on the Knights.
Halfback: Andrew Johns (Knights) ? I called him the Architect of Destruction in round 3 and after a week out through injury Joey returned to the field, donning a big black cloak and bearing a scythe. He scored a try, had a hand in four others and kicked 9 goals for a personal tally of 22. Johns bullied the Dragons last week and is surely primed for the Cowboys.
Lock: Trent Waterhouse (Panthers) ? I liked the way Waterhouse played on Sunday, getting underneath the skin of the Eels and proving a real handful. He wouldn?t look out of place in the Anzac Test, although Ben Kennedy might have a thing or two to say about it.
Second-row: Willie Mason (Bulldogs) ? Back in devastating form traumatising the Raiders forwards down the right flank all day long. He?ll surely come into calculations for a Green and Gold jersey and seems to have channelled his aggression well.
Second-row: Luke O?Donnell (Cowboys) ? Another guy who has strong claims to a Kangaroo?s berth. O?Donnell is the incumbent and has done all the right things this year showing a good work rate up in FNQ.
Prop: Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs) ? Shrek found his mojo this week after an indifferent start to the year. O?Meley made the most of being back in the run-on side and I doubt we?ll see him start from the bench again.
Hooker: Danny Buderus (Knights) ? World?s best hooker. Did a mountain of work against the Dragons and they never looked like stopping him on his way to the line in a fantastic solo try. Two thumbs up Bedsy.
Prop: Shane Tronc (Cowboys) ? A bit of a smoky for rep honours this season. Tronc has always had good size and strength, but fitness has let him down. Those days appear behind him now as Graham Murray is using him very effectively along with Carl Webb.
Interchange: Rod Jensen (Cowboys), Corey Parker (Broncos), Steve Simpson (Knights), Craig Smith (Knights).
We?ve gone for a big bench here. Jensen and Parker are great impact players, with Rockin? Rod scoring two tries and Corey chiming in with five goals. Meanwhile the two Novacastions Simpson and Smith are having a great start to the year and provide strong go-forward.
Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: Not much to report this week, as all leagueies seemed to have behaved themselves. These babies are akin to Purple Hearts and aren?t awarded lightly, so stay tuned for next week.