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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 14.
Once again State of Origin rep honours kept players out of teams, and the byes were given to the Roosters, Broncos and the Bulldogs. This gave the chance for players not normally featuring in the Team of the Week to put their hands up. Some great games and some major blowouts featuring in Round 14.
Leagueunlimited Team of the Week - Round 14:
1. Clinton Schifcofske - Schifcofske picked a good time to come back into form when the Raiders defeated the Sharks on Saturday evening in Canberra. He scored a vintage try in the second half of the clash, beating 4 defenders on a determined kick return and sprinting 70 metres to the tryline. Definitely a man of the match performance for the Raiders.
2. Wes Tillot - In what was the try of the year so far for the Rabbitohs in 2004, Tillot found himself at the end of some brilliant work by fellow team-mates Manu and Williams to touch down in corner for the second of his 2 tries in a close fought game over the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night at Aussie Stadium.
3. Josh Hannay - Hannay's kicking boots were on the mark once again for his side, netting 5/7 in his team's relatively easy victory over the Newcastle Knights on Saturday night in Townsville, which now sees them 7th on the competition table.
4. Matt Cooper - Cooper was in fine form when his side faced the Panthers at Penrith Football Stadium on Friday night. Causing a lot of trouble for the Penrith defenders, Cooper made metres almost at will as he carved up the field time and again. Rewarded with just the one try in the match, Cooper helped his side to a great win over the 2003 Premiers in a stadium filled with atmosphere.
5. Luke MacDougall - The Rabbitohs speedster had to be on the ball right throughout the game against the Storm on Saturday night. His try just after the break helped Souths come back into the match after being down by 16-0 at halftime. The Rabbitohs then went on to snatch a narrow win over a determined Storm side.
6. Trent Barrett - Returning from a troublesome hamstring injury the Dragons stand-off had a direct hand in two of the Dragons five tries while showing other touches of class as the red and whites attempted to climb back into the top eight. Less than 3 minutes into the match on Friday night against the Panthers, Barrett showed his magic touch as he flicked a superb cut-out pass to get Howell over in the corner.
7. Joe Williams - New Rabbitohs coach Arthur Kitinas was all smiles after his side's close win over the Storm. Joe Williams' attack and kicking game was superb, with the halfback placing the ball perfectly when kicking both short and long in the game on Saturday night. His goal kicking was also very sound, kicking 4/6.
8. Ryan O'Hara - Asked to play almost 60 minutes of the match against the Sharks on Saturday evening in Canberra, O'Hara took on the challenge and responded with enthusiasm. With many top players out of the Raiders side, especially the late withdrawal of Crocker, the experience of the forwards like O'Hara shone through as the passion returned to the side.
9. John Morris - In a messy game at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the Eels showed their fans they know how to play at home. With Nathan Hindmarsh out for Origin duty, and other key players sidelined with injury it was up to players like Morris to step up for his side. With his darts from dummy half compounding the opposition's problems, his hand in the Eels try blowout in the last 15 minutes of the game was very important.
10. John Skandalis - The Tigers had their first home game in Christchurch, NZ on Sunday afternoon as they faced up against the Warriors in cold conditions. Right from the whistle the Tigers side took it to the Warriors who had no answers to against a Tigers' pack who looked to do no wrong. Once again experience of players like Skandalis came to the fore as the Tigers were without a few of their front line players.
11. Ian Hindmarsh - The Raiders forwards stepped up to play and dominate in their game against the Sharks in Canberra. Hindmarsh in just his second match back from injury, helped to soak up the late charge from a weakened Sharks line-up to hold onto the win.
12. Dean Widders - After a win at Newcastle the Eels headed back to Parramatta Stadium, where 2 weeks earlier they had been booed from the field. This time they showed their diehard fans just what they were made of. Widders caused absolute mayhem when he took the field and was well rewarded with 2 tries in the match.
13. Dean Young - The defence from the Dragons side on Friday night against the Panthers was outstanding with Dean Young leading the way. His tackles found their mark almost 100%. He definitely put the hard yards in for his side.
14. Brett Hodgson - Hodgson reached the milestone of 600 first grade points as the Tigers absolutely ravaged the Warriors in Christchurch on Sunday. Once again Hodgson showed his true skills and pace to cause the weak defence a lot of grief in the easy win for his side with no Sattler, Prince, Marshall or O'Neill. His kicking certainly not suffering as he kicked 7 out of his 9 attempts.
15. Paul Rauhihi - Stand-in captain for the Cowboys, Paul Rauhihi stripped Matt Kennedy of the ball and raced 30 metres to score a super try in what was to be a great match for the Townsville faithful on Saturday night where the Cowboys claimed their second home win in 2004 over the Newcastle Knights. Rauhihi once again led from the front in a game where the Cowboy forwards dominated the match.
16. Matthew Head - A perfect night with the boot, kicking 4/4 goals, topped off a great night for Head and for his side as they ran away with the win against the Panthers on Friday night in Penrith. Working well with Barrett by his side, the two halves gave their side so many options the Panthers had no answers.
17. Robbie Mears - Robbie Mears was back to his best from the bench and made 122 metres with 2 line breaks and a try against his former club. Causing havoc amongst the lazy Warriors defence, Mears cut through it at regular intervals and defended his heart out in a great game for the Tigers.