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 21.
With the rounds seemingly slipping away as fast as we can blink, the games are starting to have just a little bit of pressure applied as we look for the teams who will form the Top 8 for 2004. Round 21 has it's fair share of excitement, the Golden Point used again on Saturday evening for the Broncos game against the Sharks plus many games full of tension and packed with tries.
Leagueunlimited Team of the Week - Round 21:
1. Brett Hodgson - With the Tigers needing competition points to stay in touch with the Top 8, Hodgson took the bull by the horns on Saturday evening as his side won against the Eels. Getting involved in any way he could, including a perfect night with the boot, Hodgson and his team managed to keep the Eels tryless.
2. Matt King - Although in a losing side, Matt King caused the Roosters defence a lot of headaches out on his side of the field. His quick thinking and dynamic running saw him score a tough try right in the corner in the game on Sunday afternoon at Melbourne in front of a very vocal crowd.
3. Ryan Cross - Cross once again has shown his class this time up against the Storm in Melbourne. His quick steps and his partnership with Walker out in the backs is starting to be one of the most noticeable combinations in the competition.
4. Shaun Berrigan - Berrigan carved up the opposition in the Broncos match against the Sharks. In a thrilling game that went to second extra time, it was Berrigan's break through the line that set up Tate for the winning try.
5. Matt Bowen - Fast becoming the best interchange player in the competition, Matt Bowen once again showed just what impact he has from the bench as his side defeated the Dragons in Townsville on Saturday night. Cementing a spot in the Top 8, the Cowboys are looking more dangerous as the weeks go by. Bowen capped off a top performance with two great tries.
6. Brad Fittler - In a very tough match against one of the best attacking sides in the competition this year, Brad Fittler steered his troops well around the field. Once again the defence of the Roosters came to the fore as it had to against the Storm.
7. Brett Sherwin - Two tries went to the Bulldogs halfback in a game played in terrific atmosphere at Telstra Stadium on Friday night. Eight games now on the trot for the Bulldogs and with Sherwin playing so well, along with his team-mates, that figure is sure to rise.
8. Paul Rauhihi - A quiet night by Rauhihi's standards in the tackling department, but he more than made up for it as he tirelessly ran the ball at the Dragons' line as the Cowboys are starting to impress a lot of critics.
9. Neville Costigan - Costigan, who has started at hooker in the past four matches for the Broncos could possibly be handed the job fulltime for the rest of the season when Michael Ryan pulled up late in the match against the Sharks on Saturday evening with an injury.
10. Adam Woolnough - Newcastle Knights prop Woolnough had a fine afternoon on Sunday afternoon at Aussie Stadium as his team defeated the Rabbitohs to see them languishing at the bottom of the ladder. The sight of Woolnough barrelling into Bryan Fletcher to score a try early in the second half to level the scores certainly had the desired impact on the match as the Knights went on to victory.
11. Nathan Hindmarsh - 54 tackles in a game the Eels lost was a sterling effort by Hindmarsh, a player who never stops right to the end. He caused the Tigers' defence frustration at times with his hard running, unfortunately not enough to have any chance of beating the Tigers on the night.
12. Ben Kennedy - In a game the Knights didn't have their own way in for the majority of the match against the Rabbitohs, the experience of Kennedy playing a huge part in the win for the Newcastle side. Leading from the front, the ground Kennedy was able to make helped his side hugely with their attack.
13. Steve Menzies - The Sea Eagles had everything to play for on Sunday afternoon against the Raiders at Brookvale. A loss would've seen them at the bottom of the table. Wearing the old traditional strip of the 80's must've inspired the side, no moreso than Menzies, with or without his headgear. He started off the game with a try, and never slowed down until the final whistle.
14. Willie Tonga - Tonga and his centre partner Lolesi both scored two tries in Friday night's match against Penrith. Both of Tonga's tries is just 4 minutes of each other had him dancing like twinkle toes around the opposition, a great sight.
15. Nathan Fien - The Cowboys are playing great football at the moment playing their way into the Top 8. The last couple of games for the Cowboys, Fien has stepped up at halfback combining well with Myles in the halves and Bowen off the bench.
16. Michael Monaghan - Up against his old club the Raiders, the Manly halfback was delighted when he score a try early in the second half. His general play in a fired up Sea Eagles pack put pay to any chance the Raiders had of victory on Sunday.
17. David Stagg - Stagg coming off the bench for the Broncos against the Sharks was impressive especially on defence. A mammoth 59 tackles and 12 hit-ups shows the effort this young Broncos player put in for his team.