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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 22.
Round 22 dished up some close battles. A surprise win to the Sharks knocked the Roosters off their top perch to be replaced by the Bulldogs. The Canberra Raiders now find themselves just out of the Top 8 after a narrow loss in Newcastle. Meanwhile the Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers put up some great scores against their opposition to signal their intentions in the countdown to the finals.
Leagueunlimited Team of the Week - Round 22:
1. Brett Hodgson - Tigers - Record were broken on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval. A record crowd of 19,042, the biggest win in the club's history and Brett Hodgson equalled Luke Covell's record of 8 goals in a match. With the Wests Tigers on fire in the traditional Balmain strip, Hodgson slotted 8/10 conversions and was kept very busy in an attacking backline.
2. Amos Roberts - Panthers - Carving up the opposition seemed to be the order of the night on Saturday at Penrith Football Stadium as the 2003 Premiers came back into form with the Sea Eagles the unlucky opponents. Amos Roberts had a busy night with the boot managing ten conversions from the thirteen tries on display. He also scored 2 tries giving him a personal tally of 28 points for the night, equalling the club record set by Ryan Girdler - coincidentally also against Manly.
3. Matt Cooper - Dragons - Cooper once again impressed in the centres scoring 2 tries against a Melbourne Storm side desperate to get back to their winning ways. The game on Friday night saw the scoring open in the 4th minute with Cooper putting the Dragons on the board. Sometime sloppy play by the Dragons turned into a second half scoring bonanza with Cooper helping the scoreboard tick over nicely with his second try of the night in which he showed his true pace and class.
4. Shaun Berrigan - Broncos - A seemingly quiet first half by Berrigan in the match against the Warriors on Saturday evening, was replaced with a sterling effort and two fine tries to give the Broncos a tough but patient win in sometimes appalling conditions in Auckland. Two tries in ten minutes, with his 2nd the match winning try in the 76th minute of the game, showed the class of the Brisbane centre.
5. Jason Moodie - Tigers - In a match full of passion and pride for Wests Tigers and their huge fan base, Moodie even though only a new Tiger, helped make the day a memorable one for all on the day. Darren Senter as he was farewelled from the Den after a 10 year playing stint, will remember the likes of Moodie with his hat-trick on a such a special day.
6. Darren Lockyer - Broncos - Lockyer at times seemed missing in action in the game against the Warriors on Saturday night, but when needed he would be there to weave some of his magic, just enough to keep his team-mates in the hunt, and the opposition on their toes. A very classy and experienced performance by Lockyer with his trademark passes putting players into gaps that didn't seem to be there.
7. Mathew Head - Dragons - The kicking ability of Head in general play seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the weeks go by. His deft little grubber late in the game, which he regathered himself to place Withers under the posts was simply brilliant and capped off a fine performane for the Dragons halfback on Friday night. 100% with his kicking duties also a show of confidence.
8. Adam Woolnough - Knights - Once again the Knights have proved they are a thorn in the side of the Raiders pack. Woolnough had a fine time barging through the sometimes soft Raiders defence moreso in the second half of the match on Saturday night in Newcastle. His defence on the night was tremendous and was there when necessary to nip the Raiders attack in the bud.
9. Michael Sullivan - Sharks - The trademark dummy half runs by Sullivan certainly had a major impact in the game against the Roosters on Sunday afternoon. Setting up a terrific try for Merritt, Sullivan showed a lot of composure against the more favoured Roosters side and next to no respect for their reputation as he found a lot of space for his team-mates.
10. Petero Civoniceva - Broncos - The engine room of the Brisbane Broncos had to work hard on Saturday night against a Warriors team looking a lot more of the team we expect them to be. In slippery conditions at Ericsson Stadium, Civoniceva was a menace for the Warriors' defence as he kept coming at them like a battering ram. His defence also impressive on a wet night.
11. Sonny Bill Williams - Bulldogs - The Bulldogs now have top place on the ladder with just four rounds remaining until the play-offs thanks to some impressive play by Williams and his team-mates. Sonny Bill Williams had just managed to get on the field on Sunday afternoon off the bench, and he found himself outjumping Ty Williams from the Cowboys and scoring a try, a great start to his game! His inspirational plays helped the Bulldogs attack when needed to get them to the top of the competition ladder.
12. Steven Price - Bulldogs - When Steven Price scores a try he does it in style. In the match against the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon when he scored a try midway through the first half of the game, he did so with three or four Cowboy defenders trailing along behind him. Once again leading from the front of the pack, Price helped keep the Cowboys at arms length and away from the try line.
13. Michael Ennis - Knights - Ennis stepped up brilliantly in the game on Saturday night in Newcastle when the Knights managed to bump the Raiders out of the Top 8. His defence was sound but it was his involvement in the attack that made him be noticed. A controversial try to Quinn off an Ennis grubber proved to be the match winner. Ennis showed some pretty handy footwork when he scored a powerful try 10 minutes earlier, his ball handling skills a definite asset.
14. Scott Prince - Tigers - Prince played a large part in the Tigers thrashing of the Rabbitohs on Sunday afternoon. Having only conceeded 2 tries in their last two games, the Tigers are finishing off the season in a very good way leading into the finals. A try saving tackle on Mark Minichiello just one of the many highlights Scott Prince dished up for the fans.
15. Jason Ryles - Dragons - Jason Ryles worked tirelessly in the time he was on the field on Friday night and was simply brilliant. With forwards like Ryles in the Dragons team, try scoring becomes that much easier when the big men do the hard yards.
16. Craig Gower - Panthers - Combining well with Campbell in the halves, the amount of try scoring opportunities set up by Gower on Saturday night against the Sea Eagles was outstanding. Whether it was his passing on show or his general kicking, Gower had the Manly side on the ropes continuously, especially in the second spell when Penrith blew the game wide apart.
17. Phil Bailey - Sharks - With the Sharks defeated the more fancied Roosters on Sunday afternoon, the team effort shown by Cronulla was to be admired. Bailey caused a lot of pain amongst the Roosters defenders as he seemingly offloaded at will to put his team-mates onto attack and into scoring mode.