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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 24.
The 10 match winning streak for the Bulldogs finally came to an end in Round 24 as the Melbourne Storm side came away with the win on Sunday afternoon. Round 24 also saw some great action by Parramatta to have them with a slim chance of making the Top 8 as the battle continues for the play-off positions.
Leagueunlimited Team of the Week - Round 24:
1. Rhys Wesser - Panthers - The Panthers proved they are still a force to be reckoned with when they hammered the Cowboys on Saturday night in front of their fans. Wesser was on fire easily out playing the opposition and scoring a hat-trick in the process. He started the scoring bonanza in the game and finished it off in style just before the final whistle.
2. Nick Youngquest - Dragons - A gutsy effort by the Knights on Friday night in Newcastle after being down to 12 men for virtually the whole match, couldn't contain Youngquest when he scored in the following set from Newton's departure. His 2nd try with 19 minutes left in the game looked to seal the victory for his team. The gallant Knights hit back yet again and once more Youngquest was in the spotlight this time his safe hands under a high kick ensuring a narrow victory for the Dragons right on full time.
3. Stephen Bell - Storm - In an exciting match on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne, the Storm ended the Bulldogs 10 game streak in fine style. The sin-binning of Matt Utai obviously having a major affect on such a close match to which the Storm responded. Bell scoring the first try of the game for his side, got involved in everything he could to help the Storm to victory.
4. Ryan Cross - Roosters - In the opening twenty minutes of the match against the Raiders in Canberra on Sunday afternoon, the Roosters had piled on 22 unanswered points including a try to Cross from a perfectly timed pass by Finch. Cross saw his fair share of action in the game including a disallowed try when he was held up over the line, and 2 minutes after scoring his sole try of the match, looked certain to get another, flying down the sideline only to be ankle-tapped into touch.
5. Matt King - Storm - For once King's name isn't on the scoreboard for Melbourne but the young Storm winger caused havoc amongst the Bulldogs defence taking the ball up and breaking the line to set up plays for his team-mates in a game that saw the Bulldogs finally lose a match after 10 consecutive victories
6.Preston Campbell - Panthers - Campbell looked to be having a lot of fun in the game at Penrith Stadium on Saturday night against the visiting Cowboys. With Priddis leaving the field midway through the second half, Campbell slotted into the halfback role with ease as Gower moved to hooker, and the tries just kept coming for Penrith. His 8/10 kicking record on the night, also good to see counting down to the finals.
7. Michael Witt - Eels - A busy night for Witt in the match against the Warriors at Parramatta Stadium as the Eels went on a scoring spree against a Warriors side who had seemingly thrown any sort of game plan out the window. Witt amassed 24 points in the match netting 8/9 kicks at goal and scoring 2 fine tries.
8. Brent Kite - Dragons - Kite was a stand out performer in the Dragons game on Friday night against the Knights in Newcastle. His urgent defence and high workload stopped what could've been a big upset for the Dragons, with the Knights down one man for the majority of the match.
9. Danny Buderus - Knights - Up against the odds with Newton sent off early in the match against the Dragons, Buderus led his side from the front and came very close to coming away with the victory. Combining well with Gidley to set up Quinn's try in the 70th minute of the match put the home side briefly back in the lead, the Knights can take a lot of heart from such a positive effort.
10. Petero Civoniceva - Broncos - Captaining his side for the first time in the match against Wests Tigers, Civoniceva lead from the front right throughout the match. With the Broncos side severely depleted with injuries, the experience and calm collectiveness of the captain flowed through to the younger players as they held on for a nail-biting victory in a great match.
11. Steve Menzies - Sea Eagles - Menzies has equalled the all time record for the most tries by a forward, although there is some conjecture over the number of matches he played in the centres while achieving the milestone. His try on Sunday afternoon against the Rabbitohs has brought him up to 146 tries in 264 appearances. A fine effort against the Rabbitohs saw the Sea Eagles move away from the running for the wooden spoon.
12. Luke Ricketson - Roosters - Ricketson scored the opening try of the match against the Raiders in Canberra on Sunday. A few moments later he's assisting Fittler in scoring the second try of the game. And he carried on from there, great in defence and always ready on attack. A fine game by the Roosters second rower.
13. Corey Parker - Broncos - Parker found himself with the kicking duties on Saturday evening against the Wests Tigers. He responded well kicking 3/5 including a pearler from the sideline. Aside from his kicking he also lead the tackle count for the night and was involved continuously in the game.
14. Brett Finch - Roosters - In a game where the Roosters flew out to a 22-0 lead after just 20 minutes, they buttoned off and at one stage the Raiders had fought back to a 28-22 scoreline. Finch put the nail in the proverbial coffin late in the match with a try,in a solid match for his side.
15. Daniel Wagon - Eels - Wagon put on a solid performance in the match against the Warriors on Saturday night. The Eels still have a slim chance of making the Top 8, and with a 48-18 scoreline in the game, their for and against improved, a big help with things so close heading into the play-offs.
16. Mathew Head - Dragons - Three quick tries for the Dragons on Friday night against the Knights, two of which were Head's helped to set up the win in an unconvincing fashion for the Dragons in Newcastle. Head's 2 tries were the turning point in the match, along with one soon after by Youngquest. The Knights battled til the death, and the Dragons fighting for a Top 4 placing struggled against the 12 man team.
17. Andrew Walker - Sea Eagles - Walker combining well with Monaghan in the halves helped his side to a fine victory over the Rabbitohs in a high scoring match at North Sydney Oval on Sunday afternoon. Another excellent day with the kicking duties for Walker as he slotted 7/9 in the match.