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 8.
State of Origin rep games are fast approaching and Round 8 was a good chance for players to impress the selectors. Some very close games this round starting with a nail biter betweenthe Panthers and the Tigers, and finishing with the top of the table clash between the Broncos and Bulldogs, kept all the fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.
Leagueunlimited Team of the Week - Round 8:
1. Robbie O'Davis - The Knights are finding their niche without Johns at the helm, and are going from strength to strength. Robbie O'Davis at fullback was outstanding against the visiting Rabbitohs on Saturday night in front of the massive crowd in Newcastle. O'Davis had a hand in 3 second half tries as well as netting one of his own.
2. Neil Sweeney - Finding himself the replacement kicker in the first half after Josh Hannay was stretchered off the field at Parramatta, Neil Sweeney stepped up to the job well. Scoring a try early in the match to give the Cowboys a handy lead, Sweeney played his part in the Cowboys nail biting victory over the Eels.
3. Mark Gasnier - Gasnier played an intrical part in the Dragons massive win over the Sharks on Saturday night. Opening the scoring for the Dragons, both Gasnier and fullback Hornby finished the game off in style. Gasnier now finds himself named in City team to play on Friday night, subject to a fitness test.
4. Ryan Cross - Pencilled into the City team on standby, Ryan Cross certainly did his chances of selection no harm on Sunday afternoon as he set sail through some poor Raiders defence to score two tries for the Roosters. Both tries within 5 minutes of each other, the first one was very impressive as Cross was involved twice in the movement and deserved the 4 pointer.
5. Craig Hall - A try in each half in the game in Newcastle against Souths would've done Craig Hall's confidence the world of good. He did what wingers do best, be ready. And with the Knights playmakers on fire, he was ready and it paid off.
6. Brad Fittler - The Roosters led by such a classy captain put on a fine display against the Raiders at Aussie Stadium. Fittler, leading from the front, chased a ball through to the in goal that looked to be going dead, and was rewarded with a try. Announcing his retirement at the end of the season, I'm sure we'll see a lot more impressive play by the great five-eighth before his time on the field is up.
7. Brett Finch - The options Finch is choosing on the field seem to be spot on. His kicks in play, his kicks to the line all are coming up trumps. He's definitely an important part of the Roosters line-up and is proving his worth.
8. Mark O'Meley - O'Meley's momentum close to the line is almost unstoppable as was shown on Sunday afternoon in the match of the round against the Broncos. Being named in the City Origin side for Friday's night match is indicative of how well the big lad has been going this year.
9. Luke Priddis - Luke Priddis has been playing some excellent football this year and the game against the Tigers at Penrith Stadium was no exception. When it looked as though the Tigers were in with a big chance to win, his defence was a solid as ever and helped to keep the Tigers from taking the win.
10. John Skandalis - An impressive match from Skandalis in his100th match for the Wests Tigers, producing the most hitups of anyone on the field. But it wasn't quite enough to help his team snatch the victory from the Panthers. It was enough though to help Skandalis make his way into the City Origin side.
11. Gordon Tallis - There's nothing more exciting for Broncos fans than to see their captain running a full pace at the opposition with a look of steel on his face. Scoring a try in which was undoubtedly the match of the round, Tallis rallied his troops well, but not quite enough for victory.
12. Chris Flannery - Flannery was impressive in the Roosters win over the Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Aussie Stadium. The top tackler for his side with 29 tackles, Flannery along with his team mates gave the Raiders not too many chances on attack.
13. Travis Norton - Norton was given the nod by Cowboys coach Graham Murray to captain the Cowboys in their match against Parramatta, and Norton responded to the promotion with gusto. A little spit with Nathan Cayless seemed to add fuel to his fire and he finished the match with 2 tries beside his name.
14. Sione Faumuina The NZ Warriors side have finally had a home win against the top attacking side in the NRL up to Round 7, the Melbourne Storm. Faumuina was on the mark with his kicking duties, and for the all of the match was fully involved on defence as well as attack.
15. Lance Thompson - As mentioned last week, Thompson's performances just seem to be getting better. Originally having to play Premier League Thompson is now named in the City Origin side. The top tackler this week for his side, Thompson involved himself like he was running on energizer batteries.
16. Ben Hornby - Hornby bagged a hat-trick of tries with a dazzling display of wizardy infront of 22,302 spectators at Toyota Park. Very impressive in his running game, Hornby caused havoc amongst the Sharks defenders.
17. Nathan Hindmarsh - Hindmarsh seems to be a regular on the Leagueunlimited team bench but be rest assured he spends most of his time on the field. The top tackler once again for the Eels, you'd be hard pressed to see a more committed player anywhere else in the NRL competition.