After each round of the NRL season, nswrl.com.au selects the round’s best 13 of New South Wales eligible players. These selections are based on the writers' opinions and do not reflect the views of the NSWRL or the selection process for the Westpac NSW Blues. Captaincy is awarded based on that week's on-field performance and is not based on club captaincy or leadership qualities.
1. Dylan Edwards. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
The Penrith fullback came up with his seventh try of season on the way to his side’s emphatic win at BlueBet Stadium in Round 11.
He also ran for 210 metres – 103 from kick returns – and had five tackle-busts against the Roosters.
2. Albert Hopoate. Club: Canberra Raiders. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.
Hopoate has become a fixture in the NSW TOTW since the Raiders begun their five-game winning run, which continued on Saturday night against the Eels.
He scored Canberra’s opening try in the 36th minute, made a line-break, three tackle-busts and ran for 129 metres from 15 carries.
3. Tyrone Peachey. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Peachey wound back the clock with a stellar performance in the centres on Friday night.
Peachey scored a pair of tries and set up two others, had a line-break assist, four tackle-busts and ran for 147 metres in the 44-point win.
4. Bradman Best. Club: Newcastle Knights. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
The Knights returned from last week’s bye in style with a 46-26 victory – Newcastle’s most points in a match since 2013 – and Best was in on the action with a second-half double.
As well as that he had a line-break, tackle-bust, 126 run metres and made eight tackles with just one missed.
5. Taane Milne. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
A Taane Milne double among South Sydney’s three tries helped the Rabbitohs over the line in a tough outing against Wests Tigers, taking the red and green to the top of the NRL ladder in the process.
The winger also made three line-breaks and three tackle-busts, on top of a huge 271 run metres with 100 post-contact in arguably his career-best performance.
6. Jarome Luai (c). Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 5. TOTW selections: 1.
Luai’s first TOTW nomination this season also earned him the title of NSW Player of the Week, such was the impact he had for the Panthers on Friday night.
He managed a try, two try assists and line-break assists, two line-breaks, 11 tackle-busts, 135 run metres, and made 14 tackles without missing any.
7. Nathan Cleary. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 13. TOTW selections: 4.
It may have been Penrith’s best performance in 2023 so far and, as usual, Cleary was steering the ship.
He nailed all eight conversion attempts and ran for 135 metres with a line-break assist, but also recorded 565 metres from 20 kicks including two forced drop-outs, and made 20 tackles with one miss.
8. Tevita Tatola. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
After a disrupted start to the season, Tatola has been able to string three strong games together and against the Wests Tigers on Saturday he played his most minutes for the season (49).
His 14 runs for 140, included four tackle-busts and 63 post-contact metres. After back-rower Jacob Host (3.03 seconds) Tatola had the speediest play-the-ball (3.11) – not bad for a prop.
9. Damien Cook. Club: Sydney Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 15. TOTW selections: 4.
Cook has been in great touch for the Rabbitohs this season and had an impact again in attack – a line-break assist, a try assist – while being the major work horse in defence.
He topped the tackle count for both sides with 54 – missing only two – from an 80-minute performance.
10. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 9.
Haas has been a mainstay in the TOTW with nine appearances now for the 2023 season. He attracts admirers weekly with his workload.
Despite the loss to Melbourne Storm last round, Haas spent 64 minutes on the field and produced 27 runs for 243m, including 75m post-contact. His intimidating style was on show again with eight tackle-busts, a line-break, three offloads and 30 tackles, missing none.
11. Hudson Young. Club: Canberra Raiders. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.
Young scored his fifth try in 10 games in the weekend win over Parramatta, but he offers far more than an uncanny ability to be in the right spot for a four-pointer.
He again had a one-on-one steal, three offloads, two tackle-busts and 44 post-contact metres in his 13 runs for 114 metres. He also made 27 tackles, missing one.
12. Ryan Matterson. Club: Parramatta Eels. SOO appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 3.
Coming off the bench for 54 minutes against the Raiders, Matterson again played in the middle as well the right edge making 12 runs for 119 metres.
Add in a try assist, a tackle-bust, an offload, diffusing a kick and putting in a grubber for J’maine Hopgood’s try, and Matterson had all his attacking skills on display, as well as making 31 tackles (missing just one).
13. Isaah Yeo. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 8. TOTW selections: 5.
Yeo again topped the run metres for both teams on Friday night – nothing unusual there – but a try assist for Brian To’o from a kick is not something we’ve seen in his playbook very often.
But making 216 metres from 26 runs, 55 post-contact, three tackle-busts, an offload and 28 tackles is right on song as far as Yeo’s weekly contribution goes.