The NSW Team of the Week is back! Each week of the NRL season, NSWRL.com.au staff writers will have their say on the round's best performing New South Welshmen. These are based entirely on the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSWRL or the selection process for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues. Captaincy is awarded based on that week’s on-field performance and is not based on club captaincy or leadership qualities.
1. James Tedesco (c)
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 10. TOTW selections: 7.
Tedesco loves to perform on the big stage, and he did exactly that with a match-winning display in Roosters’ showdown for fourth spot against Canberra on Saturday night. Tedesco scored two tries in the fifth and 61st minute, had two line-breaks and 16 tackle-breaks, ran for 234 metres and made 7 tackles.
2. David Nofoaluma
Club: Wests Tigers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 9.
Nofoaluma has surged ahead on the leading try-scorers list with a hat-trick in Round 17. The Tigers’ winger also ran for 164 metres in their comeback victory over Manly, making two line-breaks and 10 tackle-breaks.
3. Euan Aitken
Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.
Aitken was the best among the St George Illawarra back five in the Dragons’ 85-minute thriller against North Queensland. Aitken scored a 24th-minute try, had one line-break and five tackle-breaks, ran for 177 metres including 68 post-contact and made eight tackles.
4. Adam Doueihi
Club: Wests Tigers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 0.
Doueihi played a starring role in the final 11 minutes of play as the Tigers stunned the Sea Eagles to overcome a 14-point deficit. Doueihi scored two four-pointers in that period of time and finished the contest with a line-break, six tackle-breaks, five from six conversions, 99 run metres and 12 tackles.
5. Blake Ferguson
Club: Parramatta Eels. NSW Origin appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 1.
Ferguson finally broke the duck for season 2020, scoring an elusive first try of the year against the Warriors at Central Coast Stadium. Ferguson also had two tackle-breaks, ran for 203 metres including 72 post-contact, threw three offloads and made seven tackles with zero missed.
6. Cody Walker
Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. NSW Origin appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 4.
Walker had a superb first half for a fast starting South Sydney team who couldn’t repel an in-form Melbourne Storm outfit. The five-eighth scored a try before the halftime break, produced one try-assist, had two line-breaks and four tackle-breaks, ran for 108 metres and made 22 tackles.
7. Luke Brooks
Club: Wests Tigers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
Brooks reverted to his preferred halfback position in Round 17 and helped the Tigers return to the winner’s circle as a result. Brooks recorded two try-assists and two line-break assists, had two tackle-breaks, forced one dropout, ran for 69 metres and made 22 tackles.
8. David Klemmer
Club: Newcastle Knights. NSW Origin appearances: 14. TOTW selections: 10.
Klemmer and his Newcastle teammates proved what a difference a week can make as the Knights beat the Sharks with a convincing 38-10 win. Klemmer ran for 195 metres including 89 post-contact, had two tackle-breaks and made 26 tackles with zero missed.
9. Damien Cook
Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. NSW Origin appearances: 6. TOTW selections: 4.
Cook helped South Sydney build plenty of early momentum against the Melbourne Storm with several damaging runs in the middle of the park. Cook ran for 144 metres, had a line-break and two tackle-breaks, forced one dropout and made 39 tackles with zero missed.
10. Payne Haas
Club: Brisbane Broncos. NSW Origin appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 11.
Haas made his return from suspension in Round 17 and didn’t let his team down as the Broncos competed valiantly against the ladder-leading Panthers. Haas ran for 180 metres including 93 post-contact, had five tackle-breaks and made 61 tackles with zero missed.
11. Tyson Frizell
Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. NSW Origin appearances: 11. TOTW selections: 6.
The ever-consistent Frizell put up some strong numbers again despite St George Illawarra falling to the Cowboys in golden point. Frizell ran for 130 metres including 60 post-contact and made 38 tackles.
12. Ryan Matterson
Club: Parramatta Eels. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 7.
Matterson had a very solid performance on the Eels’ right edge as they held off a determined Warriors side on Sunday afternoon. The Parramatta second-rower ran for 158 metres including 74 post-contact, had four tackle-breaks and made 43 tackles.
13. Cameron McInnes
Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 8.
An extra five minutes in golden point was no problem for the hardworking McInnes, who still gave it his all in a narrow one-point loss. The Dragons’ skipper ran for 203 metres including 80 post-contact, had one line-break, threw two offloads and made 56 tackles with just one missed.
14. Ryan Papenhuyzen
Club: Melbourne Storm. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 8.
Papenhuyzen showed off his superb playmaking ability in a Billy Slater-esque like performance on Friday night. In just his 38th appearance in the top grade, he scored a try, produced two try-assists and one line-break assist, had one line-break and eight tackle-breaks, forced one dropout, ran for 196 metres including 61 post-contact and made seven tackles.
15. Spencer Leniu
Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Leniu certainly left his mark on the game from just 29 minutes played on Thursday night against Brisbane. The young Penrith prop and NSW Pathways graduate ran for 171 metres including 75 post-contact, had five tackle-breaks and made 13 tackles with zero missed.
16. Nathan Brown
Club: Parramatta Eels. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 5.
Brown provided some much-needed steel in the Eels’ middle-third during a physical clash against the Warriors on Sunday. Brown ran for 192 metres including 92 post-contact, had one line-break assist and two tackle-breaks, and made 41 tackles with only one missed.
17. Angus Crichton
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 4. TOTW selections: 6.
Crichton made a successful return from a knee injury in the Roosters’ crucial 18-6 win over the Raiders at GIO Stadium. Playing 30 minutes in the lock position, Crichton recorded one line-break assist, four tackle-breaks, 101 run metres and 24 tackles.