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
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 10. TOTW selections: 8.
Tedesco is back to his best at the right time of the year with a fourth try from his last three appearances against Newcastle on Saturday night. The Roosters’ custodian also produced two try-assists and one line-break assist, made one line-break and two tackle-breaks, and ran for 186 metres including 49 post-contact.
2. Daniel Tupou
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 4. TOTW selections: 3.
Tupou has had no trouble returning to the Roosters fold in his third game back from syndesmosis surgery. Tupou scored two tries, made three line-breaks and five tackle-breaks, threw two offloads and ran for 160 metres including 49 post-contact.
3. Josh Morris
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 15. TOTW selections: 5.
Morris hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down with consistent performances in 2020, and Round 18 was no different for the veteran centre. Morris scored the opening try against the Knights, produced one try-assist and two line-break assists, had three tackle-breaks, ran for 102 metres and made seven tackles with one missed.
4. Campbell Graham
Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.
Graham has been one of South Sydney’s best players for a number weeks after scoring yet another brace of tries on Thursday night. The 21-year-old also had a line-break and two tackle-breaks, and ran for 176 metres including 56 post-contact.
5. Josh Mansour
Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 3. TOTW selections: 5.
The 100th meeting between top-four sides Penrith and Parramatta was an arm-wrestle for much of the opening half, but it was Mansour who broke the try-scoring deadlock just moments before the break. Mansour went on to record two line-breaks, six tackle-breaks and 223 run metres including 78 post-contact and 85 from kick returns.
6. Luke Keary (c)
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 9.
Keary produced one of his best performances for the season in the Roosters’ 42-12 win against the Newcastle Knights. The Roosters’ pivot recorded two tries, one try-assist, two line-break assists, four tackle-breaks, two offloads, 146 run metres, 149 kick metres and 16 tackles with one missed.
7. Nathan Cleary
Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 5. TOTW selections: 9.
Arguably the number one halfback in the competition was at the top of his game again as the Panthers secured their 13th consecutive win. Cleary produced a try-assist and two line-break assists, had two tackle-breaks, kicked four goals from as many attempts, ran for 128 metres, forced two dropouts, recorded 509 kick metres and made 25 tackles.
8. James Tamou
Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 14. TOTW selections: 6.
Tamou produced a valuable effort in the front-row against the likes Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo on Friday night. From 40 minutes played, Tamou ran for 165 metres including 77 post-contact and made 27 tackles with zero missed.
9. Damien Cook
Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. NSW Origin appearances: 6. TOTW selections: 5.
Without having a standout game at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night, Cook played a crucial role out of dummy half in the Rabbitohs’ thrilling two-point win over the Wests Tigers. Cook produced one line-break assist, one forced dropout and 52 run metres, making 58 tackles with just one missed.
10. Payne Haas
Club: Brisbane Broncos. NSW Origin appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 12.
While the Broncos are still searching for another victory before season’s end, Haas’ desire and effort can never be understated. From 71 minutes played in Saturday’s match, Haas ran for 162 metres including 63 post-contact, had four tackle-breaks and made 39 tackles with zero missed.
11. Jack Murchie
Club: Warriors. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Murchie played a brilliant game as the Warriors fought hard against the Sharks in an effort to keep their finals hopes alive. Murchie scored a 36th-minute try, had two line-breaks and three tackle-breaks, ran for 90 metres and made 46 tackles.
12. Hudson Young
Club: Canberra Raiders. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Young made a huge impact for the Raiders when he entered the field at the 18-minute mark against the Dragons. Young scored Canberra’s first try just seconds after running on, finishing the match with a try-assist, two line-breaks, five tackle-breaks, 198 run metres including 49 post-contact and 37 tackles with one missed.
13. Angus Crichton
Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 4. TOTW selections: 7.
Crichton was named at starting lock for the Roosters in a late switch before kick-off on Saturday night. He played for 69 minutes in the middle-third and on the left edge, ran 170 metres including 64 post-contact, had seven tackle-breaks and made 46 tackles with only one missed.
14. Jack Wighton
Club: Canberra Raiders. NSW Origin appearances: 3. TOTW selections: 6.
In a convincing Raiders win, Wighton was always going make his presence known at five-eighth. Taking on the Dragons, Wighton scored two tries, had one line-break and five tackle-breaks, ran for 122 metres, forced one dropout, recorded 330 kick metres and made 19 tackles with zero missed.
15. Daniel Saifiti
Club: Newcastle Knights. NSW Origin appearances: 2. TOTW selections: 6.
Saifiti showed positive signs on his return from injury in the Knights’ tough visit to the SCG against the Roosters. From 52 minutes played, Saifiti ran for 145 metres, had a line-break and two tackle-breaks, threw two offloads and made 34 tackles with just one missed.
16. Toby Rudolf
Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.
From two points behind and with less than 10 minutes remaining against the Warriors, Rudolf willed his way over the try-line to clinch a finals spot for the Sharks. The Cronulla middle forward also ran for 106 metres, had a line-break and four tackle-breaks, and made 24 tackles.
17. Isaah Yeo
Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 7.
Yeo was a much-anticipated addition to the Penrith line-up when they faced off against the Eels in the Western derby. Playing 56 minutes at lock, Yeo ran for 135 metres including 58 post-contact, had two tackle-breaks and made 26 tackles with zero missed.