NSW Team of the Week Rd 9: Staines, Ikuvalu run riot

NSWRL

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: 4.

Although the Roosters struggled to find their rhythm in opening half against North Queensland, it was Tedesco’s influence that separated the two sides after the break. Tedesco produced to try-assists, one line-break, two line-break assists, seven tackle-breaks, five offloads and 231 run metres including 64 post-contact.

  1. Charlie Staines

Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

An NRL debut is the dream for any aspiring player, but to score four tries in his first appearance was the icing on the cake for 2019 Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year Charlie Staines. Staines also set up a try, made five line-breaks and four tackle-breaks and ran for 157 metres.

  1. Stephen Crichton

Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Crichton was the second of Penrith’s young stars who stole the show for the Panthers in their 56-24 win. The centre scored two four-pointers, made four line-breaks and six tackle-breaks, kicked one forced dropout and ran for 164 metres.

  1. Zac Lomax

Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Lomax has certainly found his feet in the right centre role for St George Illawarra. In the Dragons’ Round 9 matchup against the Sea Eagles, Lomax scored a try, produced one try-assist and line-break assist, took two intercepts, kicked four from six conversions and a penalty goal, ran for 117 metres and made 18 tackles.

  1. Matt Ikuvalu

Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Ikuvalu was a late inclusion for Brett Morris on Thursday and after a memorable 80 minutes became the first Rooster since 1955 to score five tries in a match. The Central Coast product also recorded four line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks, 145 run metres including 49 post-contact and five tackles with zero missed.

  1. Luke Keary

Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 6.

Keary has continued to show why he is the competition’s premier five-eighth following another standout performance for the tricolours. The Roosters’ pivot scored two tries and assisted another, forced one dropout, ran for 109 metres and made 11 tackles with zero missed.

  1. Adam Reynolds

Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. NSW Origin appearances: 2. TOTW selections: 1. 

Reynolds controlled the contest for Wayne Bennett’s Rabbitohs in a fiery clash with the Wests Tigers on Friday night at Bankwest Stadium. The South Sydney captain produced a try-assist, one line-break, two line-break assists and four tackle-breaks, ran for 75 metres, tallied 572 kick metres and made 16 tackles.

  1. Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Club: Parramatta Eels. NSW Origin appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 4. 

With more huge numbers for the Eels in Round 9, Campbell-Gillard remains arguably the form front-rower in the NRL. From 64 minutes played, the Parramatta prop ran for 221 metres including 78 post-contact and made 39 tackles.

  1. Apisai Koroisau

Club: Penrith Panthers. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.

Koroisau was again the centrepiece of Penrith’s attack on the weekend and continues to benefit from the heightened speed of the NRL under its new rules. In Saturday’s win Koroisau recorded two try-assists, two line-break assists and 38 tackles.

  1. Paul Vaughan

Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. NSW Origin appearances: 6. TOTW selections: 3. 

It was undoubtedly St George Illawarra’s most dominant performance of the season in Round 9 and Vaughan was the best among the forward pack. In the Dragons’ 30-point victory over Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Vaughan ran for 237 metres including 86 post-contact and 69 from kick returns, and made 37 tackles with zero missed.

  1. Angus Crichton

Club: Sydney Roosters. NSW Origin appearances: 4. TOTW selections: 5.

Crichton had another very strong outing despite a late switch to the left edge before Thursday night’s match. Crichton ran for 176 metres including 91 post-contact with three tackle-breaks, threw three offloads and made 40 tackles with zero missed.

  1. Ryan Matterson

Club: Parramatta Eels. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 5.

Matterson scored what would become a vital opening four-pointer in a low-scoring contest against as Parramatta went on to secure a 10-4 win. Along with his third try for 2020, Matterson made a line-break, five tackle-breaks, 107 run metres and 45 tackles.

  1. Nathan Brown (c)

Club: Parramatta Eels. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.

Brown put on a performance for the ages in his return fixture for the Eels after a two-week suspension. The Parramatta lock not only played the full 80 minutes, but also ran for 266 metres including 102 post-contact, had two tackle-breaks and made an enormous 55 tackles.

  1. Ryan Papenhuyzen

Club: Melbourne Storm. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 3.

Papenhuyzen took the game by the scruff of the neck as the Melbourne Storm earned a hard-fought victory in Canberra on Saturday night. The 22-year-old fullback scored a 58th-minute match-winner, produced a try-assist, one line-break assist and five tackle-breaks, ran for 246 metres including 154 form kick returns and made 11 tackles.

  1. Payne Haas

Club: Brisbane Broncos. NSW Origin appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 6.

The Broncos snapped a six-game losing streak in Round 9 against the Bulldogs and the Brisbane prop was at his consistent best. From 62 minutes played, Haas ran for 217 metres including 89 and made 33 tackles with zero missed.

  1. Cameron McInnes

Club: St George Illawarra Dragons. NSW Origin appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 4.

McInnes may have started at lock for less game time in Round 9, but it didn’t limit his output in a rock-solid display against the Sea Eagles. The St George Illawarra captain ran for 144 metres including 53 post-contact and made 46 tackles with zero missed.

  1. Jake Trbojevic

Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. NSW Origin appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 3.

Trbojevic continues to play with his heart on his sleeve for a Manly Warringah side who have struggled with recent form. In Sunday’s defeat to the Dragons, the Sea Eagles’ lock forward ran for 154 metres and made 39 tackles with zero missed.