Each week of the NRL season, the 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.
It’s safe to say that without the try-saving efforts of Tom Trbojevic on Saturday afternoon, the Sea Eagles may not have earned their opening win of 2020. Not only did the fullback score Manly Warringah’s only try of the contest, but he also produced 151 run metres, one line-break, four tackle-breaks, 10 tackles and zero missed.
David Nofoaluma still managed his usual workload in the Tigers’ Round 2 clash with Newcastle, despite a disappointing performance from Michael Maguire’s men. Nofoaluma received his second consecutive NSW Team of the Week selection with a try, five tackle-breaks, two offloads and 202 run metres from 18 runs.
Kotoni Staggs may have caught the attention of Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler with yet another superb performance, recording two line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks and 102 run metres against the Rabbitohs. Staggs has now scored 11 tries in as many games after his first career hat-trick on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Jarrod Croker’s experience came to the fore in the Raiders 20-6 victory over the Warriors. The Canberra captain ran for 105 metres and produced two try-assists, two line-break assists, six tackle-breaks and two goals.
Although he missed out on crossing for a four-pointer, Nick Cotric caused plenty of havoc for the Warriors’ left-edge with a powerful effort in Round 2. The winger proved hard to stop with165 metres, two line-breaks and a massive 17 tackle-breaks.
Sea Eagles five-eighth Dylan Walker kept the Sydney Roosters’ defence honest in what was a low-scoring affair at Leichhardt Oval. With halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans managing the play for the visitors, Walker was constantly threatening when he took on the line and recorded 121 run metres and six tackle-breaks.
Mitchell Pearce has quickly found his best form in a reinvigorated Newcastle attack under the guidance of Adam O’Brien. En route to the Knights’ second win of the season against the Wests Tigers, Pearce produced one try, two try-assists, one line-break, one line-break assist, four tackle-breaks, 339 kick metres and 24 tackles.
Payne Haas has unsurprisingly retained his spot in NSW Team of the Week with another barnstorming 80-minute display in the front row. The 19-year-old ran for 188 metres and recorded three tackle-breaks and 29 tackles.
Apisai Koroisau continues to look at home in Panthers colours and is comfortably the in-form hooker of 2020. He opened the scoring against St George Illawarra, while finishing with 79run-metres, a line-break and two tackle-breaks, and 40 tackles.
Junior Paulo was the top performing forward as the Parramatta Eels dominated the middle-third of the field in their 40-point win over the Gold Coast Titans. Tipped before the season as a 2020 State of Origin bolter, Paulo ran for 203 metres including 70 post-contact and 109 from kick returns, as well as one try-assist, one line-break assist and two offloads.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon produced a strong display for Newcastle in their 42-24 win against the Tigers and has well and truly made the left-edge his own. Fitzgibbon produced one try,115 metres, a line-break two tackle-breaks, and 21 tackles in a tireless performance on either side of the ball.
Ryan Matterson was at his hard-working best in his second appearance for Eels in Round 2. Parramatta’s biggest off-season recruit recorded 109 run metres with one line-break assist, four tackle-breaks, 28 tackles and three offloads.
Victor Radley was one the best on the field for the Roosters despite their narrow one-point defeat to the Sea Eagles. Playing 69 minutes in the No.13 jersey, Radley ran for 201 metres including 56 post-contact, while recording one line-three tackle-breaks, 40 tackles.
Nathan Cleary played a key role in Penrith’s comeback win over the Dragons on Friday as the Panthers continue their strong start to the 2020 season. Cleary scored his second try in two games, kicked 6/6 off the boot and managed one try-assist, one line-break, one line-break assist, one forced drop-out and 355 kick metres on the way to a four-point win.
Scott Sorensen played a solid 80 minutes for the Sharks against an always hard-to-break Melbourne Storm outfit. The Cronulla-Sutherland back-rower produced 132 run metres including 56 post-contact, making three tackle-breaks and 43 tackles.
David Klemmer led the way in the forward battle as the Knights produced an emphatic win over the Tigers. The Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues prop ran for 168 metres including 47 post-contact, and recorded two tackle-breaks, 29 tackles and two offloads.
Even though Connor Watson started from the interchange bench in the Knights’ Round 2 victory, the No.14 was one of Newcastle’s top performers. In just 49 minutes on the park, Watson recorded one try, one line-break, nine tackle-breaks, 159 run metres and 16 tackles.