NSW Team of the Week | Rd 21
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.
In a top-four battle between the Raiders and Roosters, Tedesco made his presence known early when he burst through the defensive line to set up Victor Radley in his first of two try-assists, which included a line-break and line-break assist. He also ran for 205 metres including 121 from kick returns and made four tackle-breaks.
Daniel Tupou was back to his best on the Roosters’ left flank with one line-break and a try on either side of half-time, while consistently getting his team out of trouble with a total of 209 run metres including 60 post-contact.
St George Illawarra got a chance to show their capabilities in a comfortable win over the Titans, and Euan Aitken was the top performer in the Dragons’ back-five. In a solid performance for the Scottish International, Aitken recorded a try, one line-break, three tackle-breaks and ran for 133 metres including 62 post-contact.
Brian Kelly has put on another strong attacking effort despite a difficult season for the Gold Coast Titans. In addition to his 167 run metres, the Lismore product scored a four-pointer and produced one try-assist, a line-break and two line-break assists.
Many teams have struggled to find point-scoring opportunities against the Melbourne Storm this season, but South Sydney winger Campbell Graham went over the try-line on three occasions in their matchup with the ladder leaders. Graham’s 12-point haul also came with three line-breaks and 147 run metres.
Jack Wighton was causing plenty of headaches with his ball-running in Canberra’s narrow defeat to the Roosters on Sunday. Wighton ran for 177 metres including 40 post contact with six tackle-breaks and made 15 tackles.
With James Maloney suspended and a handful of new faces for the Panthers’ clash with the Sharks, Nathan Cleary was given complete control of the side and was a standout performer on the way to 6-point win. The New South Wales halfback came up with a try, two try-assists, two line-breaks and a line-break assist along with 133 run metres, 189 kick metres and 5/5 goals.
Paul Vaughan was unstoppable in the middle third for the Dragons in their Round 21 win. Vaughan was rewarded for his efforts with his second try of the year in a performance that produced 237 run metres including 86 post-contact, two offloads and 34 tackles.
The Dragons No. 9 was again defensively sound, but he made some important efforts in attack that went a long way to victory for the Red V. As well as making a half-century of tackles with one miss, McInnes produced 85 run metres, one try-assist, one line-break, a line-break assist and five tackle-breaks.
It comes as no surprise to see Payne Haas earning yet another nomination for the NSW Team of the Week in Round 21. The Broncos’ revelation ran for a massive 236 metres including 93 post-contact with six tackle-breaks and made 30 tackles with 100% efficiency.
Josh Jackson led the way for a young Bulldogs side as they achieved their fourth win from six games, continuing their impressive form in the back half of the season. Jackson scored a well-deserved try and ran for 110 metres with a line-break and two tackle-breaks. He also made 40 tackles in another defensively strong performance.
In an all-round superb performance from the Dragons’ forward pack in Round 21, second-rower Tariq Sims proved a constant threat as he crossed for a brace of tries with two line-breaks. He also ran for 95 metres with two tackle-breaks and made 21 tackles.
The Roosters’ lock has now produced back-to-back NSW Team of the Week performances from his favoured position and looks to be an important figure in attack from the middle of the park. Radley recorded the opening try against the Raiders and three tackle-breaks from 110 run metres. He also made 49 tackles.
Parramatta’s Clinton Gutherson was the key to a 20-14 victory over the Knights to keep their top-four hopes alive. The Eels’ custodian got the home off to a strong start with two tries in the opening 30 minutes before finishing the game with 149 run metres
Ryan Matterson continued to display his consistent work-rate in just his third game since a positional switch from second-row to lock. In 76 minutes on-field, Matterson ran for 272 metres including 96 post-contact, made one line-break, two tackle-breaks, two offloads, and 41 tackles.
The output of David Klemmer remained the shining light for Newcastle in Round 21, albeit another disappointing team performance. Klemmer produced 145 run metres including 73 post-contact with two tackle-breaks and made 44 tackles with one miss in just 57 minutes on the park.
Nathan Brown produced more big numbers for Parramatta in what was his first 80-minute stint for the 2019 season. The Eels’ lock ran for 162 metres including 62 post-contact with two tackle-breaks and made 40 tackles with one miss on the way to a 6-point win.