After each round of the NRL season, nswrl.com.au selects the round’s best 13 of New South Wales eligible players. These selections are based on the writers' opinions and do not reflect the views of the NSWRL or the selection process for the Westpac NSW Blues. Captaincy is awarded based on that week's on-field performance and is not based on club captaincy or leadership qualities.
1. Tom Trbojevic. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 15. TOTW selections: 1.
Saturday afternoon at 4 Pines Park marked the long-awaited return of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles fullback, and Trbojevic hit the ground running in front of a sold-out home crowd.
‘Turbo’ Tom scored the opening try from a Cherry-Evans grubber, had one try assist, two line-breaks, two line-break assists, 5 tackle busts, and ran for 173 metres.
2. Daniel Tupou. Club: Sydney Roosters. SOO appearances: 10. TOTW selections: 1.
Tupou had one of the better afternoons among a Sydney Roosters outfit that struggled against the Dolphins, who hosted their inaugural NRL match at a packed Suncorp Stadium.
The veteran winger scored a try in the second have to move within six of Anthony Minichiello’s club record (139), running for 179 metres including 70 post-contact.
3. Siosifa Talakai. Club: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. SOO appearances: 2. TOTW selections: 1.
Cronulla-Sutherland’s Talakai produced a strong performance in a losing side at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday night, running for 201 metres from 19 runs with three tackle busts.
4. Campbell Graham (c). Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Earning NSW Player of the Week honours for his display for Round One, Graham caused all sorts of headaches for the Sharks’ defence.
Graham scored two tries, had three line-breaks and five tackle busts, ran for 198 metres from 15 carries and made 19 tackles.
5. Reuben Garrick. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
The Sea Eagles’ left edge was back in full swing in Round One, with Garrick the beneficiary when he crossed just before halftime in front of the Bob Fulton Stand.
He also recorded three line-breaks, 195 run metres, and had a 100 percent conversion rate from five shots at goal.
6. Adam Doueihi. Club: Wests Tigers. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
With a full pre-season under his belt after returning from an ACL injury midway through last year, Doueihi began the 2023 season in solid form despite a West Tigers loss at Leichhardt Oval.
The powerful five-eighth kept the Tigers in the contest with a 45th-minute try and line-break, produced one try assist, had six tackle busts and ran for 167 metres. On top of that Doueihi also managed 305 kick metres and 14 tackles.
7. Lachlan Ilias. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Ilias stood up when it counted in South Sydney’s first round victory in what could only be described as a coming-of-age display, headlined an early try-saver on Ronaldo Mulitalo before a try of his own in the ensuring set.
The Rabbitohs’ No.7 also produced a try assist, one line-break, two line-break assists, four tackle busts and 323 kick metres, making 18 tackles to add.
8. Junior Paulo. Club: Parramatta Eels. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 1.
There was no better way for Paulo to delight the home crowd than crashing through the Melbourne Storm defenders – six tackle busts in total – on his way to 208 metres off 20 runs.
Paulo pumped out 68 minutes and made 30 tackles, which isn’t bad going for a front-rower in the first round. His 86 post-contact metres prove he is still one of the hardest men to stop, let alone defend, with two offloads, a line-break, and a four-pointer.
9. Reece Robson. Club: North Queensland Cowboys. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Robson just got down to business in the Townsville heat on Saturday, making 49 tackles and missing only one in an 80-minute performance.
He had a line-break, a forced drop-out, a try assist for Scott Drinkwater with one of his two grubbers, and busted out of four tackles with his three dummy-half runs.
10. Payne Haas. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 1.
A regular TOTW nominee last year, Haas won’t be dropping his standards any time soon based his efforts in Round One.
He topped the Broncos for metres – 207 off 19 runs – in a sterling 65-minute performance, where he broke away from seven would-be tacklers. Haas also had 84 post-contact metres, an offload and made 27 tackles without missing any.
11. Liam Martin. Club: Penrith Panthers. SOO appearances: 6. TOTW selections: 1.
Despite being on the losing end of a tight match, Martin did his best to turn things around against the Brisbane Broncos.
He played a key role in the Penrith Panthers’ opening try, had a line-break assist, three tackle-breaks, four offloads and made 43 tackles.
12. Keaon Koloamatangi. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Before a hostile Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks home crowd, Koloamatangi put on a show with his 13 runs for 152 metres, a try, a line-break, three tackle busts and 33 tackles.
13. Cameron Murray. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 10. TOTW selections: 1.
‘Mr. Consistency’ is at it again for 2023 with another great captain’s knock over 80 minutes against the Sharks.
Murray’s workaholic nature saw him make 51 tackles, 158 metres off 15 runs, 50 post-contact metres, an offload and two tackle busts.