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: 8. TOTW selections: 2.
A bye in Round Two wasn’t going to slow down the Sea Eagles in their Thursday night clash against the Eels, and certainly the Manly Warringah fullback for that matter.
Trbojevic was on the scoresheet in the 25th minute with a trademark hit-up play from close range, then later jagged a second off the boot of Josh Schuster. The No.1 finished the game with a try-assist, line-break, line-break assist and 10 tackle busts, taking 21 runs for 204 metres with 51 post-contact.
2. Jacob Kiraz. Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
Kiraz is the cult hero at the Bulldogs who has rocketed to the top of the Dally M leader-board (11 votes) on the back of a strong start to the season.
Earning his second TOTW selection in as many rounds with Sunday’s performance, the Lebanese international recorded a massive 283 run metres with 78 post-contact and six tackle busts from 25 carries – an elite display in any winger’s book.
3. Kotoni Staggs. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 1. TOTW selections: 1.
The explosiveness and the brilliance of Staggs was on show in the Broncos’ 22-point win at Suncorp Stadium.
His combination with half Adam Reynolds led to two tries from grubber kicks, with a forward roll on the second occasion to keep the ball in the play. Staggs also had 153 run metres to his name, as well a try assist, line-break, five tackle busts, two offloads and 12 tackles.
4. Aaron Schoupp. Club: Gold Coast Titans. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
The first Gold Coast Titan to gain selection in the NSW TOTW for 2023, Schoupp’s two-try effort against Melbourne Storm showed the handy acquisition he could become for coach Justin Holbrook.
His four-pointer with seven minutes to spare proved to be a game-winning advantage in the 38-34 shootout, but he also had a line-break, ran for 136 metres and made 10 tackles.
5. Josh Addo-Carr. Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. SOO appearances: 12. TOTW selections: 2.
A bumper home crowd at Belmore was the perfect stage for Addo-Carr to entertain the blue and white faithful on Sunday afternoon.
His 171 run metres included a pair of tries, five tackle busts and an offload as the Bulldogs continued their winning ways.
6. Josh Schuster. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
It was the return game that had Sea Eagles fans talking after the 34-30 victory over the Eels at 4 Pines Park in Round Three.
Schuster’s slick hands and deft kicking game were on show throughout, setting up three tries – including a chip over the top for fullback Tom Trbojevic – and a line-break while running for 63 metres. He also made 14 tackles.
7. Adam Reynolds. Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 2. TOTW selections: 1.
The Brisbane Broncos are off to a flying start in 2023, and Saturday night’s victory saw another vintage display from the No.7.
Against the Dragons Reynolds produced two try assists, a line-break assist and made 16 tackles with no misses. But from the boot alone he managed three forced drop-outs, 351 kick metres, a two-point field goal on the stroke of halftime and five from seven successful conversion attempts.
8. Payne Haas (c). Club: Brisbane Broncos. SOO appearances: 9. TOTW selections: 2.
Haas played the entire first half, but when he came off the bench in the second with the Broncos taking a 24-18 lead, he changed the complexion of the game. The Broncos ran in three tries off the back of his go-forward.
From 59 minutes he made 18 hit-ups and 240 metres – 104 post-contact. The True Blue prop also had two line-break assists and made 26 tackles without missing any.
9. Wayde Egan. Club: Warriors. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Nothing would please new Warriors head coach Andrew Webster more than a hooker who not only controls the flow of the game well, but has scored three tries across the opening three games of the season – against the Knights, Roosters and Cowboys.
As well as the four-pointer in Townsville, Egan also had a line-break, a tackle-bust, and topped his side’s tackle count with 42.
10. Jake Trbojevic. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 15. TOTW selections: 1.
Playing in the front-row for 80 minutes, against the Parramatta forward pack no less, it was a case of business as usual for the ultra-consistent Trbojevic on Thursday night.
Not only did he rack up 148 run metres with 49 post-contact, but Trbojevic also made 35 tackles – missing just one – and had zero handling errors for his entire stint.
11. Haumole Olakau’atu. Club: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 1.
Olakau’atu was at his best patrolling the Sea Eagles’ right edge and made the Eels pay with two tries among his 10 runs for 129 metres.
His first was a thief-in-the night grab off a Daly Cherry-Evans kick with two Eels defenders around him, and his second an intercept late in the game which secured the win for the Sea Eagles.
12. Keaon Koloamatangi. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 0. TOTW selections: 2.
The Tongan international was in the thick of the action against the Sydney Roosters despite being on the losing side, with a line-break, two line-break assists, three tackle busts and three offloads.
Koloamatangi set the tone for that performance with the Rabbitohs’ opening try in the seventh minute as part of his 14 runs for 119 metres.
13. Cameron Murray. Club: South Sydney Rabbitohs. SOO appearances: 10. TOTW selections: 2.
Supporting Koloamatangi in the South Sydney forward pack on Friday night was the ever-reliable skipper in Murray.
He made 42 tackles with no errors, along with three tackle busts, a line-break and 13 hit-ups for 114 metres.