4. Stephen Crichton (Panthers)
By his own standards, he would have been disappointed with ups and downs in the opening lap. But he showed every bit of his class as he scored the opener and set up another in the Premiers’ first win of the year. Importantly, he made a lot of good defensive stats on South Sydney’s favored left flank to keep Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell at bay.
5. Herbie Farnworth (Broncos)
What about that purchase for the Dolphins next year? The Broncos, who are usually a center, had to find a home for him on the wing after proving his two-try exploits in round one with a phenomenal 91 post-contact yards and a crucial bust for Walsh’s match sealer in the final minutes had substantiated.
6. Ezra Mam (Broncos)
Adam Reynolds may have finally found a regular half partner. The 20-year-old was born in Sydney but as he told Brad Fittler after the game, he’s a one-eyed, two-headed Queenslander. Sorry, did we really say that? Two tries and a stack of attack sparks against the Cowboys. Honorable Mention for Matt Moylan and Jarome Luai.
7. Ben Hunt (dragon)
He didn’t win the Dally M last year, but based on that evidence, he’s sure to be close again in 2023. No team has ever had a greater barometer of form than Hunt for the Dragons. When it’s on, they look good. If he’s not, they don’t see a chance. Another brilliant performance against the Titans. Fun fact: he has scored 11 tries against the Gold Coast in his career, more than any other club.
8. Blake Lawrie (Dragons)
A few others could have filled that spot, but who doesn’t love Blocker? He scored a rare try, only his second in more than 100 NRL games, but there was one game that summed him up: He came back to save one when he dove into his own goal with a loose kick. Props are not meant to do that. Will need a big year if the Dragons are to be a top 8 chance.
9. Soni Luke (Panthers)
When does Ivan Cleary bite the bullet? It’s hard to give a team of the week nomination to a guy who didn’t start the game, but he completely changed the momentum around the ruck when he climbed off the pine for the Panthers. It shouldn’t be too long before he has to be on the trailing side.
10. Joe Tapine (Robber)
Lost the game but no admirers after another tearing display in the Redcliffe mud. Had managed 162 running meters, exactly half of it after contact. And he only played 47 minutes. If he’s not the best prop in the game right now, he’s coming mighty close.
11. Tom Gilbert (Dolphins)
In the Dad’s Army Of the forward packs, no guy has shone brighter than ex-cowboy looking like a great buy from Wayne Bennett. He scored the crucial — and controversial — second-half try that put the Dolphins back in the game against the Raiders and stopped himself with a game-high 42.
12. British Nikora (Sharks)
He doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t have to. Craig Fitzgibbon’s right rudder is becoming a serious weapon for the Sharks. Scored the first try that put her back in contention and barely missed a shot on defense. How much better will he be when Nicho Hynes is back?
13. J’maine Hopgood (Eels)
Of all the players Penrith has lost in recent years, you’d be surprised at how upset they were that Hopgood left – and not because it went to the Eels. From what we’ve seen so far, he could be a mini Isaah Yeo. Despite being on the losing side, Hopgood was great. He put up two tries and tackled during a 71-minute stint. A smart deal from the Eels.
14. Will Kennedy (Sharks)
A day after Latrell Mitchell was allegedly racially abused, this Indigenous full-back shone. Three tries for the first time in his NRL career and generally showed why the Sharks want to keep him. underestimated. Just ousted Tyrell Sloan for the bench seat.
15. Daniel Saifiti (Knight)
Of all the back-to-the-wall performers for the Knights, he was as far out of his comfort zone as anyone. Had to survive 60 minutes watching twin brother Jacob get sent off but still came back to one of his club’s most famous victories.
16. Jacob Preston (Bulldogs)
Who even let him play for the Bulldogs let alone being on an NRL Team of the Week so early in the season? While everyone on the left is talking about Viliame Kikau, this ex-North Sydney Bear got off to a great start in life at the top league and has been a constant threat to the Storm.
17. Lindsay Collins (Roosters)
No Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and no Matt Lodge for the Roosters. Step up Lindsay Collins. Seventy-seven of the 80 minutes in muggy conditions. Enough said.
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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/team-of-the-week-bulldogs-broncos-dominate-alongside-dragons-early-dally-m-contender-20230312-p5crhv.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Canterbury Bulldogs and Brisbane Broncos dominate Team of the Week while Ben Hunt emerges as an opportunity for Dally M