NRL Team of the Week Round 24
1 Alex Johnston (South Sydney)
Two months ago, many doubted whether Alex Johnston would be able to handle a full-time positional change to Fullback after some questionable performances across the past 18 months of football. But since moving back to that role in Round 21, ‘AJ’ has been in career best form. In his sides 36-18 victory against the New Zealand Warriors on the weekend, Johnston recorded 235 run metres, 3 tries, 3-line breaks and a try assist.
2 Corey Oates (Brisbane)
Oates was back to his barnstorming best against St. George Illawarra on Friday night. The bustling winger run for just a tick under 200 run metres before crossing over for what was the try of the season in the 68th minute.
3 Josh Morris (Canterbury)
After a poor season, Josh Morris finally hit form against the seventh placed Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon. Back to his attacking best, he set up twin brother Brett for a try in the first half before crossing for one of his own in the second. Morris also ran for 100 metres and was sound in defence, not missing a single tackle.
4 Curtis Scott (Melbourne)
The 19-year-old is fast becoming one of the most exciting outside backs in the NRL. Against Newcastle, he ran for over 150 metres, recorded 2-line breaks and scored a try. Perhaps his best asset though is his ability to bust through a tackle. In their 44-12 victory, Scott broke a mammoth nine tackles – in just 12 runs.
5 Latrell Mitchell (Sydney)
Ever since his demotion to New South Wales Cup earlier in the season, Mitchell has returned to first grade with a fire in his belly and is playing the best football of his career thus far. In his 160 metre performance against Wests, the ever threatening Mitchell recorded 3 line breaks and scored the match winning try in the 72nd minute.
6 Anthony Milford (Brisbane)
Anthony Milford put in a performance against the Dragons which proves why he’s worth the big dollars next season. The one-time Origin player ran for a whopping 180 metres – almost unheard of for a half – recorded 2 line breaks, scored a try, set up another and kicked two goals in a man of the match performance.
7 Nathan Cleary (Penrith)
What can’t this kid do? At just 19 years of age, Nathan Cleary is one of the most composed halves in the competition. Cleary led Penrith to a 26-22 victory over the Canberra Raiders on Sunday afternoon, effectively ending the ‘green machines’ 2017 campaign. Cleary scored a try and kicked 5 goals in a performance which also included an excellent kicking game.
8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney)
I will go as far as saying this was the best game I’ve ever seen Jared Waerea-Hargreaves play. The Kiwi international got the Roosters off to a great start with his barnstorming runs. The big man almost claimed scored himself in the opening minutes before putting Mitchell Pearce over for the opening try of the match. In his 50-minute performance, ‘JWH’ ran for a total of 170 metres from 17 carries, made 30 tackles, recorded a line break and a try assist.
9 Cameron Smith (Melbourne)
As durable as ever, Melbourne captain Cameron Smith led the way for the Melbourne Storm in their big victory over Newcastle. In a week where many thought he would be given a long rest on the bench or not play at all, Smith still put in a 70-minute performance. Making 40 tackles and 81 run metres as well as recording 2-line break assists and a try assist, Smith put the cherry on top of his performance with 5 goals.
10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne)
Despite starting from the bench, big ‘NAS’ was as effective a forward as any on the weekend with a barnstorming display against Newcastle. The towering Kiwi recorded 175 metres from just 12 runs, scored a try and made a line break in his 30-minute stint in which he also made 12 tackles for no misses.
11 Alex Glenn (Brisbane)
In his best performance since the 2015 season, Alex Glenn wound the clock back on Friday night against St. George Illawarra in a performance where he bagged himself a try double. The 29-year-old also recorded a game high 42 tackles and ran for over 100 metres.
12 Angus Crichton (South Sydney)
The shining light in South Sydney’s horror 2017 campaign, Crichton continued his impressive form on the weekend. The 21-year-old made 135 metres, 30 tackles and broke 7 tackles in what turned out to be South Sydney’s ninth win of the season.
13 Paul Gallen (Cronulla)
At 36 years of age, Paul Gallen remains one of the best forwards in the competition. In his 75-minute stint – more than what he’s usually used to this season – he recorded a team high 34 tackles, ran for a game high 238 metres and scored his third try of the season in Cronulla’s 10-point win over North Queensland in Townsville.
14 Michael Morgan (North Queensland)
Did remarkably well to keep his side in the contest for yet another week. Will come close to Halfback of the year honours.
15 Brett Morris (Canterbury)
Much like his brother, he has been out of form this season. Finally turned things around against Manly, bagging a double in an impressive performance.
16 Luke Lewis (Cronulla)
Luke Lewis gets better with age. The 2016 Clive Churchill medallist continues to impress in 2017 with his defensive game against North Queensland a major key in his sides victory on the weekend.
17 Brodie Croft (Melbourne)
He’s not the next Cooper Cronk, he’s the first Brodie Croft. A young half in the Nathan Cleary mould, Croft led Melbourne to victory against Newcastle with a hattrick of tries.
Honourable Mention: Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle)