Round 11 Team of the Week
Origin hopefuls pressed their cases for selection all throughout Round 11 as a host of Blues forwards and a pair of prospective Queensland halves play commanding roles for their teams over the weekend.
1. Michael Gordon (Roosters)
The Flash wound back the clock with an energetic and effective performance against the Bulldogs, running for 211 metres, breaking seven tackles and providing the final pass for Daniel Tupou's try to set the Roosters on their way.
2. Nene Macdonald (Dragons)
Handled the ball twice in one of the tries of the season finished off by Kalifa Faifai Loa and showed great athleticism to contort his body into the in-goal for a try of his own in the second half. A dominant display that yielded 173 run metres, nine tackle breaks and two line breaks
3. Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles)
His battle with Jarryd Hayne was billed as an Origin audition and it was Walker who killed, playing through the second half with the pain of a corked left quad. Backed up an Akuila Uate break to score his first, should have returned the favour when he burnt Hayne on the outside and burst through for the match-winner late in the game. Another classy showing.
4. Tim Lafai (Dragons)
Tore the Warriors' right-edge defence to shreds to continue his outstanding season, providing the final pass for Kalifa Faifai Loa's first try and then slicing through to score himself seven minutes prior to half-time. His five offloads caused the Warriors nightmares as he amassed 238 metres from 20 carries.
5. Daniel Tupou (Roosters)
Showed just how influential wingers can be in the modern game with a mix of strong carries, audacious offloads and try-scoring exploits against the Bulldogs. His stats sheet is an attacking player's dream with 178 run metres, four offloads, four tackle breaks, two line breaks, two line-break assists and a solitary four-pointer. His offload when being flung into touch led directly to the Roosters' late try to seal the result.
6. Anthony Milford (Broncos)
A Tigers team decimated by injury on top of the mid-week departure of Mitchell Moses was easy pickings for Milford who used his speed, strength and skill to all but decide the outcome by half-time. Milford's pass created the space in the lead-up to Tautau Moga's try and then he provided the final pass for Alex Glenn, Korbin Sims and Jordan Kahu to all score before half-time for a 24-0 lead. Added a try of his own in the second term.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)
Toyed with the Titans in the first half in a performance he admitted later was fuelled by the critics. Pulled Gold Coast's left edge defence apart with judicious passing in the first 40 minutes and sealed the result with another pearler for Dylan Walker to score his second seven minutes from full-time.
8. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
Swung the momentum of the game completely the way of the Sharks when he dished up the offload for Chad Townsend to race through and score midway through the second half. His 10 tackle busts shows how hard he was to contain for the Cowboys defence, finishing with 175 metres and three offloads.
9. Apisai Koroisau (Sea Eagles)
Made good use of his forwards' dominance to accrue 64 run metres from seven darts from dummy-half which included a try in the 24th minute as the Sea Eagles raced to a handy lead. Made a team-high 45 tackles.
10. Paul Vaughan (Dragons)
Celebrated his contract extension by showing just how valuable he has become to this Dragons team, running rampant through a disappointing Warriors outfit with 20 carries and 216 run metres that put his side on the front foot all evening.
11. Josh Papalii (Raiders)
Went some way to making up for missing Canberra's Round 10 loss to the Knights due to a club-imposed suspension by asserting himself on a contest that could very easily have gone the other way. His bell-ringer on Tepai Moeroa was one of the best of the season as he had three offloads and three tackle breaks to go with 172 metres from 17 carries.
12. Josh Jackson (Bulldogs)
Whether he is retained in the Blues team or not Jackson showed the qualities that made him an Origin player in the first place against the Roosters, troubling their defence with angled runs and providing the offload that led to Matt Frawley's try. Finished with 152 metres and 40 tackles.
13. Trent Merrin (Panthers)
With his team down by 14 points and without both Peter Wallace and Bryce Cartwright it was Merrin who inspired the Panthers into action against Newcastle, dishing up the try assist for Matt Moylan to score and launch their comeback. A Merrin charge provided the platform for Leilani Latu to score Penrith's second as he finished with 210 metres and five offloads.
14. Matt Moylan (Panthers)
Moylan is making a habit of sparking the Panthers' attack in the second half of games, following Merrin to score his side's first and then scoring a second with a piece of individual brilliance and more than a dash of good fortune.
15. James Tamou (Panthers)
Looked much more the player the Panthers had recruited from the Cowboys, busting eight attempts at tackle, running for 153 metres and bringing back memories of his Auckland Nines campaign with a try that put his side in front for the first time with 15 minutes left to play.
16. Junior Paulo (Raiders)
Made his presence known in the middle with an impressive 23 carries that yielded 209 run metres and caused further issues for the Parramatta defence with four offloads and five tackle breaks.
17. Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)
A typically industrious display from the Manly lock forward who capped off an 80-minute display that yielded 180 metres, 42 tackles, four tackle breaks, three offloads and two line breaks with the try that put the result beyond doubt.