Round 13 | Team Of The Week
A host of Origin stars backed up and put in some superb performances for their club teams while a number who missed selection for Game One gave compelling reasons for consideration in Game Two.
1. Billy Slater (Storm)
One of the most contentious Queensland omissions in Origin history gave Kevin Walters something to consider with a starring role against the Knights, providing the final pass for Melbourne's first two tries and scoring two himself. Five tackle busts and 165 run metres made it the complete performance.
2. Josh Mansour (Panthers)
Returned from an ACL injury suffered whilst in England with the Kangaroos and picked up exactly where he left off, running for 212 typically powerful metres, providing a clever kick for Nathan Cleary to score and then capping his first game of 2017 with a try of his own.
3. Dylan Walker
In electrifying form at present, running a beautiful line for Daly Cherry-Evans to hit him on the chest for the game's first try and then pouncing on a Canberra error to land a crucial blow just before the break, kicking on the zero tackle for Cherry-Evans to race through and score.
4. Cheyse Blair
Caused the Newcastle right-edge defence all sorts of problems with his strong carries that yielded 135 run metres from 13 carries and the try in the final minute of the game that brought up the Storm's 40th point.
5. Jordan Rapana
You can't help but wonder what the score might have been had Jordan Rapana not been in the Raiders line-up. Sent Blake Austin away with a break from his own side of halfway to get the Raiders on the board, took advantage of a clever piece of play from Joey Leilua to score early in the second half and then split the Sea Eagles defence with an 80-minute solo effort to get his team back within two points. Had 133 run metres from dummy-half alone in his total of 244m with seven tackle busts.
6. Clint Gutherson
He's not even Parramatta's first-choice five-eighth but he's ours this week after yet another sparkling display alongside Mitchell Moses. He ran a brave line in the lead-up to his side's first try, sparked the second with a long break from dummy-half, set up Semi Radradra for his try late in the first half and then scored the clincher as the clock counted down. Pure footballer.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
Provided one of the passes of the season for Dylan Walker to score after just five minutes and then turned receiver to score from Walker's clever grubber just before half-time. And when the game went to extra time it was no surprise that Cherry-Evans was the man to step up and seal the win for his team.
8. Aaron Woods
Courageous display from the Tigers skipper after Origin, playing 59 minutes and running for 198 metres from 21 hit-ups as he tried to inspire his side's fightback.
9. Jake Friend
Made his customary 58 tackles but also showed his skill out of dummy-half to first put Boyd Cordner across from close range in the first half and then providing the grubber kick that led to Cordner's second with the match delicately poised.
10. Martin Taupau
He may have had a muted opening to his time at Manly last season but Martin Taupau is fast becoming one of the most influential forwards in the game. The Kiwi international went on a Raider rampage, running for 227m from 22 carries including 77 post-contact metres and was rewarded with a typically powerful try in the first half that brought the Lottoland crowd to their feet.
11. Boyd Cordner
All you need to know about Boyd Cordner as a player is that after playing 80 minutes for the Blues in one of the fastest Origins ever played on Wednesday, 72 hours later with the game on the line he was the player pushing through on the off-chance Broncos winger Jordan Kahu made a mistake. He did, Cordner scored his second try and the Roosters got home with no small thanks to their skipper.
12. Tyson Frizell
Another strong performance from a Blue backing up, Frizell racing 25 metres to score what would prove to be the match-winner in a game decided more by effort than skill.
13. Nathan Brown
Heroic for a Parramatta team hit hard by injuries, showing great skill to set up his side's first try and packing plenty of punch with every hit-up and every tackle against a Warriors team threatening a late comeback. Played the entire 80 minutes, running for 179m from 20 carries along with 39 tackles.
14. Josh Dugan
Showed just how dangerous he can be at fullback, making a 50-metre burst early and running for a total of 137m with seven tackle busts. Would have scored one of the tries of the season had Jack de Belin only been onside.
15. Beau Scott
With his team decimated by injuries the Eels skipper delivered a captain's knock when his team needed it the most, forcing the Warriors defence back with each of his 12 carries that yielded 114 metres along with 25 tackles that were crucial in Parramatta holding on to win.
16. Trent Merrin
With the pain of watching Origin still fresh, Merrin helped to inspire a Panther pummelling of the Bulldogs, racking up 214 run metres with five tackle busts that gave the likes of Moylan and Cleary the space to run riot.
17. Jason Taumalolo
Had an absolute field day as the Cowboys dominated possession against the Titans, running for 106 metres in the first half and then 118 against a tiring Gold Coast defence in the second 40 minutes for a total tally of 224m, including 78 post-contact metres.
This article first appeared on NRL.COM