Each week kiwileaguecentral.com will rank the top 10 Kiwis in the NRL right now, with a rolling power rankings system. Before Round 1 the players were ranked according to their place in the NZ top 50, and following their performances last weekend the top 10 remains the same, but with some players swapping positions.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (=)
Struggled to get involved for the most part and missed three tackles, but added spark in the second half. Had one of his quieter games in a match where his team was completely dominated for the first 40 minutes. But when your quiet days still include 200 running metres – the most by any fullback in Round 1 – you are doing OK.
2. Shaun Johnson (=)
Had a different number on his back but delivered the same impact. Set up two tries and scored one himself off some clever footwork. One of a few bright sparks for the Warriors in an otherwise uninspiring afternoon in Sydney.
3. Simon Mannering (=)
No (c) next to his name anymore, but no problems for the Warriors’ most-consistent performer. Typically busy in defence with 55 tackles, but added a bigger contribution in attack than we have seen for the last couple of seasons with a line break, try assist and a try.
4. Jesse Bromwich (=)
His 68 minutes were the third-most by any prop in Round 1, and Bromwich used the increased time on field to clock up 135 metres off 15 carries, along with 35 tackles.
5. Tohu Harris (+1 from 6th)
A busy man on his edge, Harris played all 80 minutes and ran 16 times for 114 metres. Was great on the defensive side as well, making 34 tackles – including some crucial interventions as the Dragons looked to sneak a later winner – without a single miss.
6. Kieran Foran (-1 from 5th)
Sat out Round 1 because of injury.
7. Martin Taupau (+2 from 9th)
His 40 tackles for Manly in his club debut were bettered only by fellow Kiwi international Lewis Brown’s 41, as Taupau got through 63 minutes on field. Looks a good fit in the Manly back-row and will get better as the new-look team gels.
8. Ben Matulino (=)
A surprise omission from the starting 13 just prior to kick-off, Matulino still made his mark from the interchange by coming on to play 53 minutes. The only bench man from either the Warriors or Tigers to run for over 100 metres on the day, with 113 metres, an offload and 29 tackles.
9. Issac Luke (-2 from 7th)
Was on the field to endure a torrid first half which saw the Warriors get hammered by the Tigers, and helped to soak some of that up with 33 tackles. Partly because of those circumstances he didn’t manage to impose himself in attack and overall had a frustrating day at the office.
10. Benji Marshall (=)
Did a good job leading the Dragons around the park as they came close to upsetting the Storm in Melbourne. Scored a try off a spirited physical effort in the first half and added a line break. A composed presence for St George Illawarra through the 80.
Knocking on the door of the top 10: Jason Taumalolo, Kevin Proctor, Curtis Rona and Adam Blair.