Original story by Simon Masterton – nswrl.comau
Every week of the Intrust Super Premiership, NSWRL.com.au picks the best-performers of the previous round.
Included in the Rd 3 Team of the Week are Kiwi players Watson Heleta, Reubenn Rennie, Ata Hingano, Ali Lauitiiti, Addin Fonua-Blake and Abraham Papalii.
1 – Watson Heleta (Wests Tigers)
Like many of the Wests Tigers team, Heleta has had an up-and-down start to 2016 with a strong showing in Round 1 before being held back in the side’s heavy second-round defeat. The fullback ran for 175 metres in the victory, scoring two tries in the process. He was particularly dangerous in broken play and the combination with Josh Addo-Carr is beginning to flourish.
2 – Josh Addo-Carr (Wests Tigers, second appearance)
Heleta was possibly outdone by his left-side winger, who also bagged a double in the Tigers’ big win over the Roos. Along with 211 metres, the speedster had a heavily-involved game which included an impressive 60-metre individual effort to score his second.
3 – Reubenn Rennie (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
In a star-studded Canterbury-Bankstown backline, Rennie was by far the standout in the side’s heartbreaking loss at Belmore. Notching up 141 metres himself, the New Zealander also laid on a try assist, three line-break assists a number of big hits in defence and scored one himself. Rennie was at the centre of some promising signs for the Bulldogs.
4 – Sisa Waqa (Mounties)
After being controversially dropped from the Raiders backline, Waqa was named Man Of The Match in the Fox Sports Match Of The Round with a blistering performance. The 29-year-old was explosive in his 156 metres, with four tackle breaks and two tries. Waqa is our Player Of The Week for Round 3.
5 – Tautalatasi Tasi (North Sydney Bears)
After catching the Cutters’ defence napping, Tasi dived on an untouched grubber to give the Bears a 12-point advantage in the first half, before eventually putting forward a good solo effort to help set up the Bears’ third.
6 – Matt Frawley (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Frawley continues to improve in the Bulldogs’ Intrust Super Premiership NSW side, partnering Dane Chisholm outstandingly against the Sea Eagles. The young half scored two tries in the narrow defeat, also setting one up in an impressive performance.
7 – Ata Hingano (New Zealand Warriors, second appearance)
At just 18 years of age, Hingano is very quickly finding his feet in the Warriors side and forming combinations with Ali Lauitiiti and halves partner Erin Clark. Not only did the exciting prospect set up two vital tries in the come-from-behind victory – both to Lauitiiti – he also slotted the final conversion under pressure to give New Zealand the win.
8 – Jordan Grant (Wests Tigers)
The young Wests Tigers prop was one of several big men to lay the platform for the side, with his 170 metres of go-forward. He capped off the strong performance with a try, well and truly breaking down the Wyong defence throughout his 56 minutes.
9 – Api Koroisau (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
The new Manly recruit needed a big showing against Canterbury-Bankstown in Round 3, after being dropped from the NRL side in favour to afford Matt Parcell an 80-minute game. Koroisau delivered with 35 tackles, a try assist and a four-pointer himself from dummy half.
10 – Clayton Williams (North Sydney Bears)
In a short 40-minute stint for North Sydney Williams was busy, notching up 23 tackles and making 12 runs. The Rabbitohs NYC Players’ Player for 2015 has fitted in well to the increased intensity of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and will hope to increase his minutes as the weeks roll on.
11 – Ali Lauitiiti (New Zealand Warriors, captain, second appearance)
While Lauitiiti made his first Team Of The Week in Round 2, it was impossible to look past him for the captaincy this week. A second-half double saw the Warriors steal the win from the Jets, coming from 18-10 down to 20-18, when the 36-year-old was on the end of a perfectly-timed grubber and then a short pass from Ata Hingano. Lauitiiti was also typically solid in defence in his first game at Mount Smart Stadium in 12 years.
12 – Jarrad Kennedy (Mounties, third appearance)
Kennedy becomes the only player to make three consecutive Teams Of The Week in Round 3, with another hard-working 80 minutes against the Knights. Kennedy made a game-high 38 tackles and cracked triple figures in metres once again, also scoring a deserved try when the result was all but decided for Mounties.
13 – Blake Leary (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Leary, another capable Sea Eagles first-grader lining up in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, had a successful day at the office with a vital double against the Bulldogs. That included a match-winning effort to chase down a Pita Godinet grubber, adding to his 29 tackles and heavy involvement for 80 minutes.
14 – Mitch Cornish (Wentworthville Magpies, second appearance)
Along with halves partner Luke Kelly, Cornish led the Magpies around Pepper Stadium beautifully on the way to a convincing victory. The five-eighth laid on two tries and has a solid kicking game, frequently looking to poke holes in the Panthers’ defence.
15 – Mitch Williams (Wyong Roos)
While unconventional to carry two playmakers on a bench, Williams justified it by muscling up in defence; his 48 tackles was the highest tally of the round. After being concussed early in Round 2, Williams was dangerous with the ball despite only running it three times.
16 – Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Fonua-Blake is unlucky not to make the starting Team Of The Week in Round 3, with an incredible 219 metres and five tackle breaks. Elevated from the bench in the Sea Eagles’ side, the 20-year-old prop also set up Fabian Goodall after bursting through the Bulldogs’ defence and coming up with a classy offload.
17 – Abraham Papalii (Wyong Roos)
Papalii was solid in what was a tough day out for the Roos, running for 180 metres in a 74-minute game. The prop also got a deserved try at an important point in the match, taking the side within four points at half-time.