Monday 23 October 2017 / 11:35 AM

NRL Round 9 Team of the Week

1. Brett Stewart – Manly

The Prince of Brookvale returned in style, scoring a double for his side and equalling club legend Steve Menzies’ club tryscoring record of 151 in the process.

2. Daniel Tupou – Sydney Roosters

Tupou was brilliant on Friday night, chipping in with a hat-trick of tries as the Chooks set about resurrecting their season. No doubt the Guildford Owls junior has had the call from Laurie asking him to keep May 27 free.

3. Peta Hiku – Manly

Fresh from playing a starring role with the Kiwis in the Anzac Test, the freakish centre backed it up for Manly on Sunday. Hiku had a hand in two of Manly’s five-try onslaught. Hiku has cemented himself as a regular ‘Mr. Fix-it’ in the Manly backline, covering a number of positions.

4. Justin Hodges – Brisbane

Bristling from his Test snub, the Broncos captain had a point to prove – and he did so in style. Hodges was at his destructive best on Friday night. His trademark running from dummy-half and ability to brush defenders with ease proved to be the difference yet again. Hodges also silenced those who believe his Maroons jersey was up for grabs.

5. Aaron Gray – South Sydney

In just his second appearance in the top grade, this 21-year-old not only crossed the line twice, helping the Bunnies out of a three-game slump, but he also showcased his freakish ability. No doubt we will be seeing this kid again very soon.

6. Blake Austin – Canberra Raiders

It’s almost a given that Blake Austin appears in the team of the week. Austin was again outstanding for the Raiders has they made light work of the Titans. If his three-try heroics of the City v Country and the double for the Raiders on Saturday are not enough to earn himself a Blues jumper, than I don’t know what is.

7. Shaun Johnson – New Zealand Warriors

Andrew Fifita looked certain to have sealed things with a brilliant solo effort in the 75th minute for the Sharks. Guess again. With less than two minutes remaining, the Warriors needed nothing short of a miracle. They got one better in the freak that is Shaun Johnson. Not only has Johnson etched himself into the Rugby League highlight reels Hall of Fame, he has awoken the sleeping giants. The Warriors are back!

8. Josh McGuire – Brisbane Broncos

The ‘Moose’ put in a man-of-the match performance for the Broncos on Friday night. McGuire is the prime example of the ‘next generation’ prop, playing the majority of the 80 minutes. Surely a Maroons jersey awaits.

9. Josh Hodgson – Canberra Raiders

The Canberra Raiders are slowly piecing it together, thanks largely to Hull KR product Josh Hodgson. Again he was brilliant in the Raiders clinic on Saturday. If Hodgson stays fit, the Raiders make the top eight with ease.

10. Andrew Fifita – Cronulla Sharks

A brilliant solo effort to brush off five defenders and slam the ball down for what seemed to be the match-winner. Some Shaun Johnson magic quickly spoiled celebrations though. Fifita will play for the Blues in the series opener, and with the performance he put forward on Saturday, Queensland have a job on their hands trying to contain him.

11. Kevin Proctor – Melbourne Storm

Running for over 150 metres and producing a try assist, the Kiwi giant was brilliant for the Storm as they brushed past an average Parramatta Sunday.

12. Aidan Guerra – Sydney Roosters

In his return from injury, the Maroons incumbent immediately produced his best. Ran for over 100 metres and offloaded at will.

13. Simon Mannering (c) – New Zealand Warriors

This bloke never stops. Running for over 110 metres and chipping in with a staggering 46 tackles, Mannering was the Warriors’ inspiration in their heart-stopping victory over the Sharks.

Originally published by rugbyleagueplayer.com.au 

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Peter Fegan

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