Round 1 Team of the Week: Featuring Aufaga-Toomaga and Russell

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By Jorja Brinums (QRL lead content producer)

Round 1 of Hostplus Cup had it all – four tries on debut, a hat-trick, doubles, upset wins and plenty of flair on show.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls centre Deine Mariner was unstoppable on the field, scoring four tries in his Cup debut against Burleigh Bears, earning himself the Hastings Deering player of the match, the Hostplus strong performer for the week and captain honours for this season’s first Team of the Week.

Round 1 Team of the week

1. Julian Christian – Northern Pride

The Pride fullback, back at his old stomping ground at North Ipswich Reserve, was electric and looked dangerous whenever he had the ball. Christian scored one try, kicked two-from-two conversions, clocked 160 run metres, made one line break, one line break assist, one try assist and five tackle breaks during his side’s comprehensive win over the Jets. Ipswich fullback Ono So’oialo was also impressive with 217 run metres, one line break and five tackle breaks.

2. BJ Aufaga-Toomaga – Brisbane Tigers

Exciting winger Aufaga-Toomaga scored a hat-trick during his side’s win over Tweed Seagulls in Round 1 in his club debut. He also kicked two-from-two conversion attempts, made 155 run metres, two line breaks and four tackle breaks. Central Queensland Capras winger Jedidiah Simbiken was also on fire with one try and 107 run metres.

3. Scott Galeano – Tweed Seagulls

The Seagulls centre put in a strong performance in Round 1, with one try, 156 run metres, one line break, two line break assists, one try assist, four tackle breaks and 24 tackles, with a 96 per cent tackle efficiency.

4. Deine Mariner – Wynnum Manly Seagulls (C)

The absolute stand-out performer for Round 1 was Seagulls centre Deine Mariner, who bagged four tries on debut for the green and red outfit, earning himself the Hastings Deering player of the match and Hostplus top performer of the week. Mariner also made 217 run metres, one line break, two tackle breaks and 16 tackles. Hunters centre Rodrick Tai was also impressive with 90 run metres, one line break assist, one try assist, six tackle breaks and 20 tackles.

5. Rashaun Denny – Norths Devils

The talented Devils winger scored a double during his side’s Round 1 win over Townsville Blackhawks in Townsville. Denny also made 158 run metres, three line breaks and two tackle breaks. Opposing winger Kalifa Faifai-Loa was also excellent with one try, 149 run metres, one line break and one tackle break. Sunshine Coast Falcons winger Will Warbrick also performed well with one try, 167 run metres, one line break and two tackle breaks.

6. Ezra Mam – Souths Logan Magpies

The Brisbane Broncos-contracted five-eighth was as elusive and dangerous as ever for Souths Logan, especially during his first half performance, with two tries, 180 run metres – the most for the Magpies – and four tackle breaks.

7. Jack Madden – Central Queensland Capras

The Capras half was instrumental in his side’s comeback win over the Magpies in Round 1, scoring one try, making 110 run metres, two line break assists and 16 tackles. “Full credit to the Capras, they are always a gritty side that never go away, Jack and Trey did a great job of getting them around the field and making good decisions,” Magpies coach Steven Bretherton said after the game.

8. Dunamis Lui – Redcliffe Dolphins

The Dolphins prop, who ran out for the Queensland Maroons in 2020, was excellent during his 60 minutes on the field. Lui made 149 run metres, including 48 post-contact, three tackle breaks and made the most tackles for the Dolphins with 31, with a 91.18 per cent tackle efficiency. Magpies prop Rory Ferguson was also good with 152 run metres, one tackle break and 33 tackles with an 89.19 per cent tackle efficiency.

9. Tyson Smoothy – Sunshine Coast Falcons

The Falcons hooker for excellent during his side’s James Ackerman Cup clash with the Dolphins. Smoothy scored one try, kicked four from four conversions, made one line break, two tackle breaks, a huge 50 tackles with a 98.04 per cent tackle efficiency. Magpies hooker Christian Hazard was also good with 91 run metres, one try assist, two line breaks, two tackle breaks and 33 tackles.

10. Nat Neale – Ipswich Jets

The “chicken pesto pasta prop” was as reliable as ever for the Jets during their Round 1 game against Pride. Neale, during his 62 minutes on the field, recorded 85 run metres, one line break assist, three tackle breaks and made 42 tackles, with a 97.67 tackle efficiency.

11. Moses Noovao-McGreal – Norths Devils

The Devils second rower was superb in Round 1. Noovao-McGreal scored two tries during his side’s win over the Blackhawks, made 61 run metres, one line break, three tackle breaks and 30 tackles.

12. Dan Russell – Brisbane Tigers

The Tigers second rower made 60 run metres and 40 tackles during his side’s win over Tweed at Piggabeen. Capras second rower Nixon Putt was also good with 204 run metres and 19 tackles.

13. Sam Coster – Burleigh Bears

The Bears lock was excellent in his side’s win over 2021 grand finalists Wynnum Manly in Round 1. Coster, during his 67 minutes on the field, made 102 run metres, one line break, one tackle break, two tackle breaks and 31 tackles with a 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

14. Lachlan Hubner – Central Queensland Capras

Hubner was excellent off the bench for the Capras. During his 59 minutes on the field, he scored one try, ran 103 run metres, made one line break, one tackle break and 22 tackles.

15. Dilbert Issac – PNG Hunters

The Hunters lock, during his 47 minutes on the field, scored one try, clocked 113 run metres, made one line break, three tackle breaks and 18 tackles with a 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

16. Tony Francis – Burleigh Bears

The Bears winger scored a double during his side’s win over Wynnum Manly. Francis also made two line breaks, five tackle breaks and made nine tackles, with a 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

17. Josh Chudleigh – Townsville Blackhawks

The Blackhawks captain and hooker was good in a losing side in Round 1. Chudleigh, during his 68 minutes on the field, scored one try, kicked one-from-one conversion attempts, clocked 84 run metres, one line break, three tackle breaks and made 32 tackles with a 96.97 per cent tackle efficiency.

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