By Colleen Edwards (QRL content producer)
Some big and important wins in Round 14 saw players step up and produce some outstanding performances full of class and flair.
Norths Devils fullback Matthew Milson claimed the Hastings Deering player of the match honours in his side’s win against Mackay Cutters with an impressive attacking display. Earlier in the round however, the Townsville Blackhawks posted a huge win over Souths Logan Magpies in front of their home fans with five-eighth Shaun Nona having a direct hand in nearly half of his team’s 13 tries, earning him this week’s captaincy and the title of Hostplus strong performer.
Each round, Queensland Rugby League recognises the 17 best performers and name the Hostplus Cup Team of the Week, presented by Hostplus. These team selections are based not only on statistical data, but also take on board live and broadcast viewings of the games.
Round 14 Team of the Week
1. Tomas Chester – Townsville Blackhawks
Young gun Chester was hard to stop in Round 14, showing up at the right places to capitalise with three tries. Chester – who made his Hostplus Cup debut in Round 1 this season – also produced a try assist, a line break assist, two line breaks and nine tackle breaks and ran for just under 200 metres with 195. Taine Tuaupiki – who was leading the Petero Civoniceva Medal count before it went behind closed doors – was also on song for the Bears, recording a try, 170 metres, two try assists and 10 tackle breaks.
2. Brayden McGrady – Norths Devils
After scoring a try and producing a spectacular try assist in his side’s strong win against Mackay Cutters, Norths Devils winger McGrady has secured back-to-back appearances in Team of the Week. McGrady, who has scored 13 tries so far this season, also made two tackle breaks. Tigers winger Bernard Gregorius was also in good form with two tries, 189 run metres, one line break and six tackle breaks from his game.
3. Connor Broadhurst – Norths Devils
Having switched between five-eighth and centre at various stages throughout this season, Broadhurst showed what he can do on the edge, making 155 run metres, and producing a line break assist, a line break and five tackle breaks. Broadhurst also scored a try and slotted five goals in his side’s win. Tigers talent Solomona Faataape also impressed in his side’s victory, with 177 metres, a try assist, a line break assist, a line break and eight tackle breaks.
4. Valynce Te Whare – Redcliffe Dolphins
Taking to rugby league like a duck to water, Te Whare added to his try tally for the season in Redcliffe’s win against Tweed Seagulls in Round 14. The robust centre also had two line breaks and eight tackle breaks, and again showed off footwork and speed which belies his 182cm and 108 kilogram frame.
5. Solo Wane – PNG Hunters
A fan favourite, Solo Wane was in fine form in Round 14 as the Hunters upset Wynnum Manly Seagulls, scoring two impressive tries. Running for a round-high 273 metres, Wane also had a line break and three tackle breaks to add to his attacking stats.
6. Shaun Nona – Townsville Blackhawks (c)
With five try assists, three line break assists, two tackle breaks and 10 goals from 13 attempts for a personal points haul of 20, Nona was in amongst the action as the Blackhawks inflicted maximum damage against Souths Logan. Nona spent the early part of the season out recovering from injury, but has made the most of his time on the field since making his comeback in Round 9. Bears five-eighth Josh Rogers was again at his consistent best on Saturday and can consider himself unlucky to miss out after scoring two tries and kicking eight goals.
7. Guy Hamilton – Burleigh Bears
With three try assists to his name, as well as three line break assists and 160 kick metres from six kicks, it was a good night out overall for the Burleigh five-eighth in his side’s Round 14 win against Ipswich Jets. Hamilton also scored a try in Burleigh’s 52-10 win which put them five points clear of the second-placed Sunshine Coast Falcons.
8. Tristan Powell – Burleigh Bears
The young Burleigh Bears forward has been producing some great games this year and in Round 14 it was no different, with the Goondiwindi junior recording a try assist, 91 metres, a line break assist and 19 tackles during his 45-minute stint. In a beaten team, Jets skipper Nat Neale was again a consistent performer, making 87 metres and 43 tackles.
9. Trey Browne – Central Queensland Capras
In a close game against Sunshine Coast Falcons, Capras rake Browne put in a solid shift during his 63 minutes on the field, making 45 tackles and 143 kick metres, as well as producing a try assist. Browne also kicked three important goals in the 22-20 win. His counterpart in the match Tyson Smoothy, who has just finished a two-week train and trial with Melbourne Storm, also had a great game, making 45 tackles as well.
10. Emry Pere – Townsville Blackhawks
The powerful prop was unstoppable in Round 14, running for 216 metres as the Blackhawks proved too much for Souths Logan. The Cowboys-contracted forward also had a line break assist, an offload and three tackle breaks.
11. Ethan O’Neill – Central Queensland Capras
O’Neill opened the scoring for the Capras in their Round 14 win against Sunshine Coast Falcons, setting a strong tone for his side, overcoming three defenders to put the ball down. In the match, he also ran for 120 metres, had a try assist, a line break assist, made a line break of his own, six tackle breaks and 28 tackles. His second row partner Nixon Putt was also strong, with 157 metres run and 23 tackles made.
12. Eliesa Katoa – Redcliffe Dolphins
The Warriors forward played the full 80 minutes against Tweed Seagulls and put in a good effort, running for 161 metres in the match. Katoa also made 23 tackles, had three offloads, a tackle break, a line break and a line break assist, as well as a try assist for an overall strong display in Redcliffe’s convincing win.
13. Bennett Leslie – Brisbane Tigers
One of the more experienced Tigers players, Leslie put in a strong showing in his side’s close victory against Northern Pride, making 140 run metres and 33 tackles. Leslie, who debuted in Cup with Mackay Cutters, also had a line break and four tackle breaks. Sunshine Coast skipper Patrice Siolo also had a strong game with 125 metres and 26 tackles, as did Hunters co-captain Keven Appo who make 26 tackles as well and 134 run metres.
14. Matthew Milson – Norths Devils
The Norths Devils fullback took home the Hastings Deering player of the match honours after his excellent Round 14 showing which saw him score a try and produce three try assists. Milson also had two line breaks and seven tackle breaks, proving a handful for the Cutters.
15. Wesser Tenza – PNG Hunters
Coming off the bench with a bang, Tenza racked up three try assists and three line break assists in his 48 minutes on the field. Tenza also contributed with 17 tackles and popped in a kick which garnered 31 metres.
16. Julian Christian – Northern Pride
Another round, another entry into Team of the Week for the Northern Pride fullback. This week, Christian had a strong game despite his side going down by two points, running for 239 metres – a tally that included 10 tackle breaks and three line breaks.
17. Christian Hazard – Souths Logan Magpies
There’s not much you can say after a 72-0 loss, but Souths Logan skipper Hazard showed he cared after making a round-high 47 tackles in the match against Townsville. In the match, all the Magpies could do was defend with only 35 per cent possession, with Rory Ferguson (44) and Jake Elmore (40) putting in.