Team of the week: The NRL’s rising stars shine brightest

The Broncos are leading the way on the ladder, and it’s the same in round three’s team of the week. Brisbane have a very healthy four players in our squad of 17, although – like the ladder itself – the Sea Eagles are hot on their heels.

Kotoni Staggs, Jacob Kiraz, Josh Schuster and Haumole Olakau’atu. Credit:NRL Photos

1. Clint Gutherson (Eels)

As good a performance as you’ll find in a losing side. Gutherson was everywhere. Scored two and saved one on Christian Tuipoluto that he simply shouldn’t have. Immense.

2. Jacob Kiraz (Bulldogs)

Didn’t stop. Josh Addo-Carr got the tries on the other flank but in brutal Belmore conditions Kiraz will be in his forwards’ good books all week – tremendous work coming out of trouble, with 25 carries and 283 running metres.

3. Kotoni Staggs (Broncos)

Great running battle with Zac Lomax and didn’t go missing. Like Kiraz, he was more than willing to get moving coming out of trouble. Struck with two tries when the match was very much alive.

4. Paul Alamoti (Bulldogs)

Tipped for big things and gave a glimpse why. Sent Addo-Carr on his way from long-range twice, snaffling an intercept from Adam Doueihi and then a bomb. Got through plenty of work as well, with 16 carries and 191 running metres.

5. Marcelo Montoya (Warriors)

Thriving under Andrew Webster and another player who was in everything. A pair of tries to go with three line breaks and 246 metres.

6. Te Maire Martin (Warriors)

Twice turned two-on-two scenarios into Warriors tries with slick playmaking. Adds real balance to Shaun Johnson’s game – also very impressive – and got through 25 tackles as the Cowboys looked to target him.

7. Adam Reynolds (Broncos)

Kept Brisbane in it with his kicking game – nailing a two-point field goal, giving the Dragons grief under the high ball putting a Kotoni Staggs try on a platter. Exactly why the club paid big money for him.

8. Payne Haas (Broncos)

A game-breaking front-rower, be still my beating heart. As well as his usual mountain of work, Haas added a couple of late offloads against a tiring Dragons defence that led to match-winning tries. Immense.

9. Brandon Smith (Roosters)

Helped turn the contest for the Roosters after South Sydney dominated the opening exchanges. Thrilled to get through a game without injury but did a lot more than just that, scoring the tricolours opener and keeping the markers honest once he came off the bench.

10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters)

Even more influential than Smith – a real “follow me” effort from the Roosters enforcer. A total of 174 running metres in just 38 minutes, and apparently it was Waerea-Hargreaves keeping the peace when the foundation clubs threatened to kick off late in the match. Who’d have thought?

11. Haumole Olakau’atu (Sea Eagles)

Like Josh Schuster, could be absolutely anything. Two opportunistic tries to bookend 80 minutes of constantly threatening the defence, and then turning around with genuinely threatening defence of his own.

12. Keaon Koloamatangi (Rabbitohs)

Similar to Olakau’atu, whacked anything in red, white and blue all night. Just ask Lindsay Collins. Scored the Rabbitohs opener and was dangerous whenever play came down his edge.

13. Pat Carrigan (Broncos)

Ran shotgun with Haas all night, when the game was there for the taking it was Carrigan running off his front-rower. Finished with 180 metres and 24 tackles, and his head still swollen from having his wisdom teeth removed a few days earlier.

14. Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)

And he’s still working towards top flight. Forty touches on the ball, two tries, 10 tackle busts and 204 running metres. The rest of the NRL is well and truly on notice.

15. Josh Schuster (Sea Eagles)

Silky stuff on Manly’s left edge, can’t recall a chip and chase closer to the try line than the try he set up for Trbojevic. Lethal hands on a body that size. Was exposed in defence at times, but he certainly wasn’t the only one at Brookie.

16. Tom Gilbert (Dolphins)

Tireless in the middle, as he has been right throughout the Dolphins’ winning run. A total of 19 hit-ups, 172 metres with 68 of them post-contact. Forty-one tackles as well.

17. Corey Horsburgh (Raiders)

Red hair. Two tries. Need we say more? A lot of effort plays as well on kick-chase and pressure, great bench impact.

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