Round 23 Dream Teams

Round 23 Team of the Week

I’ll be honest. At the start of the year I read about all the hype of Cameron McInnes becoming an 80 minute hooker at the Dragons and dominating and despite having him in my team last year I left him along in my draft plans. He wasn’t a sexy option. As the Player of the Week and Dream Team hooker he has proven me wrong time and time again. With two tries, two line breaks, a line break assist and a workhorse he finished with 15 points which is his equal highest NRLCEO score ever (Round 13 2016 for Souths against the Titans).

The teenage sensation at the Raiders was the second highest scorer of the round. Nick Cotric finished with 14 points through two tries, a try assist, two line breaks and a 155m metre eater. It is his third double in his short 21 game career and his 14th try of the year. He’s currently the 12th highest ranked winger in NRLCEO but that’s amazing considering he’s still just 18. There are only five other 18 year olds in the NRL and none of them start in their teams.

The beast from the tropics, Jason Taumalolo, continues his best ever NRLCEO season. We invented the metre eater to suit this bloke because he wasn’t getting workhorses – now he’s getting both regularly! With 14 workhorses and an incredible 26 metre eaters for the year he now becomes a genuine top rank back rower draft pick.

 

Here is the rest of the Team of the Week:

  1. Alex Johnston (12)
  2. Nick Cotric (14)
  3. Tautau Moga (12)
  4. Kurt Mann (11)
  5. Jason Nightingale (12)
  6. Brock Lamb (10)
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans (11)
  8. James Graham (9)
  9. Cameron McInnes (15)
  10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard (9)
  11. Elijah Taylor (11)
  12. Joel Thompson (9)
  13. Jason Taumalolo (13)

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

 

Overall Dream Team

At the top of the tree Paul Gallen choked over the weekend and with only 32 involvements and 81 metres, he got his first donut of the year! He now has a three point lead over Tom Trbojevic and a ten point lead over Jordan Rapana. It’s going to be a great finish for the gold, silver and bronze!

After only one week out of the team, Suliasi Vunivalu is back in the Dream Team. He sits just one point ahead of Josh Addo-Carr and while they probably both deserve a spot in the team they need to start scoring heavily to oust Rapana.

Kiwi captain Simon Mannering makes his way back into the Dream Team after a few weeks out. He has the equal most workhorses (23) with Aiden Tolman and has the seventh highest tackle count in the game. Consistency is his middle name.

Lastly, I gave him a wrap in the Team of the Week but Jason Taumalolo is proving himself to be a genuine top five back rower draft pick for next season. The $10 million dollar man has six more metre eaters than his nearest rival (Paul Gallen – 20), the most run metres (3,686) and has the third most runs (337) in the NRL. He averages 194 metres per game! What. A. Beast.

 

Here is the Dream Team at the conclusion of Round 23 (with total points in brackets):

  1. Tom Trbojevic (138)
  2. Suliasi Vunivalu (107) – NEW
  3. Dylan Walker (112)
  4. James Roberts (121)
  5. Jordan Rapana (131)
  6. Gareth Widdop (111)
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans (94)
  8. Paul Vaughan (121)
  9. Cameron McInnes (115)
  10. Felise Kaufusi (122)
  11. Simon Mannering (123) – NEW
  12. Jason Taumalolo (127) – NEW
  13. Paul Gallen (141) – MVP

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

Position Updates

The flexibility of TheBench platform and the removal of position restrictions means that we are able to change player positions mid-season.

The rules that we have set aside are that if a player starts three games in a row in a position they are not named as eligible for on NRLCEO then we will change them AFTER their third game.  This allows us to be responsive fairly quickly to changes, but also removes the need to change players if they are only filling in for a position temporarily due to injuries in their squad. Please note that players starting from the bench do not qualify for position updates as it’s hard to determine their position for sure.

We will also update their positions if they play five games non-concurrently throughout the season in another position. This is to reward those flexible utility players that fill in other positions throughout the year.

With all that in your melon, we now list all of the players who have had positional changes throughout the year so far:

 

Round 23 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Josh Dugan Fullback Centre
Kirisome Auva’a Centre Winger
Kurt Capewell Back Row Center
Mitch Aubusson Back Row Centre

 

The following players still require more time in their new positions:

  • Benji Marshall has started two games in a row at five-eighth (Round 16 and 17).
  • Blake Leary has started two games at hooker (Round 7 and 8).
  • Clay Priest has started two games in the back row (Round 4 and 5).
  • Coen Hess has started one game in the front row (Round 5).
  • Dale Copley has started two games on the wing (Round 12 and 13).
  • Daniel Alvaro has started one game in the back row (Round 12).
  • Elliott Whitehead has started two games at centre (Round 1 and 2).
  • John Asiata has started one game at half back (Round 7).
  • Kurt Capewell has started two games on the wing (Round 7 and 8).
  • Kyle Turner has started four games in the front row (Round 6, 7, 9 and 10).
  • Malakai Watene-Zelezniak has started two games in the centres (Round 11 and 12).
  • Matt Frawley has played one game at hooker (Round 18).
  • Matt Wright has started two games at fullback (Round 12 and 13).
  • Mitch Cornish has started one game at five-eighth (Round 18).
  • Nathan Davis has started one game on the wing (Round 14).
  • Paul Carter has started one game in hooker (Round 7).
  • Shaun Fensom has started three games in the front row (Round 20, 22 and 23).
  • Sione Mata’utia has started one game at halfback (Round 8).
  • Slade Griffin has started two games at hooker (Round 16 and 18).
  • Trent Hodkinson has started two games at five-eighth (Round 17 and 18).
  • Waqa Blake has started two games on the wing (Round 7 and 8).

 

Round 22 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Connor Watson Five-eighth Fullback
Matt Eisenhuth Front Row Back Row
Moses Mbye Halfback Hooker

 

 

Round 21 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Jamie Buhrer Back Row Hooker

 

 

Round 20 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Danny Fualalo Back Row Front Row
Fa’amanu Brown Five-eighth Hooker

 

Round 19 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Max King Front Row Back Row
Nathan Ross Wing Fullback

 

Round 18 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Bevan French Fullback Winger
Corey Norman Halfback Five-eighth
Young Tonumaipea Centre Winger

 

Round 17 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Esan Marsters Back Row Centre
Kevin Naiqama Centre Fullback
Ryan Matterson Five-eighth Back Row
Will Zillman Centre, Fullback Winger

 

Round 16 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Dylan Edwards Centre Fullback
Matt Moylan Fullback Five-eighth

 

Round 15 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Kurt Mann Five-eighth, Winger Centre

 

Round 14 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
John Asiata Back Row, Five-eighth Front Row
Morgan Boyle Front Row Back Row

 

Round 13 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Dane Gagai Centre Fullback
Mitch Moses Five-eighth Halfback

 

Round 12 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Aaron Gray Centre Winger
Cody Walker Five-eighth Fullback
John Sutton Back Row Five-eighth
Matt Frawley Halfback Five-eighth

 

Round 11 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad Five-eighth Winger
Jaelen Feeney Fullback Half back
Jarryd Hayne Fullback Centre
Kurt Mann Winger Five-eighth

 

Round 10 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Dan Sarginson Centre Winger
Josh Asiata Back row Five-eighth
Kevin Naiqama Centre Winger
Michael Morgan Five-eighth Halfback

 

Round 9 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Blake Ferguson Centre, Fullback Winger
Joseph Manu Winger Centre
Kerrod Holland Centre Winger
Kodi Nikorima Fullback, Hooker Half back

 

Round 8 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Brad Takaraingi Centre Five-eighth
Clint Gutherson Five-eighth Fullback
Joe Tapine Front Row Back Row

 

Round 7 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Blake Ayshford Centre Winger
Braiden Burns Centre Winger
Brendan Elliot Winger Fullback
Jack Littlejohn Five-eighth Halfback
Joe Wardle Centre Back Rower
Nathan Brown Front Rower Back Rower

.

Round 6 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Tyrone Roberts Five-eighth Fullback

.

Round 5 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Ryan Simpkins Back Rower Hooker

 

Round 4 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Alex Johnston
Winger Fullback
Jack Bird
Centre Fullback

 

Round 3 Changes

Player Current Position(s) New Position
Brenko Lee Winger Centre
Bryson Goodwin Centre Winger
Dean Whare Centre Winger
Felise Kaufusi Front Row Back Row
Josh McGuire Front Row Back Row
Latrell Mitchell Fullback, Winger Centre
Michael Chee Kam Back Row Centre
Moses Suli Centre Winger

 

Round 22 Dream Teams

Round 22 Team of the Week

Wow! Ben Hunt. scored the eighth equal highest NRLCEO score of all time21 points from a bench player? It just doesn’t seem to make sense. He played just 47 minutes and yet . What a performance. Three tries, three try assists, two line breaks and a line break assist he finished with a quality tally of 21 NRLCEO points and yet still couldn’t get a compliment from Wayne Bennett.

Not far behind him was the new and improved Robbie Farah – Damien Cook. If only this guy could get an 80 minute gig to himself! He scored a try, had a try assist, line break, line break assist, double workhorse and 127m metre eater. He’s the perfect hooker if he can just get the minutes.

Tommy “Turbo” Trbojevic turned it on at Brookie Oval (I can’t bring myself to call it that corporate name) on the weekend for his second highest ever NRLCEO score. Is he officially the new Prince of Brookie? With two tries, a try assist, line break, two line breaks and a 207m double metre eater he has put himself within spitting distance of the overall MVP.

Raiders reject and now Knights stalwart Mitch Barnett ran the perfect back rower lines on the weekend to cross for the first double of his career and just his fourth ever NRL try in his 29th appearance. It’s the second time he has been in double figures and it is his 14th workhorse for the year.

Honourable mention to young Brock Lamb for his 12 points and racking up his 10th try assist for the year. That’s more than Cameron Munster, James Maloney, Blake Green, Matt Moylan, Johnathan Thurston, Blake Austin and Corey Norman. Not bad for a youngster.

 

Here is the rest of the Team of the Week:

  1. Tom Trbojevic (17)
  2. Corey Oates (13)
  3. Kurt Mann (10)
  4. Tryone Peachey (8)
  5. Daniel Tupou (13)
  6. Brock Lamb (12)
  7. Ben Hunt (21)
  8. Daniel Alvaro (9)
  9. Damien Cook (18)
  10. Ben Matulino (6)
  11. Mitch Barnett (14)
  12. Elliott Whitehead (9)
  13. Josh McGuire (9)

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

 

Overall Dream Team

We finally have a bit more of a race on for the overall MVP! Paul Gallen leads the pack with 141 points but Tom Trbojevic is hot on his heels! With 17 points from the weekend he reduced the gap by 13 points. With Manly having an easy run home against the Tigers, Bulldogs, Warriors and Panthers he could easily take the title.

Jordan Rapana has decided to hit back with his form but it might be a case of too little, too late.

There has been a switch on wing of the Dream Team. Vunivalu’s team mate Josh Addo-Carr has overtaken him by three points to make the Dream Team for the first time ever. He has 16 tries for the year, 16 line breaks and a superior metre eater count with 12. The two of them will go neck and neck for the second wing spot behind Jordan Rapana.

The other new entry this week is Daly Cherry-Evans. It’s been an unusually quiet year for halfbacks this season as Shaun Johnson held onto his place despite getting injured three weeks ago. Fittingly taking his place in the Dream Team, DCE has the most try assists (21) in the whole NRL, the second most line break assists (17), the second most 40/20’s (3) and the equal third most field goals (2). Michael Morgan is hot on his heels, but I like DCE’s run home. He will be aiming to pass 100 NRLCEO points for the first time ever (passing his previous best of 94 in 2013).

 

Here is the Dream Team at the conclusion of Round 22 (with total points in brackets):

  1. Tom Trbojevic (136)
  2. Josh Add0-Carr (106) – NEW
  3. Dylan Walker (107)
  4. James Roberts (118)
  5. Jordan Rapana (124)
  6. Gareth Widdop (103)
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans (83) – NEW
  8. Paul Vaughan (117)
  9. Cameron McInnes (100)
  10. Nathan Brown (103)
  11. Jake Trbojevic (118)
  12. Felise Kaufusi (118)
  13. Paul Gallen (141) – MVP

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

Round 21 Dream Teams

Round 21 Team of the Week

Big, bad, bustling Nathan Brown is our Player of the Week this week despite heading off injured with 12 minutes to go on the weekend. His 65 involvements netted him a Double Workhorse and his 205m netted him a Double Metre Eater for his troubles too. Adding two line breaks to his tally to show his ball handing skills and it tops off a great week for the reformed bad boy.

I was coming up against Cam Smith on the weekend and I needed a quiet game from him if I was a chance to retain my spot in the finals of my private league. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for most he shone in his 350th game. He had a masterful display of four try assists, four line break assists and six goals. With 37 involvements he just fell short of a workhorse for his troubles but only one Storm player needed to cross 40 involvements as they smashed the Sea Eagles into submission.

 

Here is the rest of the Team of the Week:

  1. James Tedesco (11)
  2. Josh Addo-Carr (9)
  3. Kirsome Auva’a (12)
  4. Jarrod Croker (11)
  5. Kyle Feldt (8)
  6. Luke Keary (8)
  7. Mitch Moses (9)
  8. Paul Vaughan (11)
  9. Cameron Smith (12)
  10. Aaron Woods (9)
  11. Matt Gillett (12)
  12.  Jack De Belin (11)
  13. Nathan Brown (14)

 

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

 

Overall Dream Team

The effervescent old man Paul Gallen is continuing to lead from the front and he now has a 18 point lead over Tom Trbojevic in second place. With just six rounds to go, it’s hard to see him missing out on the MVP title unless he gets injured. That of course means he will be the cover star of next year’s Season Guide. Smile Paul.

Only one new member of the Dream Team this week. Big Nathan Brown has bustled his way into the line-up after another quality Double Workhorse Performance and the Player of the Week Title. Although he has been playing at lock (and will likely only be a back rower next year on the site) he has been dual position since the early parts of the season.  The big fella has three DWH’s in the last four week’s and so hopefully the knock he took to the face doesn’t keep him out of this weekend’s fixtures. As you can tell, he’s one of mine.

 

Here is the Dream Team at the conclusion of Round 21 (with total points in brackets):

  1. Tom Trbojevic (119)
  2. Suliasi Vunivalu (95)
  3. Dylan Walker (104)
  4. James Roberts (114)
  5. Jordan Rapana (115)
  6. Gareth Widdop (100)
  7. Shaun Johnson (81)
  8. Paul Vaughan (113)
  9. Cameron McInnes (96)
  10. Nathan Brown (97) – NEW
  11. Jake Trbojevic (114)
  12. Felise Kaufusi (114)
  13. Paul Gallen (137) – MVP

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

Captains Call: Round 21

Welcome to another edition of Captains Call.

Last week was an abomination, kickers and keepers in some leagues going down left, right and centre. James Maloney, Sam Burgess, Clint Gutherson, Trent Merrin, Tohu Harris, Matt Moylan were all very big injuries but none bigger than Cameron Smith. The ever reliable and rarely injured Smith came off a few minutes into the second half and didn’t return. This did affect his NRLCEO output as all he could manage was the two goals. The good news for a few of these players is the length of time they will be out for with Gutherson really the only one out for an extended period of time after rupturing his ACL.

A bloke who had no excuse was Josh McGuire who managed just 23 involvements in 49 minutes – that’s putrid. His only saving grace is he scored a try off a McCullough grubber.

The halves I chose were pretty ordinary to be honest with Michael Morgan coming up with another donut. Not the output many CEO’s would have hoped for.

Mitchell Pearce fared a little better although against Newcastle you would be forgiven for expecting more. A try and line break assist were his only stats.

The best of the week was Ash Taylor with a try assist and two line break assists, only marginally better than Pearce.

If you did pick a half last week I hope you picked different ones like Widdop, Sezer, Austin and Keary.

Lets preview five more for this week, lets hope we can find some that arent injured.

Dont forget to vote or leave a comment below.

 

Andrew McCullough (safe bet)

McCullough has been super consitent all year. He only has one score in double figures but besides one zero when he went off due to HIA he hasnt returned less than four points in a game. Against Parramatta expect pelnty of the same from McCullough, plenty of tackles with a few runs and maybe a try assist.

 

Ryan James (safe bet)

Coming off the back of his second double workhorse of the year I cant see James slowing up now. Against the Tigers I cant see a double coming, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he crossed for a try or two. He made an easy work horse earlier this season when the two teams met, expect a little more form him this week.

 

Jason Nightingale (risk and reward)

Last time the Dragons came up against the Knights, Nightingale had a field day scoring a hat trick. If last weeks game against Manly are anything to go by Dragons could score 80 this week. On the flip side it could be one of those games where Nightingale does absolutely nothing.

 

Joey Leilua (risk and reward)

On a good day Leilua is the most devastating centre in the game, on his worst day he is the worst player in the game. With not much more to play for this year and his partner in crime Rapana out this week, watch for BJ to get some early ball and wreak havoc on the Bunnies left edge.

 

Cody Walker (risk and reward)

The Raiders can be weak defensively up the middle and if they’re the same this weekend Walker could have a field day. Can be one of the most explosive fullbacks in the game on his day. With nothing but pride to play for it could be a massive game for him.

Who are you picking as captain for Round 21?

Round 20 Injury Wrap-up

Our resident rugby league injury expert, the NRL Physio is back with a wrap-up of the injuries and recoveries after Round 20.

 

Clint Gutherson

 .

The worst fears for Gutherson were confirmed on Monday when scans revealed he had ruptured his ACL late in the Eels game on Sunday afternoon. He will undergo a revision ACL reconstruction this week as he previously had his ACL reconstructed in the same knee (his right) in 2015. It is common for revision ACL reconstruction rehab to be slightly more conservative, which can lengthen return to play time slightly compared to a first time ACL rupture.

The fact this will be a revision for Gutherson can also influence the graft type that is used to reconstruct his ACL. As it is most common to use a hamstring graft from the injured leg for a first time ACL rupture (and cannot be re-used), for a revision reconstruction the graft must come from another location. Autograft (own tissue e.g. opposite side hamstring tendon, patella/quad tendon), allograft (donor tissue) or LARS (artificial graft) are all an option for Gutherson. Allograft (6-9 months) or LARS (3-4 months) can accelerate return to play time, but both graft types show evidence of increased failure rate compared to autografts.

Unfortunately we don’t know if Gutherson suffered any secondary damage to other structures in his knee (e.g. MCL/meniscus) which would be one of the most influential factors on recovery time. As you can see in the table below NRL players commonly return within 6-9 months from injuries involving an ACL reconstruction. With the kick-off for season 2018 seven months and one week away, it will take an impressive rehab effort from Gutherson and the Eels medical staff to have him 100% fit to return for Round 1 2018.

 

 

Cameron Smith

 .

Smith received the best possible news with his scan results; a minor tear (likely grade 1 injury) of the pectoralis minor muscle. Usually when we hear “pec injury” in relation to NRL players it is referring to the pectoralis major muscle, which is the large chest muscle important for a number of arm movements required in footy (particularly with tackling). The pec minor is a smaller muscle that lies underneath the pec major, and the primary role of pec minor is to stabilise the shoulder blade and shoulder position. Due to the position and role of this muscle it is much less common to strain but also commonly carries a quicker recovery. Smith is only expected to miss 1-2 weeks of footy, which is the best case scenario considering the possible regular season ending injury he was suspected to have suffered.

 

Shaun Johnson

After initial fears he had ruptured his ACL and was facing six months+ on the sidelines, Johnson received somewhat good news when scans revealed a rupture of his PCL and he was only facing 6-8 weeks out. After initial physical testing the Warriors had announced they were “99% certain” Johnson had ruptured his ACL. In very rare cases the instability caused in the knee joint by rupturing the PCL can be mistaken for and ACL injury. This was also a very unique injury mechanism, as many PCL ruptures result from a direct blow to the front of the knee or hyper-extension of the knee joint. Johnson appeared to be running in a straight line with some minor direction change when the injury occurred, which I’m sure contributed to the confusion around his initial diagnosis.

 

The PCL is the largest ligament in the knee, yet it is common to not need a surgical reconstruction even when a complete rupture occurs. The primary function of the PCL is to stop the tibia (shin bone) from sliding backwards on the femur (thigh bone). When the PCL is ruptured, this loss of function can be countered by an extensive quadriceps strengthening program which will perform a similar function. Luckily for Johnson the PCL has little to do with rotational control of the knee joint (unlike the ACL), which means even without a PCL the knee can still be very stable. Long term Johnson will have to maintain his dynamic strengthening program to minimise the risk of long term problems such as arthritis. Some athletes do suffer a slight loss of acceleration in return from a PCL rupture, but no loss of running speed or direction change ability is commonly shown.

Stephen Kearney has indicated he hopes Johnson will return in four weeks rather than the initially estimated 6-8. As you can see below, it has been done in the NRL before but Johnson’s return is much more likely to be around the six week mark.

 

 

James Maloney

 .

James Maloney fractured his third metacarpal (middle finger) in the Sharks game this past weekend and will have a plate and pins inserted during surgery this week. Surgery in these cases often speeds up recovery time, and he is hopeful of only missing 2-3 weeks of footy.

 

Sam Burgess

 .

Another who received best case scenario news from scans, after initial fears he had suffered a fractured rib it was revealed Burgess had only sustained rib cartilage damage. Whilst this is still an extremely painful injury, it is one that is often a pain tolerance issue in guiding return to play. It is very common for players to receive a pain killing injection to play through a rib cartilage injury such as this, but giving an exact return date will only become clear as Burgess’ injury settles. Usually return to play will be anywhere from 1-4 weeks.

 

Trent Merrin

 .

Trent Merrin has suffered a high grade MCL injury (likely grade 2-3) and is said to be facing 6-8 weeks on the sidelines. Merrin has been quoted in the media as hoping to only miss four weeks, which will be very achievable if his injury is only a grade 2. Most recovery times for isolated grade 2 MCL injuries in the NRL seem to fall in the 3-5 week range.

 

Chris McQueen

 .

Chris McQueen is still battling a neck injury which has nerve involvement, and he has recently had a cortisone (anti-inflammatory) injection to try and settle his symptoms. If this does not settle soon, McQueen is facing surgery that comes with a four month recovery period (similar to Kyle Turner in 2015). Fingers crossed he can return to the field symptom free soon.

Matt Moylan/Konrad Hurrell

 .

Matt Moylan and Konrad Hurrell both suffered hamstring injuries this past weekend, with Hurrell facing 4 weeks on the sidelines (likely grade 2 injury) and Moylan said to still be a chance to play this coming weekend. Moylan had missed the previous week with what was said to be a minor hamstring issue, and in his return he looked far from 100%. It is worth noting that hamstring injuries are one of the most common to linger if a player returns before 100% recovery, and an aggravated hamstring strain is almost always more difficult to recover from. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Moylan to see how he approaches his return in the coming weeks.

 

Billy Slater

 .

As has been well publicised, Slater suffered a concussion after a late and high hit from Soliola this past weekend. It was confirmed post-game Slater had been cleared of a neck/facial injury, and would go through the concussion protocol this week to determine his readiness to return to footy. It is worth noting once again that recovery from concussion is a very individualised process, and the length of time spent on the sidelines is not dependent on the traumatic nature of the injury mechanism. Players can miss multiple weeks from a minor blow to the jaw, or they could return the very next week after a heavy blow to the head such as the one Slater suffered. He will be best managed by the medical staff at the Storm and will not return until it is completely safe for him to do so.

 

Api Koroisau/Tohu Harris

 .

It is worth mentioning Koroisau and Harris, as there has been little to no information on their injuries or time expected on the sideline. Hopefully they are both named this week to end the conjecture.

 

As always if you have any questions, throw a comment down below or hit me up on Twitter @nrlphysio or Facebook.

 

The opinions given by the author of this article are given by a qualified physiotherapist, HOWEVER they are based on the information available to the author at the time of publication; are general; and are not based on any formal physical assessment and/or diagnosis by the author. If you believe you may be suffering from an injury similar to one commented on by the author, do not rely on the author’s advice as it may not apply to you – see a qualified physiotherapist for a full assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan.

Round 20 Dream Teams

Round 20 Team of the Week

This has got to be a first! A debutante attaining the Player of the Week status! Bravo to Matt Dufty who we have been waiting a long time to see in the top grade. Plenty of people have had big wraps on him for some time and the fact it’s taken 20 rounds for him to see the top grade is testament to how well the Dragons backline has been going. With a try in the 79th minute, two try assists, two line breaks, two line break assists and a 179m metre eater, he had 14 points in total. Bravo young man.

The Tigers were always going to be up against it when Semi Radradra ran out. He didn’t let his CEO owners down scoring a try, try assist, three line breaks and a 207m double metre eater for a total of 13 points.

On his way to 100 NRLCEO points for the season, James Roberts also scored 13 points this week. He scored two tries, had three line breaks and a metre eater for what has been a very good season for Jimmy the Jet.

We can’t not mention the future 2018 Dragons halves either. Both Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt scored 12 points each this week and will have fans licking their lips from Kogarah to the Gong.

 

Here is the rest of the Team of the Week:

  1. Matt Dufty (14)
  2. Semi Radradra (13)
  3. James Roberts (13)
  4. Waqa Blake (11)
  5. Javid Bowen (10)
  6. Gareth Widdop (12)
  7. Ben Hunt (12)
  8. Bunty Afoa (7)
  9. Andrew McCullough (5)
  10. Aaron Woods (7)
  11. Paul Gallen (7)
  12. Simon Mannering (7)
  13. Dale Finucane (11)

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

 

Overall Dream Team

He’s just doing it with ease. Paul Gallen had 51 involvements and 235 running metres to chalk up yet another workhorse and double metre eater to extend his lead as the Most Valuable Player.

There is only one new entry to the Dream Team this week. Jake Trbojevic has missed three games through Origin but is making up for lost time now. With 17 workhorses, six tries and five metre eaters he is as consistent as they come and is well entrenched as a top draft pick for the 2018 draft.

 

Here is the Dream Team at the conclusion of Round 20 (with total points in brackets):

  1. Tom Trbojevic (114)
  2. Suliasi Vunivalu (90)
  3. Dylan Walker (104)
  4. James Roberts (106)
  5. Jordan Rapana (115)
  6. Gareth Widdop (100)
  7. Shaun Johnson (81)
  8. Paul Vaughan (102)
  9. Cameron McInnes (92)
  10. Aiden Tolman (90)
  11. Jake Trbojevic (110) – NEW
  12. Felise Kaufusi (110)
  13. Paul Gallen (131) – MVP

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

Workhorse Watch Rd 19

Eisenhuth is German for Iron Hat and the Tigers forward showed plenty of strength in his opening three weeks but finds himself in the No Cigar Club this week. The Germans have an expression for that

“Knapp daneben ist auch vorbei.”

Translation: Coming close is also missing it.

It concludes the best start to a workhorse’s career in living memory with no other forward beginning their career with three straight workhorse tries. Usually forwards have a slow start, making their top grade debut off the bench before working their way into the side and becoming established workhorses. But Matt Eisenhuth has proven he’s got just as much ticker as his cousin Paul Gallen and while his run of consecutive workhorses may have ended hopefully there more to come – or as the Germans say,

“Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.”

Translation: Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.
Elliott Whitehead had a similar start to his NRL career with the Raiders forward scoring three workhorses in a row when he started back in Round 1 2015. He then missed two workhorses but then went on another 14 in a row to total 21 for the season. Of course Whitehead did have 177 Super League games under his belt and was an English representative by the time he donned the lime green. Whitehead got back amongst the workhorse tries on the weekend with 41 involvements against the Dragons after missing out in Round 17.

Mitch Barnett kind of comes into calculations if you discount his two games for the Raiders in 2015 (which we’re not although it should be noted that Barnett is actually younger than Eisenhuth, a player who has spent several years injured and in the lower grades). After moving to the Knights, Barnett went on a tear, scoring nine straight workhorses to finish the 2016 season. On Saturday he scored his 12th workhorse try of this season and had his best running game, clocking up a season high 126 metres. Similarly, Ethan Lowe played two games off the bench in 2013 and didn’t play first grade again Round 11 2014, where he went on a five game workhorse run.

Jayden Brailey is the obvious choice for Workhorse Rookie of the Year with nine workhorse tries for the season including three in his first four weeks. However there have been six weeks where he’s missed out, so on strike rate the balance falls back to Eisenhuth. If the Tigers’ forward can get back on track and score a workhorse every week between now and the end of the season, he’ll draw level with Brailey and strengthen his claim on the title, depending whether the Sharks hooker makes it back from a broken jaw and can add to his tally.

 

Workhorse of the Week:

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Paul Gallen had a personal season high of 74 involvements as the Sharks were pasted by the Titans in torrential conditions on Saturday night. I’ve been critical in the past when Gallen has hogged so much of the pill but Saturday’s game played on what resembled more of a pond than a field, were the exact conditions his style of play calls for. Unfortunately none of his teammates caught on.

 

WORKHORSE PACK OF THE WEEK

  1. Aaron Woods: 38 tackles + 20 hitups = 58
  2. Robbie Farah: 46 tackles + 6 hitups = 52
  3. Andrew Fifita: 37 tackles + 14 hitups = 51
  4. Mitch Barnett: 43 tackles + 14 hitups = 57
  5. Simon Mannering: 53 tackles + 12 hitups = 65
  6. Paul Gallen: 52 tackles + 22 hitups = 74

14. Cameron McInnes: 68 tackles + 2 hitups = 70
15. Jack De Belin: 43 tackles + 14 hitup = 57

 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

 .

Wade Graham: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

Martin Taupau: 19 tackles + 20 hitups = 39

Sam Lisone: 32 tackles + 7 hitups = 39

Tom Burgess: 26 tackles + 13 hitups = 39

Matt Eisenhuth: 30 tackles + 9 hitups = 39

 

STATS PER MINUTE

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Congratulations to Josh King who scored the first workhorse try of his career, accruing exactly 40 involvements against the Broncos. The Knights forward played 50 minutes (0.80 SPM), well up on the 37 minutes he’s been averaging so far this season. At 21 years of age, King is very young to be starting prop, then again, coach Nathan Brown has little choice but to bring these players through.

Congratulations also goes to Jai Arrow who scored his first workhorse try of the season in the same game. It’s been a miserable year for those who were hoping Arrow would be the next big thing, with the Broncos backrower playing just seven games this season and averaging just 24.5 minutes per game. On Saturday Arrow played 51 minutes after getting called into the run on team and finished with 42 involvements (0.82 SPM) and 154 metres gained.

It didn’t do much for the NRL result but NRLCEOs boasting Robbie Farah were happy to see the Rabbitohs rake secure his first double workhorse try of the season. Farah played the full game and had 52 involvements (0.65 SPM). His 80 minutes came at the expense of Damien Cook who was dropped by coach Michael Maguire prior to kick off and left NRLCEOs seething. Coming in at the expense of Cook was rookie Cameron Murray who had 17 involvements in 25 minutes (0.68 SPM) – not a bad effort for a guy who, according to the picture and link in his NRLCEO bio, is usually playing sixth or seventh tier soccer in England!

.

.

Normal service resumed over at the Sea Eagles on Sunday with the team only scoring three workhorse tries against the Tigers, the team that normally concedes the most amount of any team. Well done to Shaun Lane who managed to not only hold down his place in the Manly back row but also score another workhorse try with 42 involvements in 80 minutes (0.53 SPM). Once Jake Trbojevic returned (0.61 SPM) I assumed that at the very least Lane’s numbers might drop below the 40 mark but with Trbojevic only playing 66 minutes there was enough work for Lane to get his second workhorse of the season. Trbojevic usually plays upwards of 75 minutes a game so Lane might still feel the pinch in coming weeks but for now, those who took a punt on him are feeling pretty chuffed.

 

JUST QUICKLY:

My thanks to the Commissioner, Jamie B for his data gathering efforts this week. We’ll make a workhorse watcher out of you yet!

Round 19 Dream Teams

Round 19 Team of the Week

Nathan Cleary has threatened to go off this year and over the weekend he finally delivered on that promise. He almost doubled his best ever NRLCEO score to finish with 21 points. This was achieved through a hat-trick of tries, two try assists, two line breaks and a line break assist. He was just one metre off a metre eater to top it off and with five goals he scored 31 points in total.

In a high scoring round there were six other players who finished in equal second with 12 points. Matt Wright delivered with two tries, but disappointed those who named him as kicker. In the back row Shaun Lane was seriously impressive again scoring his second try and workhorse combo in a row.

 

Here is the rest of the Team of the Week:

  1. Tom Trbojevic (9)
  2. Matt Wright (12)
  3. Solomone Kata (12)
  4. Tautau Moga (8)
  5. Nene Macdonald (7)
  6. Gareth Widdop (7)
  7. Nathan Cleary (19)
  8. Paul Vaughan (8)
  9. Jake Granville (12)
  10. Aaron Woods (7)
  11. Sione Mata’utia (12)
  12. Shaun Lane (12)
  13. Paul Gallen (12)

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

 

Overall Dream Team

For the first time since Round 12, we have a new MVP. Paul Gallen has climbed back to the top of the scoring ranks with a monster 12 point performance over the weekend. He’s the archetypal footy forward and has 18 workhorses for the season and 17 metre eaters to boot.

The only new entry to the team this week is James Roberts who has been in and out with Tim Lafai throughout the year. Only the one try against the Knights on the weekend when it could have been many more but now has 11 tries for the year.

There were no new centurions this week but Dylan Walker and Paul Vaughan should cross the magical mark this week.

 

Here is the Dream Team at the conclusion of Round 19 (with total points in brackets):

  1. Tom Trbojevic (109)
  2. Suliasi Vunivalu (90)
  3. Dylan Walker (96)
  4. James Roberts (93) – NEW
  5. Jordan Rapana (115)
  6. Gareth Widdop (88)
  7. Shaun Johnson (81)
  8. Paul Vaughan (97)
  9. Cameron McInnes (88)
  10. Aiden Tolman (86)
  11. Sam Burgess (105)
  12. Felise Kaufusi (106)
  13. Paul Gallen (122) – MVP

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

Round 18 Dream Teams

Round 18 Team of the Week

It was a bye round but that doesn’t excuse for the fact there weren’t many BIG NRLCEO scores this week.

There were two player equal for Player of the Week but Semi Radradra edges out Peter Mata’utia for metres gained.

Against the Storm it was the young Fijian Suliasi Vunivalu versus the more experienced Fijian in Semi Radradra. Overall it was a pretty good battle with Semi getting the chocolates with some ease. He scored his tenth try of the year on the way to three line breaks and a 203m double metre eater.

There were three out of the four players on show against the Dogs but Peter Mata’utia was the best of them scoring a double including a cheeky tap and go. It was the first double of his career so fair play to him.

There were another five players who finished on ten points in equal third for the week. In the backs, Clint Gutherson was the pick of them. He dominated the Storm and was lucky not to be sin binned for a professional foul but that’s history now.

In the forwards, last weeks double workhorses went and completed the double-double – two double workhorses in a row. Nathan Brown scored the second DWH of his career and Aiden Tolman stepped up in James Graham’s absence to complete the 20th DWH of his career! Amazing longevity.

 

Here is the rest of the Team of the Week:

  1. Will Hopoate (10)
  2. Semi Radradra (11)
  3. Peter Mata’utia (11)
  4. Bryson Goodwin (7)
  5. Kerrod Holland (8)
  6. Clint Gutherson (10)
  7. Mitch Moses (10)
  8. Aiden Tolman (10)
  9. Jake Friend (9)
  10. James Tamou (9)
  11. Shaun Lane (9)
  12. Aidan Guerra (9)
  13. Nathan Brown (10)

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).

 

Overall Dream Team

There was very little movement in the Dream Team over the weekend with just six of the current team in action and no one else setting the world alight.

Jordan Rapana remains in MVP position but has just a five point lead. There are now five NRLCEO centurions with Tom Trbojevic and Sam Burgess crossing the mark over the weekend.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season pans out. There seems to be lower scores than last year up until this point.

 

Here is the Dream Team at the conclusion of Round 18 (with total points in brackets):

  1. Tom Trbojevic (100)
  2. Suliasi Vunivalu (90)
  3. Dylan Walker (96)
  4. Tim Lafai (87)
  5. Jordan Rapana (115) – MVP
  6. Gareth Widdop (81)
  7. Shaun Johnson (78)
  8. Paul Vaughan (89)
  9. Cameron McInnes (84)
  10. Aiden Tolman (86)
  11. Sam Burgess (101)
  12. Felise Kaufusi (106)
  13. Paul Gallen (110)

 

Points based on: Tries (4), Workhorses (4), Double Workhorses (8), Metre Eaters (2), Double Metre Eaters (4), Try Assists (2), Line Breaks (1), Line Break Assists (1), 40/20s (1), Field Goals (1), Sin Bins (-2) and Send Offs (-4).