Rugby League

Super League and NRL team of the week

We put together a combined XIII of the players who starred on Super League’s return and in Round 12 of the NRL season…

1. Lachlan Coote (St Helens)

It was a welcome return to action for the St Helens full-back, who had not played since being injured in the first game of the 2020 Super League season.

Coote played a prominent role as the defending champions got the competition’s restart underway with a 34-6 win over Catalans Dragons, scoring a try, kicking five of six conversion attempts and putting in some smart in-play kicks as well.

2. Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

He might be in the middle of a contract stand-off with Souths at present, but the 25-year-old did not let that distract him on the field as he put in a scintillating display in the 32-24 win over St George Illawarra Dragons.

Along with scoring a hat-trick, Johnston made 300 metres – no, that is not a typo – with the ball in hand from 17 carries, broke the line three times and came up with an assist as well.

3. Brent Naden (Penrith Panthers)

The 24-year-old three-quarter was a constant threat for the Panthers as they overcame Manly Sea Eagles 42-12 to edge ahead of their rivals at the top of the NRL table.

Along with scoring a try, Naden made 246 metres and 51 post-contact metres, along with breaking the line once.

4. Konrad Hurrell (Leeds Rhinos)

He may not quite have claimed the man of the match prize he had spoken about targeting in the build-up to Leeds’ 27-26 thrilling win over Huddersfield Giants, but the Tonga international did play a big role for his side.

Hurrell scored two tries, including the one which helped them force golden point extra time, and was at the heart of the action with some trademark strong runs and slick handling in build-up play.

5. Darnell McIntosh (Huddersfield Giants)

To paraphrase a tired old joke, tries for Darnell McIntosh are like the First Bus service in Huddersfield – you wait ages for one and then three come along at once.

The Giants winger, who had not scored since the defeat to Salford Red Devils this time last year, grabbed a hat-trick against Leeds including a spectacular solo effort. Unfortunately, he still ended on the losing team.

6. Luke Gale (Leeds Rhinos)

If the second match of Super League’s return had continued along the course it seemed to be heading on with 15 minutes to go, it could well have been Huddersfield’s Lee Gaskell getting the stand-off berth in our team.

But Gale played an instrumental role as the Rhinos fought back from 20 points down, scoring the try which sparked their revival despite having Ash Handley in the sin-bin and then kicking the crucial drop goal in golden point to snatch a memorable victory.

7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)

Cleary was at the heart of things for the Panthers once again as they racked up their 10th win of the season, being among the try-scorers against Manly.

As well as this, the half-back assisted two tries and three line breaks, forced a goal-line drop-out and kicked seven conversions.

8. Braden Hamlin-Uele (Cronulla Sharks)

The New Zealand international led from the front for the Sharks as they secured a 36-26 win away to struggling Brisbane Broncos.

Along with scoring a try, Hamlin-Uele made 178 metres and 68 post-contact metres, as well as breaking the line once.

9. Api Koroisau (Penrith Panthers)

The hooker played an important role in both attack and defence for Penrith during their impressive win over the Sea Eagles.

Koroisau was among the try-scorers for the visitors and broke the line once, along with coming up with 44 tackles.

10. Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Still flying the flag for England at Souths now elder brother Sam has retired and twin George has returned to these shores with Wigan Warriors, Tom has been in good form for the club throughout this year.

He got them on the front foot in the win over St George Illawarra by carrying for 197 metres, along with 87 post-contact metres, and made 25 tackles on the defensive side.

11. Zeb Taia (St Helens)

Taia is set to return to Australia at the end of the season and seems determined to finish his time in Super League on a high after playing an important role in Saints’ win over former club Catalans.

The 35-year-old scored a try, set up another and was always in the thick of the action for the team, even after returning to the field after passing a head injury assessment.

12. John Bateman (Canberra Raiders)

Another player who is returning to his homeland at the end of the year, the Wigan-bound second row helped Canberra to a 14-12 win away to North Queensland Cowboys.

He made some strong carries, racking up 163 metres and 72 post-contact metres with the ball in hand, along with providing an assist for one of his team’s tries and assisting a line break.

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