In this article I will be rating my top five players of Round 1 and explain why I have them there.
The factors I will take into account are metres, tries, tackle breaks, try assists, line breaks and tackles. I will also name my one-to-13 side after Round 1 with a few notable mentions.
1. Payne Haas
Haas played 80 minutes on Friday night in the Queensland derby where the Broncos won 28-21 with a marvellous 70-metre run from David Fifita. Payne had 19 runs for 213 metres, 86 post-contact metres, seven tackle breaks and made 33 tackles. Payne can be one of the best props in the game if he keeps his form and can make the NSW Origin side if he keeps up his form.
2. Api Koroisau
His first game for the Panthers in 2020 started on a high note, beating the premiers 20-14 with an exciting finish. Koroisau had ten runs for 110 metres, six tackle breaks, missed one tackle and made 59 tackles in the middle, where he played the full 80 minutes. Koroisau’s running game proved a handful for the Roosters and seems to be a good signing for the Panthers.
3. David Fifita
Fifita played 80 minutes on edge with nine runs for 150 metres, eight tackle breaks, one line break, 31 tackles and scored the match-winning try after breaking through two tackles and stepping Valentine Holmes to score the matching-winning try after running 70 metres. Fifita is always a work horse and if you believe it or not he’s still off-contract this season after multiple contract offers from other clubs.
4. Benji Marshall
At 35 years of age Marshall showed he still has it in the Tigers’ 24-14 win over the Dragons, who should’ve won with all the chances they had but blew it multiple times. Marshall played 80 minutes with one try, 13 runs for 84 metres, two tackle breaks, one line break, 11 tackles, 13 kicks for 325 metres, four forced drop-outs and two try assists. With Luke Brooks being out for at least a month with a calf injury, Marshall has to really step up and showed what he can do on Sunday night against the Dragons.
5. Kalyn Ponga
Ponga’s performance against the Warriors was incredible with one try, 26 runs for 234 metres, four tackle breaks in the Knights’ 20-0 win over NZ. The Ponga-Mitchell Pearce combo showed itself when Pearce put a kick through for a try assist for Ponga. Ponga will be in a fight for the one jersey for the Maroons with Val Holmes but it’s likely Ponga will get the one jersey.
Shaun Johnson produced two try assists, 19 runs for 112 metres, one tackle break, two line break assists and nine kicks for 284 metres.
Jason Taumalolo came up with 73 minutes, 15 runs for 183 metres, four tackle breaks and 32 tackles.
Jack Wighton tallied two tries, six runs for 76 metres, five tackle breaks, two line breaks and 17 tackles.
Here is my one-to-13 side after Round 1.
1. Kalyn Ponga
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Esan Marsters
4. Curtis Scott
5. Suliasi Vunivalu
6. Benji Marshall
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Tevita Tatola
9. Api Koroisau
10. Payne Haas
11. David Fifita
12. Viliame Kikau
13. Jason Taumalolo