Only one home team went down this week and that was a thriller on Friday night. With players backing up from Origin duty the going was tough for some but the Sharks, Storm and Tigers continued their rich vein of form. Once again our sage-like selectors have taken the best 17 as the Round 15 League Unlimited Team of the Week strut their stuff in our field of dreams.
Fullback: Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders) � The Canberra custodian fills our boots again this week. The Schif never lets anyone down and his defensive work in the second half against the Storm was outstanding. He also chipped in with a couple of lines breaks and two goals.
Wing: Matt Utai (Bulldogs) � The human nugget had another explosive game and possibly a bit too much. Utai has found himself suspended from the NRL in Round 16, but we�re going to give him a run after his strong performance.
Centre: Brett Delaney (Eels) � A quiet achiever over at Parramatta. Delaney has proven himself to be a no-nonsense player who does all the little things right. He scored a good try, kicked a few goals and seems to be at home in the centres.
Centre: Dean Collis (Tigers) � An improving player with stacks of potential. Collis is your typical Tigers clubman, floating about looking for work all day long and popping up in the right place at the right time. Bottled a regulation four-pointer.
Wing: Brett Morris (Dragons) � The son of Slippery really got amongst it on Friday night, making a few good runs before his final minute heroics. I still can�t work out how he bent himself around the Broncos defender to score the match-winner, but it was special.
Five-eighth: Darren Lockyer (Broncos) � Locky has come back to some of his better form recently with a quality innings on Friday night. He�s moving more fluently and roaming with intent, adding four valuable goals that most spectators thought would win them the game.
Halfback: Scott Prince (Tigers) � Maroons compatriot Scotty Prince was in fine form as well, playing his best game of the season. Prince found a few holes and ran the ball more often which looked splendid in the lush surroundings of Homebush.
Lock: Sione Faumuina (Warriors) � Ran the ball and tackled like a madman against the Knights. Sione can churn out the odd blinder and he really turned it up against the Knights. Crossed the stripe for a well deserved meat pie and shook the foundations of the Newcastle pack.
Second-row: Greg Bird (Sharks) � The surprise packet of Cronulla�s season in one of the most under-rated backrow�s going around. Bird has packed on some weight and is an important cog in the wheel down in the Shire these days. Scored Cronulla�s pair of tries and goes well in the engine room.
Second-row: David Kidwell (Storm) � Kidwell pulled out a ferocious effort against the Raiders, tearing them apart from short range and joins Bird in scoring a double for his side. He loves getting across the chalk in case you didn�t notice and that�s why he�s got a LU jersey this week.
Prop: Petero Civoniceva (Broncos) � This old workhorse got his hands dirty against the Dragons, backing up his stellar effort in Origin II. Petero has taken his game to another level this season adding big hits to his non-stop tackling. A tower of strength.
Hooker: Robert Farah (Tigers) � Farah had a super game against the Chooks following on from a few average games over the past weeks. He got involved at the right times and ran well from dummy half, adding a try to the Tigers scoresheet.
Prop: Willie Mason (Bulldogs) � Big Willie hit back at criticisms of his Origin II performance with a barnstorming effort against the Cowboys. He intimidated them, which is what he�s there for, and he�ll need to continue doing so for the Bulldogs to give things a shake.
A powerhouse bench here as the selectors go for brute force with a pinch of finesse. Asotasi and Gallen and wrecking balls capable of taking the best defence apart. Hindmarsh�s reputation proceeds him and will work well with the mobile and skilled Hoffman next to him.
Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: It�s weeks like this that remind me why I love this great game. Our fair-weathered friends in New Zealand take out second place in the Merkin stakes this for contributing a paltry 6,240 crowd figure during a week that averaged nearly 15,000 people per game.
But the real bobby-dazzler this round was all the attention Shaun Timmins got for helping out a garbo. We all know that Leagueies weren�t first in line when God handed out brains, but it�s becoming more obvious that they were at least standing in front of the media when the queue formed.