Pasifika round was a crowd-puller for the NRC.
Who stood out for their side this weekend?
1. Joel Veitayaki Jr - Fijian Drua
The Fijian loosehead is a force for the NRC debutants and proved typically influential at Eastwood on Saturday. Much is made of the Drua backs, but the impact of players like Veitayaki in the pack are just as important.
2. Andrew Ready - Brisbane City
Brisbane City’s win over the Rays may just be a turning point for Ready. He struggled to find form in an indifferent Super Rugby season, but his best game of the year emerged at Pittwater Park. The hooker scored a double and was monumental in tight as well.
3. Taniela Tupou - Queensland Country
Starting to find the consistency that has eluded him in the early parts of his career. The tighthead prop is going from strength to strength, flourishing in a team that prides itself on physicality.
4. Rory Arnold - Canberra Vikings
Arnold was sent back to the NRC to play more rugby and the lock made the most of it in the Vikings’ big win over the Rising.The 27-year-old was aggressive and effective against the Rising.
5. Blake Enever - Canberra Vikings
Enever is highly-rated by the Vikings and Brumbies, signed until 2020, and his combination with Arnold in Melbourne showed why. The 25-year-old had five carries for 70- metres, with two linebreaks along the way. The locking stocks in the nation’s capital are looking good.
6. Rob Valetini - Canberra Vikings
Valetini showed his versatility, lining up at blindside for the Vikings on Sunday. He scored a double, finished with an immense 17 tackles as well. Just shades Queensland Country's Angus Scott-Young for this.
7. Tom Cusack - Canberra Vikings
Former Aussie Sevens player Tom Cusack has set the tone for Canberra this season and he continued that on Sunday. The backrower was elusive in attack and finished with eight tackles and three turnovers in defence.
8. Albert Tuisue - Greater Sydney Rams
Tuisue was facing off against his native Fiji at Eastwood and he took things to a new level there. Had 100 run metres, a try assist and five tackle busts.
9. Nick Frisby - Brisbane City
Frisby is similar to Ready, having fallen out of favour at Super Rugby and Test level after a breakout 2016 season. The scrumhalf used the NRC start to make an impact and this is where any turnaround would need to begin for him.
10. Tayler Adams - NSW Country Eagles
Adams is nominally the least-experienced 10 in the NRC, having never been at a Super Rugby team, but he is steering the Eagles well this year, adding on to a standout Shute Shield year.
11. Apete Daveta - Fijian Drua
Daveta was involved in most of the key moments in the Drua’s win over the Rams, topping off that effort with two tries. Had a ridiculous 183 run metres along the way.
12. Eroni Sau - Fijian Drua
Sau can certainly make metres, notching up 104 off eight carries against the Rams, added to eight tackle busts and two linebreaks.
13. John Stewart - Fijian Drua
The Fijian captain leads the way for his team and was influential again on Saturday. Had a try and two assists, to 184 run metres off 11 carries.
14. Ed Fidow - Brisbane City
Fidow has been Brisbane’s breakout star of this year’s NRC and he had another impressive outing on Sunday. Another try for the Samoan Sevens international added to 71 run metres and four tackle busts.
15. Jack Maddocks - Melbourne Rising
Maddocks is one of the most promising young players in Australia and he continues to shine in a difficult season for the Rising. The second-year NRC fullback had 105 run metres in Frankston.