The NRC is getting tighter each week.
Who caught the limelight for their sides in round five?
1. Faalalei Sione - Canberra Vikings
The Vikings’ forward pack has been dangerous in this NRC and Sione was influential on the loosehead side in their record victory over Fiji.
2. Robbie Abel - Canberra Vikings
Abel played just half an hour for the Vikings but showed his impact in that short time, scoring a try and making plenty of metres for Canberra as the clock wound down.
3. Taniela Tupou - Queensland Country
Tupou has gone from strength to strength for Queensland Country this season, looking like he’s starting to realise some of his incredible potential.
4. Richie Arnold - Perth Spirit
Arnold’s workrate showed in the Spirit’s win over Brisbane City. Was effective in attack, strong in set piece and a force in defence. A promising talent whose stocks keep rising.
5. Tom Staniforth - NSW Country
Country Eagles captain Paddy Ryan was full of praise for Staniforth after their round five win and it’s not hard to see why. An immense 11 tackles, added to 30 carries and two offloads show the all-round threat the soon-to-be Waratah poses.
6. Tevin Ferris - Perth Spirit
Ferris could be one of the gems the NRC unearths this year, a standout in an intimidating Perth Spirit backrow. The blindside had 12 carries for 43 metres, scored a try, made nine tackles and won a turnover in a breakout performance.
7. Tom Cusack - Canberra Vikings
A hat-trick was a just reward for Cusack’s tireless efforts for the Vikings in this NRC season. The Canberra skipper stood out against Fiji,with 13 carries for 54 metres, seven tackles and a turnover won. Growing each week.
8. Isi Naisarani - Perth Spirit
Naisarani was the Force’s best Super Rugby player this year and he hasn’t missed a beat in his provincial campaign so far. Made an unbelievable 139 metres, off 16 carries, beat eight defenders and made seven tackles along the way too. The man is a freak.
9. James Tuttle - Queensland Country
Tuttle looms as Queensland’s long-term Super Rugby halfback and he is showing why in this NRC. The 21-year-old was one of the best again for his side, a critical linkman
10. Tayler Adams – NSW Country
Adams was given the responsibility of steering the Eagles this season and he has done that with aplomb, a key influencer in each of his side’s matches. Another impactful outing in Goulburn.
11. Chance Peni - Perth Spirit
Peni continues to show his finishing abilities and danger in attack, in a super season so far for the Spirit. The 23-year-old had a double in Perth’s win over Brisbane.
12. Duncan Paia’aua - Queensland Country
Paia’aua has handled the captaincy responsibilities in his stride for Queensland Country, as the side enjoys its best start to an NRC ever. Was again among their best in round five.
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia - Queensland Country
It’s been a long time since Feauai-Sautia was able to string consistent games together for any team but he’s beginning to return to some of his best form in the NRC. The 23-year-old had a try, 41 metres, two clean breaks and eight tackles in an impressive all-round performance.
14. Filipo Daugunu - Queensland Country
The Country speedster had a hat-trick in his side’s big win and converted two of those five-pointers himself. A weapon in defence too, making 12 tackles, a tally that shows this team’s trademark.
15. Tom Banks - Canberra Vikings
Banks is among the best players in the NRC so far this season and has been a shining light for the Vikings. Starred again in a record Canberra win.