NRL 2023: Round One Team of the Week

A week full of upsets and surprises kicked off the first set of matches of the 2023 season

Round one of the 2023 season saw the super coach get his first win with the Dolphins, two drop-goal victories and of course the Warriors winning their first game back on home soil.

The Edge of the Crowd Rugby League team put their heads together to put together the best 13 players in this week's Team of the Week.

1. Fullback - Dylan Edwards - Panthers

Despite a loss to the Broncos to open up the season, Edwards was a clear standout at fullback. Edwards played a key part in the play that saw Stephen Crichton race away to score before Cleary scored his 500th goal.

With 234 metres run as well as more overall runs than his direct competition for the night, Edwards was key in keeping the Panthers close in a loss that almost no one expected. Edwards also managed 76 post-contact metres showing just how strong he can be after getting hit. Alexander Brimson was a close runner-up for this position.

2. Wing - Jamayne Isaako - Dolphins

Some thought the Dolphins weren't even going to win a game this season let alone with their first in front of 30 thousand people against the much fancied Roosters. Jamayne Issako played a big part in the breakthrough win for Wayne Bennett's slapped-together side.

Issako was one of the big names coming to the Dolphins and it's paid off big time for the man now playing for his third Queensland side. Scoring two tries and converting on four occasions Isaako was the standout star also running 110 metres. Rueben Garrick was the second choice for this position.

3. Centre - Campbell Graham - Rabbitohs

In a big win over the Sharks to start the season Graham played a key role at centre for the mighty Bunnies. With a 27-18 victory away the Rabbitohs have cemented their place as one of the leaders of this season, although it's obviously very early in the season.

Two second-half tries to Graham put him into the first spot of the selected centres. His running game was largely the reason behind the win with 144 run metres as well as 62 of those coming post contact. His first try of the match was the clear highlight of the fixture with the Rabbitohs capitalising on a massive mistake from the Sharks to find a gap in the right-hand side of the field before getting over for four points.

4. Centre - Will Penisini - Eels

The Eels and Storm kicked off the start of the season with an epic clash on Thursday night. Despite the Eels going down by one point Penisini was a highlight scoring the first try of the season in the 30th minute of this clash.

While nothing stands out when looking at the stats sheet Penisini had a great overall match with 76 run metres a key linebreak and three important tackle busts. While the Eels couldn't quite get the job done it wasn't without the effort of Penisini who had a great individual performance.

5. Wing - Reuben Garrick - Sea-Eagles

While they may have only been playing the Bulldogs who now seem fancied for the wooden spoon, the big 31-6 win for Manly was largely set up for Garrick who played an absolute blinder. With one try and five goals, Garrick proved to be the highest point-scorer of the round.

Garrick was all over the field in this match not just scoring tries but running 163 metres with 38 of those being post-contact. Three linebreaks and four tackle busts were also included on Garrick's stat sheet. A massive start to the season for one of the premier wingers.

6. Five Eighth - Adam Doueihi - Wests Tigers

The Tigers got off to a quick start thanks to Doueihi who managed a penalty goal in just the fourth minute. He might not have been on the winning side but Doueihi was a clear standout for a side that looks like it will be missing out finals once again.

As well as the penalty goal Doueihi scored the only try for the Tigers as well as running 94 metres with the ball. Perhaps the most important stat though is five massive tackle busts. While the Tigers might be having a tough year they will certainly have a shining light in Doueihi.

7. Half Back - Adam Reynolds - Broncos

In the upset win against the Panthers, the Broncos' Adam Reynolds proved his skills have continued to transfer easily even after moving up from Sydney. While Reynolds believed it wasn't his best game as he said after the match there is no doubt if he improves on this form the Broncos will be unstoppable.

Laying 27 tackles and setting up one of the tries that saw the Broncos win it was clear that Reynolds was the best half-back of the week. While he plays a different kind of game to his opposite number in Nathan Cleary it's a game that is centred around the Broncos' game style. Reynolds of course also kicked the drop goal that saw the Broncos take the win. Daly Cherry-Evans was the runner-up in this position.

8. Prop - Emre Guler - Raiders

It really was an incredible round as shown by another one-point win, this time it didn't go in the Raider's favour but Guler was so good that he deserves this position. He got over for a try in the 38th minute to bring the deficit back slightly before halftime.

He did start on the bench but as soon as he came on Guler made a big impact with 58 run metres, one linebreak and two tackle busts, as well as the try. Despite being 25 years of age this could be a breakout season for Guler if he continues to make this kind of impact off the bench. Mitchell Barnett was the other man considered for this position.

9. Hooker - Harry Grant - Storm

Grant has been a key part of the Storm's season for several years now and it was no difference on the season's opening night. The hooker was incredible, he was, of course, the man to score the try that saw the Storm get through in the 84th minute - keeping the team's winning first-round record alive for its 20th year.

With a massive 54 tackles, a key linebreak and 55 metres run, Grant was key in the Storm getting a golden point victory. Of course, it's hard to go past the final try but if Grant can keep this form up this position is sewn up for the year and no doubt representative football is on the way. Reece Robson was the other hooker considered for this position.

10. Prop - Christian Welch - Storm

Right alongside Harry Grant in the Storm's win was Welch who also had a great game albeit not quite as good as Grant who was the one to score the golden point try.

Welch laid 34 tackles in the Storm's opening win of the season while running 124 metres. While Welch didn't score himself he did help with a massive tackle bust which proved vitally important in a close match. His opposite number in Junior Paulo also had a great game the position had to go to the winning Welch. Mitchell Barnett was the other prop considered for this position.

11. Second-row - David Fifita - Titans

The last match of the weekend saw the Titans get over the top of the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval with a 22-10 win. Fifita played a massive role in this away win which has put the Titans in good stead before a tough month of games. He might not have scored himself but Fifita's on-field numbers are literally insane.

He laid 28 tackles of his own while busting through the opposition pack on five occasions as well as producing one linebreak. 170 metres run put him right up there with the best fullbacks in the competition and his try assist was key in setting up a Phil Sami try.

12. Second-row - Mark Nicholls - Dolphins

He might be 33 years old but the big second rower proved age was no barrier when playing in a good system when he played a valuable part in the Dolphin's upset win over the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.

His try in the 35th minute was a big part of the reason Bennett's men were so successful after the halftime break. The keep-it-the-simple message is working for the side that is a mix of experiences like Nicholls and plenty of youngsters.

Finishing in the top three runners and getting stats across the match as a second rower is a massive effort and if he keeps it up he could easily have the best season of his career. Liam Martin was the second rower to miss out.

13. Lock - Tohu Harris - Warriors

The second match of the season saw the Warriors get over the Knights upon their return to New Zealand after a couple of long struggling COVID years. Harris was a beast at 13 being a defensive stalwart as he has done in almost 200 NRL matches.

He finished with a massive 54 tackles as well as more than 100 run metres. He is a beast and if he played in the recent World Cup for New Zealand then the Kiwis could have gone much further.

No one is really expecting the Warriors to do well in 2023, but Harris could be the difference between a failure of a season and one they can build on.