NRL Team of the Week Preliminary Finals: Rivals to face off

The Preliminary Finals ended in heartache for two sides while setting up a long-awaited Grand Final clash between foes.

#1: Fullback – Dylan Edwards (Penrith Panthers)

In the Panthers 32-12 win over the Rabbitohs, it was evident why Dylan Edwards is leading the 2022 competition for running metres and total runs.

Edwards ran 287 metres from 26 runs, gaining 70 post-contact metres from his efforts. He also defused three kicks and racked up an impressive 14 tackle breaks.

#2: Winger – Maika Sivo (Paramatta Eels)

Maika Sivo gave the Eels fans a reason to chant his name in the Eels’ 24-20 win over the Cowboys. He racked up 111 running metres from 10 runs.

Sivo’s try in the 64th minute put the Eels in front. His defensive effort prevented Kyle Feldt from levelling the scores in the final minutes of the match.

#3: Centre – Valentine Holmes (North Queensland Cowboys)

Valentine Holmes performed well despite being on the losing side, with the Cowboys losing to the Eels 24-20.

Holmes ran for 148 metres from 15 runs. He secured 51 post -contact metres, one line break, one line break assist, one try assist and six tackle breaks. He also kicked two out of three conversions and both of the Cowboys’ two penalty goals.

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#4: Centre – Isaiah Tass (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

The ever-consistent Isaiah Tass was one of the Rabbitohs that shined in their match against the Panthers.

Tass was the lone Rabbitoh to clock over 200 metres from his 21 runs and provided a try assist for winger Richard Kennar, along with a linebreak. Tass continued to prove until the dying minutes of his 2022 season that the Rabbitohs' deadly left edge is in a safe set of hands.

#5: Winger – Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers)

In the Panthers’ 32-12 win over the Rabbitohs, Brian To’o had another night full of running, racking up 293 running metres from 21 runs. He also amassed an impressive 80 post-contact metres and three tackle breaks.

To’o scored the Panthers’ second try in the 39th minute to help see the scores level at 12-12 heading into half time.

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#6: Five-Eighth – Dylan Brown (Paramatta Eels)

The Eels' five-eighth continued his brilliant run of form against the Cowboys. Dylan Brown saw plenty of the ball running for 126 metres for 38 post-contact metres.

Tackling at 90 per cent from 30 tackles, Brown scarcely made a mistake all night, providing kicking power when halfback Mitchell Moses wasn't in position.

#7: Halfback – Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)

Nathan Cleary steered the Panthers to yet another victory, with the Minor Premiers coming from behind to beat the Rabbitohs 32-12.

Cleary racked up 585 kicking metres, 115 running metres from 17 runs and one try assist. He kicked all five of his conversions as well as one out of one penalty goal.

To seal the deal, he kicked for himself in the 77th minute to score the last try of the match. Cleary’s defence was also strong, having made 21 tackles with his tackle efficiency at nearly 92 per cent.

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#8: Prop – Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Paramatta Eels)

Reagan Campbell-Gillard scored two crucial tries in the Eels’ 24-20 win over the Cowboys, having scored only once all season, back in Round 17.

Campbell-Gillard racked up 149 running metres from 16 runs and 49 post-contact metres. He also finished with two line breaks, one line break assist, three tackle breaks and 15 hit ups. The prop’s defence was equally as strong, having made 32 tackles at nearly 97 per cent tackle efficiency.  

#9: Hooker – Reed Mahoney (Paramatta Eels)

Reed Mahoney might have only had five runs for the match but boy did the Hooker do a lot with the ball when it was in his hands.

Running for a total of 35 metres - the fewest of any of the starting players for the Eels' match up against the Cowboys -, Mahoney produced a try assist, a tackle break and a line break assist off of an offload.

Mahoney also stood up in defence, leading the tackle count for both sides with 58, however, the lone black mark on his record for the final was a drop in tackle efficiency missing nine tackles, a rarity for the Eels' number nine.

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#10: Prop – James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers)

While all eyes were on Edwards, To'o and Cleary, James Fisher-Harris put on another consistent performance, running for 144 metres from 14 runs and running for 56 post-contact metres.

Fisher-Harris also put on a big defensive performance in his 51 minutes on field making 37 tackles.

#11: Second-Rower – Shaun Lane (Paramatta Eels)

Shaun Lane continued to prove he is a big game player on Friday night, notching yet another try assist.

Lane was handy with the ball, running for 135 metres and leading offloads for the match with four. 13 of the 27-year-old's 14 runs resulted in hitups and Lane lead the Eels for tackle breaks with five.

#12: Second-Rower – Keaon Koloamatangi (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Clocking 80 minutes spent on the field, Keaon Koloamatangi stood up in a wounded South Sydney second row.

The 24-year-old ran for 133 metres with 12 hit ups, busting out of three tackles in the process. Koloamatangi was the lone Rabbitoh to have 100 per cent tackle efficiency from 40 tackles and barely bobbled all night despite his side's disappointing second half.

#13: Lock – Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Despite the Rabbitohs not coming away with the win against the Panthers, Cameron Murray didn’t disappoint. He played for 80 minutes and had a hand in everything for the Rabbitohs.

Murray’s defence was outstanding, with the Lock making 53 tackles - the most of anyone in the game, with his tackle efficiency sitting at nearly 92 per cent. He also racked up two tackle breaks, 11 hit ups and 162 running metres from 21 runs.

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