1. Briton Nikora (Cronulla Sharks – last week: 1st)
Did not play
Briton Nikora served a one-match suspension in Round 7, missing Cronulla’s game against Brisbane. Despite missing the week, Nikora’s form in 2019 sees him keep top spot. He will return for the Sharks’ Round 8 clash against the Storm.
2. Maika Sivo (Parramatta Eels – last week: 2nd)
v Newcastle – 1 try, 17 runs, 159 metres, 39 post contact, 2 line break, 7 tackle breaks, 1 offload, 4 tackles, 0 missed
Parramatta were disappointing in Sunday’s loss to Newcastle but Maika Sivo can hold his head high after another bright performance. He scored his fourth try of the season, ran for 159 metres, made two line breaks and broke seven tackles, while being strong defensively again, making four tackles without a miss.
3. Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos – last week: 3rd)
v Cronulla – 65 minutes, 14 runs, 150 metres, 50 post contact, 2 tackle breaks, 31 tackles, 0 missed, 2 ineffective, 1 error
Payne Haas again showed off his impressive motor in Brisbane’s big win over Cronulla, starting at prop and making 150 metres (50 of those post contact) and 31 tackles with no misses in 65 minutes. Haas is now averaging 162.6 metres and 37 tackles per game in 69 minutes of play.
4. Thomas Flegler (Brisbane Broncos – last week: 7th)
v Cronulla – 44 minutes, 11 runs, 121 metres, 48 post contact, 16 tackles, 1 miss
Thomas Flegler played the most minutes of his career so far in Brisbane’s win over Cronulla and justified the time he got, running for 121 metres from 11 runs. He was no slouch defensively either, making 16 tackles for just one miss, only his third missed tackle all season.
5. Bronson Xerri (Cronulla Sharks – last week: 5th)
v Brisbane – 14 runs, 90 metres, 31 post contact, 4 tackle breaks, 1 offload, 13 tackles, 3 missed, 1 ineffective, 2 errors
Bronson Xerri retains fifth spot in the rankings after a solid outing in the Cronulla’s big loss to the Broncos. Xerri ran for 90 metres from 14 runs and broke four tackles, the most of any Shark.
6. Jack Williams (Cronulla Sharks – last week: 4th)
v Brisbane – 32 minutes, 6 runs, 55 metres, 22 tackles, 1 miss, 1 ineffective
Like much of the Sharks’ pack, Jack Williams was held quiet in Round 7 as the Broncos were dominant. Williams was solid defensively, making 22 tackles for just one miss.
7. Corey Waddell (Manly Sea Eagles – last week: 8th)
v Canberra – 62 minutes, 15 runs, 118 metres, 29 post contact, 1 line break assist, 1 try assist, 6 tackle breaks, 1 offload, 36 tackles, 3 missed, 2 ineffective
Corey Waddell continues to impress each week for Manly and, in turn, climb up our rankings. He played a career high 62 minutes in the Sea Eagles’ win over Canberra, running for 118 metres, breaking six tackles and making 36 tackles. He also registered another try assist, putting Marty Taupau through off a beautiful short ball.
8. Jayden Okunbor (Canterbury Bulldogs – last week: 10th)
v North Queensland – 1 try, 14 runs, 143 metres, 41 post contact, 3 line breaks, 1 tackle break, 2 offloads, 6 tackles, 1 miss, 2 errors
Jayden Okunbor returned to form in the Bulldogs’ win over the Cowboys and moves up two spots in the rankings. After getting caught out early for a try, he responded by scoring his side’s first. He finished with three line breaks and 143 running metres, his most since Round 4.
9. Jai Whitbread (Gold Coast Titans – last week: 9th)
v Wests Tigers – 35 minutes, 7 runs, 66 metres, 29 post contact, 30 tackles, 1 miss, 2 ineffective, 1 penalty conceded
Against the Tigers, Jai Whitbread had his quietest game since returning to first grade three weeks ago. He played just 35 minutes, his lowest of the season, and made just 66 metres. He impressed with his defence however, making 30 tackles with just one miss.
10. Caleb Aekins (Penrith Panthers – last week: unranked)
v South Sydney – 18 runs, 224 metres, 66 post contact, 3 tackle breaks, 2 offloads
The NSW Cup Player of the Year in 2018, Caleb Aekins returned to the NRL in strong fashion. Starting at fullback, he ran for a massive 224 metres (66 of those post contact) and broke three tackles in Penrith’s loss to South Sydney.
Outside looking in:
- Emre Guler played his first NRL game of 2019 in Canberra’s loss to Manly, running for 92 metres and making 14 tackles in just 20 minutes.
- Thomas Mikaele was a regular in the rankings in the opening rounds and may make a return soon. Against the Titans, he ran for 105 metres and made 12 tackles without miss in 32 minutes.
- Two-time Junior Kiwi Patrick Herbert made his NRL debut in the Warriors’ Anzac Day clash against Melbourne, starting at centre and running for 102 metres, making 17 tackles and breaking two.
- After a week off, Marion Seve returned to first grade in Melbourne’s win over the Warriors. He ran for 109 metres and made 25 tackles with a single miss.
- Lachlan Lam made his first start for the Roosters in their Anzac Day win over the Dragons. The junior Queensland representative ran for 93 metres and made 17 tackles with just one miss.
The 18th Man’s Rookie Rankings, released after each round, take into account a player’s previous round performance and their season as a whole.
We are using the NRL’s criteria for Dally M Rookie of the Year; the player must not have played more than four NRL games prior to the current season to qualify. Unlike the NRL, a player won’t be taken off the rankings if he becomes ineligible through suspension.