2019 Rookie Rankings – Round 17

Brent Naden

With all 16 teams in action this past weekend, the Rookie Rankings return with little movement in the top ten. The top three has stayed firm, while a few players have jumped around below that as we head into the tail end of the 2019 season.

1. Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos – last week: 1st)
v Warriors – 65 minutes, 1 try, 17 runs, 202 metres, 79 post contact, 1 line break, 6 tackle breaks, 41 tackles, 1 miss, 2 ineffective, 1 error

Payne Haas continues to perform at a level that is basically unheard of for an NRL rookie. The 19-year old ran for over 200 metres, broke six tackles and scored a try in the Broncos’ 18-all draw with the Warriors.

2. Briton Nikora (Cronulla Sharks – 2nd)
v Melbourne – 80 minutes, 6 runs, 53 metres, 20 post contact, 1 line break assist, 1 try assist, 1 tackle break, 36 tackles, 7 missed, 2 errors, 1 penalty conceded

Briton Nikora has hit the rookie wall as Cronulla have continued on their form slump as of late. In their loss to Melbourne, he made 36 tackles, missing seven, but did set up a try. He holds onto second spot for now.

3. Maika Sivo (Parramatta Eels – 3rd)
v Wests Tigers – 12 runs, 95 metres, 43 post contact, 3 tackle breaks, 3 tackles, 1 miss

Maika Sivo was quieter than usual in Parramatta’s 12-point win over the Tigers. He ran for 95 metres, breaking three tackles, but went without a try for the second straight game after scoring in eight straight.

4. Braden Hamlin-Uele (Cronulla Sharks – 5th)
v Melbourne – 55 minutes, 13 runs, 133 metres, 48 post contact, 1 tackle break, 2 offloads, 24 tackles, 2 missed

Braden Hamlin-Uele moves up a spot after another great showing off the bench for Cronulla. His 131 metres were the second most of any Sharks forward. He now averages 108.6 metres per game.

5. Jack Williams (Cronulla Sharks – 4th)
v Cronulla – 51 minutes, 11 runs, 97 metres, 39 post contact, 1 tackle break, 36 tackles, 2 missed

Jack Williams was solid again in the Cronulla’s loss to Melbourne, getting through a lot of work in 51 minutes off the bench. Williams, who averages 104.9 metres per game, ran for 97 metres and made 36 tackles.

6. Cade Cust (Manly Sea Eagles – 7th)
v South Sydney – 71 minutes, 1 try, 19 runs, 127 metres, 30 post contact, 2 tackle breaks, 13 tackles, 2 missed, 4 kicks, 58 metres, 3 errors, 1 penalty conceded

Cade Cust ran for over 100 metres for the second time this season and scored his fourth try of the year in Manly’s one-point loss to South Sydney. He left the field late in the game and didn’t return due to a HIA.

7. Bronson Xerri (Cronulla Sharks – 6th)
v Melbourne – 9 runs, 84 metres, 22 post contact, 1 line break, 1 try assist, 2 tackle breaks, 6 tackles, 1 miss, 1 ineffective, 2 errors

Bronson Xerri didn’t get as many opportunities as usual in the Sharks’ loss to Melbourne, being restricted to 84 metres and two tackle breaks. He threw the final pass in Cronulla’s first try of the game.

8. Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers – 8th)
v Gold Coast – 2 tries, 19 runs, 219 metres, 84 post contact, 4 tackle breaks, 9 tackles, 1 miss, 3 ineffective

Brian To’o ran for a career high 219 metres in Penrith’s 22-point win over the Titans. Averaging 170 metres per game, he scored two spectacular tries in the corner and broke four tackles.

9. Thomas Mikaele (Wests Tigers – 9th)
v Parramatta – 41 minutes, 10 runs, 112 metres, 38 post contact, 1 offload, 24 tackles, 1 miss, 1 ineffective

Thomas Mikaele ran for more metres than any other Tigers forward in their loss to the Eels. In 41 minutes, he ran for 112 metres and made 24 tackles with just one miss.

10. Brent Naden (Penrith Panthers – not ranked)
v Gold Coast – 19 runs, 238 metres, 70 post contact, 2 line breaks, 1 tackle break, 1 offload, 14 tackles, 2 missed, 1 ineffective, 1 error

After a rough start defensively to his NRL career, Brent Naden has warmed to first grade in recent weeks, stepping out with a huge performance against the Titans. He ran for a massive 238 metres, 70 of those post contact.

Honourable mentions:

  • Burnley-born Bronco Herbie Farnworth was a standout in his side’s draw with the Warriors. He ran for 143 metres and made five tackles without a miss.
  • Patrick Carrigan was immense off the bench for Brisbane, running for 130 metres and making 31 tackles without a miss in 37 minutes.
  • Bailey Simonsson ran for over 100 metres for the seventh straight game in Canberra’s win over the Dragons. He also crossed for this fifth try of the year.
  • While he had a few errors, Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater had another solid outing in his side’s win over the Roosters, running for 151 metres.
  • Shane Wright got through a mountain of work again for the Cowboys, playing the full 80 and making 111 metres and 47 tackles.

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.

Categories: NRL


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