Some new faces have emerged in the race for the 2023 Petero Civoniceva Medal but Central Queensland’s Trey Browne and PNG’s Morea Morea hold strong at the top after Round 9 of the Hostplus Cup.
Fullback Morea – who has been in the lead since Round 3 – and hooker Browne sit atop of the medal tally with 11 points each.
However, a number of other players have started to make their move in the past three weeks with Souths Logan duo Rory Ferguson and Tristan Sailor surging forward into the top 11, off the back of the success enjoyed by the second-placed Magpies.
Northern Pride fullback Julian Christian and Townsville Blackhawks forward Riley Price have also rocketed up the standings to sit in joint third with Ferguson and the ever-consistent Lachlan Hubner from Central Queensland.
Sailor meanwhile sits in joint fourth alongside Burleigh’s Jacob Alick, Redcliffe’s Sheldon Pitama and Wynnum Manly’s Tyson Smoothy, while Burleigh Bears halfback Guy Hamilton stands alone in second spot.
Souths Logan coach Karmichael Hunt said it was good to see his skipper Ferguson and his young No.1 Sailor recognised for their efforts so far this season, with the Magpies sitting on five wins, two draws and one loss.
“Rory, he’s playing like you want your captain to play,” Hunt said.
“He’s a leader out on the field. He never stops working in attack or defence.
“He epitomises what we want to be as a team. That’s hard-working, never giving up, not being shy of the gritty work but also happy to play their role for the team.
“He’s a really good example to the rest of boys of how we should play and they’re following suit.
“Tristan, I think he’s building into his season nicely. He’s constantly topping or near-topping run metres. His safety at the back is awesome.
“He’s always in the contest and has been so consistent over the last month. I think he still has his best football in front of him.
“It says a lot about him – on top of his study (law) - to go into a pre-season at Broncos and then go on to get a contract, it says a lot about his talent but also his work ethic and the kind of teammate he is.
“You don’t sign players unless they’re good people and teammates. I’m just proud of him and really, really pleased that he’s with us at Souths and the Broncos as well.”
For the Pride, Christian has been a shining light over the past two seasons and instrumental in the Cairns-based club sitting in the top eight after the opening nine rounds.
Townsville’s Price has also had a strong start to the season that included his NRL debut in Round 5 of the competition with the North Queensland Cowboys.
He has made two appearances so far for the Cowboys and has been named once again on the bench for the upcoming Round 12 clash against the Wests Tigers.
The standings following Round 9 are below, with the top 11 players listed.
Voting will go behind closed doors at the conclusion of Round 12 of the Hostplus Cup.
Petero Civoniceva Medal standings after Round 9
|Trey Browne||Central Queensland Capras||11|
|Morea Morea||PNG Hunters||11|
|Guy Hamilton||Burleigh Bears||9|
|Julian Christian||Northern Pride||8|
|Rory Ferguson||Souths Logan Magpies||8|
|Lachlan Hubner||Central Queensland Capras||8|
|Riley Price||Townsville Blackhawks||8|
|Jacob Alick||Burleigh Bears||7|
|Sheldon Pitama||Redcliffe Dolphins||7|
|Tristan Sailor||Souths Logan Magpies||7|
|Tyson Smoothy||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||7|
The winner will be unveiled at this year’s end-of-season QRL awards which will also reveal the Hostplus Cup team of the year as well as other major awards.
* Points tally collated by QRL scores coordinator Ken Cooper