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Round 18 Team of the Week: McGrady magic lights up Country Week

Activate! Queensland Country Week saw footballers across the competition put on a show, as the Hostplus Cup went regional for Round 18.

There were a number of stunning efforts across the weekend, with Norths Devils putting in a huge team effort to upset Wynnum Manly, while Central Queensland posted a big win over Ipswich and Redcliffe made a statement against Burleigh.

For Townsville in their victory over the Western Clydesdales, winger Robert Derby was a standout, picking up Hastings Deering player of the match accolades.

And for Tweed, in a much-needed win over Brisbane Tigers, it was captain Lindon McGrady who stepped up to lead the way, with an incredible performance that has earned him Round 18 Team of the Week captaincy honours.

Each round, Queensland Rugby League recognises the 17 best performers and names the Hostplus Cup Team of the Week, presented by Hostplus. These team selections are based not only on statistical data, but also take on board live and broadcast viewings of the games.

Round 18 Team of the Week

1. Lindon McGrady – Tweed Seagulls (C)

The Tweed skipper has picked up Hostplus Cup Team of the Week captaincy honours for a stunning showing against the Brisbane Tigers in Kilcoy. McGrady inspired his team to their 38-12 victory with an attacking masterclass. Not only did he score two tries, but he assisted in another three, therefore playing a part in five of the Seagulls' six tries. He also kicked six from six conversions and one penalty goal, ran for 251 metres, and recorded five line break assists, five tackle busts and one line break. It was a big week for fullbacks across the competition, with Denzel Burns the standout for Ipswich, while Sunshine Coast's Luke Polselli, Souths Logan's Byron Johnson and Townsville's Brendan Elliot also strong.

Round 18 top five super plays

2. Jodeci Baker-Tiraha – Townsville Blackhawks

The Blackhawks ran riot against the Western Clydesdales in the only Sunday game in Country Week and Baker-Tiraha was one of the main players to put on a show in Stanthorpe. The North Queensland Cowboys gun nabbed two tries in the 42-12 win, set up another four-pointer, and notched up 126 run metres, seven tackle busts and four line breaks.

3. Treymain Spry – Tweed Seagulls

A repeat star of Team of the Week, Spry was once again electric for Tweed on Saturday. The 23-year-old scored one of the club's six tries, amassed 217 run metres and recorded seven tackle breaks and two line breaks.

4. Josh Smith – Mackay Cutters

Another huge attacking effort in Round 18 came from Mackay centre Smith. Similar to Spry, he made a huge impact for his team, but in this case, was unable to get the win in a close battle against competition leaders Souths Logan. Smith scored a try and ran for a massive 218 metres with three tackle busts and seven tackles. Elsewhere, Cooper Marshall was strong for the Central Queensland Capras in their win over Ipswich with a try, try assist, and 148 run metres.

5. Robert Derby – Townsville Blackhawks (VC)

The Hastings Deering player of the week, Derby lit up Sullivan Oval in Stanthorpe with a sensational performance against the Western Clydesdales. With Baker-Tiraha on the other side, the Clydesdales couldn't escape the efforts of the two Townsville wingers. Derby scored one try and set up another, and ran for 201 metres with eight tackle busts, one line break and one offload. Elsewhere, Ryland Jacobs supported the efforts of McGrady and Spry for Tweed with a strong showing against Brisbane.


Powerful Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks winger Robert Derby's workhorse effort and incredible try earned him Round 18 Hastings Deering player of the match honours

Posted by Hostplus Cup on Saturday, July 15, 2023

6. Radean Robinson – Souths Logan Magpies

It was a tough win for Souths Logan on Saturday night in Proserpine, but the competition leaders managed to come away with the two points over Mackay. Robinson was an integral part of this win, as the 24-year-old amassed 187 run metres and made 26 tackles, with one try assist, one line break assist and one tackle bust. Elsewhere, Jayden Nikorima and Aaron Moore were influential for Sunshine Coast and Central Queensland respectively.

Radean Robinson in Round 18. Photo: Benjamin van Moolenbroek/QRL
Radean Robinson in Round 18. Photo: Benjamin van Moolenbroek/QRL

7. Kyle Foxwell – Wynnum Manly Seagulls

While the end of Wynnum Manly's seven-match winning streak would have been a hard pill to swallow, Foxwell's performance was a shining light for the Seagulls as he tried to help them back into the game against the Norths Devils in Wondai. In his third game starting at halfback, Foxwell scored two tries early in the second half to spark Wynnum Manly's comeback. He also set up a third try, ran for 76 metres, had two tackle busts, one line break assist and 21 tackles. Elsewhere, Jack Campagnolo continued his impressive form with Souths Logan with two try assists, 105 run metres and one line break assist.

8. Lachlan Hubner – Central Queensland Capras

Hubner returned to the Capras' starting side this week ready to pack a punch. In a blistering 60-minute performance against Ipswich, the star forward ran for 234 metres with four tackle busts, and made 22 tackles with zero misses. His front row partner in JJ Collins was also strong.

9. Sheldon Pitama – Redcliffe Dolphins

The Dolphins hooker is always one of the competition's strongest and Saturday's triumph over Burleigh was no different. Pitama not only scored a try and set up another, but made 136 run metres with five tackle busts, two line breaks, one offload and 27 tackles through the middle. Elsewhere, Kruise Leeming helped guide Tweed to their win while Rhys Jacks made a stunning 51 tackles with zero misses for Ipswich in their loss to Central Queensland.

10. Sam McIntyre – Townsville Blackhawks

In another jaw-dropping 80-minute performance, McIntyre aimed up against the Clydesdales pack to keep Townsville in finals contention. The North Queensland Cowboys-affiliated forward amassed a huge 193 run metres, made five tackle busts, one offload and 25 tackles against the Clydesdales. Elsewhere, birthday boy Jayden Stephens starred for Norths in their win over Wynnum Manly while Melbourne Storm affiliate Aaron Pene was a major factor in the Sunshine Coast's win over the Northern Pride.

11. Jack Gibbons – Sunshine Coast Falcons

In the 25-year-old's return to the field for the Falcons, he made quite a statement as the Sunshine Coast claimed the two points in Weipa. Gibbons not only scored one of the Falcons' four tries but he ran for 105 metres with four tackle busts and one line break, and stood up in defence to record 32 tackles with just one miss.

12. Hnaloan Budden – Western Clydesdales

The Clydesdales may have struggled to get into the game against the Blackhawks in Stanthorpe, but Budden certainly did everything he could to make his side proud in their loss. The Clydesdales scored just two tries on Sunday and one was through Budden with the other try to fullback Esom Ioka set up by the backrower. He also earned 124 run metres, a huge eight tackle busts, two line breaks, two offloads and 27 tackles in a big all-round performance.

13. Sean Mullany – Mackay Cutters

The Mackay lock has been sensational all year and he almost inspired his team to an upset win over the Souths Logan Magpies on Saturday night. While the Cutters didn't come through with a victory, Mullany had plenty to be proud of. In a 59-minute effort, he amassed 176 run metres with two tackle busts and one offload, and made a huge 39 tackles. On the opposite side of the field, Rory Ferguson continued to be Mr Reliable for Souths Logan while in Miles, Sam Coster made a mammoth 45 tackles for Burleigh in their loss to Redcliffe.

Sean Mullany in Round 18. Photo: Benjamin van Moolenbroek/QRL
Sean Mullany in Round 18. Photo: Benjamin van Moolenbroek/QRL

14. Blake Moore – Central Queensland Capras

In another week where fullbacks commanded plenty of attention, Moore was outstanding for the Capras in a much-needed win over the Ipswich Jets. Central Queensland strengthened their position in the top eight and Moore was key. He scored a hat-trick and set up a fourth try as well as recording 142 run metres, seven tackle breaks, two line breaks and two line break assists. He also made 13 tackles with zero misses, in a safe defensive effort out the back.

Blake Moore in Round 18. Photo: Luke Fletcher/QRL
Blake Moore in Round 18. Photo: Luke Fletcher/QRL

15. Trai Fuller – Redcliffe Dolphins

Another round, another Team of the Week selection for Fuller. The Redcliffe No.1 was instrumental in a convincing win over Burleigh. He scored a hat-trick, ran for 173 metres, and recorded five tackle busts, one line break and eight tackles.

16. Jonathon Reuben – Norths Devils

The try-scoring wizard was at it again against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls on Saturday. In a really great team effort from Norths, the Devils winger put on the finishing touches twice with two tries in Wondai. He also amassed 161 run metres with three tackle breaks and two offloads.

17. Luke Burton – Tweed Seagulls

Tweed prop Burton aimed up in a big way against the Brisbane Tigers pack in Kilcoy. In 57 minutes, Burton set up a try, ran for 168 metres, made three tackle breaks, one line break and 26 tackles with no misses in the middle.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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