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Round 9 Team of the Week: Newcomer stars for Blackhawks

A new face within the Hostplus Cup has used his first start as a chance to make a massive statement within the competition.

Townsville Blackhawks No.1 Lennix Tovo had played just 10 minutes in his Cup debut against the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Round 6 before getting his first start in Saturday's Round 9 clash against the Tweed Seagulls.

The rugby union product - who hails from New Zealand and came to north Queensland from Canberra - was actually recommended to Blackhawks coach Terry Campese from Burleigh centre Sami Sauiluma and his brother.

Originally signed to the Blackhawks on a train-and-trial, Tovo has impressed since landing in Townsville, including at this year's XXXX Foley Shield, and Campese said his first starting appearance was definitely one to remember, with the 22-year-old also picking up player of the match honours for the club.

Lennix Tovo. Photo: Townsville Blackhawks
Lennix Tovo. Photo: Townsville Blackhawks

"He was a project to get over from rugby union and get him into rugby league, but he's been really receptive to learning and asking questions, which is always what you want," Campese said.

"I've always said if you get an opportunity, take it with both hands and you'll get your selection for the following week and he's done just that.

"I was pleasantly surprised - 26 carries he had over 200 metres and two tries in a tough and physical game where there weren't too many line breaks.

"He's definitely come a long way from where he started. I couldn't be prouder as a coach and prouder for him."

Tovo earns captaincy honours for the Team of the Week in Round 9, in what was also an impressive week for five-eighths of the competition.

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 9 clash of the week: Hunters v Pride

Round 9 Team of the Week

1. Lennix Tovo – Townsville Blackhawks (C)

In just his second game of Hostplus Cup - and his first starting appearance - electric young No.1 Tovo burst onto the field at Tugun with a statement to make. The New Zealand product was a standout in Townsville's narrow win over Tweed Seagulls, bagged a double and amassed a stunning 220 run metres. He also recorded a handy 10 tackle busts and a line break and line break assist. Tristan Sailor was also strong for the Souths Logan Magpies.

2. Jordan Pereira – Souths Logan Magpies

Another double over the weekend went to Souths Logan veteran Pereira, who crossed twice to secure the six-point victory over the Western Clydesdales. The Brisbane Broncos affiliate also ran for 197 metres with seven tackle breaks and a line break.

3. Sefa Roache-Faimalo – Wynnum Manly Seagulls

It was a massive performance from Roache-Faimalo on Saturday against the Ipswich Jets.  Keeping with the Round 9 trend, the Wynnum Manly Seagulls centre scored two tries and set up a third, causing headaches for the Jets. Roache-Faimalo also had 121 run metres, three tackle breaks, two line breaks and a line break assist, as well as 12 tackles with no slip-ups for 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

Roache-Faimalo. Photo: Jacob Grams/QRL
Roache-Faimalo. Photo: Jacob Grams/QRL

4. Kea Pere – Burleigh Bears

In back-to-back Team of the Week appearances, Pere was sensational against the Mackay Cutters on Saturday. Another double try-scorer, the Burleigh centre got through a mountain of work, including 214 run metres, seven tackle breaks, three line breaks and 19 tackles. Other standout centres included Tweed duo Ioane Seiuli and Kaleb Ngamanu, Souths Logan pair Ethan Quai-Ward and Kienan Tempest, Northern Pride's Braidon Burns, Mackay's Mahe Fonua and Central Queensland's Robert Jennings.

5. Josiah Karapani – Burleigh Bears

Pere's teammate Karapani also contributed greatly to Burleigh's victory, which now sees them sit atop of the Hostplus Cup ladder as they head into a bye round. The Broncos-contracted winger earned two four-pointers, ran for 168 metres and finished with three tackle breaks and two line breaks. Other wingers that impressed across Round 9 included Norths' Manase Kaho, Central Queensland's Edrick Lee, Tweed's Tony Francis and Wynnum Manly's Sione Hopoate, with a jaw-dropping 249 run metres.

Gerome Burns. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Gerome Burns. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

6. Gerome Burns – Norths Devils

Burns has gone from strength-to-strength since joining the Norths Devils this season and on Sunday was at his blistering best in the shocking 62-16 win over the reigning premiers, Brisbane Tigers. The playmaker picked his moments well against the Tigers and put on an attacking masterclass with a try and an assist, 194 run metres, five tackle busts, three offloads and a line break assist, as well as 14 tackles. It was a big week for five-eighths across the competition - and hard to leave a number out - with Will Brimson strong for Tweed while Matt Wright kicked the winning field goal for the Townsville Blackhawks.

7. Jack Wright - Norths Devils

Alongside danger man Burns, Jack Wright was also solid for the Devils, despite limited time on the field. With Jack Ahearn coming off the bench, Wright got 58 minutes of game time and played his part well to support the team and build up a 46-0 halftime lead over the Tigers. He laid on two try assists and a line break assist and had 12 tackles with no misses. Elsewhere, Luke Jurd was also good in attack for the Western Clydesdales, with two tries in their loss to the Magpies.

8. Cooper Jenkins – Norths Devils

Norths' domination came from all across the field and it was Jenkins who helped set an early standard against the Tigers. With Norths up 10-0, the prop barged over for back-to-back tries in the 12th and 16th minutes to extend the lead and set a strong platform for his team. Jenkins also had 96 run metres, five tackle busts and two line breaks in 47 minutes on the field.

9. Judah Rimbu – PNG Hunters

The PNG Hunters caused an upset to the Northern Pride on Saturday, taking down the former competition leaders in Port Moresby. Rimbu was a massive part of this, particularly in defence, with the hooker making 43 tackles - a game high. Rimbu also had 83 run metres, two tackle breaks and an offload. Special mentions this week go to Ipswich's Rhys Jacks who made 56 tackles while Blake Mozer was also impressive for Souths Logan.

10. Pride Petterson-Robati – Souths Logan Magpies

Coming off the bench, Petterson-Robati brought plenty of impact against the Western Clydesdales. In 53 minutes on the field, the prop smashed his way through 170 run metres and had two tackle busts and 28 tackles, with 100 per cent efficiency.

11. Oryn Keeley – Norths Devils

In continuing with this week's theme, Devils backrower Keeley bagged a double against the Tigers on Sunday and was a constant threat with the ball in hand. The Dolphins NRL affiliate also registered 163 run metres, five tackle breaks, three offloads, two line breaks and 13 tackles.

12. Jesse Jennings – Central Queensland Capras

The Capras returned to the winner's circle with a strong performance against the Redcliffe Dolphins and backrower Jennings was key to this victory. Another double try-scorer, Jennings also worked his way through 120 run metres, two tackle breaks, two line breaks and 34 tackles in a good, all-round effort.

13. Lachlan Hubner – Central Queensland Capras

In 65 minutes on the field, Hubner led from the front to get his side the two points. The lock amassed 180 run metres with three tackle busts, an offload and 30 tackles in a solid performance at Kayo Stadium.

14. Radean Robinson – Souths Logan Magpies

It was a big week for five-eighths and Robinson only moves to the bench because of Burns' efforts against the Tigers. The Rockhampton product scored a try and set up another two, ran for 100 metres, recorded three tackle breaks, two line break assists and an offload, and made 20 tackles.

15. Josh Stuckey – Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Another one that was unlucky to not have starting honours this week, Wynnum Manly lock Stuckey was a standout against the Jets. In 49 minutes the forward had 142 run metres, three offloads, two tackle busts and 15 tackles.

16. Alex Max – PNG Hunters

In his second Team of the Week appearance, Max brought the X-factor to PNG's Saturday win over the Pride. Not only did he score a try, but Max set up another one and had 176 run metres, two tackle breaks, one line break assist and one offload.

17. Kurt Falls – Wynnum Manly Seagulls

It was an excellent showing from Falls against the Jets on Saturday. While he had a few misses in defence, he did everything expected of him as a playmaker with two tries, two try assists, 116 run metres, two line breaks, two line break assists, four tackle breaks and an offload.

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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