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Round 16 Team of the Week: Lewis leads from the front for depleted Falcons

Forwards were the winners of Round 16, with a number of packs standing up to secure the two points for their respective teams.

Harry Walters was stunning off the bench for the Souths Logan Magpies - bagging a hat-trick - while Norths Devils backrower Oryn Keeley has now amassed 500 run metres across two weeks.

But it was prop Chris Lewis from the Sunshine Coast Falcons who picked up captaincy honours this week for an excellent all-round performance against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, with a defensive effort that ultimately locked up the two points for his team.

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 16 Team of the Week

1. Tahj Wood – Brisbane Tigers

The Brisbane Tigers' back five were excellent on Sunday against the Souths Logan Magpies. While they suffered a one-point loss, it was a thrilling showdown at Davies Park and Wood played his part in getting the Tigers an early lead. Playing his role strongly, Wood set up three tries and amassed 174 run metres. The No.1 also had three line break assists and a tackle break, as well as six tackles with no misses. Other strong fullback performances included Wood's opposition number, Radean Robinson, as well as Sunshine Coast's Zac Miles, Wynnum Manly's Matt Milson, Burleigh's Creedence Toia and Redcliffe's Latrell Siegwalt.

2. Coby Williamson - Brisbane Tigers

Any of the Tigers' backs could have found a place in the Team of the Week in Round 16, and joining Wood in the line-up is winger Williamson. The young gun was electric, bagging a double against the Magpies. He also ran for 161 metres and had three line breaks and two tackle busts.

3. Mathew Lyons - Ipswich Jets

The Jets put in quite a comeback against the PNG Hunters on Sunday and Lyons gave his all to try to get Ipswich their second win of 2024. The former Wynnum Manly back was hard to contain for the Hunters, scoring a try and notching up a massive 194 run metres. Lyons also had six tackle breaks, an offload and 12 tackles.

4. Alex Max – PNG Hunters

A breakout star this season, Max makes Team of the Week again for another strong showing against Ipswich. He knows how to find the try line and earned another two four-pointers in Round 16. Max also had 166 run metres with a stunning nine tackle busts, three line breaks and an offload, as well as 14 tackles. Other standout centres included Western Clydesdales' Corey Fenning - a shining light in a heavy loss - as well as Souths Logan's Ethan Quai-Ward, Redcliffe's Valynce Te Whare, Pride's Dantoray Lui, Mackay's Josh Smith, Norths' Blake Paskins and Brisbane Tigers duo Tony Thompson and Saimone Ahomana.

5. Robert Derby – Northern Pride

What a comeback from the North Queensland Cowboys affiliate. Returning from injury in his first Cup game of 2024, Derby scored a hat-trick to secure a win over northern rivals, Mackay Cutters. Derby also had 161 run metres, six tackle busts, two line breaks and an offload. Other wingers who earn a mention include Brisbane Tigers' Ricco Falaniko, Sunshine Coast's Ammaron Gudgeon, Redcliffe's Brenton Baira and Burleigh's Mitch Watson.

6. Sean O’Sullivan – Redcliffe Dolphins

The Dolphins NRL playmaker picked up player of the match honours for his efforts against Tweed in the 2024 Liam Hampson Cup. O'Sullivan led the Dolphins to a convincing 58-12 win on Sunday with a try assist, 134 run metres, four tackle breaks, two line break assists, an offload and 10 tackles.

Lorna Morton with Sean O'Sullivan. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Lorna Morton with Sean O'Sullivan. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

7. Brandon Finnegan – Souths Logan Magpies

Match-winner Finnegan filled in admirably for Albert Kelly on Sunday. Kicking the winning field goal with just three minutes left on the clock against the Tigers, Finnegan also set up a try and recorded 43 run metres, a tackle break, an offload and 11 tackles.

8. Chris Lewis – Sunshine Coast Falcons (C)

It was an inspirational all-round performance from Lewis that saw him pick up captaincy honours this week. In a tight battle against Wynnum Manly, the hard-working forward scored a try in the sixth minute. He ran for 124 metres, with a line break and a tackle break, and made a massive 46 tackles - with just one miss - to help his side secure the victory. He got through this mountain of work in 67 minutes, with the Falcons losing a number of players to injury throughout the clash.

9. Pat Politoni – Burleigh Bears

Veteran No.9 Politoni led his team strongly on Saturday. In a convincing win over the Western Clydesdales, Politoni scored a try and set up another two. He also recorded three line break assists, a line break, a tackle bust and 47 run metres with 19 tackles in a busy night. PNG's Judah Rimbu and Wynnum Manly's Ollie Pascoe were also strong.

10. Lazarus Vaalepu – Sunshine Coast Falcons

The Lewis and Vaalepu combination was a lethal one on Saturday. Supporting his fellow prop in setting the platform for their team, Vaalepu starred across 48 minutes with 151 run metres, three offloads, two tackle busts and a line break, as well as 32 tackles with just one miss. Burleigh's Bailey Butler was also heavily influential in Round 16.

Round 16 clash of the week: Magpies v Tigers

11. Oryn Keeley – Norths Devils

A regular face in Team of the Week, Keeley is proving damaging with the ball in hand. The Dolphins NRL affiliate followed up his 300 run metres last week with another 200 run metres in Round 16. Keeley also had five tackle breaks, two offloads and 19 tackles against the Townsville Blackhawks.

12. Harry Walters – Souths Logan Magpies

Finnegan may have kicked the winning field goal against the Tigers on Sunday, but Walters put them in the position to get the two points. Bringing an unmissable impact from the bench, Walters - the son of Kevin and brother of Billy - started in the middle and moved to the edge as the game went on. Once he was in the backrow, Walters nabbed himself a hat-trick, equalling the scores with eight minutes on the clock. A genuine contender for Team of the Week captaincy, Walters also ran for 100 metres with three tackle breaks, two line breaks and an offload.

13. Rory Ferguson – Souths Logan Magpies

Welcome back to Team of the Week, Ferguson. The Souths Logan captain helped guide his team to their crucial victory, in a solid, all-round performance. Ferguson ran for 147 metres, set up a try and made 35 tackles. He also recorded three tackle breaks, two offloads and a line break assist. Other strong locks included Sunshine Coast's Sam Burns and Northern Pride's Evan Child.

14. Riley Dean – Mackay Cutters

A shining light in a losing side, Dean gave the Cutters a chance against the Northern Pride on Saturday. The young playmaker scored a try and recorded 114 run metres, six tackle breaks, a line break and an impressive 28 tackles.

15. Jarrett Boland – Redcliffe Dolphins

Playing for his good mate on Sunday, Boland went to another level in the Liam Hampson Cup against the Tweed Seagulls. In 49 minutes on the field, the Dolphins' players' player amassed 167 run metres with three tackle breaks, a line break and 16 tackles at 100 per cent efficiency.

16. Tukimihia Simpkins – Norths Devils

Another regular face in Team of the Week in 2024, Simpkins is back following another big performance for the Devils on Saturday. In 61 minutes, the prop charged through 176 run metres and recorded four offloads, three tackle breaks, a line break assist and 20 tackles.

17. Sheldon Pitama – Redcliffe Dolphins

Also playing for his good mate Hampson, Pitama was stunning out of hooker for the Dolphins on Sunday. In 46 minutes he managed to score a try and set up another two, while also recording 21 run metres, two line break assists, two tackle breaks, a line break and 14 tackles.

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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