Justis Kamu rates the standout players after round four of the NRL.
Fullback - Ben Barba (Bulldogs)
The diminutive number 1 lifted the Bulldogs to a 30-20 victory over the financially troubled Titans at Skilled Park. Two moments in particular underlined his ever-increasing importance to his side in both attack and defence. Firstly, he broke free from the clutches of opposing defenders in-goal to instigate a length of the field try for Josh Morris. Secondly, in a true Hercules-like effort, he managed to jam his small frame under big Luke Bailey and deny what looked to be a certain try.
Wing - Andrew Everingham (Rabbitohs)
Everingham is an exception to the new-age footballer. Making his debut (round three) at the age of 25 is a rare feat of its own these days. With the implementation of the Toyota Cup, clubs seek to identify their next star before ones 18th birthday. To persist with his NRL dream defies modern day logic when many at 23, 24 would've headed offshore to England, France or crossed codes to rugby for their big break. On Sunday the tall paceman claimed his fourth try in three games to dramatically send the game into extra time and ultimately a thrilling Bunnies triumph.
Centre - Shaun Kenny Dowall (Roosters)
The former backpacker is slowly making his way back to peak form after an injury ravaged 2011 season. On Saturday night against the Warriors, SKD, made the Auckland side pay for their sloppy defence running for 144 metres, scoring a try and assisting Anthony Minichello's try. The rangy centre went over after five minutes angling back in to step past two defenders and slam the ball over the tryline. Before ending his night's contribution using his foot to hack the ball ahead for 'the Count' to go in behind the posts.
Centre - Brent Tate (Cowboys)
The former Broncos and Warriors player is at his third club after 11 years in the toughest league competition in the world. Blessed with searing pace and a powerful stiff fend, Tate is an experienced campaigner who provides a constant threat outwide for the Cowboys. Against the Raiders, he dotted down for the opening try and made four tackle busts on his way to 121 running metres. If he can put together a string of consistent outings over the next month, an Origin call-up is within reach.
Wing - Ashley Graham (Cowboys)
The North Queensland winger may not get the plaudits that Matty Bowen, Jonathan Thurston or Matt Scott receives. But his valuable input on the right flank should never be under-estimated. A workhorse, he was second in metres gained for his team with 162 and grabbed two tries to slam the Raiders to a 22-6 defeat. Both tries were off the back of cut-out passes from Thurston.
Five-eighth - Braith Anasta (Roosters)
News of Anasta's defection to the Wests Tigers in 2013 shocked both teammates and fans midweek and threatened to derail the Roosters preparation against the Warriors. Some thought the external distractions would have an adverse effect but his response was first-class as he engineered his side's 26-8 upset win. He is a proven winner and his mental aptitude to focus on the weekend's task inspired his teammates to a bounce back win after a hiding from the Storm a week earlier.
Halfback - Cooper Cronk (Storm)
Cronk's highly-sought after skill-set is safely under Craig Bellamy's watch after declining a $4m ($3.2m Aus) approach from the Titans to stay in Melbourne. Ending weeks of speculation and scrutiny he resumed his conductor's role without a glitch in their 34-22 win. His first touch was a 40/20 kick and he neatly put through Ryan Hoffman to score before the break.
Prop- Ben Hannant (Broncos)
Looks can be deceiving when eyeing up the beefy 'Polar Express'. Armed with deceptive pace and an excellent motor, the former Bulldog completes ¾ of a match week to week. Playing 67 minutes against the Dragons, his sting in defence never diminished as he topped the tackle count with 38. With the ball in hand his last hit up of the match is always taken with the same intensity as the first with 161 metres from 18 runs.
Hooker- Isaac Luke (Rabbitohs)
The Rabbitohs rake was dangerous out of dummy-half causing plenty of problems for the Tigers on Sunday afternoon. Eager to test the opposition up the middle, Luke busted 10 tackles and scurried for 110 metres from 13 carries. Playing 80 minutes under coach Michael Migure his influence on the game was undeniable with two tries. His first try after the interval started the fightback and his second four-pointer in the 76th minute set-up the unforgettable finish.
Prop - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters)
With a growing reputation as one of the most-feared enforcers in the game, he's one player you'd want to go to war with. Against the Warriors, his big hits and spirited runs were the catalyst for their forwards dominance over the opposition pack. When he's in smashing form, teammates are moved to follow the effort of the commander of the frontline. The former representative golfer topped the tackle count for his side with 35, and carried the ball on 14 occasions for 133 metres.
Second row - Frank Pritchard (Bulldogs)
Back in the Bulldogs lineup after serving a one match ban, 'Frank the Tank' proved difficult to stop as he broke five tackles, from 13 carries for 121 metres against the Titans. A hulking backrower, who uses his size to his advantage, he was most damaging when running wide on the fringes. Scored a try in the 53rd minute, he wrapped around Corey Payne before carrying Scott Prince on his back over the tryline.
Second row - Ryan Hoffman (Storm)
The Melbourne Storm welcomed back Hoffman with open arms after a season plying his trade for Wigan in the Super League. A Challenge Cup winner in his only season at the club, his transition back to the Storm set-up has been seamless. The New South Welshman is primarily used as a battering ram off Cronk or Widdop to punch holes in the defence. His 38th minute try was carried out in that admired fashion, as he held his line before receiving his halfback's pass to crash over. He nearly went over again in the 50th minute but offloaded for Billy Slater to dot down.
Lock - Paul Gallen (Sharks)
Without a doubt a front-runner in the 2012 Dally M medal voting count. Billy Slater may be racking up his personal try count on the back of his amazing form after five rounds. But the Sharks skipper is singlehandedly changing the fortunes of games with his superhuman feats for Cronulla. His performances in the 13 jumper have been nothing short of phenomenal as against Penrith on the weekend where he ran 32 times for 254 metres; his third consecutive 200m+ game.
Coach: Brian Smith
Ben Barba, Andrew Everingham, Shaun Kenney Dowall, Brent Tate, Ashley Graham, Braith Anasta, Cooper Cronk, Ben Hannant, Isaac Luke, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Frank Pritchard, Ryan Hoffman, Paul Gallen. Coach: Brian Smith