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Sport NRL 2021 Buy of the Year Power Rankings: Isaiah Papali'i eclipses million-dollar man David Fifita

09:50  11 may  2021
09:50  11 may  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

NRL predicted team lists: Every side's likely lineup for round 9

  NRL predicted team lists: Every side's likely lineup for round 9 Injury carnage has rocked some of the NRL's biggest clubs, with the Rabbitohs and Roosters set to lose some big names. Adam Reynolds, Cameron Murray and Campbell Graham are all facing time on the sidelines for South Sydney after picking up injuries against Canberra. For the Tricolours, devastating news with Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins both suffering ACL injuries. Elsewhere, more trouble in the Dragons outside backs with Zac Lomax and Cody Ramsey both injured against the Tigers. See below for all the predicted team lists ahead of round 9. To see how your side lined up last round, click here.

This year saw some marquee signings across the board with players looking to overcome form or injury issues, and generally seeking greener pastures at other clubs. Throughout the season, Sporting News will be tracking the progress of players at new clubs in 2021 in our Buy of the Year Power Was labeled a 'flat track bully' from some corners of the game with the way he performed in round 18 against Parramatta, but has responded in superb fashion in recent weeks for the Titans. Playing a new role off the bench, Fifita has been brought on to cause some damage to fatiguing opposition defences and it's

David Fifita , Benji Marshall and Isaiah Papali ' i have been some of the best buys of the season to date.Source: FOX SPORTS. Mark St John from Fox Sports. @markdfstjohn. April 23rd, 2021 5:53 am. With a quarter of the NRL regular season already done and dusted a number of players have put their hands up to be in the running for the best buys of 2021 . From Titans pair Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and David Fifita to cut price Souths star Benji Marshall and reborn Eels forward Isaiah Papali ’ i , a number of players are showing their old clubs just what they are missing out on.

Player movements are what whets every fan's appetite for a new season and their club's prospects for glory, or at the very least improvement, each year.

While it's often the same clubs who throw their weight around in the player market and recruit the big names, others look towards the second and third tier of talent to build their roster year-to-year – it's often these that prove to be the best buys.

This year saw some marquee signings across the board with players looking to overcome form or injury issues, and generally seeking greener pastures at other clubs.

Throughout the season, Sporting News will be tracking the progress of players at new clubs in 2021 in our Buy of the Year Power Rankings.

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“Esan is a quality player and will fit in really well with what we’re building at the Titans,” he said. “He’ll bring energy and effort and he also brings experience having played test football six times for New Zealand and once for the Cook Islands. “With Corey Thompson and Patrick Herbert on the sidelines, there’s no doubt he will be an important player in the short term for our side but he also adds plenty as we build our roster for finals football for this year and beyond. “We look forward to welcoming him to the Gold Coast and we’re excited about him becoming a Titan.” Marsters has played 76 NRL games to

NRL 's head of football Graham Annesley and former Penrith Panthers great Ryan Girdler have come to blows over Jake Trbojevic's contentious sin-binning in Friday's knockout semi-final between the Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs. Trbojevic was sent for a spell on the sidelines in the 66th minute after referee Gerard Sutton deemed the Origin star forward to have committed a professional foul when he At the time of the courageous forward's sin-binning, Manly were leading the game 26-20 and looked in control, however conceded two straight tries in Trbojevic's absence to lose the game and end their season.

NOTE: Players sidelined by a long-term injury, such as Warriors recruit Addin Fonua-Blake, have not been considered in the power rankings. Harry Grant has also not been included because he re-joined the Storm from his loan to the Tigers last year.

#1 Isaiah Papali'i

Last week: #1

Key stats: Five tries, 157 avg run metres, 34 avg tackles, 39 tackle breaks

Continues to light up Parramatta's dominant left edge with his aggression and hard-running playing off Mitch Moses.

Isaiah Papali'i has been one of the Eels' stand out performers, emerging as one of the competition's most threatening attacking second-rowers since being told he was unwanted by the Warriors last year.

Not many people made much of this signing from Parramatta late last year but they certainly know about it now and with the way it's going, this is proving to be the best value buy of the year by a long stretch.

The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Round 9

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Pappy’s manager Clinton Schifcofske is meeting Melbourne Storm this week to nut out a new deal for his client. The Storm love the speedy fullback and the feeling is mutual. Papenhuyzen has a year to run on his current deal and is close to extending. Delusional Manly fans were screaming conspiracy theory and wrongly blaming the NRL for the asbestos dramas this week. The fact of the matter is it was Northern Beaches Council who alerted Manly to the problem and they in turn informed the NRL . Once it got to that level, they had to act and look at an alternate venue in case there was a danger to fans and

Cronk will hang up the boots on his stellar 16-season career at full-time of Sunday’s NRL decider between the Sydney Roosters and the Canberra Raiders. The 35- year -old is already a man in demand, with the Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm and multiple media outlets reportedly chasing his services. “He’s obviously doing an MBA to help him in the business world and I can see that happening down the track at some point, that Cooper’s heavily involved in the administrative side of the game, rather than the football side of the game.”

Tom Opacic, Mitchell Moses are posing for a picture: Isaiah Papali'i © Provided by Sporting News Isaiah Papali'i

#2 David Fifita

Last week: #2

Key stats: Nine tries, 140 avg run metres, 10 linebreaks, 24 offloads

Helped get his side home in a big comeback win over the Wests Tigers last week in a strong individual performance.

Having spent the opening two months at the top of the power rankings, Fifita dropped to #2 last week after some quiet performances amidst a horror slide in form for the Gold Coast, which was snapped against the Tigers.

But the $1 million Titans recruit has scored two hattricks this season, already proving the masses of money the club threw at him will be worthy investment.

#3 Benji Marshall

Last week: #3

Key stats: Three tries, three try assists, six linebreak assists

Like his entire side, it wasn't a good night for Benji Marshall against the Storm.

Playing in a makeshift halves pairing with Dean Hawkins, with Adam Reynolds injured and Cody Walker covering the suspended Latrell Mitchell at fullback, Marshall was unable to ignite South Sydney's attack.

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Receiving the ball 35 metres away from his own line, Dufty skipped and stuttered before cutting inside and blasting through the legs tackle of Boyd Cordner. The diminutive No.1 scorched into the clear, stepping deftly around his opposite number James Tedesco, though multiple Roosters defenders remained in the picture. Dufty's footwork dazzled Cronk and the St George junior slammed down on the accelerator in the final few metres to dive under the posts amid attention from Latrell Mitchell. Watch Dufty's magical try below. "What a try here at the SCG!" yelled Fox League commentator Andrew Voss.

Matterson bundled into the back of Kepaoa's head late in the Eels' four-point win over the Tigers, seeing him placed on report. Recent changes to the NRL 's judiciary guidelines saw the base penalty for crusher tackles raised , meaning even a grade-one charge would lead to a one week suspension. Replays appeared to show Thompson's right hand around Tamou's eye as he tried to bring the Panthers big man to the ground. And while Tamou did his best to downplay the incident after the game, Thompson has been referred directly to the tribunal. " I was hoping to get the penalty," Tamou said.

But outside of that, the veteran playmaker has so far proven to be a masterful buy for Souths.

Nobody was after Marshall over the off-season, following his messy Tigers exit, until the Rabbitohs came calling right before season kick-off, and in two months of footy the veteran playmaker has starred in a variety of roles.

At 36, Marshall continues to stun those around the competition and is proving he's still got years in those legs.

a football player on a field: Benji Marshall © Provided by Sporting News Benji Marshall

#4 Jai Arrow

Last week: #3

Key stats: 121 avg run metres, 27 avg tackles, 10 tackle breaks, seven offloads

After a blistering start to the year in his new colours, Arrow hasn't quite found the same rhythym in recent weeks and was quiet starting for the injured Cameron Murray at lock in the Rabbitohs' 50-0 hammering against Melbourne.

With Murray sidelined for a few weeks, Arrow will get the chance to redeem himself in that starting role, and it will undoubtedly bring the best out of the Origin star, with selection for the Maroons two weeks away.

#5 Jack Bird

Last week: #7

Key stats: One try, five try assists, 115 avg run metres, 31 tackle breaks

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Continues to blossom in his return to the Red V.

As the weeks wear on, Bird's involvement for his side keeps growing, with the Dragons finding success down the left centre's side.

Bird's aggression in attack and defence, and his ability to find an advantage in the ruck has been important for Anthony Griffin's side, but he's also displayed his ballplaying class, laying on a try for Matt Dufty with an inside ball last week against the Bulldogs.

After two years on the sidelines with repeat ACL injuries, the Dragons are being rewarded for taking a punt on Bird.

Jack Bird © Provided by Sporting News Jack Bird

#6 Daine Laurie

Last week: #7

Key stats: Three tries, 139 avg run metres, three try assists, 40 tackle breaks.

Along with Adam Doueihi, Daine Laurie appears to be the only Tigers player consistently threatening in attack.

While it's been a tough start to life at the Tigers from a win-loss perspective, Laurie is more often than not the team's best performer and has already justified why Michael Maguire want to bring him onboard after struggling to crack the starting side at the Panthers.

As far as value, this buy is up there.

#7 Tino Fa'asuamalueai

Last week: #4

Key stats: 137 avg run metres, 29 avg tackles, 14 tackle breaks

Was important in his side's big comeback win over the Tigers last weekend but you'd have to say overall it's been a hot and cold start to life at the Titans for Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.

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After bursting out of the blocks, the Queensland Origin rep's performances have tapered off slightly, while his two-week suspension from round six came as a slight disruption.

After playing him at lock for the opening three weeks, Justin Holbrook has moved Fa'asuamaleaui into the front row to factor in Tyrone Peachey's involvement.

#8 Tyson Frizell

Last week: #6

Key stats: Two try, 119 avg run metres, 11 offloads, 39 avg tackles

Played an important part in Newcastle's second-half comeback to steal victory from Canberra last week, scoring a try and making 38 tackles.

Before that Frizell was getting through his work without having a majorly noticeable impact on the Knights, who have largely struggled their way through the opening part of the season.

While there have been some quiet games, Frizell has definitely shown the traits that the Knights signed him for.

a group of football players on a field: Tyson Frizell © Provided by Sporting News Tyson Frizell

#9 Reimis Smith

Last week: #9

Key stats: Six tries, 88 avg run metres, 21 tackle breaks

After taking a few weeks to find his feet in the Storm backline, Reimis Smith has really hit his straps in the past few rounds.

The recruit from the Bulldogs has five tries in his last three games, including a hattrick against Cronulla in round eight.

After being deployed on the wing at his former club the Bulldogs, Smith has been moved into the centres by Craig Bellamy and formed a damaging partnership on the right side with Jahrome Hughes and George Jennings.

His signing at the Storm was heralded as another typical Bellamy special, and Smith's move to the premiers is gradually beginning to bear fruit.

#10 Bryce Cartwright

Last week: #N/A

Key stats: Three tries, 78 avg run metres, 21 avg tackles

Most thought Bryce Cartwright's NRL career was over after drifting on the Gold Coast.

Brad Arthur threw the skillful backrower a lifeline however, and so far Cartwright has proven to be a really clever buy for the Eels with the role he plays off the bench.

After being brought into the NRL side in round five against the Dragons, Cartwright has mostly played over 50 minutes from the bench and offers a big point of difference in the middle of the field with his footwork and ballplaying.

He was aptly rewarded with two tries on the weekend against the Roosters in what was probably the best effort we've seen from Cartwright in years.

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