#KiwiNRL Encyclopedia: Round Rima

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Broncos vs Tigers

Broncos

Starters: Jamayne Isaako, Kodi Nikorima, Alex Glenn.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Tigers

Starters: Esan Marsters, Russell Packer, Josh Aloiai.

Bench/Extended Bench: Ben Matulino, Michael Chee-Kam.

Doc's Word

Among a forward pack of #KiwiNRL veterans, Glenora Bears junior Josh Aloiai has swiftly established himself as a bit of a monster and has now been named to start for Wests Tigers. Averaging more minutes (45mins) than Russell Packer (32), Ben Matulino (34.5) and Elijah Taylor (44), Aloiai is averaging 8.88m/run while also registering 1.8 tackle busts/game. This is low key funky because Michael Maguire is seeing Aloiai legit establish himself in the NRL after a few up and down seasons, with Maguire also being the Aotearoa Kiwis coach.

Maguire has clearly had an impact on Aloiai and while there are a few interesting youngsters who could break into the Kiwis this year, Aloiai is near the top of the list. Starting in the #13 jersey this week, Aloiai gives the Tigers a mobile, nimble presence as opposed to the workman style of Taylor who has has previously been the main #13 option. How Aloiai goes against the Brisbane Broncos forward pack tonight, could provide us with greater insight into Aloiai's potential given that the despite their iffy form to start the season, the young Broncos forwards have always been celebrated. Ideally, Aloiai steals the spotlight.

Titans vs Panthers

Titans

Starters: Kevin Proctor.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Panthers

Starters: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Sione Katoa, James Fisher-Harris.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Jarome Luai.

Doc's Word

After making serious waves at fullback last season, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has slid to fullback again with Dylan Edwards getting game time on the wing. This happened last week, but is now official from the Tuesday team lists and it's a niggly conundrum when pondering Kiwis selection. On the one hand I feel fabulous for Watene-Zelezniak and we now have him, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Te Maire Martin, Jahrome Hughes and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad as #KiwiNRL fullbacks.

On the other hand, the best thing for the Kiwis is to have Watene-Zelezniak playing as a winger week in, week out. That's a super minor issue though and coach Maguire knows exactly what Watene-Zelezniak offers as a winger and captain. Whether Watene-Zelezniak's move to fullback can lead the Panthers to some resurgent form, will be a key narrative in the coming weeks.

Cowboys vs Storm

Cowboys

Starters: Te Maire Martin, Jordan Kahu.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Peter Hola.

Storm

Starters: Jahrome Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Kenny Bromwich.

Bench/Extended Bench: Brandon Smith/Albert Vete.

Doc's Word

Speak of fullbacks, in losing to Canberra Raiders, North Queensland Cowboys fullback Te Maire Martin was utterly put in the shade by Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. I'm kinda worried for Martin at the moment as my view that he is not a fullback is only being reinforced each week and that is restricting Martin's development; he's yet to cash in on his potential.

Now, Martin comes up against Jahrome Hughes and Hughes is offering as much joy as Nicoll-Klokstad this season. Hughes is averaging 15.8runs/153m and 0.3 errors per game this season, while Martin is averaging 10.3runs/71m and 1.3 errors, which is related to the form of their respective teams, however when watching these teams play, there is no doubt that Hughes simply looks more 'lively' than Martin.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona is yet to come close to his best work for the Storm this season, a sign of even more upside for Melbourne. Averaging just 35.8mins and well below the 10m/run mark (11.3runs for 88m per game), Asofa-Solomona is also the only Storm forward to average 1+ error/game.

Rabbitohs vs Warriors

Rabbitohs

Starters: Nada.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Warriors

Starters: All but Blake Green, Karl Lawton, Lachlan Burr.

Bench/Extended Bench: All but Adam Keighran.

Doc's Word

No Adam Keighran again for the Warriors, but the number of Aussies is still high. This will depend on Issac Luke's involvement and thus, Karl Lawton's involvement.

Knights vs Sea Eagles

Knights

Starters: Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Mason Lino, Danny Levi, James Gavet.

Bench/Extended Bench: Herman Ese'ese.

Sea Eagles

Starters: Martin Taupau, Toafofoa Sipley.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Doc's Word

Another start for Mason Lino and the major objective this week for Lino is to step up in terms of taking pressure off of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga. This is mainly about Pearce though and Lino played his first game back from injury last week in the 12-13 loss to Dragons, so hopefully we will see Lino hit another level this week vs Sea Eagles.

Lino had 26 touches last week, compared to Ponga's 37 and Pearce's 74. Pearce also had 18 kicks to Lino's 5 and to offer the required variety and support, Lino will need to get closer to 40 touches/10 kicks. Lino also missed 7 tackles, the most of any Knight and after that debut for Newcastle, it'll be interesting to see what a better performance from Lino looks like.

Sharks vs Roosters

Sharks

Starters: Sosaia Feki, Sione Katoa, Shaun Johnson, Briton Nikora.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Braden Hamlin-Uele.

Roosters

Starters: Joseph Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Isaac Liu.

Bench/Extended Bench: Zane Tetevano, Poasa Fa'amausili/Sitili Tupouniua.

Doc's Word

How about Sio Siua Taukeiaho!?

14.5runs/156m per game, which boils down to 10.75m/run and that is bonkers. Otara Scorpions junior Taukeiaho averages the same number of metres/game as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, however this comes from 1 less run/game and a whole lot more tackle busts; Waerea-Hargreaves averages 0.3 tackle busts, Taukeiaho 3.5.

Taukeiaho's 3.5 tackle busts/game is 1st equal in the NRL and Taukeiaho is 6th in total metres. Chuck in less than 1 missed tackle, error and penalty conceded per game and Taukeiaho, along with 51.8mins/game and Taukeiaho is among the best middle forwards in the NRL.

Dragons vs Bulldogs

Dragons

Starters: Jordan Pereira.

Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.

Bulldogs

Starters: Reimis Smith, Jeremy Marshall-King, Ofahiki Ogden, Corey Harawira-Naera.

Bench/Extended Bench: /Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Fa'amanu Brown.

Doc's Word

Ofahiki Ogden started the season in reserve grade, now in round five he is starting for Canterbury Bulldogs after an injury to Dylan Napa. The Mangere East Hawks junior earned a call up a few weeks back as part of the Bulldogs revamp and in his two games, Ogden is only averaging 19mins; he'll be in for an increase this week.

Jeremy Marshall-King is also making a solid start to the season at hooker, averaging 49.3mins/game. For the Bulldogs, there is a heavy lack of dummy half running from Marshall-King and Michael Lichaa, but from a #KiwiNRL perspective it is delightful to have Marshall-King settled into the main dummy half duties.

Raiders vs Eels

Raiders

Starters: Charnze Nicoll-Klostad, Jordan Rapana.

Bench/Extended Bench: Siliva Havili, Iosia Soliola, Joseph Tapine/Bailey Simonsson.

Eels

Starters: Brad Takairangi, Marata Niukore.

Bench/Extended Bench: Peni Terepo/Josh Hofman/

Doc's Word

Joseph Tapine returns to the bench for Canberra Raiders and with the Raiders enjoying great service from their English quartet, I'm intrigued to see whether Tapine stays on the bench for the coming weeks. This isn't a bad thing as it will likely see Tapine play through the middle when he's on the field and the combination of Tapine and a guy like Siliva Havili could give the Raiders a funky impact.

Havili is averaging 26.5mins/game and with Josh Hodgson playing 80mins, Havili is averaging 10.76m/run (6.5runs for 70m) as a dynamic forward. That is slightly better than Taukeiaho, which should put Havili's x-factor into some perspective - they have very different usage/roles yeah. This is because of Havili's power and mobility, add Tapine's size and mobility around Havili's game time and Canberra could hit a new level.

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