The key role Joseph Tapine and Elliott Whitehead played in helping the Raiders to pick up their first win of 2023 has seen the pair included in the Round 3 VB Hard Earned Team of the Week.
In two stints adding up to 46 minutes on the field, Tapine put his hand up for 15 carries and achieved hauls of eight metres or more on 12 of them, in addition to getting through 32 tackles in Canberra's 24-20 win over the Sharks.
He was well assisted by fellow middle Whitehead, who did plenty of the tough stuff with six decoys in addition to nine carries for eight metres or more.
Dolphins forward Tom Gilbert topped the round for Index points with 89, which included 19 carries and 38 tackles, while teammate Sean O'Sullivan impressed once again in the halves, making 22 tackles without a single miss and engaging the line 14 times, as the NRL's newbies remained unbeaten with a 36-20 win over the Knights.
The effort of Bulldogs wing Jacob Kiraz was a feature again in Round 3, as the powerhouse put his hand up for a massive 26 carries, with 19 of them ending in gains of eight metres or more.
Kiraz, who heads into Round 4 as the outright leader in the Dally M Medal standings, also broke through six tackles on his way to earning Team of the Week honours for a second-straight round.
Broncos big bopper Payne Haas and Warriors skipper Tohu Harris are the only players to earn selection in each of the opening three rounds.
Haas cruised into the starting side with an Index score of 86, with an effort that included 16 runs for eight metres or more, while in his 200th NRL game Harris claimed a bench spot after getting through 35 tackles.
Sharks forward Teig Wilton recorded the second highest score of the round with 87, helped along by 41 tackles, and he is one of five players to make the Team of the Week despite being on the losing end of the scoreline in Round 3.
Sharks teammate Toby Rudolf, Cowboys workaholic hooker Reece Robson and Parramatta duo Will Penisini and Dylan Brown were the others to make the cut despite failing to pick up a win.
Chester goes high and Robson goes over
Warriors utility Dylan Walker led the way for interchange players, coming on to play both hooker and middle forward at a high level in his side's upset win over the Cowboys.
VB Hard Earned Index: Round 3
- Tom Gilbert (Dolphins) — 89 points
- Teig Wilton (Sharks) — 87 points
- Payne Haas (Broncos) — 86 points
- Jacob Kiraz (Bulldogs) — 84 points
- Joseph Tapine (Raiders) — 80 points
- Tohu Harris (Warriors) — 79 points
- Elliott Whitehead (Raiders) — 74 points
- Jacob Preston (Bulldogs) — 74 points
- Toby Rudolf (Sharks) — 73 points
- Victor Radley (Roosters) — 72 points
Stats for the VB Hard Earned Index and Team of the Week are provided via Fox Sports.