The Optimum Super League Team of the Week – Round One

After months of waiting, we were finally given our first taste of Super League action in 2016 as all twelve teams got their seasons underway.

Shocks, thrills and spills came in abundance while a number of players also set their stalls out for the year.

But which individuals impressed the most? Without further ado, here is the first Optimum Team of the Week

Full-back – Rhys Hanbury (Widnes Vikings)Hanbury

From the first minute, it was clear that Hanbury was ready for business.

A constant threat throughout, Hanbury was rewarded with his first try of the season after racing on to Lloyd White’s pass. He went on to convert all four tries in a 24-16 victory over Wakefield, a great start to the season for the Vikings.



Winger – Denny Solomona (Castleford Tigers)Solomona

Some suggested he might be a one-season wonder, but if his performance at the weekend is anything to go by, that won’t be the case.
Solomona was everywhere and his form shows that he’s carrying on from where he left off last year.





Centre – Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)Ben Currie

Where do we start with this guy? The viewing Rugby League public ran out of superlatives after his stunning performance, putting on a masterclass in Warrington’s victory.

His all-round contribution made him an easy pick this week.





Centre – Jake Webster (Castleford Tigers)Webster

Often forgotten, Webster is a great addition in the Tigers team. Another two tries this weekend and a great all-round contribution saw him get 2016 off to a great start.






Winger – Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers)Mantellato Hull KR

Despite playing with one eye, Mantellato managed to score two stunning tries and kick the crucial conversion from the corner to salvage the Robins a point.

He was so good he got on the cover of League Express!




Stand-off – Luke Walsh (St Helens)WalshLuke5-4-0915

Walsh had arguably his best game in St Helens colours as he put Huddersfield to the sword.

His kicking game was a joy to watch while his control and composure saw Saints pick up the win. His performance was so good he even earned praise of notoriously hard-to-please Huddersfield chief Paul Anderson.





Scrum-half – Chris Sandow (Warrington Wolves)Sandow

Many people were eating their words after Sandow’s exceptional performance on Thursday.

Talked down by many after an underwhelming start to life in Super League, Sandow showed his true capabilities against the Rhinos, splitting the defence on numerous occasions.

But most importantly, he opened the scoring and created the crucial try with a brilliant cross-field kick.




Prop – Dave Taylor (Catalans Dragons)Taylor

Taylor was the standout performer in Catalans’ defeat to Wigan, getting through more than his fair share of work all evening.

His unmistakable stature makes him easy to find, but with carries like those he provided against Wigan, he won’t need introducing to anyone soon.



Hooker – Michael McIlourm (Wigan Warriors)McIlorum

McIlorum once again showed his importance to the Warriors in a typically influential display.

Wigan’s intensity in attack and defence lifts when he is on the field, and on Friday he was rewarded with two tries.




Prop – Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield Giants)CrabtreeEorl35_230116

Big Eorl started the season with a great display despite being on the losing side.

He was the standout star in a big Huddersfield pack and really took the game to St Helens.




Second-row – Chris Houston (Widnes Vikings)Houston

Chris Houston has hardly been in the country two minutes, but already he’s shown just how good of a signing he will be for Widnes.

His dominant display in attack looks set to give Widnes a new dimension to their game, which only bodes well for the future.




Second-Row – Atelea Vea (St Helens)Vea

While Luke Walsh took the plaudits, Vea was another who played a starring role for the Saints.

His uncompromising style makes him so difficult to defend against, highlighted in his first-half try.



Loose-Forward – Sika Manu (Hull FC)Manu

Manu set the tone for the evening with an unbelievable big hit on Gareth O’Brien.

The Airlie Birds dominated the Red Devils physically, and a large part of that was the contribution of Manu, who looks set to be a great coup for FC.