The Rebels and Reds flew the Australian flag in round four, claiming wins against the Brumbies and Bulls, respectively.
Here’s who stood out from the chasing pack in round four.
1. James Slipper – Reds
The Reds scrum was dominant against a big Bulls pack on Saturday and Slipper played a big part in that, forcing three scrum penalties in his 46 minute stint on field.
Stuck his hand up for six runs which produced nine metres and made seven tackles, too.
2. Jordan Uelese – Rebels
Uelese was one of many Melbourne players that left their mark on the clash with the Brumbies.
While the scrum was shaky the Rebels lineout was solid and Uelese was a dominant force in defence, making 15 tackles which often stopped Brumbies players in their tracks.
The 21-year-old used every bit of his 122kg frame in making 11 carries, too.
3. Taniela Tupou – Reds
Another stellar performance from Tupou, who is the form tighthead prop in the Australian Conference.
The Reds scrum was dominant and the sublime no-look pass to Caleb Timu for Queensland’s first try put the icing on a performance which boasted eight other runs for 16 metres, a tackle bust and a line break.
4. Izack Rodda – Reds
Rodda, along with Timu, was the Reds’ chief source of go forward against the Bulls.
He was constantly looking for work when James Tuttle went looking for runners and the Reds lineout is starting to take shape, too.
It was near faultless on Saturday, as Rodda’s combination with Brandon Paenga-Amosa grows in stature.
5. Ross Haylett-Petty – Rebels
Haylett-Petty was called into the side in place of injured captain Adam Coleman and he made a superb start to his career in red, blue and white.
Haylett-Petty was everywhere, making an equal team high 22 tackles while picking up five runs for 10 metres in attack.
6. Lopeti Timani – Rebels
Timani can go missing in matches but he was a regular ball carrying presence against the Rebels, making eight runs for 12 metres and nine tackles on the other side of the ball.
7. Liam Wright – Reds
The Reds are eagerly awaiting George Smith’s return in round seven but for now, Wright is doing a brilliant job in his place.
He is a breakdown fetcher in the truest sense and can carry the ball, too.
8. Amanaki Mafi – Rebels
An archetypal Mafi performance against the Brumbies – where the stat line said it all.
His 15 runs racked up 82 metres, six tackle busts, a line break and a try assist.
9. Will Genia – Rebels
A third straight team of the week entry for Genia, who is playing as well as he ever has.
The pace that Genia has Melbourne playing at is what we typically see from New Zealand sides and his two try assists were perfect examples of the pinpoint passing he has produced in Melbourne’s perfect start to the year.
He is equal top of the competition with five total try assists and has the Rebels attack humming.
10. Jono Lance – Reds
Reds coach Brad Thorn highlighted Lance as his man of the match after the win over the Bulls and it’s easy to see why.
Lance controlled the Reds attack with poise, was calculated in his general play kicking and put in another big shift in defence, making eight tackles.
It’s refreshing to see a Reds flyhalf bringing a running game to the table.
11. Jack Maddocks – Rebels
Another outstanding performance from a player Dave Wessels is going to find very hard to leave out of his starting XV.
His thirst for work infield and underrated turn of foot is what separates him from the rest, as he racked up 105 metres from nine runs against the Brumbies, with a tackle bust and line break to boot.
One would think Marika Koroibete must be included in the starting XV this weekend so another positional shift could be on the cards for one of the most promising talents in Australian rugby.
12. Samu Kerevi – Reds
Whether inside centre is his best position remains to be seen but one thing is for sure – Kerevi was prolific against the Bulls.
Kerevi had 22 carries tough carries for 45 metres, seven tackle busts, two line breaks and a pair of offloads.
His distribution still needs work but he is as destructive as ever with ball in hand.
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Reds
The conundrum the Reds face as to where Kerevi is best suited is not made any easier by the impact of Chris Feauai-Sautia.
Playing his 50th game for Queensland against the Bulls, the rejuvenated centre busted five tackles in his 11 carries, with a line break and offload to boot.
14. Henry Speight – Brumbies
The sole spark in a very dour Brumbies performance.
Looked dangerous with every one of his 12 runs, accumulating 106 metres, four tackle busts, two line breaks and a pair of offloads.
ACT need this from Speight on a weekly basis.
15. Aidan Toua – Reds
Toua was Israel Folau-esque in his high ball takes and took more of the playmaking load, with Brad Thorn deploying Feauai-Sautia and Kerevi in the centres.
Taking a more central role worked wonders, as he ran 68 metres with his 11 runs, splitting the line three times.