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NRL Round 1: Five standout performers in NSW Cup over the weekend

The NSW Cup returned this weekend with many eye-catching performances during an entertaining opening round.

The New Zealand Warriors made a successful return to the competition with a big win over Newcastle, the Bulldogs amassed 36 unanswered points to beat the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, Canberra defeated the Eels in a close affair while Penrith got their title defense off to a perfect start .

The sports news has selected five outstanding performances from the whole round.

Note: The Queensland Cup returns next weekend.

Matthew Eisenhuth

The Panthers skipper led his side from the front in the 18-12 win over the North Sydney Bears.

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He recorded 56 tackles without missing a shot at the highest level, clocked 100 yards with his 14 carries, and assisted Jack Cogger in a game-winning try early in the second half.

The prop made four tackle busts and produced an offload in an all-action display that could earn him a spot on Penrith’s bench in the NRL after Scott Sorensen failed his HIA in his loss to Brisbane.

Ronald Volkman

The Warriors, returning to the NSW Cup after their pandemic-related absence, recorded an impressive win over Newcastle.

They amassed 24 points in the second half, beating the Knights 42-20 in Slade Griffin’s first game as the team’s coach.

Volkman, one of four players selected from the NRL roster, was the architect who laid three tryouts while being perfect from the boat by nailing all seven of his conversions.

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The 20-year-old was also flawless in a controlled display that promises Andrew Webster plenty of depth in his halves should either Shaun Johnson or Te Maire Martin run into injury troubles this season.

MORE: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad shines on return as New Zealand Warriors beat Newcastle

Karl Oloapu

Trailing 16-0 midway through the first half, things looked bleak for the Dogs.

However, they have made an incredible comeback to blow away the Sea Eagles, thanks in large part to their pairing, who are at opposite ends of their rugby league journey.

Returning hero Josh Reynolds and young tomboy Karl Oloapu starred in the 36-16 win, with the veteran’s quick play getting the ball going near the line allowing hooker Ryan Gray to go from close range to jump. Reach and completely change the dynamics of the clash.

From then on, it was Reynolds and Oloapu’s show as the duo combined again and again.

The teenager in particular stood out as his willingness to run ball in hand and test the defensive line resulted in over 100 yards, a line break, a try assist and a four-pointer of his own to finish the goal.

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Kayal Iro

The highly respected center lit up the competition at Henson Park on Saturday as the Newtown Jets defeated South Sydney 26-6.

Iro grabbed a brace, ran 202 yards, made three line breaks and had nine tackle busts in a man-of-the-match performance.

The young Cronulla star has had an incredible 2022 campaign, which has seen him win both the Fred Daly Memorial Shield and the Brian Moore Shield as the Jets’ top player last year, and by the time the first round comes to an end Iro will stand another before big season.

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Kitione Kautoga

The Western Suburbs Magpies put on a show Sunday afternoon at the Leichhardt Oval, defeating the Roosters 44-18.

Their young backrower – who made his NRL debut last year – was at the forefront of demolition when he nabbed a hat-trick.

Kautoga opened the scoring after just seven minutes before crossing on either side of half-time for his other two tries.

In an 80-minute performance, he rushed for over 100 yards, grabbed a line break assist, nine tackle breaks and was solid on defense to potentially give Tim Sheens a real option off the bench for the Tigers in the coming weeks.

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