NRL Rd 12 - Sea Eagles v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers kicks during the round 12 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland on August 01, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Nathan Cleary makes his first appearance in Zero Tackle's stats based team of the week in Round 6, with five Penrith Panthers players making the cut.

After starting the season on the sideline, Cleary had his best effort of the year on Friday against the Brisbane Broncos and makes the cut alongside Isaah Yeo (yet again), James Fisher-Harris, Scott Sorensen and Spencer Leniu.

The Tigers also have two entrants for the first time this season, while other winning teams the Melbourne Storm, St George Illawarra Dragons, South Sydney Rabbitohs, North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Sea Eagles are represented, leaving the Sydney Roosters without representation.

The Newcastle Knights have two players in the side despite losing to the Dragons, while the Cronulla Sharks and Gold Coast Titans are also represented.

A reminder that the team of the week is picked completely objectively, all based on an algorithm that calculates each player's stats and generates a total score.

The interchange players must also play from the bench.

Here is the Round 6 team.

1. Kalyn Ponga (Knights)
Ponga played his best game for the Knights this season by a long way on Sunday against the Dragons, almost single-handidly getting his side to fall over the line.

While Newcastle couldn't snatch the victory in Wollongong, Ponga scored a try, ran for 240 metres, made a line break, a try assist and was superb all day.

2. Ronaldo Mulitalo (Sharks)
In one of the game's of the week despite the eventual 16-point difference between the two sides, Mulitalo came away with a double and 210 metres, getting through a mountain of work to keep his side in the contest.

On top of that, he also had four line breaks and six tackle busts.

3. Moses Suli (Dragons)
Suli is fast becoming a key signing for the Dragons, putting together another barnstorming effort on the left edge for the Red V on Sunday afternoon.

He came up with 177 metres, a line break, a line break assist, two offloads and two try assists in a performance which was critical to his team picking up their second win of the season.

4. Valentine Holmes (Cowboys)
In a performance which helped the Cowboys eventually clamber over the top of the Raiders in a comeback victory, Holmes had a try, three conversions, 137 metres and a pair of line breaks to go with six tackle busts.

It was a performance not unlike his man of the match performance against the Brisbane Broncos a few weeks ago and one which further silenced doubters over his move to centre.

5. David Nofoaluma (Tigers)
The first Tigers selection of the year has taken until Round 6, but veteran winger Nofoaluma most certainly earned his spot with a double and 143 metres from 17 carries.

Add that to six tackle busts and a line break, and it was a look at what the winger can do at his best.

6. Cameron Munster (Storm)
It's almost as if Munster is actively pushing his contract value up with each passing week. 183 metres, a try, two line breaks and a try assist saw him take his game to yet another level against the Sharks.

7. Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
Cleary was quite simply excellent against the Broncos in his first strong performance of the year. He ran the ball with ferocity, making 122 metres which includes a line break and three try assists, while also leading the way with 439 metres off the boot.

A superb performance and one Penrith will be desperate for him to replicate in the weeks ahead.

8. James Fisher-Harris (Panthers)
Fisher-Harris was another excellent performer for the Panthers in their rout of the Broncos.

While there wasn't a lot of workload tasked on the New Zealand international representative, it was running the ball where Fisher-Harris had a big game, finishing up with 200 metres to his name.

9. Damien Cook (Rabbitohs)
It seems as though Damien Cook spent a couple of weeks searching for the answers to throw the cries of "Harry Grant should start for Australia" off his back.

Another superb performance against Canterbury on Friday inspired his team to a big win as he picked up three tries and was rock solid in the middle of the park defensively.

10. David Klemmer (Knights)
Klemmer put an enormous stint of just over 50 minutes during Newcastle's nailbiter against the Dragons.

Despite only having 14 carries, Klemmer made 159 metres, including 62 post-contact metres, to go with a line break and three tackle busts, while also being rock solid in the middle with 44 tackles.

NRL Elimination Final - Rabbitohs v Knights

11. Haumole Olakau'atu (Sea Eagles)
Olakau'atu has quickly developed into one of the game's best second rowers, and had more of that on display on Saturday against the Titans.

He scored a double, made 121 metres, added a pair of line breaks and five tackle busts in a game that was hardly a surprise from the consistent star.

12. David Fifita (Titans)
Fifita has been accused of plenty of poor form over the past couple of weeks, and while he didn't touch the ball as much as he maybe should have, he came up with a try and took matters into his own hands at times, assisting another and making 131 metres in a strong effort which helped to keep his side in the game.

13. Isaah Yeo (Panthers)
Yeo managed 154 metres from 16 carries in another rock-solid performance for the Panthers, but more than that, his ball-playing was on display once again as he wound up with a couple of try assists. Defensively, not much more could have been asked of, leading all tacklers with 46 without a miss.


14. Scott Sorensen (Panthers)
Sorensen might have only played 36 minutes off the bench, but he scored a try and came up with a staggering 223 metres from just 16 carries, which included two line breaks and five tackle busts.

15. Alex Twal (Tigers)
Alex Twal continues to surprisingly come from the bench for the Tigers, but it was his best performance of the year by a long way.

In a 63-minute stint, he made 166 metres from 18 carries, added a line break and five tackle busts, while also making an excellent 46 tackles without a miss.

16. Spencer Leniu (Panthers)
Leniu, like his front row partner off the bench at Penrith, was excellent for the men from the foot of the mountains.

He also crashed over for a late try, but came up with 140 metres off just ten carries as he battered the Brisbane defence, also making five tackle breaks.

17. Liam Knight (Rabbitohs)
Knight gains his first nomination for the team of the week for the year with a starring performance in the middle for South Sydney on Friday, making a staggering 202 metres from 21 carries to go with more than half of those metres being post contact.