Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s high-flying season has reached a new height with his selection to this year’s NRL Players’ Dream Team.
The team is made up of the best 13 players by their positions, as voted on by players, with Watene-Zelezniak one of three Warriors announced this afternoon by the Rugby League Players Association.
Watene-Zelezniak has been in impressive form this year, scoring 22 tries in 19 appearances this season, many of which have been acrobatic finishes in the corner.
Those efforts have been recognised by his peers although he didn’t know about the accolade until he was informed by 1News today after training.
“Oh wow, that’s cool,” he said, stunned.
“The players vote for that, don’t they? That’s pretty cool.”
Shaun Johnson and Addin Fonua-Blake also made the cut to represent the Warriors and Watene-Zelezniak was quick to praise his playmaker for helping him this season along with centres Marata Niukore and Rocco Berry.
“I think a lot of it goes to what’s happening inside of me with Shaun, Marata and Rocco too,” he said.
“I guess I’ll take that on behalf of them, but to be voted by your peers – it means a lot.”
Watene-Zelezniak has been a key figure in the Warriors’ resurgent season which after Saturday’s 40-10 demolishing of the Knights earned them a spot in the preliminary finals against the Broncos this week – just 80 minutes shy of a spot in this year’s Grand Final.
The 28-year-old conceded he, like many at the start of the season and even prior, couldn’t have seen this year’s results coming.
“If you had asked me a few years ago if I’d be playing in the Finals and in a prelim, I would’ve just laughed.
“But it’s good to be back here, I’m soaking it all up and it’s really exciting.”
Watene-Zelezniak and the Warriors will look to upset the Broncos in Brisbane on Saturday at 9:50pm NZT.
2023 Players’ Dream Team
Fullback: Reece Walsh
Wingers: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak & Brian To’o
Centres: Herbie Farnworth & Stephen Crichton
Five-Eighth: Cameron Munster
Halfback: Shaun Johnson
Props: Payne Haas & Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker: Harry Grant
Second Rowers: Haumole Olakau’atu & Liam Martin
Lock: Patrick Carrigan