The statistical review: NRL season 2017

Tim Gore Columnist

By , Tim Gore is a Roar Expert

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    The Melbourne Storm’s emphatic win over the North Queensland Cowboys brought NRL season 2017 to a finish and gained them the season’s greatest award: the premiership.

    The Provan Summons Trophy is the pinnacle in world rugby league. However, like any good competition there are tons of minor awards to hand out yet.

    It is now time to hand out the awards to the statistical winners and losers from NRL season 2017!

    Strap yourselves in folks.

    Our first category is scoring.

    Scoring
    The award for the highest scoring team goes to the Melbourne Storm who scored a massive 715 points at 26.5 points a game.

    At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest scoring side was the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs who scored just over half what the Storm managed with 360 points at 15 points a game.

    The highest conceding side was the Newcastle Knights with 648 points conceded at 27 points a game.

    The lowest conceding side was the Melbourne Storm with 358 points at 13.26 points a game. This is a prestigious double for the Premiers to take home, demonstrating that they aren’t just robotic defenders by showing their scoring flair.

    This is further demonstrated by them also taking out the award for most tries scored. The Storm’s 125 tries were scored at an average of 4.63 a match.

    Going to Belmore is the gong for least tries scored. The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs scored just 65 tries for the season at 2.7 a match. Any three of the top five try scorers for the year eclipsed that total combined.

    And speaking of the top five try scorers for season 2017, they were as follows:
    • Suliasi Vunivalu 23
    • Josh Addo-Carr 23
    • Semi Radradra 22
    • Alex Johnston 22
    • Jordan Rapana 21

    When the points were scored
    Before we go to our next category, it’s time for a bit of light entertainment. Do you know what minutes of the games were the highest scoring in 2017? Well wonder no more because here they are!

    • 80th – 175 points
    • 40th – 158 points
    • 79th – 148 points
    • 69th – 145 points

    The lowest scoring minutes in the NRL in 2017 are as follows:
    • 1st = 14 points
    • 41st = 28 points
    • 42nd = 34 points
    • second = 46 points

    Unsurprisingly the highest-scoring minutes are at the end of each half as conversions after the siren are counted in the last minute. However, the 79th and 69th minutes are high scoring in their own rights.

    The lowest scoring minutes conversely are at the beginning of each half as the field position is usually in the favour of the defender after they kicked the ball off.

    The special award for the highest scoring minute by a team in 2017 goes to the St George Illawarra Dragons for the 28 points they accumulated in the 37th minute – Jason Nightingale’s four pointer in Round 26 sealed this award for them – but unfortunately not a finals berth.

    Line breaks
    The award for the team that made the most line breaks in 2017 went emphatically to Premiers Melbourne with 148 at 5.5 a game, easily eclipsing second placed Manly Sea Eagles with 111.

    The team that broke the line the least in 2017 was the Gold Coast Titans with just 73 for the year, under half of the Storms total.

    The leading line breakers for the season were as follows:
    • Josh Addo-Carr- 26
    • Semi Radradra – 25
    • Suliasi Vunivalu – 22
    • Tom Trbojevic – 21
    • Jordan Rapana – 20

    Josh Addo-Carr Melbourne Storm NRL Rugby League Grand Final 2017

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    Tackle breaks
    The highest tackle breaking side in 2017 was the Brisbane Broncos with 895 at 35.2 a match.
    At the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest tackle breaking side was the Gold Coast Titans with 462 busts at 19.3 a match.

    The highest tackle breaking players were as follows:
    • James Tedesco – 162
    • Jordan Rapana – 148
    • Dane Gagai – 134
    • Jason Taumalolo – 121
    • David Nofoaluma – 112
    • Josh Addo-Carr – 109

    Metres made
    The side that made the most metres in 2017 was everyone’s favourite almost fairytale side, the North Queensland Cowboys with 40,666 metres for the season. They beat out the Brisbane Broncos by just 190 metres over the whole season and needing an extra game to do it.

    The side that made the least metres in 2017 was the Newcastle Knights with 28,522 metres, 12,144 less than the Cowboys.

    The top metre running players for the season are as follows:
    • Jason Taumalolo – 4996
    • Paul Gallen – 4294
    • Tom Trbojevic – 4012
    • David Nofoaluma – 3861
    • Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – 3764

    Poor old Jason Taumololo needed just four more metres to crack 5000 for the season.

    The side that conceded the most metres in 2017 was the Brisbane Broncos with 38,167 at 1500 a match.

    The side that conceded the fewest metres was Cronulla with 33,469 at 1338.8 a game.

    Jason Taumalolo North Queensland Cowboys NRL Rugby League Grand Final 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Offloads
    The leading offloading side in 2017 was the St George Illawarra Dragons with 327 for the season at 13.6 a game.

    The lowest offloading side was the Newcastle Knights with 167 offloads at 6.6 a game.

    The leading offloaders for the season are as follows:
    • Martin Taupau – 72
    • Tim Lafai – 64
    • David Nofoaluma – 55
    • Paul Gallen – 52
    • Andrew Fifita – 52

    Drop outs
    The side that forced more drop outs than any other in 2017 was the North Queensland Cowboys with 60 forced at 2.1 a game.

    The side that forced the least drop out was the Newcastle Knights with 23 at just under one a game. They were just two worse off than the Canberra Raiders.

    The Raiders take the award for the most drop outs taken in 2017. The boys in green dropped out from under their own sticks 57 times at 2.4 a game.

    The side that were forced into the fewest drop outs was the Cronulla Sharks with 21 at less than one a game.

    Penalties
    The most penalised side in 2017 was the Melbourne Storm with 187 at 6.9 a match.

    However, the highest average penalties a match went to Cronulla at 7.3 a match.

    The least penalised side in 2017 was a tie between the Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra Dragons with 127 at 5.3 a match.

    The most penalised players were as follows:
    • James Maloney – 34
    • Jared Waerea-Hargreaves – 31
    • Jarrod Wallace – 27
    • Josh Hodgson – 21
    • Mitchell Barnett – 21
    • Luke Lewis – 21

    James Maloney Crounlla Sharks NRL Rugby League 2017

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    Jimmy Maloney took the prize for the second year running. The boy from Orange has personally conceded 130 penalties over the past five series. His sin binning in their elimination final, however, was his very first over that period.

    The side that received the most penalties in 2017 was the North Queensland Cowboys with 210 at 7.7 a game.

    The side that received the fewest penalties was the New Zealand Warriors with 129 at 5.4 a game.

    Errors
    The highest error making side in 2017 is the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks with 290 at 11.6 a match.

    The lowest error making side was the New Zealand Warriors with 217 at 9 a match.

    The highest error making players are as follows:
    • Josh Addo-Carr – 39
    • Tom Trbojevic – 38
    • Jordan Rapana – 37
    • Latrell Mitchell – 34
    • Kyle Feldt – 34

    The side that forced their opponents into the most errors in 2017 was the North Queensland Cowboys, forcing 309. However, the Wests Tigers forced their opponents into 11.6 errors a game, the highest average in 2017.

    The side that forced the fewest errors from their opponents in 2017 was the Warriors with 222 at 9.3 a game.

    Missed tackles
    The side that missed the most tackles in 2017 was the Penrith Panthers with 859 at 33 a game.
    The side that missed the fewest tackles was the Dragons with just 539 at 22.5 a game.

    The leading missed tacklers for the year are as follows:
    • Apisai Koroisau – 103.0
    • James Maloney – 101.0
    • Ethan Lowe – 100.0
    • Mitchell Moses – 90.0
    • Matt Gillett – 87.0

    The Sandow Turnstile award for the highest ratio of tackles to missed tackles was hotly contested. Bronco Anthony Milford missed 28.3 per cent of the tackles he attempted. However, taking out the prize is none other than James Maloney who missed 35 per cent of the tackles he attempted.

    The players who averaged the most missed tackles per game in 2017 are as follows:
    • James Maloney – 5.1
    • Apisai Koroisau – 4.3
    • Cameron King – 3.8
    • Ben Hunt – 3.8
    • Ethan Lowe – 3.6

    The Cement Gillespie award for best defence goes to Dragon Cameron McInnes who only missed 25 tackles while making 1185. That’s a missed tackle ratio of just two per cent. Just outstanding stuff.

    Tackles
    The side that made the most tackles in 2017 was the Melbourne Storm with 9088 at 336.6 a game. The Canberra Raiders made the fewest tackles in 2017. They made just 7072 tackles at 294.6 a game.

    The players who made the most tackles in 2017 are as follows:
    • Cameron McInnes – 1185
    • Jake Friend – 1156
    • Simon Mannering – 994
    • Aiden Tolman – 972
    • Apisai Koroisau – 962

    The players who averaged the most tackles a game in 2017 are as follows:
    • Jake Friend – 53
    • Andrew McCullough – 50
    • Cameron McInnes – 49
    • Elijah Taylor – 45
    • Simon Mannering – 45

    Try assisters

    The leading try assisters in 2017 are as follows:
    • Ashley Taylor – 24
    • Shaun Johnson – 19
    • Gareth Widdop – 18
    • Michael Morgan – 17
    • Anthony Milford – 17
    • Billy Slater – 17
    • Daly Cherry-Evans – 17

    Ashley Taylor Gold Coast Titans NRL Rugby League 2017

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Squad sizes
    The comparative numbers of players each side used in 2017 looks like this:
    • Gold Coast – 34
    • North Queensland – 32
    • Newcastle – 31
    • Melbourne – 31
    • Wests Tigers – 30
    • Warriors – 30
    • South Sydney – 30
    • Penrith – 28
    • Parramatta – 27
    • Manly – 27
    • Sydney Roosters – 26
    • Cronulla – 26
    • Canberra – 26
    • Brisbane – 26
    • St George Illawarra – 25
    • Canterbury-Bankstown – 25

    What is odd about this is just how many players both grand final combatants used during 2017.

    They were both in the top four for most players used, with both using over 30 players. The grand finalists are usually the sides who’ve used less players and have had stable squads.

    In 2016 the Sharks and the Storm used 24 and 27 respectively.

    In 2015 the Cowboys and Broncos used 28 and 29 respectively.

    In 2014 the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs used 27 and 26 respectively.

    Not this year though.

    The nudie runners
    Each year players who didn’t score a try have to do the nudie run. There were 132 players who played at least one first grade game this season who didn’t score a try. That’s out of the 444 players that got at least one game.

    So 30 per cent had to go for a streak with the meat and two veg out on display.

    Here are some of the most notable streakers for you to visualise:
    • Thomas Burgess
    • Dylan Napa
    • Frank Pritchard
    • Greg Eastwood
    • Jacob Lillyman
    • Jamal Idris
    • James Fisher-Harris
    • Kurt Baptiste
    • Leeson Ah Mau
    • Nate Myles
    • Tevita Pangai Jnr
    • Sam Tagataese
    • Shannon Boyd
    • Chris Heighington
    • David Taylor
    • Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    • Kenny Edwards
    • Nathan Peats
    • Sam Kasiano
    • Jordan McLean
    • Jarrod Wallace
    • Manu Vatuvei
    • George Burgess
    • Kane Evans

    Let’s raise a glass to all of these winners!

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.